In 1922 so great was the appreciation among the military of Trotsky's
personal attitude and system that he might well have been made
Dictator of Russia by the armed forces, but for one fatal obstacle.
He was a Jew. He was still a Jew. Nothing could get over that.
Hard fortune when you have deserted your family, repudiated your race,
spat upon the religion of your father, and lapped Jew and Gentile
in a common malignity, to be baulked of so great a prize for
so narrow-minded a reason! Such intolerance, such pettiness,
such bigotry were indeed hard to bear. And this disaster carried in its
train a greater. In the wake of disappointment loomed catastrophe.
For meanwhile the comrades had not been idle. They too had
heard the talk of the officers. They too saw the possibilites of
a Red Army reconstituted from its old elements. While Lenin lived
the danger seemed remote. Lenin indeed regarded Trotsky as his
political heir. He sought to protect him. But in 1924 Lenin
died; and Trotsky, still busy with his army, still enjoying the
day-to-day work of administering his department, still hailed
with the acclamations which had last resounded for Nicholas II,
turned to find a hard and toughly-wrought opposition organized
Stalin, the Georgian, was a kind of General Secretary
to the government instrument. He managed the caucus and
manipulated the innumerable committees. He gathered the wires
together with patience and pulled them in accordance with
a clearly-perceived design. When Trotsky advanced hopefully,
confidently indeed, to accept succession to Lenin, the party
machine was found to be working in a different direction.
(Great Contemporaries, New York: Putnam, 1937, pp. 171-172)
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