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Microform Collection: Military Papers of Leon Trotsky

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Military Papers of Leon Trotsky, Russian State Military Archive (RGVA)

Trotsky inspects Red Army, 1921

Trotsky inspects the Red Army at a parade honoring the Third Congress of the Comintern, 1921.
From Volkogonov, Dmitri. Trotsky: the eternal revolutionary.
Translated and edited by Harold Shukman. New York, The Free Press, 1996. Page facing p. 189.

Presiding over the Military Department and its collegial body from 1918 until January 1925, Leon Trotsky, while not being a military person himself, was in fact a political chief of the Red Army. That fact makes the documents accumulated during the time of his military leadership and presented here for the first time, orders, telegrams, letters, articles, and speeches -- so rich in military and political significance.

As characterized by these documents, Trotsky appears to be, above all, a politician -- one of the leaders of the Revolution, a propagandist and a gifted administrator, who managed to transform guerrilla-type fighters into the orderly Red Army. The full archive of Trotsky's correspondence is voluminous and diverse. The following complete collections of materials are included:

  • The Orders of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic for 1918-1920
  • The Orders of the Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council for 1918-1920
  • Records of speeches, articles, brochures, and pamphlets by Trotsky
  • Trotsky's day-to-day correspondence
  • Materials related to Trotsky's activities on the train
  • Private letters to Trotsky
  • Trotsky's reports and information papers

Yale's Library possesses all 71 reels of the microfilm collection of the Military Papers of Leon Trotsky, 1918-1925. Scholars can consult these sources in the Microtext Reading Room, which is in the basement of Sterling Memorial Library. A published guide to the collections is available in the Microtext Reading Room under the call number Z2519 +M55 1999 (LC).

Sterling Library's hours of operation
LOCATION: SML, Microform (Non-Circulating)
CALL NUMBER: Film B18262