Death of Trotsky

How did Trotsky really die? All I know for certain is that Trotsky bought it in Mexico in 1940. I’ve heard he was shot stabbed, killed by ice pick, etc. What was the true way he died?

Trotsky was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1929 and lived in various countries before finally settling in Mexico. There were two attempts made on his life by (presumably) Stalinist agents: a machine gun attack on his house (failed attempt) and then his murder by a spanish communist who killed him with an ax (though I’ve also heard the term “ice pick” employed to describe the weapon used).

Trotsky was stabbed to death, with an icepick, by one of the hired help (strange for a communist, eh?) in his office. This was accomplished by the Cheka, on Stalin’s orders. Trotsky was a favorite whipping boy in Stalinist Russia.

I became curious and did a web search after typing the post above (which I should have done first, mea culpa). This site describes a book titled Trotsky: A Pictorial Biography and mentions that in the book one can see the following photograph:

Or you could just read the post by Trucido. :o

Obviously the title of this thread should have read “Death of Trotsky” not “Death of tTrotsky.” Is it possible for a mod to change that? [note: Gotcha covered. -manhattan]

Thanks for the info everyone.

[Edited by manhattan on 02-20-2001 at 06:49 PM]

It was an icepick to the brain, IIRC.

Not that Trotsky was such a choirboy himself…but OUCH!

Thanks manhattan!

Well, that explains the axe/icepick discrepency. No doubt the author was a European, using the term “alpinist” instead of the American “mountain climber”. Here in the States, an “alpinist’s icepick” is called an “ice axe”; an ice pick is a bartender’s tool for making small ice cubes out of large ones.

Yep icepick to the head. This is after his one son, Sergi, was arrested and sent off to a camp and later killed, and his other son, Leon, was murdered in Paris.

It wasn’t actually a bartender’s icepick, but it was still a fairly pointy thing jabbed into his skull… axe, icepick, iceaxe… an equality of outcome in any case.

There is also a one-act play called ‘Variations on the Death of Trotsky’. Don’t remember who wrote it, but it’s HILARIOUS (there are about 10 or 12 ‘variations’).

Fear Itself, I believe you might have explained why sometimes I’ve seen the weapon described as an ax and sometimes as an icepick. Thank you for helping solve this inconsistency that has puzzled me on more than one occasion.

Ahhhhhh…Variations on the Death of Trotsky, by the illustrious David Ives. I was in it in high school, and it is an absolutely hilarious play.

“A mountain climbers axe? I thought it was an ice pick!”

Although the eventual outcome may have been the same, the wound and the act of hitting Trotsky’s head would be different.

With an “ice pick” as in a bartender’s tool, you would lunge the instrument in a downward stabbing motion using the strength of your arm to cause maximum damage. This motion and point of impact may pierce the skull followed by a deep penetration into the brain.

With an “ice axe” as in an alpinist tool, you may swing your arm, but just before the moment of impact you would flick your wrist to maximize the force of the impact of the instrument against the cranium. I believe such an impact would cause the skull to smash or possible split. If the cranium were to split, it could also peel back depending on the assassins follow through motion, something you couldn’t do with the stabbing motion required for the “ice pick”.

Couple items: the Cheka had become the NKVD long before Trotsky’s assassination. Ramon Mercader (not his real name, IIRC) was not hired help but a personal secretary - I believe at the moment of truth he was helping L.D. revise an article.

“Variations” is indeed hilarious. I saw it in a bookstore and read it - if I hadn’t been broke at the time I woulda bought it.

If his real name was Eugene, that Pink Floyd song would finally make sense.