November 20, 2018




Trotsky was assassinated.  On November 20, 1940 Leon Trotsky was assassinated by Ramon Mercader, a Spanish-born NKVD agent, wielding an ice axe. Trotsky died in hospital the following day.  Mercader was almost beaten to death by Trotskys bodyguards, and spent the next 20 years in a Mexican prison.  Apparently, Mercader had acted upon the orders of Stalin, who later awarded him the prestigious Order of Lenin, in absentia.  Trotsky's ideology formed the basis of Trotskyism, a major school of Marxist thought that opposed the theories of Stalinism. Trotsky was written out of the history books under Stalin, and was one of the few Soviet political figures who was not rehabilitated by the government under Nikita Khrushchev in the 1950s.  Trotsky considered himself a "Bolshevik-Leninist", arguing for the establishment of a vanguard party. He considered himself an advocate of orthodox Marxism.

Hungary signed the Tripartite Pact on November 20, 1940. It was a military alliance of Germany, Italy, and Japan. They were joined by Romania on November 23, 1940; Bulgaria on March 1, 1941; and Yugoslavia on March 25, 1941), as well as by the German client state of Slovakia on November 24, 1940. The Tripartite Pact was directed at the United States however its effects were limited, since the Italo-German and Japanese operational theatres were on opposite sides of the world and the high contracting powers had disparate strategic interests.  An excerpt of the Pact reads as follows:  "The Governments of Japan, Germany, and Italy consider it as the condition precedent of any lasting peace that all nations in the world be given each its own proper place, have decided to stand by and co-operate with one another in their efforts in Greater East Asia and the regions of Europe respectively wherein it is their prime purpose to establish and maintain a new order of things, calculated to promote the mutual prosperity and welfare of the peoples concerned. It is, furthermore, the desire of the three Governments to extend cooperation to nations in other spheres of the world that are inclined to direct their efforts along lines similar to their own for the purpose of realizing their ultimate object, world peace......."


"The Greatest Trial in History" was the comment spoken by Norman Birkett, who was one of the British judges who presided over the Nuremberg trials after World War Two.  They were a series of military tribunals conducted by the Allied forces under international law in which prominent Nazi German leaders were prosecuted for having participated in the Holocaust, and other war crimes.  The trials were held in Nuremberg, Germany from November 20, 1945 to October 1, 1946, and tried 24 of the most important military and political leaders of the Third Reich.  Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Wilhelm Burgdorf, Hans Krebs and Joseph Goebbels had committed suicide in the spring of 1945 to avoid capture, however, Himmler was captured before his suicide. Krebs and Burgdorf committed suicide two days after Hitler in the same place.   Reinhard Heydrich had been assassinated by Czech partisans in 1942. Josef Terboven killed himself with dynamite in Norway in 1945. Adolf Eichmann fled to Argentina, but was captured by Mossad, the Israel's intelligence service; he was hanged in 1962. Hermann Göring was sentenced to death but committed suicide the night before his execution as a perceived act of defiance against his captors. Miklós Horthy appeared as a witness at the Ministries trial held in Nuremberg in 1948. The Nuremberg indictment used the word "genocide" for the first time in international law, "the extermination of racial and national groups, against the civilian populations of certain occupied territories in order to destroy particular races and classes of people and national, racial, or religious groups, particularly Jews, Poles, and Gypsies and others."

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