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Collection of Leon Trotsky quotes and sayings on communism, bureaucracy, politics, dictatorship, economy, oppression, philosophy, revolution, giving, labor etc.

45 Top Leon Trotsky Quotes You Need To Know

Quick Facts

Famous As: Founder and first leader of the Red Army

Born On: November 7, 1879

Died On: August 21, 1940

Born In: Kherson Oblast

Died At Age: 60

Leon Trotsky was a Soviet politician, theorist and a Marxist revolutionary, who was the founding leader of the Red Army. With onset of the October revolution in 1917, Trotsky was instrumental in the transfer of total political power to the Soviets. He was a part of various political parties such as RSDLP, SDPS, Mezhraiontsy, CPSU and Fourth International. The ideologies of Trotsky paved way for Trotskyism, which was a major school of Marxist thoughts which directly defied the ideas of Stalin. He abandoned the idea of socialism in one country which sparked the requirement of an international “permanent revolution”. Trotsky published various novels during his exile and pre-revolutionary period. His notable works include History of the October Revolution, The Stalinist School of Falsification and Between Imperialism and Revolution. Many of his works were released posthumously such as Trotsky's Diary in Exile and In Defense of Marxism. We have collected Trotsky’s quotes from his writings, articles, books, speeches, interviews etc. Browse through these famous quotes from this prominent Soviet leader.

The end may justify the means as long as there is something that justifies the end.

Leon Trotsky

Everything is relative in this world, where change alone endures.

Leon Trotsky

Life is not an easy matter... You cannot live through it without falling into frustration and cynicism unless you have before you a great idea which raises you above personal misery, above weakness, above all kinds of perfidy and baseness.

Leon Trotsky

Ideas that enter the mind under fire remain there securely and for ever.

Leon Trotsky

Let a man find himself, in distinction from others, on top of two wheels with a chain - at least in a poor country like Russia - and his vanity begins to swell out like his tires. In America it takes an automobile to produce this effect.

Leon Trotsky

Everyone has the right to be stupid on occasion, but Comrade Macdonald abuses the privilege.

Leon Trotsky

There are no absolute rules of conduct, either in peace or war. Everything depends on circumstances.

Leon Trotsky

You may not be interested in strategy, but strategy is interested in you.

Leon Trotsky

Not believing in force is the same as not believing in gravity.

Leon Trotsky

A means can be justified only by its end. But the end in its turn needs to be justified.

Leon Trotsky

Old age is the most unexpected of all things that happen to a man.

Leon Trotsky

Fascism is nothing but capitalist reaction.

Leon Trotsky

The masses go into a revolution not with a prepared plan of social reconstruction, but with a sharp feeling that they cannot endure the old regime. Only the guiding layers of a class have a political program, and even this still requires the test of events and the approval of the masses.

Leon Trotsky

If we had more time for discussion we should probably have made a great many more mistakes.

Leon Trotsky

England is nothing but the last ward of the European madhouse, and quite possibly it will prove to be the ward for particularly violent cases.

Leon Trotsky

The depth and strength of a human character are defined by its moral reserves. People reveal themselves completely only when they are thrown out of the customary conditions of their life, for only then do they have to fall back on their reserves.

Leon Trotsky

Where force is necessary, there it must be applied boldly, decisively and completely. But one must know the limitations of force; one must know when to blend force with a maneuver, a blow with an agreement.

Leon Trotsky

You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.

Leon Trotsky

In a serious struggle there is no worse cruelty than to be magnanimous at an inopportune time.

Leon Trotsky

Insurrection is an art, and like all arts has its own laws.

Leon Trotsky

Tell me anyway--Maybe I can find the truth by comparing the lies.

Leon Trotsky

From being a patriotic myth, the Russian people have become an awful reality.

Leon Trotsky

The historic ascent of humanity, taken as a whole, may be summarized as a succession of victories of consciousness over blind forces - in nature, in society, in man himself.

Leon Trotsky

In a country where the sole employer is the State, opposition means death by slow starvation. The old principle: who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced by a new one: who does not obey shall not eat.

Leon Trotsky

Revolutions are always verbose.

Leon Trotsky

There is a limit to the application of democratic methods. You can inquire of all the passengers as to what type of car they like to ride in, but it is impossible to question them as to whether to apply the brakes when the train is at full speed and accident threatens.

Leon Trotsky

Abusive language and swearing are a legacy of slavery, humiliation, and disrespect for human dignity, one’s own and that of other people.

Leon Trotsky

Learning carries within itself certain dangers because out of necessity one has to learn from one's enemies.

Leon Trotsky

Old age is the most unexpected of all things that can happen to a man.

Leon Trotsky

Our planet is being turned into a filthy and evil-smelling imperialist barrack.

Leon Trotsky

‎The party that leans upon the workers but serves the bourgeoisie, in the period of the greatest sharpening of the class struggle, cannot but sense the smells wafted from the waiting grave.

Leon Trotsky

...capitalism does live by crises and booms, just as a human being lives by inhaling and exhaling.

Leon Trotsky

The dynamic of revolutionary events is directly determined by swift, intense, and passionate changes in the psychology of classes which have already formed themselves before the revolution.

Leon Trotsky

The United States is not only the strongest, but also the most terrified country.

Leon Trotsky

Against my protests a mausoleum was built on the Red Square, a monument unbecoming and offensive to the revolutionary consciousness.

Leon Trotsky

Workers – men and women – of all countries, place yourselves under the banner of the Fourth International. It is the banner of your approaching victory!

Leon Trotsky

Technique is noticed most markedly in the case of those who have not mastered it.

Leon Trotsky

Events can neither be regarded as a series of adventures nor strung on the thread of a preconceived moral. They must obey their own laws.

Leon Trotsky

If one cannot get along without a mirror, even in shaving oneself, how can one reconstruct oneself or one's life, without seeing oneself in the "mirror" of literature?

Leon Trotsky

Fascism is a caricature of Jacobinism.

Leon Trotsky

Let us not forget that revolutions are accomplished through people, although they be nameless. Materialism does not ignore the feeling, thinking, and acting man, but explains him.

Leon Trotsky

Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that can happen to a man.

Leon Trotsky

I was not prepared to play the role of singer in the camp of the warriors

Leon Trotsky

Between his consciousness and events stood always that impenetrable medium — indifference.

Leon Trotsky

It is unquestionably true that the need for art is not created by economic conditions. But neither is the need for food created by economics. On the contrary, the need for food and warmth creates economics.

Leon Trotsky