Assassination of Communist Leon Trotsky Part 1

About the assassinaton of Russian Communist leader Leon Trotsky, history and account of the murder by the enemy of Joseph Stalin.


The Victim: LEON TROTSKY (Leib Davydovich Bronstein), cofounder of the Bolshevik party, organizer of the Red Army, opponent of Joseph Stalin.

The Date: Aug. 20, 1940.

The Event: While feeding his pet rabbits in the garden of a fortified villa just outside Mexico City, Trotsky was approached by a nervous, ashen-faced young man who had recently wormed his way into the exiled revolutionist's entourage. Trotsky agreed to go alone with the casual friend into his study to read an original article the admirer had just composed. The man carried a raincoat clutched tightly against his chest. It was still the rainy season on this high mountain plateau, but the day was clear and lovely. Late afternoon sunlight poured through an open window that offered a view of the high-walled patio. The room was littered but comfortable, the command post from which the exiled Bolshevik poured out book after book denouncing Stalin and Russia's year-old alliance with Hitler, books which attacked socialist nationalism and urged a truly international revolution.

Sixty-year-old Trotsky settled down at a large wooden table which served as his desk and began to read. His 26-year-old visitor stood at the victim's left side, blocking an alarm button which could have instantly summoned half a dozen armed guards. He later confessed: "I put my raincoat on the table on purpose so that I could take out the ice ax which I had in the pocket.... I took the piolet out of my raincoat, took it in my fist, and, closing my eyes, I gave him a tremendous blow on the head.... The man screamed in such a way that I will never forget it as long as I live. His scream was Aaaaaa! ... very long, infinitely long, and it still seems to me as if that scream were piercing my brain...."

Trotsky died 26 hours later from the 3-in. hole in his skull inflicted by a mountaineer's ice ax. His killer was severely beaten, arrested, tried, and convicted of murder. He served 20 years, was released in 1960, and immediately fled to Czechoslovakia, where reportedly he still lives.

The Assassin: Jaime Ramon Mercader del Rio Hernandez (alias Jacques Mornard and Frank Jacson) was born in Barcelona in 1914, the son of an undistinguished middle-class businessman and of a passionate, highly unstable Cuban beauty who developed into an ardent Stalinist, fought in the Spanish Civil War, and became the mistress of the Soviet secret police general who later organized the conspiracy to kill Trotsky.

Because he refused to divulge the details of his background all the years he was in prison, Ramon Mercader became an internationally famous "mystery man" to detective-story writers and a "faceless totalitarian robot" to anti-Communist sloganeers. In truth, he was a mildly intelligent, mother-dominated young Spaniard who believed in an impersonal "bureaucratic collectivism" which should no longer tolerate criticism from an idealistic individualist like Trotsky.

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