Trotsky, Russian Revolutionary, Makes Debut Performance Before Microphone (1932)

Many moons ago, we fea­tured a speech by Leon Trot­sky giv­en in his Mex­i­can exile in 1937. Turns out record­ings of his tele­vi­sion address­es go back even fur­ther. The short clip above was record­ed in Den­mark in 1932 and is titled “Trotzky makes debut per­for­mance before micro­phone”. (A lit­tle aside: The clip was pro­duced by Fox Movi­etone News, a news­reel that ran in the U.S. from 1928 to 1963. Would Fox still show some­thing like this today?) In Novem­ber 1932, Trot­sky left his exile in Turkey to accept an invi­ta­tion by the Dan­ish Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Stu­dents’ Asso­ci­a­tion to come to Copen­hagen and speak about the Russ­ian Rev­o­lu­tion. You can read the text of the speech called “In Defence of Octo­ber” held on Novem­ber 27 here. There are also two impres­sive pho­tos secret­ly tak­en by a pho­to­jour­nal­ist. There was a lot of com­mo­tion sur­round­ing Trot­sky’s trip to Den­mark: the Dan­ish Com­mu­nist Par­ty, con­trolled by Stal­in, staged demon­stra­tions and the Roy­al Fam­i­ly protest­ed against his vis­it — they held Trot­sky respon­si­ble for the vio­lent deaths of their rel­a­tives, the Tsar and his fam­i­ly. Nev­er­the­less, Trot­sky deliv­ered his speech before an audi­ence of about 2,500. The video address was record­ed in Eng­lish two weeks lat­er, on Decem­ber 10, 1932.

To see oth­er famous lead­ers mak­ing their debut per­for­mances, check out Mahat­ma Gand­hi in his First Record­ed Video and Nel­son Mandela’s First-Ever Inter­view.

By pro­fes­sion, Matthias Rasch­er teach­es Eng­lish and His­to­ry at a High School in north­ern Bavaria, Ger­many. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twit­ter.


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