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8 The Final Theory

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Chapter Summary

Trotsky's The Revolution Betrayed represented the culmination of the development of his thinking on the problem of Soviet bureaucracy, and contained the complete and coherent statement of his later views on the subject. This concluding chapter briefly considers some of the strengths and weaknesses of Trotsky's attempts to apply his final theory to the Moscow Trials and the Great Terror. In terms of both predictive and explanatory power, his analysis of those events was impressive. Remarkably, in statement after statement Trotsky managed to foretell each of the major show trials. However, it should be noted that all of these predictions were based primarily on technical failures he perceived in the preceding frame-ups, rather than on a more general political analysis. Among Western scholars, contributions to the study of the repression of the 1930s have been dominated by two approaches: the analyses of the 'totalitarian school', and those of the 'revisionists'.

Keywords: final theory; Moscow; Soviet bureaucracy; Soviet Union; Stalin; Trotsky



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