TODAY IN HISTORY: The Assassination of Leon Trotsky (Aug. 20, 1940)

TODAY IN HISTORY: The Assassination of Leon Trotsky (Aug. 20, 1940)

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Posted January 1, 1970

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Leon Trotsky was a Russian revolutionary and Marxist theorist and one of the key leaders of the Russian October Revolution. In the Communist Party, Trotsky was second in stature only to Lenin. His opposition to the rise of Joseph Stalin, however, earned him powerful enemies. Trotsky was cast out of the Communist party and deported from Russia.

On this day in 1940, Ramón Mercader, an assassin in the employ of Russian agencies, hit Trotsky in the head with an ice axe in Mexico City where Trotsky lived in exile. Mercader was convicted of murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Upon his release, he moved to the Soviet Union and was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union Medal.

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