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Leon Trotsky, the man without a country

This sequence of slides was put together by Henry Sara in 1934 1, using images from newspapers, magazines and other publications. The 1930s saw the height of the Stalinist 'purges' (killing and imprisonment) of real or suspected followers of Trotsky in the Soviet Union. Outside the Soviet Union, supporters of Trotsky were expelled from the official Communist Party and formed separate 'Left Opposition' parties. This talk formed part of Sara's defence of Trotsky against Stalinist accusations that the former leading Bolshevik was a traitor and terrorist. Trotsky was killed whilst in exile in Mexico in 1940 by an undercover agent of the NKVD, the Soviet 'People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs'.

A short report on Sara's delivery of this lecture at the Weavers' Institute, Padiham, is included in the Burnley Express of 5 December 1934: "There was a crowded audience in the Institute last Sunday evening, when Mr. Henry Sara, of London, spoke on "Leon Trotsky, the Man without a Country." Trotsky, he said, was a man who had sought refuge in many countries of the world, and he had been expelled from the Russian Soviet because he could not be trusted. Many were the troubles and disputes between Trotsky and Stalin and Lenin. The lecture was illustrated by a number of interesting slides." As Sara had been expelled from the Communist Party in 1932 for his support of the Trotskyist faction, it is possible that the idea that Trotsky was a man who "could not be trusted" was a reflection of the views of the writer of the report (and official Communist Party policy), rather than the actual contents of the lecture.

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[Document reference for this set of slides: MSS.15B/5/1/9]

1: A copy letter from Sara to Martin Abern, 7 July 1934, includes the comment that "Later on in the year I hope to get together a set of slides on L.T. and his work and do a little propaganda where possible" [document reference: MSS.15D/3/1/5]. A press cutting advertising lantern lectures at Padiham Weavers' Association includes reference to a talk by Henry Sara on 'Leon Trotsky, the man without a country' scheduled for 2 December 1934 [document reference: MSS.15B/4/7].