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.