Trotsky's Thoughts on Peace and United States of Europe: A Reappraisal

Seongjin Jeong


During 1914-16, Trotsky frequently confronted Lenin and the Bolsheviks about socialist strategic perspectives on World War One, specifically ‘revolutionary defeatism’ and the slogan for United States of Europe. Lenin branded Trotsky’s perspective as pacifist or ultra-imperialist aˋ la Kautsky. Unfortunately, this conflict has provided ample materials for Stalinists to portray Trotsky as the archenemy of Lenin and magnify the differences between them. Even those who regard Trotsky as the orthodox successor of Lenin tend to shy away or minimize the conflicts between the two during this period. However, these conflicts need not be downplayed, for the 1917 revolution vindicated Trotsky’s alternative rather than Lenin’s. Trotsky applies the transitional program, a classical Marxist revolutionary strategy, to the conjunctures of imperialist war. Due to the intensified geopolitical contradictions of capitalist globalization, Trotsky’s strategies appear to be even more relevant today than in 1914.

Imperialism - Lenin - Peace Program - Trotsky - Revolutionary Defeatism - United States of Europe - World War One - Transitional Programme