1930s >> 1937 >> no-400-december-1937

History Embarrasses the Communist Party

The Evening Standard (November 12th, 1937) tells the following entertaining story about the Communist Party’s embarrassment over a written record (which carried Lenin’s endorsement) of Trotsky’s part in the Bolshevist seizure of power. The record in question is “Ten Days that Shook the World,” written by the late John Reed, which the News-Chronicle proposed to serialise: —

This contemporary account of the Bolshevist uprising was written by John Reed, the American Communist, who was a close personal friend of Lenin. When he died in 1921 he left the British copyright in his book to the Communist Party.
When the News-Chronicle approached the copyright owners for permission to serialise the book it was gladly given. The Communists asked no fee, and made only one stipulation—that all reference to Trotsky should be eliminated from the text.
Confronted with this modern version of Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark, the Liberal organ abandoned the project.

The book was filmed by the Russians prior to Trotsky’s downfall, and shows him taking an active part. The Communists still show the film in this country, but their commentator now tells the audience that Trotsky was sabotaging the efforts of the Bolshevists! What is more, one of the commentators, when questioned about this, admitted that he had not read the book and therefore did not know how his instructions falsify the written record.

(from “Notes By the Way”, Socialist Standard, December 1937)