Timeline of World History TIMELINE OF WORLD HISTORY
 
 

TIMELINE OF WORLD HISTORY
 

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1800 - 1899
 
 
1800-09 1810-19 1820-29 1830-39 1840-49 1850-59 1860-69 1870-79 1880-89 1890-99
1800 1810 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890
1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891
1802 1812 1822 1832 1842 1852 1862 1872 1882 1892
1803 1813 1823 1833 1843 1853 1863 1873 1883 1893
1804 1814 1824 1834 1844 1854 1864 1874 1884 1894
1805 1815 1825 1835 1845 1855 1865 1875 1885 1895
1806 1816 1826 1836 1846 1856 1866 1876 1886 1896
1807 1817 1827 1837 1847 1857 1867 1877 1887 1897
1808 1818 1828 1838 1848 1858 1868 1878 1888 1898
1809 1819 1829 1839 1849 1859 1869 1879 1889 1899
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
CONTENTS
  BACK-1878 Part IV NEXT-1879 Part II    
 
 
     
An Unfortunate Experiment
1870 - 1879
YEAR BY YEAR:
1870-1879
History at a Glance
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1870 Part I
Alfonso XII
Leopold of Hohenzollern
"Ems Telegram"
Franco-Prussian War
BATTLE OF SEDAN
Lenin Vladimir
Vladimir Lenin
Smuts Jan
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1870 Part II
Adler Alfred
Keble College
Papal infallibility
Ludwig Anzengruber: "Der Pfarrer von Kirchfeld"
Bunin Ivan
Disraeli: "Lothair"
Kuprin Aleksandr
Ivan Goncharov: "The Precipice"
Jules Verne: "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea"
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1870 Part III
Barlach Ernst
Ernst Barlach
Corot: "La perle"
Dante Gabriel Rossetti: "Beata Beatrix"
Borisov-Musatov Victor
Victor Borisov-Musatov
Benois Alexandre
Alexandre Benois
Denis Maurice
Maurice Denis
Soldiers and Exiles
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Delibes: "Coppelia"
Tchaikovsky: "Romeo and Juliet"
Wagner: "Die Walkure"
Lehar Franz
Franz Lehar - Medley
Franz Lehar
Balfe Michael
Michael Balfe - "The Bohemian Girl"
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1870 Part IV
Biogenesis
Przhevalsky Nikolai
Peaks and Plateaus
Johnson Allen
Gloucestershire County Cricket Club
Luxemburg Rosa
Standard Oil Company
Lauder Harry
Lloyd Marie
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1871 Part I
Siege of Paris
Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Frankfurt
Paris Commune
Treaty of Washington
Law of Guarantees
British North America Act, 1871
"Kulturkampf"
Ebert Friedrich
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1871 Part II
Old Catholics
Charles Darwin: "The Descent of Man"
Jehovah's Witnesses
Russell Charles Taze
John Ruskin: "Fors Clavigera"
Lewis Carroll: "Through the Looking Glass"
Crane Stephen
Dreiser Theodore
George Eliot: "Middlemarch"
Mann Heinrich
Morgenstern Christian
Ostrovsky: "The Forest"
Proust Marcel
Valery Paul
Zola: "Les Rougon-Macquart"
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1871 Part III
Gabriele Rossetti: "The Dream of Dante"
White Clarence
History of photography
Clarence White
Rouault Georges
Georges Rouault
Feininger Lyonel
Lyonel Feininger
Balla Giacomo
Giacomo Balla
Sloan John
John Sloan
The 'Terror'of the Commune
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Royal Albert Hall
"The Internationale"
Verdi: "Aida"
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1871 Part IV
Schweinfurth Georg August
Quotations by Georg August Schweinfurth
Stanley Henry
Henry Morton Stanley
Further Exploration of the Nile
Heinrich Schliemann begins to excavate Troy
Ingersoll Simon
Rutherford Ernest
The Industrialization of War
The Industrialization of War
Bank Holiday
Great Chicago Fire
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1872 Part I
Third Carlist War
Carlist Wars
Burgers Thomas Francois
Ballot Act 1872
Amnesty Act of 1872
Blum Leon
Coolidge Calvin
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1872 Part II
Russell Bertrand
Klages Ludwig
Beerbohm Max
Samuel Butler: "Erewhon, or Over the Range"
Alphonse Daudet: "Aventures prodigieuses de Tartarin de Tarascon"
Alphonse Daudet
"Tartarin de Tarascon"
Diaghilev Sergei
Duse Eleonora
Thomas Hardy: "Under the Greenwood Tree"
Turgenev: "A Month in the Country"
Jules Verne: "Around the World in 80 Days"
Lever Charles
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1872 Part III
Bocklin: "Self-Portrait with Death"
Whistler: "The Artist's Mother"
Mondrian Piet
Piet Mondrian
Beardsley Aubrey
Aubrey Beardsley
The Rise of Durand-Ruel
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Scriabin Alexander
Scriabin - Etudes
Alexander Scriabin
Williams Vaughan
Williams - Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
Vaughan Williams
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1872 Part IV
Bleriot Louis
Tide-predicting machine
Westinghouse George
Elias Ney
Hague Congress
Scotland v England (1872)
Scott Charles Prestwich
Nansen Ski Club
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1873 Part I
First Spanish Republic
Mac-Mahon Patrice
Financial Panic of 1873
League of the Three Emperors
Bengal famine of 1873–1874
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1873 Part II
Moore G. E.
Barbusse Henri
Ford Madox Ford
Maurier Gerald
Reinhardt Max
Rimbaud: "Une Saison en enfer"
Tolstoi: "Anna Karenina"
Bryusov Valery
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1873 Part III
Cezanne: "A Modern Olympia"
Gulbransson Olaf
Manet: "Le bon Bock"
Gathering of the Future Impressionists
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Bruckner: Symphony No. 2
Carl Rosa Opera Company
Caruso Enrico
Enrico Caruso - Pagliacci No!
The greatest opera singers
Enrico Caruso
Chaliapin Feodor
Feodor Chaliapin - "Black Eyes"
The greatest opera singers
Feodor Chaliapin
Reger Max
Max Reger - Piano Concerto in F-minor
Max Reger
Rachmaninoff Sergei
Rachmaninoff plays Piano Concerto 2
Sergei Rachmaninov
Rimsky-Korsakov: "The Maid of Pskov"
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 2
Slezak Leo
Leo Slezak "Wenn ich vergnugt bin" 
The greatest opera singers
Leo Slezak
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1873 Part IV
James Clerk Maxwell: "Electricity and Magnetism"
Euler-Chelpin Hans
Frobenius Leo
Payer Julius
Weyprecht Karl
Franz Josef Land
Cameron Verney Lovett
E. Remington and Sons
Remington Eliphalet
Hansen Gerhard Armauer
World Exposition 1873 Vienna
Wingfield Walter Clopton
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1874 Part I
Anglo-Ashanti Wars (1823-1900)
Brooks–Baxter War
Swiss constitutional referendum, 1874
Colony of Fiji
Hoover Herbert
Weizmann Chaim
Churchill Winston
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1874 Part II
Berdyaev Nikolai
Cassirer Ernst
Chesterton Gilbert
G.K. Chesterton quotes
G.K. Chesterton 
Flaubert: "La Tentation de Saint Antoine"
Frost Robert
Robert Frost
"Poems"
Thomas Hardy: "Far from the Madding Crowd"
Hofmannsthal Hugo
Hugo von Hofmannsthal
"Poems"
Victor Hugo: "Ninety-Three"
Maugham Somerset
Stein Gertrude
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1874 Part III
Roerich Nicholas
Nicholas Roerich
Max Liebermann: "Market Scene"
Renoir: "La Loge"
The Birth of Impressionism
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Schmidt Franz
Franz Schmidt "Intermezzo" Notre Dame
Franz Schmidt
Schoenberg Arnold
Schoenberg: Verklarte Nacht
Arnold Schoenberg
Holst Gustav
Gustav Holst - Venus
Gustav Holst
Ives Charles
Charles Ives - Symphony 3
Charles Ives
Moussorgsky "Boris Godunov"
Johann Strauss II: "Die Fledermaus"
Verdi: "Requiem"
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1874 Part IV
Bosch Carl
Marconi Guglielmo
Curtius Ernst
Shackleton Ernest
Stanley: Expedition to the Congo and Nile
Still Andrew Taylor
Bunker Chang and Eng
Universal Postal Union
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
Gerry Elbridge Thomas
Outerbridge Mary Ewing
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1875 Part I
Guangxu Emperor
Herzegovina Uprising of 1875–77
Public Health Act 1875
Congregations Law of 1875
Theosophical Society
Jung Carl
Congregations Law of 1875
Buchan John
Deledda Grazia
Mann Thomas
Rejane Gabrielle
Rilke Rainer Maria
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1875 Part II
Bouguereau William-Adolphe
William-Adolphe Bouguereau
Monet: "Woman with a Parasol"
An Unfortunate Experiment
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Bizet: "Carmen"
Brull Ignaz
Ignaz Brull - Das goldene Kreuz
Coleridge-Taylor Samuel
Coleridge Taylor Samuel - Violin Concerto
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Karl Goldmark: "Die Konigin von Saba"
Ravel Maurice
Ravel - Rapsodie espagnole
Maurice Ravel
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No.1
Boisbaudran Lecoq
Gallium
Schweitzer Albert
Webb Matthew
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1876 Part I
Japan–Korea Treaty of 1876
Ethio-Egyptian War
April Uprising
Batak massacre
Murad V
Abdulhamid II
Serbian–Ottoman War (1876–78)
Montenegrin–Ottoman War (1876–78)
Colorado
Tilden Samuel Jones
Hayes Rutherford Birchard
Ottoman constitution of 1876
Groselle Hilarion Daza
Adenauer Konrad
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1876 Part II
Bradley Francis Herbert
Trevelyan George Macaulay
Pius XII
Felix Dahn: "Ein Kampf um Rom"
London Jack
Mallarme: "L'Apres-Midi d'un faune"
Mark Twain: "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer"
Modersohn-Becker Paula
Paula Modersohn-Becker
Renoir: "Le Moulin de la Galette"
THE SECOND IMPRESSIONIST EXHIBITION
Impressionism Timeline
(1863-1899)
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1876 Part III
Brahms: Symphony No. 1
Casals Pablo
Leo Delibes: "Sylvia"
Falla Manuel
Manuel de Falla - Spanish dance
Manuel de Falla
Ponchielli: "La Gioconda"
Wagner: "Siegfried"
Walter Bruno
Wolf-Ferrari Ermanno
Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari - "Intermezzo"
Alexander Bell invents the telephone
Johns Hopkins University
Hopkins Johns
Bacillus anthracis
Macleod John James Rickard
Brockway Zebulon Reed
Centennial International Exhibition of 1876
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1877 Part I
Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78
Siege of Plevna
Satsuma Rebellion
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1877 Part II
Granville-Barker Harley
Hesse Hermann
Hermann Hesse
"Siddhartha"
Ibsen: "The Pillars of Society"
Henry James: "The American"
Zola: "L'Assommoir"
Praxiteles: "Hermes"
Dufy Raoul
Raoul Dufy
Winslow Homer: "The Cotton Pickers"
Kubin Alfred
Alfred Kubin
Manet: "Nana"
THE THIRD IMPRESSIONIST EXHIBITION
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1877 Part III
Brahms: Symphony No. 2
Dohnanyi Ernst
Erno Dohnanyi - Piano Concerto No. 1
Camille Saint-Saens: "Samson et Delila"
Tchaikovsky: "Francesca da Rimini"
Ruffo Titta
Titta Ruffo: Di Provenza
Aston Francis William
Barkla Charles
Cailletet Louis-Paul
Pictet Raoul-Pierre
Liquid oxygen
Schiaparelli observes Mars' canals
Martian canal
German patent law
Madras famine of 1877
Maginot Andre
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1878 Part I
Umberto I
Ten Years War 1868-1878
Battle of Shipka Pass
Jingoism
Epirus Revolt of 1878
Treaty of San Stefano
Treaty of Berlin 1878
Anti-Socialist Laws
Italian irredentism
Stresemann Gustav
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1878 Part II
Buber Martin
Leo XIII
Romanes George John
Treitschke Heinrich
Stoecker Adolf
Christian Social Party
Thomas Hardy: "The Return of the Native"
Kaiser Georg
Masefield John
Sandburg Carl
Sinclair Upton
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1878 Part III
Malevich Kazimir
Kazimir Malevich
Kustodiev Boris
Boris Kustodiev
Petrov-Vodkin Kuzma
Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin
Multiple Disappointments
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Ambros August Wilhelm
Boughton Rutland
Boughton: The Queen of Cornwall
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1878 Part IV
Mannlicher Ferdinand Ritter
Pope Albert Augustus
Watson John
Blunt and Lady Anne traveled in Arabia
Blunt Anne
Benz Karl
New Scotland Yard
Deutscher Fussballverein, Hanover
Paris World Exhibition 1878
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1879 Part I
Anglo-Zulu War
Alexander of Battenberg
Second Anglo–Afghan War (1878-1880)
Treaty of Gandamak
Tewfik Pasha
Alsace-Lorraine
Stalin Joseph
Joseph Stalin
Trotsky Leon
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1879 Part II
Beveridge William
Henry George: "Progress and Poverty"
Giffen Robert
Forster Edward Morgan
Ibsen: "A Doll's House"
Henry James: "Daisy Miller"
Meredith: "The Egoist"
Stevenson: "Travels with a Donkey"
Strindberg: "The Red Room"
Valera Juan
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1879 Part III
Picabia Francis
Francis Picabia
Steichen Edward Jean
Edward Steichen
Cameron Julia Margaret
Cameron Julia
Klee Paul
Paul Klee
Renoir: "Mme. Charpentier"
THE FOURTH IMPRESSIONIST EXHIRITION
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Suppe: "Boccaccio"
Tchaikovsky: "Eugene Onegin"
Respighi Ottorino
Respighi - Three Botticelli Pictures
Ottorino Respighi
Bridge Frank
Frank Bridge - The Sea
Einstein Albert
Albert Einstein
Aitken Maxwell
 
 
 

Death of the Prince impérial during the Anglo-Zulu War
 
 
 
 
 HISTORY, RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY, ART, LITERATURE, MUSIC, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, DAILY LIFE
 
 
 
 
YEAR BY YEAR:  1800 - 1899
 
 
 
1879 Part I
 
 
 
1879
 
 
Anglo-Zulu War
 

The Anglo-Zulu War was fought in 1879 between the British Empire and the Zulu Kingdom. Following Lord Carnarvon's successful introduction of federation in Canada, it was thought that similar political effort, coupled with military campaigns, might succeed with the African kingdoms, tribal areas and Boer republics in South Africa. In 1874, Sir Henry Bartle Frere was sent to South Africa as High Commissioner for the British Empire to bring such plans into being. Among the obstacles were the presence of the independent states of the South African Republic and the Kingdom of Zululand and its army.

 
Frere, on his own initiative, without the approval of the British government[7][8] and with the intent of instigating a war with the Zulu, had presented an ultimatum on 11 December 1878, to the Zulu king Cetshwayo with which the Zulu king could not comply. Bartle Frere then sent Lord Chelmsford to invade Zululand after this ultimatum was not met. The war is notable for several particularly bloody battles, including a stunning opening victory by the Zulu at the Battle of Isandlwana, as well as for being a landmark in the timeline of imperialism in the region. The war eventually resulted in a British victory and the end of the Zulu nation's independence.
 
 
Background
British Empire

By the 1870s the British Empire had colonies in southern Africa bordering on various Boer settlements, native African kingdoms such as the Zulus, and numerous indigenous tribal areas and states. Various interactions with these followed an expansionist policy. Cape Colony had been formed after the Anglo–Dutch Treaty of 1814 permanently ceded the Dutch colony of Cape Town to Britain, and its territory expanded very substantially through the 1800s. The Colony of Natal was a British colony in south-eastern Africa that had been proclaimed a British colony on 4 May 1843 after the British government had annexed the Boer Republic of Natalia. Matters were brought to a head when three sons and a brother of the Zulu chief Sirayo organized a raid into Natal and carried off two women who were under British protection.

The discovery of diamonds in 1867 near the Vaal River, some 550 miles (890 km) northeast of Cape Town, ended the isolation of the Boers in the interior and changed South African history. The discovery triggered a diamond rush that attracted people from all over the world, which turned Kimberley into a town of 50,000 within five years and drew the attention of British imperial interests. In the 1870s, the British annexed West Griqualand, site of the Kimberley diamond discoveries.

In 1874 Lord Carnarvon, Secretary of State for the Colonies, who had successfully brought about federation in Canada in 1867, thought that a similar scheme might work in South Africa. The South African plan called for a ruling white minority over a subjugated black majority, which would provide a large pool of cheap labor for the British sugar plantations and mines.

 
Bartle Frere
 
 
Carnarvon, in an attempt to extend British influence in 1875, approached the Boer states of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal Republic and tried to organize a federation of the British and Boer territories, but the Boer leaders turned him down.

In 1877, Sir Bartle Frere was made High Commissioner for Southern Africa by Lord Carnarvon. Carnarvon appointed Frere to the position on the understanding that he would work to enforce Carnarvon's confederation plan and, in return, Frere could then become the first British governor of a federated southern African dominion. Frere was sent to South Africa as High Commissioner to bring it about. One of the obstacles to such a scheme was the presence of the independent states of the South African Republic, informally known as the Transvaal Republic, and the Kingdom of Zululand. Bartle Frere wasted no time in putting the scheme forward and manufacturing a casus belli against the Zulu by exaggerating the significance of a number of recent incidents.

By 1877, Sir Theophilus Shepstone, the British Secretary for Native Affairs in Natal, annexed the Transvaal Republic for Britain using a special warrant. The Transvaal Boers objected but as long as the Zulu threat remained, found themselves between two threats; they feared that if they took up arms to resist the British annexation actively, King Cetshwayo and the Zulus would take the opportunity to attack. The successive British annexations, and in particular the annexation of West Griqualand, however caused a climate of simmering unease for the Boer republics.

 
 
Shepstone, in his capacity as British governor of Natal, had expressed concerns about the Zulu army under King Cetshwayo and the potential threat to Natal — especially given the adoption by some of the Zulus of old muskets and other out of date firearms. In his new role of Administrator of the Transvaal, he was now responsible for protecting the Transvaal and had direct involvement in the Zulu border dispute from the side of the Transvaal.

Persistent Boer representations and Paul Kruger's diplomatic manoeuvrings added to the pressure. There were incidents involving Zulu paramilitary actions on either side of the Transvaal/Natal border, and Shepstone increasingly began to regard King Cetshwayo, as having permitted such "outrages," and to be in a "defiant mood." King Cetshwayo now found no defender in Natal save Bishop John William Colenso.

Colenso advocated for native Africans in Natal and Zululand who had been unjustly treated by the colonial regime in Natal. In 1874 he took up the cause of Langalibalele and the Hlubi and Ngwe tribes in representations to the Colonial Secretary, Lord Carnarvon. Langalibalele had been falsely accused of rebellion in 1873 and, following a charade of a trial, was found guilty and imprisoned on Robben Island.

 
Photograph of Cetshwayo kaMpande, c. 1875
 
 
In taking the side of Langalibalele against the Colonial regime in Natal and Theophilus Shepstone, the Secretary for Native Affairs, Colenso found himself even further estranged from colonial society in Natal.

Bishop Colenso's concern about the misleading information that was being provided to the Colonial Secretary in London by Shepstone and the Governor of Natal prompted him to champion the cause of the Zulus against Boer oppression and official encroachments. He was a prominent critic of Sir Bartle Frere's efforts to depict the Zulu kingdom as a threat to Natal. Colenso's campaigns revealed the dark, racist foundation underpinning the colonial regime in Natal and made him enemies among the colonists.

British Prime Minister Disraeli's Tory administration in London did not want a war with the Zulus. "The fact is," wrote Sir Michael Hicks Beach, who would replace Carnarvon as Secretary of State for the Colonies, in November 1878, "that matters in Eastern Europe and India ... wore so serious an aspect that we cannot have a Zulu war in addition to other greater and too possible troubles." However, Sir Bartle Frere had already been into the Cape Colony as governor and high commissioner since 1877 with the brief of creating a Confederation of South Africa from the various British colonies, Boer Republics and native states and his plans were well advanced. He had concluded that the powerful Zulu kingdom stood in the way of this, and so was receptive to Shepstone's arguments that King Cetshwayo and his Zulu army posed a threat to the peace of the region. Preparations for a British invasion of the Zulu kingdom had been underway for months. In December 1878, notwithstanding the reluctance of the British government to start yet another colonial war, Frere presented Cetshwayo with an ultimatum that the Zulu army be disbanded and the Zulus accept a British resident. This was unacceptable to the Zulus as it effectively meant that Cetshwayo, had he agreed, would have lost his throne.

 
 

King Mpande
 
 
Zulu Kingdom
Shaka Zulu, the first Zulu king, had, through war and conquest, built the small Zulu tribe into the Zulu Kingdom which by 1825 encompassed an area of around 11,500 square miles (30,000 km2). In 1828 he was assassinated at Dukuza by one of his inDunas and two of his half-brothers, one of whom, Dingane kaSenzangakhona, succeeded him as king. By the 1830s migrating Boers came into conflict with the Zulu Kingdom, then ruled by Dingane. Dingane suffered a crushing defeat on 16 December 1838, when he attacked a group of 470 Voortrekker settlers led by Pretorius at the Battle of Blood River. Dingane's half brother, Mpande kaSenzangakhona, then defected with some 17,000 followers and allied with the Boers against Dingane. Dingane was assassinated and Mpande became king of the Zulu empire.

In 1839, the Boer Voortrekkers, under Pretorius, formed the Boer Republic of Natalia, south of the Tugela, and west of the British settlement of Port Natal (now Durban). Mpande and Pretorius maintained peaceful relations. However, in 1842, war broke out between the British and the Boers, resulting in the British annexation of Natalia. Mpande shifted his allegiance to the British, and remained on good terms with them.

In 1843, Mpande ordered a purge of perceived dissidents within his kingdom. This resulted in numerous deaths, and the fleeing of thousands of refugees into neighbouring areas, including the British-controlled Natal. Many of these refugees fled with cattle, the main measure of the Zulu wealth. Mpande began raiding the surrounding areas, culminating in the invasion of Swaziland in 1852. However, the British pressured him into withdrawing, which he did shortly. At this time, a battle for the succession broke out between two of Mpande's sons, Cetshwayo and Mbuyazi. This culminated in 1856 with the Battle of Ndondakusuka, which left Mbuyazi dead. Cetshwayo then set about usurping his father's authority. When Mpande died of old age in 1872, Cetshwayo took over as ruler.

In 1861, Umtonga, a brother of Cetshwayo, and another son of Zulu king Mpande, fled to the Utrecht district, and Cetshwayo assembled an army on that frontier. According to claims later brought forward by the Boers, Cetshwayo offered the farmers a strip of land along the border if they would surrender his brother. The Boers complied on the condition that Umtonga's life was spared, and in 1861 Mpande signed a deed transferring this land to the Boers. The south boundary of the land added to Utrecht ran from Rorke's Drift on the Buffalo to a point on the Pongola River.

 
 

Zulu village, c. 1849
 
 
The boundary was beaconed in 1864, but when in 1865 Umtonga fled from Zululand to Natal, Cetshwayo, seeing that he had lost his part of the bargain (for he feared that Umtonga might be used to supplant him, as Mpande had been used to supplant Dingane), caused the beacon to be removed, and also claimed the land ceded by the Swazis to Lydenburg. The Zulus asserted that the Swazis were their vassals and therefore had no right to part with this territory. During the year a Boer commando under Paul Kruger and an army under Cetshwayo were posted to defend the newly acquired Utrecht border. The Zulu forces took back their land north of the Pongola. Questions were also raised as to the validity of the documents signed by the Zulus concerning the Utrecht strip; in 1869 the services of the lieutenant-governor of Natal, then Robert William Keate, were accepted by both parties as arbitrator, but the attempt then made to settle disagreements proved unsuccessful.

Cetshwayo permitted European missionaries in Zululand. However, the activities of the missionaries were unwelcome to Cetshwayo. Though he did not harm or persecute the missionaries themselves, several converts were killed. The missionaries, for their part, were a source of hostile reports. While numerous Zulus of rival factions fled into Natal and some of the surrounding areas, Cetshwayo continued and maintained the peaceful relations with the Natal colonists that had prevailed for decades. Such was the political background when Cetshwayo became absolute ruler of the Zulus upon his father's death in 1873.

As ruler, Cetshwayo set about reviving the military methods of his uncle Shaka as far as possible. He formed new age-set regiments and even succeeded in equipping his regiments with a few antiquated muskets and other outdated firearms. Most Zulu warriors were armed with an iklwa (the Zulu refinement of the assegai thrusting spear) and a shield made of cowhide. The Zulu army drilled in the personal and tactical use and coordination of this weapons system. While some Zulus also had firearms, their marksmanship training was poor and the quality and supply of powder and shot dreadful. The Zulu attitude towards firearms was that: "The generality of Zulu warriors, however, would not have firearms – the arms of a coward, as they said, for they enable the poltroon to kill the brave without awaiting his attack."

 
 
Boundary commission and ultimatum
The tension between Cetshwayo and the Transvaal over border disputes continued. Sir Theophilus Shepstone, whom Cetshwayo regarded as his friend, had supported him in the border dispute, but in 1877 he led a small force into the Transvaal and persuaded the Boers to give up their independence.

Shepstone became administrator of the Transvaal, and in that role saw the border dispute from the other side. Shepstone claimed to have evidence supporting the Boer position but, ultimately, he failed to provide any. In a meeting with Zulu notables at Blood River in October 1877, Shepstone attempted to placate the Zulu with paternal speeches, however they were unconvinced and accused Shepstone of betraying them. Shepstone's subsequent reports to Carnarvon then began to paint the Zulu as an aggressive threat where he had previously presented Cetshwayo in a most favourable light.

In February 1878 a commission was appointed by Henry Bulwer, the lieutenant-governor of Natal since 1875, to report on the boundary question.

The commission reported in July and found almost entirely in favour of the contention of the Zulu.
 
Hicks Beach
 
 
However, Sir Henry Bartle Frere, then high commissioner and still pressing forward with Carnarvon's federation plan, characterized the award as "one-sided and unfair to the Boers," stipulated that on the land being given to the Zulu, the Boers living on it should be compensated if they left or protected if they remained.

In addition, Frere planned to use the meeting on the boundary commission report with the Zulu representatives to also present a surprise ultimatum he had devised that would allow British forces under Lord Chelmsford, which he had previously been instructed to use only in defense against a Zulu invasion of Natal, to instead invade Zululand. Three incidents occurred in late July, August and September which Frere seized upon as his casus belli and were the basis for the ultimatum to which Frere knew Cetshwayo could not comply, giving Frere a pretext to attack the Zulu kingdom.

The first two incidents related to the flight into Natal of two wives of Sihayo kaXonga and their subsequent seizure and execution by his brother and sons and were described thus:

"A wife of the chief Sihayo had left him and escaped into Natal. She was followed [on 28 July 1878] by a party of Zulus, under Mehlokazulu, the chief son of Sihayo, and his brother, seized at the kraal where she had taken refuge, and carried back to Zululand, where she was put to death, in accordance with Zulu law...
"A week later the same young men, with two other brothers and an uncle, captured in like manner another refugee wife of Sihayo, in the company of the young man with whom she had fled. This woman was also carried back, and is supposed to have been put to death likewise; the young man with her although guilty in Zulu eyes of a most heinous crime, punishable with death, was safe from them on English soil; they did not touch him."

 
 
The third incident occurred in September, when two men were detained while on a sand bank of the Thukela River near the Middle Drift. Sir Bartle Frere described this matter in a despatch to Sir Michael Hicks Beach, who had replaced Carnarvon as Secretary of State for the Colonies:

"Mr. Smith, a surveyor in the Colonial Engineer Department, was on duty inspecting the road down to the Tugela, near Fort Buckingham, which had been made a few years ago by order of Sir Garnet Wolseley, and accompanied by Mr. Deighton, a trader, resident at Fort Buckingham, went down to the ford across the Tugela. The stream was very low, and ran under the Zulu bank, but they were on this side of it, and had not crossed when they were surrounded by a body of 15 or 20 armed Zulus, made prisoners, and taken off with their horses, which were on the Natal side of the river, and roughly treated and threatened for some time; though, ultimately, at the instance of a headman who came up, they were released and allowed to depart."

By themselves, these incidents were flimsy grounds upon which to found an invasion of Zululand. Bulwer did not initially hold Cetshwayo responsible for what was clearly not a political act in the seizure and murder of the two women.

"I have sent a message to the Zulu King to inform him of this act of violence and outrage by his subjects in Natal territory, and to request him to deliver Up to this Government to be tried for their offence, under the laws of the Colony, the persons of Mehlokazulu and Bekuzulu the two sons of Sirayo who were the leaders of the party."

Cetshwayo also treated the complaint rather lightly, responding

"Cetywayo is sorry to have to acknowledge that the message brought by Umlungi is true, but he begs his Excellency will not take it in the light he sees the Natal Government seem to do, as what Sirayo’s sons did he can only attribute to a rash act of boys who in the zeal for their father’s house did not think of what they were doing. Cetywayo acknowledges that they deserve punishing, and he sends some of his izinduna, who will follow Umlungi with his words. Cetywayo states that no acts of his subjects will make him quarrel with his fathers of the house of Shaka."

  The original complaint carried to Cetshwayo from the lieutenant-governor was in the form of a request for the surrender of the culprits. The request was subsequently transformed by Sir Bartle Frere into a 'demand'. Frere wrote to Hicks Beach, 30 September 1878:

"Apart from whatever may be the general wish of the Zulu nation, it seems to me that the seizure of the two refugee women in British territory by an armed force crossing an unmistakable and well known boundary line, and carrying them off and murdering them with contemptuous disregard for the remonstrances of the Natal policemen, is itself an insult and a violation of British territory which cannot be passed over, and unless apologised and atoned for by compliance with the Lieutenant Governor’s demands, that the leaders of the murderous gangs shall be given up to justice, it will be necessary to send to the Zulu King an ultimatum which must put an end to pacific relations with our neighbours."

In reply, in at least three dispatches, 17 October, 21 November and 18 December, Hicks Beach emphatically states that war is to be avoided and a British invasion of Zululand prohibited. From 21 November dispatch:

"... Her Majesty's Government have arrived, it is my duty to impress upon you that in supplying these reinforcements it is the desire of Her Majesty's Government not to furnish means for a campaign of invasion and conquest, but to afford such protection as may be necessary at this juncture to the lives and property of the colonists. Though the present aspect of affairs is menacing in a high degree, I can by no means arrive at the conclusion that war with the Zulus should be unavoidable, and I am confident that you, in concert with Sir H. Bulwer, will use every effort to overcome the existing difficulties by judgment and forbearance, and to avoid an evil so much to be deprecated as a Zulu war.".

After considerable discussion and exchanges of views between Sir Bartle Frere and Sir Henry Ernest Gascoyne Bulwer, it was decided to arrange a meeting with representatives of the Zulu king. The ostensible reason for this indaba was to present the findings of the long-awaited Boundary Commission to the Zulu people. The occasion was also to be used to present the king with an ultimatum. By the time the ultimatum was presented, the two infractions by Sihayo’s sons and the roughing up of Smith and Deighton were only part of the justification used, as several matters had arisen in the meantime.

 
 
One of these was Cetshwayo’s apparent breaking of promises he had given to the then Mr Theophilus Shepstone at the king’s 'coronation' in 1872. This farcical piece of theatre had been agreed to by Cetshwayo simply to satisfy the wishes of Shepstone and meant nothing to the Zulu people. Indeed, his real Zulu installation had taken place several weeks earlier when he had been acclaimed by his izinduna.

A second addition to the ultimatum, which seems almost like an afterthought, required the surrender of Mbelini kaMswati. Mbelini was the son of a Swazi king who unsuccessfully disputed the succession with his brother, resulting in his exile from the kingdom. He took refuge with Cetshwayo and was granted land in the region of the Intombe River in western Zululand. (It is entirely possible that Cetshwayo regarded him as a useful buffer between him and the Boers of the Transvaal.) Here, he took up residence on the Tafelberg, a flat-topped mountain overlooking the river. Something of a brigand, Mbelini made raids on anyone in his area, Boer and Zulu alike, accruing cattle and prisoners in the process. With the annexation of the Transvaal, Britain had also to deal with Mbelini and because Frere was convinced that the bandit chief was in the pay of the Zulu king, his surrender was included in the ultimatum. The light in which Mbelini was regarded is shown in a paragraph from a memorandum written by Sir Henry Bulwer:

"The King disowned Umbilini’s acts by saying that Umbilini had been giving him trouble, that he had left the Zulu country in order to wrest the Swazi chieftainship from his brother, the reigning Chief, and that if he returned he should kill him. But there is nothing to show that he has in any way punished him, and, on the contrary, it is quite certain that even if Umbilini did not act with the express orders of Cetywayo, he did so with the knowledge that what he was doing would be agreeable to the King."

 
 
Frere has been accused of chicanery by taking deliberate advantage of the length of time it took for correspondence to pass between South Africa and London to conceal his intentions from his political masters or at least defer giving them the necessary information until it was too late for them to act. The first intimation to the British government of his intention to make 'demands' on the Zulu was in a private letter to Hicks Beach written on 14 October 1878. The letter only arrived in London on 16 November and by then messengers had already been despatched from Natal to the Zulu king to request the presence of a delegation at the Lower Tugela on 11 December for the purpose of receiving the Boundary Commission’s findings.

Had Hicks Beach then sent off a telegraph forbidding any action other than the announcement of the boundary award, it might have arrived in South Africa just in time to prevent the ultimatum being presented. No prohibition was sent and could hardly be expected to have been, for Hicks Beach had no means of knowing the urgency of the events that were in train. Nowhere in Frere’s letter was there anything to indicate how soon he intended to act, nor was there anything to suggest how stringent his demands would be.

In January 1879 Hicks Beach wrote to Bartle Frere:

"I may observe that the communications which had previously been received from you had not entirely prepared them" (Her Majesty's Government) "for the course which you have deemed it necessary to take. The representations made by Lord Chelmsford and yourself last autumn as to the urgent need of strengthening Her Majesty's forces in South Africa were based upon the imminent danger of an invasion of Natal by the Zulus, and the inadequate means at that time at your disposal for meeting it.

  In order to afford protection to the lives and property of the colonists, the reinforcements asked for were supplied, and, in informing you of the decision of Her Majesty's Government, I took the opportunity of impressing upon you the importance of using every effort to avoid war.

But the terms which you have dictated to the Zulu king, however necessary to relieve the colony in future from an impending and increasing danger, are evidently such as he may not improbably refuse, even at the risk of war; and I regret that the necessity for immediate action should have appeared to you so imperative as to preclude you from incurring the delay which would have been involved in consulting Her Majesty's Government upon a subject of so much importance as the terms which Cetywayo should be required to accept before those terms were actually presented to the Zulu king."

Hicks Beach had earlier admitted his helplessness with regard to the Frere's actions in a telling note to his Prime Minister:

"I have impressed this [non-aggressive] view upon Sir B. Frere, both officially and privately, to the best of my power. But I cannot really control him without a telegraph (I don’t know that I could with one) I feel it is as likely as not that he is at war with the Zulus at the present moment."

Frere wanted to provoke a conflict with the Zulus and in that goal he succeeded. Cetshwayo rejected the demands of 11 December, by not responding by the end of the year. A concession was granted by Bartle Frere until 11 January 1879, after which Bartle Frere deemed a state of war to exist. The British forces intended for the defense of Natal had already been on the march with the intention to attack the Zulu kingdom. On 10 January they were poised on the border. On 11 January, they crossed the border and invaded Zululand.

 
 
The terms of the ultimatum
The terms which were included in the ultimatum delivered to the representatives of King Cetshwayo on the banks of the Thukela river at the Ultimatum Tree on 11 December 1878. No time was specified for compliance with item 4, twenty days were allowed for compliance with items 1–3, that is, until 31 December inclusive; ten days more were allowed for compliance with the remaining demands, items 4–13. The earlier time limits were subsequently altered so that all expired on 10 January 1879.

Surrender of Sihayo’s three sons and brother to be tried by the Natal courts.
Payment of a fine of five hundred head of cattle for the outrages committed by the above and for Cetshwayo’s delay in complying with the request of the Natal Government for the surrender of the offenders.
Payment of a hundred head of cattle for the offence committed against Messrs. Smith and Deighton.
Surrender of the Swazi chief Umbilini and others to be named hereafter, to be tried by the Transvaal courts.
Observance of the coronation promises.
That the Zulu army be disbanded and the men allowed to go home.
That the Zulu military system be discontinued and other military regulations adopted, to be decided upon after consultation with the Great Council and British Representatives.
That every man, when he comes to man’s estate, shall be free to marry.
All missionaries and their converts, who until 1877 lived in Zululand, shall be allowed to return and reoccupy their stations.
All such missionaries shall be allowed to teach and any Zulu, if he chooses, shall be free to listen to their teaching.
A British Agent shall be allowed to reside in Zululand, who will see that the above provisions are carried out.
All disputes in which a missionary or European is concerned, shall be heard by the king in public and in presence of the Resident.
No sentence of expulsion from Zululand shall be carried out until it has been approved by the Resident.
For his part, Cetshwayo strenuously attempted to avoid war with the British and, should it occur, limit its scope and effects. He ordered his troops to defend their country only if attacked and not to carry the war beyond its borders. He directed them to avoid killing any of the invaders other than the regular British soldiers in their red coats.

 
 

Battle of Isandlwana painting by Charles Edwin Fripp (1854–1906)
 
 
British invasion and repulse
Main articles: Battle of Inyezane, Battle of Isandlwana, Battle of Rorke's Drift, Siege of Eshowe, Battle of Intombe, Battle of Hlobane, Battle of Kambula and Battle of Gingindlovu

The pretext for the war had its origins in border disputes between the Zulu leader, Cetshwayo, and the Boers in the Transvaal region. Following a commission enquiry on the border dispute which reported in favour of the Zulu nation in July 1878, Sir Henry Bartle Frere, acting on his own, added an ultimatum to the commission meeting, much to the surprise of the Zulu representatives who then relayed it to Cetshwayo. Cetshwayo had not responded by the end of the year, so an extension was granted by Bartle Frere until 11 January 1879. Cetshwayo returned no answer to the preposterous demands of Bartle Frere, and in January 1879 a British force under Lieutenant General Frederick Augustus Thesiger, 2nd Baron Chelmsford invaded Zululand, without authorization by the British Government.

Lord Chelmsford, the Commander-in-Chief of British forces during the war, initially planned a five-pronged invasion of Zululand composed of over 15,000 troops in five columns and designed to encircle the Zulu army and force it to fight as he was concerned that the Zulus would avoid battle. In the event, Chelmsford settled on three invading columns with the main center column, now consisting of some 7800 men comprising the previously called No. 3 Column and Durnford's No. 2 Column, under his direct command. He moved his troops from Pietermaritzburg to a forward camp at Helpmekaar, past Greytown. On 9 January 1879 they moved to Rorke's Drift, and early on 11 January commenced crossing the Buffalo River into Zululand. Three columns were to invade Zululand, from the Lower Tugela, Rorke's Drift, and Utrecht respectively, their objective being Ulundi, the royal capital.

 
 

Zulu warriors, 1879 (Charles Edwin Fripp)
 
 
While Cetshwayo's army numbered perhaps 35,000 men, it was essentially a militia force which could be called out in time of national danger. It had a very limited logistical capacity and could only stay in the field a few weeks before the troops would be obliged to return to their civilian duties. Zulu warriors were armed primarily with Assegai thrusting spears, known in Zulu as iklwa, clubs, some throwing spears and shields made of cowhide.

The initial entry of all three columns was unopposed. On 22 January the centre column, which had advanced from Rorke's Drift, was encamped near Isandlwana; on the morning of that day Lord Chelmsford split his forces and moved out to support a reconnoitring party, leaving the camp in charge of Colonel Pulleine. The British were outmanoeuvred by the main Zulu army nearly 20,000 strong led by Ntshingwayo kaMahole Khoza. Chelmsford was lured eastward with much of his centre column by a Zulu diversionary force while the main Impi attacked his camp. Chelmsford's decision not to set up the British camp defensively, contrary to established doctrine, and ignoring information that the Zulus were close at hand were decisions that the British were soon to regret. The ensuing Battle of Isandlwana was the greatest victory that the Zulu kingdom would enjoy during the war. The British centre column was wrecked and its camp annihilated with heavy casualties as well as the loss of all its supplies, ammunition and transport. The defeat left Chelmsford no choice but to hastily retreat out of Zululand. In the battle's aftermath, a party of some 4,000 Zulu reserves mounted an unauthorised raid on the nearby British army border post of Rorke's Drift and were driven off after 10 hours of ferocious fighting.

 
 
While the British central column under Chelmsford's command was thus engaged, the right flank column on the coast, under Colonel Charles Pearson, crossed the Tugela River, skirmished with a Zulu impi that was attempting to set up an ambush at the Inyezane River, and advanced as far as the deserted missionary station of Eshowe, which he set about fortifying. On learning of the disaster at Isandlwana, Pearson made plans to withdraw back beyond the Tugela River. However, before he had decided whether or not to put these plans into effect, the Zulu army managed to cut off his supply lines, and the Siege of Eshowe had begun.

Meanwhile, the left flank column at Utrecht, under Colonel Evelyn Wood, had originally been charged with occupying the Zulu tribes of north-west Zululand and preventing them from interfering with the British central column's advance on Ulundi.

To this end Wood set up camp at Tinta's Kraal, just 10 miles south of Hlobane Mountain, where a force of 4,000 Zulus had been spotted. He planned to attack them on 24 January, but on learning of the disaster at Isandlwana, he decided to withdraw back to the Kraal. Thus one month after the British invasion, only their left flank column remained militarily effective, and it was too weak to conduct a campaign alone. The first invasion of Zululand had been a failure.

 
Battle of the Intombe river
 
 
It had never been Cetshwayo's intention to invade Natal, but to simply fight within the boundaries of the Zulu kingdom. Chelmsford used the next two months to regroup and build a fresh invading force with the initial intention of relieving Pearson at Eshowe. The British government rushed seven regiments of re-inforcements to Natal, along with two artillery batteries.

On 12 March, an armed escort of stores marching to Luneberg, was defeated by about 500 Zulus at the Battle of Intombe; the British force suffered 80 killed and all the stores were lost. The first troops arrived at Durban on 7 March. On the 29th a column, under Lord Chelmsford, consisting of 3,400 British and 2,300 African soldiers, marched to the relief of Eshowe, entrenched camps being formed each night.

Chelmsford ordered Sir Evelyn Wood's troops to attack the abaQulusi Zulu stronghold in Hlobane. Lieutenant Colonel Redvers Buller, led the attack on Hlobane on 28 March. However, as the Zulu main army of 20,000 men approached to help their besieged tribesmen, the British force began a retreat which turned into a rout and were pursued by 1,000 Zulus of the abaQulusi who inflicted some 225 casualties on the British force.

The next day 20,000 Zulu warriors attacked Wood's 2,068 men in a well-fortified camp at Kambula, apparently without Cetshwayo's permission. The British held them off in the Battle of Kambula and after five hours of heavy attacks the Zulus withdrew with heavy losses but were pursued by British mounted troops, who killed many more fleeing and wounded warriors. British losses amounted to 83 (28 killed and 55 wounded), while the Zulus lost up to 2,000 killed.[43] The effect of the battle of Kambula on the Zulu army was severe. Their commander Mnyamana tried to get the regiments to return to Ulundi but many demoralised warriors simply went home.

While Woods was thus engaged, Chelmsford's column was marching on Eshowe. On 2 April this force was attacked en route at Gingindlovu, the Zulu being repulsed. Their losses were heavy, estimated at 1,200 while the British only suffered two dead and 52 wounded. The next day they relieved Pearson's men. They evacuated Eshowe on 5 April, after which the Zulu forces burned it down.

 
 

The burning of Ulundi
 
 
Second invasion and the defeat of the Zulus
The new start of the larger, heavily reinforced second invasion[45] was not promising for the British. Despite their successes at Kambula, Gingindlovu and Eshowe, they were right back where they had started from at the beginning of January. Nevertheless, Chelmsford had a pressing reason to proceed with haste – Sir Garnet Wolseley was being sent to replace him, and he wanted to inflict a decisive defeat on Cetshwayo's forces before then. With yet more reinforcements arriving, soon to total 16,000 British and 7,000 Native troops, Chelmsford reorganised his forces and again advanced into Zululand in June, this time with extreme caution building fortified camps all along the way to prevent any repeat of Isandlwana.

One of the early British casualties was the exiled heir to the French throne, Imperial Prince Napoleon Eugene, who had volunteered to serve in the British army and was killed on 1 June while out with a reconnoitering party.

Cetshwayo, knowing that the newly reinforced British would be a formidable opponent, attempted to negotiate a peace treaty. Chelmsford was not open to negotiations, as he wished to restore his reputation before Wolseley relieved him of command, and he proceeded to the royal kraal of Ulundi, intending to defeat the main Zulu army. On July 4, the armies clashed at the Battle of Ulundi, and Cetshwayo's forces were decisively defeated.

 
 
Aftermath
After the battle of Ulundi the Zulu army dispersed, most of the leading chiefs tendered their submission, and Cetshwayo became a fugitive. Wolseley, having relieved Chelmsford after Ulundi, took over the final operations. On 28 August the king was captured and sent to Cape Town (It is said that scouts spotted the water-carriers of the king, distinctive because the water was carried above, not upon, their heads). His deposition was formally announced to the Zulu. Wolseley wasted no time in discarding Bartle Frere's confederation scheme and drew up a new scheme which divided Zululand into thirteen chiefdoms headed by compliant chiefs which ensured that the Zulus would no longer unite under a single king and made internal divisions and civil wars inevitable. The dynasty of Shaka was deposed, and the Zulu country portioned among eleven Zulu chiefs, including Usibepu, John Dunn, a white adventurer, and Hlubi, a Basuto chief allied to the British in the war.

Chelmsford received a Knight Grand Cross of Bath, largely because of Ulundi, however, he was severely criticized by the Horse Guards investigation[46] and he would never serve in the field again. Bartle Frere was relegated to a minor post in Cape Town.

Following the conclusion of the Anglo-Zulu War, Bishop Colenso interceded on behalf of Cetshwayo with the British government and succeeded in getting him released from Robben Island and returned to Zululand in 1883.

 
Last Sleep of the Brave, 1879 (Alphonse de Neuville)
 
 
A Resident (Melmoth Osborn) was appointed to be the channel of communication between the chiefs and the British government. This arrangement led to much bloodshed and disturbance, and in 1882 the British government determined to restore Cetshwayo to power. In the meantime, however, blood feuds had been engendered between the chiefs Usibepu (Zibebu) and Hamu on the one side and the tribes who supported the ex-king and his family on the other. Cetshwayo's party (who now became known as the Usuthu) suffered severely at the hands of the two chiefs, who were aided by a band of white freebooters.

When Cetshwayo was restored Usibepu was left in possession of his territory, while Dunn's land and that of the Basuto chief (the country between the Tugela River and the Umhlatuzi, i.e. adjoining Natal) was constituted a reserve, in which locations were to be provided for Zulu unwilling to serve the restored king. This new arrangement proved as futile as had Wolseley's. Usibepu, having created a formidable force of well-armed and trained warriors, and being left in independence on the borders of Cetshwayo's territory, viewed with displeasure the re-installation of his former king, and Cetshwayo was desirous of humbling his relative. A collision very soon took place; Usibepu's forces were victorious, and on 22 July 1883, led by a troop of mounted Boer mercenary troops, he made a sudden descent upon Cetshwayo's kraal at Ulundi, which he destroyed, massacring such of the inmates of both sexes as could not save themselves by flight. The king escaped, though wounded, into Nkandla forest. After appeals to Melmoth Osborn he moved to Eshowe, where he died soon after.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 
 
 
1879
 
 
Napoleon, Prince Imperial, killed, (b.1856)
 
 

The Prince in June 1878
 
The prince in South Africa in 1879
 
 

The Prince and his mother by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, 1857
Portrait by Charles Porion
 
 

Bust of the Prince by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, c. 1865.
The Prince and his dog by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, c. 1865
 
 

Memorial photomontage
 
 
 
1879
 
 
Alexander of Battenberg elected Prince Alexander I of Bulgaria
 
 
Alexander of Battenberg
 
Alexander Joseph GCB (5 April 1857 – 23 October 1893), known as Alexander of Battenberg, was the first prince (knyaz) of modern Bulgaria from 1879 until his abdication in 1886.
 
Early life
Alexander was the second son of Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine by the latter's morganatic marriage with Countess Julia von Hauke. The Countess and her descendants gained the title of Princess of Battenberg (derived from an old residence of the Grand Dukes of Hesse) and the style Durchlaucht ("Serene Highness") in 1858. Prince Alexander was a nephew of Russia's Tsar Alexander II, who had married a sister of Prince Alexander of Hesse; his mother, a daughter of Count Moritz von Hauke, had been lady-in-waiting to the Tsaritsa. Alexander was known to his family, and many later biographers, as "Sandro".

Notable relatives
Alexander's brother, Prince Louis of Battenberg, married Princess Victoria of Hesse and the Rhine, a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria. Their children included Queen Louise of Sweden, Earl Mountbatten of Burma and Princess Alice, the mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II.

Alexander's other brother, Prince Henry of Battenberg, married Queen Victoria's youngest daughter Princess Beatrice. Among their children was Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain.

 
 

Prince Alexander I of Bulgaria
  Prince of Bulgaria
In his boyhood and early youth Alexander frequently visited Saint Petersburg, and he accompanied his uncle, the Tsar, who was much attached to him, during the Bulgarian campaign of 1877. When, under the Treaty of Berlin (1878), Bulgaria became an autonomous principality under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire, the Tsar recommended his nephew to the Bulgarians as a candidate for the newly created throne, and the Grand National Assembly unanimously elected Prince Alexander as Prince of Bulgaria (29 April 1879). At that time he held a commission as a lieutenant in the Prussian life-guards at Potsdam. Before proceeding to Bulgaria, Prince Alexander paid visits to the Tsar at Livadia, to the courts of the great powers and to the sultan; a Russian warship then conveyed him to Varna, and after taking the oath to the new constitution at Turnovo (8 July 1879) he went to Sofia. The people everywhere en route greeted him with immense enthusiasm. The new ruling prince had not had any previous training in governing, and a range of problems confronted him. He found himself caught between the official representatives of Russia, who wanted him to behave as a roi fainéant, and the Bulgarian politicians, who actively pursued their own quarrels with a violence that threatened the stability of Bulgaria. In 1881, a marriage began to be talked of between Alexander and Princess Viktoria of Prussia. While this plan was supported by the crown princess' mother, Queen Victoria, and Princess Viktoria had fallen in love with him, it was strongly opposed by Kaiser Wilhelm I and the German Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, who feared that a marriage would offend the Russians, most notably, Prince Alexander's cousin, Tsar Alexander III, who recently ascended the throne, and who, unlike his father, was far from kindly disposed to the prince.
 
 
After attempting to govern under these conditions for nearly two years, the prince, with the consent of the Russian tsar, Alexander assumed absolute power, having suspended the Constitution (9 May 1881). A specially convened assembly voted (13 July 1881) for suspension of the ultra-democratic constitution for a period of seven years. The experiment, however, proved unsuccessful; the monarchical coup infuriated Bulgarian Liberal and Radical politicians, and the real power passed to two Russian generals, Sobolev and Kaulbars, specially despatched from Saint Petersburg. The prince, after vainly endeavouring to obtain the recall of the generals, restored the constitution with the concurrence of all the Bulgarian political parties (19 September 1883). A serious breach with Russia followed, and the part which the prince subsequently played in encouraging the national aspirations of the Bulgarians widened that breach.

The revolution of Plovdiv (18 September 1885), which brought about the union of Eastern Rumelia with Bulgaria, took place with Alexander's consent, and he at once assumed the government of the province. In the year which followed, the prince gave evidence of considerable military and diplomatic ability. He rallied the Bulgarian army, now deprived of its Russian officers, to resist the Serbian invasion, and after a victory at Slivnitsa (19 November), which Alexander had little to do with, having arrived in Slivnitsa after the battle (incidentally initiated by a volunteer of the rank of private) was already over, pursued King Milan of Serbia into Serbian territory as far as Pirot, which he captured (27 November). Although the intervention of Austria protected Serbia from the consequences of defeat, Prince Alexander's success sealed the union with Eastern Rumelia, and after long negotiations the sultan Abdul Hamid II nominated the Prince of Bulgaria as governor-general of that province for five years (5 April 1886).

 
 
Loss of throne
This arrangement, however, cost Alexander much of his popularity in Bulgaria, while discontent prevailed among a number of his officers, who considered themselves slighted in the distribution of rewards at the close of the campaign. A military plot formed, and on the night of 20 August 1886 the conspirators seized the prince in the palace at Sofia and compelled him to sign his abdication; they then hurried him to the Danube at Rakhovo, transported him on his yacht to Reni, and handed him over to the Russian authorities, who allowed him to proceed to Lemberg.

However, he soon returned to Bulgaria as a result of the success of the counter-revolution led by Stefan Stambolov, which overthrew the provisional government set up by the Russian party at Sofia. His position, however, had become untenable, partly as a result of an ill-considered telegram which he addressed to Tsar Alexander III on his return. The attitude of Bismarck, who, in conjunction with the Russian and Austrian governments, forbade him to punish the leaders of the military conspiracy, also undermined Alexander's position. He therefore issued a manifesto resigning the throne, and left Bulgaria on 8 September 1886.

After his abdication from the Bulgarian throne, Alexander I claimed the title Prince of Tarnovo and used it until his death.

  Last years
Alexander then retired into private life. A few years later he married Johanna Loisinger, an actress, and assumed the style of Count von Hartenau (6 February 1889). There were a son and a daughter from this marriage. The last years of his life he spent principally at Graz, where he held a local command in the Austrian army, and where he died on 23 October 1893. His remains, brought to Sofia, received a public funeral there, and were buried in a mausoleum erected to his memory.

Prince Alexander possessed much charm and amiability of manner; he was tall, dignified and strikingly handsome. Competent authorities have generally recognised his capabilities as a soldier. As a ruler he committed some errors, but his youth and inexperience and the extreme difficulty of his position account for much. He had some aptitude for diplomacy, and his intuitive insight and perception of character sometimes enabled him to outwit the crafty politicians who surrounded him. His principal fault remained a want of tenacity and resolution; his tendency to unguarded language undoubtedly increased the number of his enemies.

Battenberg Hill on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Prince Alexander Battenberg of Bulgaria.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
 
 
1879
 
 
Treaty of Gandamak: Britain occupies Khyber Pass; Brit. legation in Kabul massacred
 
 
Second Anglo–Afghan War (1878-1880)
 

The Second Anglo–Afghan War was fought between the United Kingdom and the Emirate of Afghanistan from 1878 to 1880, when the latter was ruled by Sher Ali Khan of the Barakzai dynasty, the son of former Emir Dost Mohammad Khan. This was the second time British India invaded Afghanistan. The war ended after the British emerged victorious against the Afghan rebels and the Afghans agreed to let the British attain all of their geopolitical objectives from the Treaty of Gandamak. Most of the British and Indian soldiers withdrew from Afghanistan. The Afghan tribes were permitted to maintain internal rule and local customs but they had to cede control of the area's foreign relations to the British, who, in turn, guaranteed the area's freedom from foreign military domination. This was aimed to thwart expansion by the Russian Empire into India.

 
War
Background

After tension between Russia and Britain in Europe ended with the June 1878 Congress of Berlin, Russia turned its attention to Central Asia. That same summer, Russia sent an uninvited diplomatic mission to Kabul. Sher Ali Khan, the Amir of Afghanistan, tried unsuccessfully to keep them out. Russian envoys arrived in Kabul on 22 July 1878, and on 14 August, the British demanded that Sher Ali accept a British mission too.

The Amir not only refused to receive a British mission under Neville Bowles Chamberlain, but threatened to stop it if it were dispatched. Lord Lytton, the viceroy, ordered a diplomatic mission to set out for Kabul in September 1878 but the mission was turned back as it approached the eastern entrance of the Khyber Pass, triggering the Second Anglo–Afghan War.

 
 

92nd Highlanders and 2nd Gurkhas storming the Gaudi Mullah Sahibdad at Kandahar 1 September 1880.
 
 
First phase
A British force of about 50,000 fighting men, mostly British and Indians, was distributed into military columns which penetrated Afghanistan at three different points. An alarmed Sher Ali attempted to appeal in person to the Russian Tsar for assistance, but unable to do so, he returned to Mazari Sharif, where he died on 21 February 1879.
 
 

Titled "Dignity & Impudence" for stereotypic personality traits of elephants and mules respectively, this photograph by John Burke shows an elephant and mule battery during the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The mule team would have hauled supplies or towed the small field gun, while the elephants towed the larger gun. The gun appears to be an Rifled Muzzle Loader (RML) 7-pounder mountain gun. The men in the photograph are a mix of British soldiers and Indian sepoys. The group kneeling around the smaller, muzzle-loaded field gun is preparing to fire after the soldier at front left has used the ramrod to jam the charge down into the gun. The gun at right, towed by elephants, appears to be an Rifled breech loader (RBL) 40-pounder Armstrong
 
 
Treaty
With British forces occupying much of the country, Sher Ali's son and successor, Mohammad Yaqub Khan, signed the Treaty of Gandamak in May 1879 to prevent a British invasion of the rest of the country. According to this agreement and in return for an annual subsidy and vague assurances of assistance in case of foreign aggression, Yaqub relinquished control of Afghan foreign affairs to Britain. British representatives were installed in Kabul and other locations, British control was extended to the Khyber and Michni passes, and Afghanistan ceded various North-West Frontier Province areas and Quetta to Britain. The British Army then withdrew.

However, on 3 September 1879 an uprising in Kabul led to the slaughter of Sir Louis Cavagnari, the British representative, along with his guards, and staff – provoking the next phase of the Second Afghan War.

 
 

British team at the site of the Battle of Ali Masjid
 
 
Second phase
Major General Sir Frederick Roberts led the Kabul Field Force over the Shutargardan Pass into central Afghanistan, defeated the Afghan Army at Char Asiab on 6 October 1879, and occupied Kabul two days later. Ghazi Mohammad Jan Khan Wardak, and a force of 10,000 Afghans, staged an uprising and attacked British forces near Kabul in the Siege of the Sherpur Cantonment in December 1879. Despite besieging the British garrison there, he failed to maintain the Siege of Sherpur, instead shifting focus to Roberts' force, and this resulted in the collapse of this rebellion. Yaqub Khan, suspected of complicity in the massacre of Cavagnari and his staff, was obliged to abdicate. The British considered a number of possible political settlements, including partitioning Afghanistan between multiple rulers or placing Yaqub's brother Ayub Khan on the throne, but ultimately decided to install his cousin Abdur Rahman Khan as emir instead.

Ayub Khan, who had been serving as governor of Herat, rose in revolt, defeated a British detachment at the Battle of Maiwand in July 1880 and besieged Kandahar. Roberts then led the main British force from Kabul and decisively defeated Ayub Khan on 1 September at the Battle of Kandahar, bringing his rebellion to an end. Abdur Rahman had confirmed the Treaty of Gandamak, leaving the British in control of the territories ceded by Yaqub Khan and ensuring British control of Afghanistan's foreign policy in exchange for protection and a subsidy.

Abandoning the provocative policy of maintaining a British resident in Kabul, but having achieved all their other objectives, the British withdrew.

 
 

Highlanders of Amir Yaqub at Gandamak
 
 
Captured British and Indian soldiers
The British officer John Masters recorded in his autobiography that Afghan women in the North-West Frontier Province of British India during the Second Anglo-Afghan War would castrate non-Muslim soldiers who were captured, like British and Sikhs. They also used an execution method involving urine; Pathan women urinated into prisoner's mouths. Captured British soldiers were spread out and fastened with restraints to the ground, then a stick, or a piece of wood was used to keep their mouth open to prevent swallowing. Pathan women then squatted and urinated directly into the mouth of the man until he drowned in the urine, taking turns one at a time.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 
 
 
1879
 
 
 
Treaty of Gandamak
 

The Treaty of Gandamak officially ended the first phase of the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Afghanistan ceded various frontier areas to Britain to prevent invasion of further areas of the country.

 
It was signed on 26 May 1879 by King Mohammad Yaqub Khan of Afghanistan and Sir Pierre Louis Napoleon Cavagnari of British's Government of India at a British army camp near the village of Gandamak, about 70 miles (110 km) east of Kabul. The treaty was ratified by Lord Edward Robert Bulwer Lytton, Viceroy of India, on 30 May 1879.

Most historical writings consider the Treaty of Gandamak as the prelude to the second phase of the Second Anglo-Afghan War, 1879–1880.

 
 

The Durand Line (in red, above) forms the border between Afghanistan and the British Raj
 
 
Background
On 22 July 1878 a Russian delegation arrived in Kabul without the explicit invitation of Amir Sher Ali Khan. In early August 1878, to counteract the Russian initiative, the British informed the Amir that he must receive a British mission that included European members "with all becoming honors."

The mission was denied entry into Afghanistan at the Afghan military post of Ali Masjid in the Khyber pass on 21 September. In retaliation, the British Government of India issued an ultimatum that by 20 November 1878 the Amir must apologize and provide a satisfactory explanation for the insult. Sher Ali's response of 19 November 1878, delayed by the death of his son and heir apparent on 17 August, did not reach the Viceroy until 30 November, and lacked an apology.

On 21 November the British declared war on Afghanistan, occupied the Korram valley and the Paywar pass, and moved its armed forces via the Khyber pass and Quetta towards Jalalabad and Qandahar, respectively. Unable to offer effective military resistance, on 23 December 1878, the Amir left Kabul for Turkestan, intending to seek Russian aid for the defense of his domains. Sher Ali died on 21 February 1879 near Balkh and his son, Mohammad Yaqub Khan, declared himself Emir of Afghanistan. On 26 May 1879, after preliminary correspondence with Cavagnari and prior to the British withdrawal from most occupied Afghan territories, Muhammad Yaqub's request for permission to visit the British military camp was accepted, and so he proceeded there to sign the Treaty of Gandamak, considered one of the most humiliating ever signed by an Afghan ruler, essentially making the Afghan Amir a feudatory of the British Crown.

 
 

Mohammad Yaqub Khan of Afghanistan (in the middle) with Britain's Sir Louis Cavagnari 26 May 1879
 
 
Settlements
Under the provisions of the treaty the Amir surrendered control to the British over the foreign relations of Afghanistan and allowed for a British Mission, with European members, to reside in Kabul. Jurisdiction over the Korram and Pishin valleys, the Sibi district, and the Khaybar pass was transferred to the British. The treaty provided for increased commercial contacts and the establishment of a telegraph line between Kabul and British India. Muhammad Yaqub was to receive an annual subsidy of 600,000 rupees and to issue amnesty to all those who had collaborated with the British occupying forces.

The British Mission led by Cavagnari arrived in Kabul on 24 July 1879, but less than two months later Cavagnari and all members of his Mission were massacred when on 3 September 1879 a dissatisfied regiment of the Amir's army from Herat stormed the mission compound.

The massacre set the stage for another British invasion of Afghanistan and the expulsion of Muhammad Yaqub to India. It culminated in the British appointment of Abdur Rahman (ruled 22 July 1880 - 1 October 1901), patrilateral parallel cousin of Yaqub, as Amir of Afghanistan. Abdur Rahman accepted the provisions of the Treaty of Gandamak - with the modification that the British agent and his staff in Kabul would be Indian Muslims.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 
 
 

"His Highness the Amir of Afghanistan and its depen-dencies engages, on the exchange of the ratifications of this Treaty, to publish a full and complete amnesty, absolving all his subjects from any responsibility for intercourse with the British forces during the war, and to guarantee and protect all persons of whatever degree from any punishment or molestation on that account.

His Highness the Amir of Afghanistan and its depen-dencies agrees to conduct his relations with Foreign States in accordance with the advice and wishes of the British Government. His Highness the Amir will enter into no engagements with Foreign States, and will not take up arms against any Foreign State, except with the concurrence of the British Government. On these conditions the British Government will support the Amir against any foreign aggression with money, arms, or troops, to be employed in whatsoever manner the British Government may judge best for this purpose. Should British troops at any time enter Afghanistan for the purpose of repelling foreign aggression, they will return to their stations in British territory as soon as the object for which they entered has been accomplished."

First section of the treaty

 
 
 
1879
 
 
Ismail, Khedive of Egypt (Isma'il Pasha), deposed; succeeded by Tewfik (—1892)
 
 
Tewfik Pasha
 

Muhammad Tawfīq Pasha, also spelled Mohammed Tewfik Pasha, in full Muhammad Tawfīq Pasha ibn Ismāʿīl ibn Ibrāhīm ibn Muhammad ʿAlī (born April 30, 1852, Cairo, Egypt—died Jan. 7, 1892, Ḥulwān), khedive of Egypt (1879–92) during the first phase of the British occupation.

 

Muhammad Tawfīq Pasha
  The eldest son of Khedive Ismāʿīl, Tawfīq was distinguished from other members of his family by having engaged in study in Egypt rather than in Europe. He subsequently assumed a variety of administrative positions, including the head of the Privy Council and president of the Council of Ministers. The Ottoman sultan appointed Tawfīq khedive in 1879, when Ismāʿīl proved obstructive to the interests of the European powers. Tawfīq enjoyed little domestic support and was thus forced to meet the demands of his political opponents. A group of military officers led by Aḥmad ʿUrābī Pasha gained increasing influence, and ʿUrābī was named minister of war in 1882. Great Britain was alarmed by the anti-European direction in which events were moving in Egypt, and a British fleet bombarded Alexandria in July 1882; this only increased ʿUrābī’s popular support, and Tawfīq was forced to seek the protection of the British. That August the British invaded Egypt and returned Tawfīq to authority. From then on he was largely controlled by the occupation authorities, in particular by the British consul general, Sir Evelyn Baring (later Lord Cromer). Programs undertaken in Tawfīq’s later years as khedive included a reorganization of the legal system, the formation of the General Assembly and the Legislative Council, and various agricultural and irrigation projects. He died unexpectedly following a sudden illness in Ḥulwān in 1892.

Encyclopædia Britannica

 
 
 
1879
 
 
Alsace-Lorraine is declared an integral part of Germany
 
 
Alsace-Lorraine
 
Alsace-Lorraine, German Elsass-Lothringen, area comprising the present French départements of Haut-Rhin, Bas-Rhin, and Moselle. Alsace-Lorraine was the name given to the 5,067 square miles (13,123 square km) of territory that was ceded by France to Germany in 1871 after the Franco-German War. This territory was retroceded to France in 1919 after World War I, was ceded again to Germany in 1940 during World War II, and was again retroceded to France in 1945.
 
Historically, the area was at the centre of Charlemagne’s Frankish empire in the 9th century and later became part of the Germanys of the Holy Roman Empire, remaining a German territory under various sovereignties up to the Thirty Years’ War. The Peace of Westphalia (1648) concluding that war gave control of Alsace-Lorraine to France.

Because of its ancient German associations and because of its large German-speaking population, Alsace-Lorraine was incorporated into the German Empire after France’s defeat in the Franco-German War (1870–71). The loss of Alsace-Lorraine was a major cause of anti-German feeling in France in the period from 1871 to 1914. France also suffered economically from the loss of Alsace-Lorraine’s valuable iron ore deposits, iron- and steelmaking plants, and other industries to Germany.

Under German rule, Alsace-Lorraine was classified as a Reichsland (imperial state) and was denied effective self-government until 1902.

 
 
Moreover, its population was initially enthusiastic over the new French republic, and German rule remained unpopular for some years among the inhabitants, who continued to protest the German annexation. Thousands of residents who considered themselves French emigrated during this period. By 1905, however, many of Alsace-Lorraine’s Roman Catholics had been alienated by the French republic’s anticlerical policies, and so they shifted their aspirations toward an autonomous Alsace-Lorraine within the German Empire. Thereafter, especially with the grant of a constitution in 1911, some progress was made toward Germanization in the region.

Alsace-Lorraine was returned to France in 1919 after World War I. The French government’s attempts to rapidly assimilate Alsace-Lorraine met with problems, however, especially in France’s plans to substitute state-run schools for the region’s traditional church schools and in its attempts to suppress German newspapers (German being the written language of 75 percent of the inhabitants).

 
Location of Alsace-Lorraine
 
 
As a consequence, Alsace-Lorraine developed a strong “home rule” movement in the 1920s and unsuccessfully sought autonomy within the French Republic.

Early in World War II, the collapse of France in 1940 was followed by the second German annexation of Alsace-Lorraine, which was again returned to France in 1945. Since then many of the French prewar governmental policies that had clashed with the region’s particularism have been modified, and the autonomist movement has largely disappeared. Linguistically, the German dialect known as Alsatian remains the lingua franca of the region, and both French and German are taught in the schools.

Encyclopædia Britannica
 
 
 
1879
 
 
Stalin Joseph
 
Joseph Stalin, Russian in full Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin, original name (Georgian) Ioseb Dzhugashvili (born December 18 [December 6, Old Style], 1879, Gori, Georgia, Russian Empire [see Researcher’s Note]—died March 5, 1953, Moscow, Russia, U.S.S.R.), secretary-general of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–53) and premier of the Soviet state (1941–53), who for a quarter of a century dictatorially ruled the Soviet Union and transformed it into a major world power.
 

Joseph Stalin
 
 

During the quarter of a century preceding his death, the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin probably exercised greater political power than any other figure in history. Stalin industrialized the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, forcibly collectivized its agriculture, consolidated his position by intensive police terror, helped to defeat Germany in 1941–45, and extended Soviet controls to include a belt of eastern European states. Chief architect of Soviet totalitarianism and a skilled but phenomenally ruthless organizer, he destroyed the remnants of individual freedom and failed to promote individual prosperity, yet he created a mighty military–industrial complex and led the Soviet Union into the nuclear age.

Stalin’s biography was long obscured by a mendacious Soviet-propagated “legend” exaggerating his prowess as a heroic Bolshevik boy-conspirator and faithful follower of Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union. In his prime, Stalin was hailed as a universal genius, as a “shining sun,” or “the staff of life,” and also as a “great teacher and friend” (especially of those communities he most savagely persecuted); once he was even publicly invoked as “Our Father” by a metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church. Achieving wide visual promotion through busts, statues, and icons of himself, the dictator became the object of a fanatical cult that, in private, he probably regarded with cynicism.

 
 

Stalin aged 23
  The young revolutionary
Stalin was of Georgian—not Russian—origin, and persistent rumours claim that he was Ossetian on the paternal side. He was the son of a poor cobbler in the provincial Georgian town of Gori in the Caucasus, then an imperial Russian colony. The drunken father savagely beat his son. Speaking only Georgian at home, Joseph learned Russian—which he always spoke with a guttural Georgian accent—while attending the church school at Gori (1888–94). He then moved to the Tiflis Theological Seminary, where he secretly read Karl Marx, the chief theoretician of international Communism, and other forbidden texts, being expelled in 1899 for revolutionary activity, according to the “legend”—or leaving because of ill health, according to his doting mother. The mother, a devout washerwoman, had dreamed of her son becoming a priest, but Joseph Dzhugashvili was more ruffianly than clerical in appearance and outlook. He was short, stocky, black-haired, fierce-eyed, with one arm longer than the other, his swarthy face scarred by smallpox contracted in infancy. Physically strong and endowed with prodigious willpower, he early learned to disguise his true feelings and to bide his time; in accordance with the Caucasian blood-feud tradition, he was implacable in plotting long-term revenge against those who offended him.

In December 1899, Dzhugashvili became, briefly, a clerk in the Tiflis Observatory, the only paid employment that he is recorded as having taken outside politics; there is no record of his ever having done manual labour.

 
 
In 1900 he joined the political underground, fomenting labour demonstrations and strikes in the main industrial centres of the Caucasus, but his excessive zeal in pushing duped workers into bloody clashes with the police antagonized his fellow conspirators. After the Social Democrats (Marxist revolutionaries) of the Russian Empire had split into their two competing wings—Menshevik and Bolshevik—in 1903, Dzhugashvili joined the second, more militant, of these factions and became a disciple of its leader, Lenin. Between April 1902 and March 1913, Dzhugashvili was seven times arrested for revolutionary activity, undergoing repeated imprisonment and exile. The mildness of the sentences and the ease with which the young conspirator effected his frequent escapes lend colour to the unproved speculation that Dzhugashvili was for a time an agent provocateur in the pay of the imperial political police.
 
 

Stalin and Kirov
  Rise to power
Dzhugashvili made slow progress in the party hierarchy. He attended three policy-making conclaves of the Russian Social Democrats—in Tammerfors (now Tampere, Finland; 1905), Stockholm (1906), and London (1907)—without making much impression. But he was active behind the scenes, helping to plot a spectacular holdup in Tiflis (now Tbilisi) on June 25 (June 12, Old Style), 1907, in order to “expropriate” funds for the party. His first big political promotion came in February (January, Old Style) 1912, when Lenin—now in emigration—co-opted him to serve on the first Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party, which had finally broken with the other Social Democrats. In the following year, Dzhugashvili published, at Lenin’s behest, an important article on Marxism and the national question. By now he had adopted the name Stalin, deriving from Russian stal (“steel”); he also briefly edited the newly founded Bolshevik newspaper Pravda before undergoing his longest period of exile: in Siberia from July 1913 to March 1917.

In about 1904 Stalin had married a pious Georgian girl, Ekaterina Svanidze. She died some three years later and left a son, Jacob, whom his father treated with contempt, calling him a weakling after an unsuccessful suicide attempt in the late 1920s; when Jacob was taken prisoner by the Germans during World War II, Stalin refused a German offer to exchange his son.

 
 

Reaching Petrograd from Siberia on March 25 (March 12, Old Style), 1917, Stalin resumed editorship of Pravda. He briefly advocated Bolshevik cooperation with the provisional government of middle-class liberals that had succeeded to uneasy power on the last tsar’s abdication during the February Revolution. But under Lenin’s influence, Stalin soon switched to the more-militant policy of armed seizure of power by the Bolsheviks. When their coup d’état occurred in November (October, Old Style) 1917, he played an important role, but one less prominent than that of his chief rival, Leon Trotsky.

Active as a politico-military leader on various fronts during the Civil War of 1918–20, Stalin also held two ministerial posts in the new Bolshevik government, being commissar for nationalities (1917–23) and for state control (or workers’ and peasants’ inspection; 1919–23). But it was his position as secretary general of the party’s Central Committee, from 1922 until his death, that provided the power base for his dictatorship. Besides heading the secretariat, he was also member of the powerful Politburo and of many other interlocking and overlapping committees—an arch-bureaucrat engaged in quietly outmaneuvering brilliant rivals, including Trotsky and Grigory Zinovyev, who despised such mundane organizational work. Because the pockmarked Georgian was so obviously unintellectual, they thought him unintelligent—a gross error, and one literally fatal in their case.

From 1921 onward Stalin flouted the ailing Lenin’s wishes, until, a year before his death, Lenin wrote a political “testament,” since widely publicized, calling for Stalin’s removal from the secretary generalship; coming from Lenin, this document was potentially ruinous to Stalin’s career, but his usual luck and skill enabled him to have it discounted during his lifetime.

 
 

Joseph Stalin
  Lenin’s successor
After Lenin’s death, in January 1924, Stalin promoted an extravagant, quasi-Byzantine cult of the deceased leader. Archpriest of Leninism, Stalin also promoted his own cult in the following year by having the city of Tsaritsyn renamed Stalingrad (now Volgograd). His main rival, Trotsky (once Lenin’s heir apparent), was now in eclipse, having been ousted by the ruling triumvirate of Zinovyev, Lev Kamenev, and Stalin. Soon afterward Stalin joined with the rightist leaders Nikolay Bukharin and Aleksey Rykov in an alliance directed against his former co-triumvirs. Pinning his faith in the ability of the Soviet Union to establish a viable political system without waiting for the support hitherto expected from worldwide revolution, the Secretary General advocated a policy of “Socialism in one country”; this was popular with the hardheaded party managers whom he was promoting to influential positions in the middle hierarchy. His most-powerful rivals were all dismissed, Bukharin and Rykov soon following Zinovyev and Kamenev into disgrace and political limbo pending execution. Stalin expelled Trotsky from the Soviet Union in 1929 and had him assassinated in Mexico in 1940.

In 1928 Stalin abandoned Lenin’s quasi-capitalist New Economic Policy in favour of headlong state-organized industrialization under a succession of five-year plans. This was, in effect, a new Russian revolution more devastating in its effects than those of 1917.

 
 

The dictator’s blows fell most heavily on the peasantry, some 25 million rustic households being compelled to amalgamate in collective or state farms within a few years. Resisting desperately, the reluctant muzhiks were attacked by troops and OGPU (political police) units. Uncooperative peasants, termed kulaks, were arrested en masse, being shot, exiled, or absorbed into the rapidly expanding network of Stalinist concentration camps and worked to death under atrocious conditions. Collectivization also caused a great famine in Ukraine. Yet Stalin continued to export the grain stocks that a less cruel leader would have rushed to the famine-stricken areas. Some 10 million peasants may have perished through his policies during these years.

Crash industrialization was less disastrous in its effects, but it, too, numbered its grandiose failures, to which Stalin responded by arraigning industrial managers in a succession of show trials. Intimidated into confessing imaginary crimes, the accused served as self-denounced scapegoats for catastrophes arising from the Secretary General’s policies. Yet Stalin was successful in rapidly industrializing a backward country—as was widely acknowledged by enthusiastic contemporary foreign witnesses, including Adolf Hitler and such well-known writers as H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw.

Among those who vainly sought to moderate Stalin’s policies was his young second wife, Nadezhda Alliluyeva, whom he had married in 1919 and who committed suicide in 1932. They had two children. The son, Vasily, perished as an alcoholic after rising to unmerited high rank in the Soviet Air Force. The daughter, Svetlana, became the object for her father’s alternating affection and bad temper. She emigrated after his death and later wrote memoirs that illuminate Stalin’s well-camouflaged private life.

 
 

Joseph Stalin
  The great purges
Khrushchev’s secret speech: Khrushchev addresses the 20th Congress of the Communist Party, 1956 [Credit: AFP/Getty Images]In late 1934—just when the worst excesses of Stalinism seemed to have spent themselves—the Secretary General launched a new campaign of political terror against the very Communist Party members who had brought him to power; his pretext was the assassination, in Leningrad on December 1, of his leading colleague and potential rival, Sergey Kirov.

That Stalin himself had arranged Kirov’s murder—as an excuse for the promotion of mass bloodshed—was strongly hinted by Nikita Khrushchev, first secretary of the party, in a speech denouncing Stalin at the 20th Party Congress in 1956.

Stalin used the show trial of leading Communists as a means for expanding the new terror. In August 1936, Zinovyev and Kamenev were paraded in court to repeat fabricated confessions, sentenced to death, and shot; two more major trials followed, in January 1937 and March 1938.

In June 1937, Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky, at the time the most influential military personality, and other leading generals were reported as court-martialed on charges of treason and executed.

Such were the main publicly acknowledged persecutions that empowered Stalin to tame the Soviet Communist Party and the Soviet elite as a whole.

 
 
He not only “liquidated” veteran semi-independent Bolsheviks but also many party bosses, military leaders, industrial managers, and high government officials totally subservient to himself. Other victims included foreign Communists on Soviet territory and members of the very political police organization, now called the NKVD. All other sections of the Soviet elite—the arts, the academic world, the legal and diplomatic professions—also lost a high proportion of victims, as did the population at large, to a semi-haphazard, galloping persecution that fed on extorted denunciations and confessions. These implicated even more victims until Stalin himself reduced the terror, though he never abandoned it. Stalin’s political victims were numbered in tens of millions. His main motive was, presumably, to maximize his personal power.
 
 

Ribbentrop and Stalin at the signing of the Pact
  Role in World War II
During World War II Stalin emerged, after an unpromising start, as the most successful of the supreme leaders thrown up by the belligerent nations. In August 1939, after first attempting to form an anti-Hitler alliance with the Western powers, he concluded a pact with Hitler, which encouraged the German dictator to attack Poland and begin World War II. Anxious to strengthen his western frontiers while his new but palpably treacherous German ally was still engaged in the West, Stalin annexed eastern Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and parts of Romania; he also attacked Finland and extorted territorial concessions. In May 1941 Stalin recognized the growing danger of German attack on the Soviet Union by appointing himself chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars (head of the government); it was his first governmental office since 1923.

Stalin’s prewar defensive measures were exposed as incompetent by the German blitzkrieg that surged deep into Soviet territory after Hitler’s unprovoked attack on the Soviet Union of June 22, 1941. Khrushchev claimed that Stalin was shocked into temporary inactivity by the onslaught, but, if so, he soon rallied and appointed himself supreme commander in chief. When the Germans menaced Moscow in the winter of 1941, he remained in the threatened capital, helping to organize a great counter-offensive. The Battle of Stalingrad (in the following winter) and the Battle of Kursk (in the summer of 1943) were also won by the Soviet Army under Stalin’s supreme direction, turning the tide of invasion against the retreating Germans, who capitulated in May 1945.

 
 

 As war leader, Stalin maintained close personal control over the Soviet battlefronts, military reserves, and war economy. At first over-inclined to intervene with inept telephoned instructions, as Hitler did, the Soviet generalissimo gradually learned to delegate military decisions.

Stalin participated in high-level Allied meetings, including those of the “Big Three” with Churchill and Roosevelt at Tehrān (1943), Yalta (1945), and Potsdam (1945). A formidable negotiator, he outwitted these foreign statesmen; his superior skill has been acclaimed by Anthony Eden, then British foreign secretary.

 
 

The Big Three: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Stalin at the Yalta Conference, February 1945.
 
 

Last years
After the war, Stalin imposed on eastern Europe a new kind of colonial control based on native Communist regimes nominally independent but in fact subservient to himself. He thus increased the number of his subjects by about a hundred million. But in 1948 the defection of Titoist Yugoslavia from the Soviet camp struck a severe blow to world Communism as a Stalin-dominated monolith. To prevent other client states from following Tito’s example, Stalin instigated local show trials, manipulated like those of the Great Purge of the 1930s in Russia, in which satellite Communist leaders confessed to Titoism, many being executed.

Far from continuing his wartime alliance with the United States and Great Britain, Stalin now regarded these countries—and especially the United States—as the arch-enemies that he needed after Hitler’s death. At home, the primacy of Marxist ideology was harshly reasserted. Stalin’s chief ideological hatchet man, Andrey Zhdanov, a secretary of the Central Committee, began a reign of terror in the Soviet artistic and intellectual world; foreign achievements were derided, and the primacy of Russians as inventors and pioneers in practically every field was asserted. Hopes for domestic relaxation, widely aroused in the Soviet Union during the war, were thus sadly disappointed.

Increasingly suspicious and paranoid in his later years, Stalin ordered the arrest, announced in January 1953, of certain—mostly Jewish—Kremlin doctors on charges of medically murdering various Soviet leaders, including Zhdanov. The dictator was evidently preparing to make this “Doctors’ Plot” the pretext for yet another great terror menacing all his senior associates, but he died suddenly on March 5, according to the official report; so convenient was this death to his entourage that suspicions of foul play were voiced.

 
 

Mao at Stalin's 70th birthday celebration in Moscow, December 1949
 
 
Assessment
A politician to the marrow of his bones, Stalin had little private or family life, finding his main relaxation in impromptu buffet suppers, to which he would invite high party officials, generals, visiting foreign potentates, and the like. Drinking little himself on these occasions, the dictator would encourage excessive indulgence in others, thus revealing weak points that he could exploit.

He would also tease his guests, jocularity and malice being nicely balanced in his manner; for such bluff banter Stalin’s main henchman, Vyacheslav Molotov, the stuttering foreign minister, was often a target. Stalin had a keen, ironical sense of humour, usually devoted to deflating his guests rather than to amusing them.

Foremost among Stalin’s accomplishments was the industrialization of a country which, when he assumed complete control in 1928, was still notably backward by comparison with the leading industrial nations of the world. By 1937, after less than a decade’s rule as totalitarian dictator, he had increased the Soviet Union’s total industrial output to the point where it was surpassed only by that of the United States.

The extent of this achievement may best be appreciated if one remembers that Russia had held only fifth place for overall industrial output in 1913, and that it thereafter suffered many years of even greater devastation—through world war, civil war, famine, and pestilence—than afflicted any of the world’s other chief industrial countries during the same period. Yet more appallingly ravaged during World War II, the Soviet Union was nevertheless able, under Stalin’s leadership, to play a major part in defeating Hitler while maintaining its position as the world’s second most powerful industrial—and now military—complex after the United States. In 1949 Stalinist Russia signaled its arrival as the world’s second nuclear power by exploding an atomic bomb.

Against these formidable achievements must be set one major disadvantage. Though a high industrial output was indeed achieved under Stalin, very little of it ever became available to the ordinary Soviet citizen in the form of consumer goods or amenities of life. A considerable proportion of the national wealth—a proportion wholly unparalleled in the history of any peacetime capitalist country—was appropriated by the state to cover military expenditure, the police apparatus, and further industrialization. It is also arguable that a comparable degree of industrialization would have come about in any case—and surely by means less savage—under almost any conceivable regime that might have evolved as an alternative to Stalinism.

  Stalin’s collectivization of agriculture did not produce positive economic results remotely comparable to those attained by Soviet industry. Considered as a means of asserting control over the politically recalcitrant peasantry, however, collectivization justified itself and continued to do so for decades, remaining one of the dictator’s most durable achievements. Moreover, the process of intensive urbanization, as instituted by Stalin, continued after his death in what still remained a population more predominantly rural than that of any other major industrial country. In 1937, 56 percent of the population was recorded as engaged in agriculture or forestry; by 1958 that proportion had dropped to 42 percent, very largely as a result of Stalin’s policies.

Another of the dictator’s achievements was the creation of his elaborately bureaucratized administrative machinery based on the interlinking of the Communist Party, ministries, legislative bodies, trade unions, political police, and armed forces, and also on a host of other meshing control devices. During the decades following the dictator’s death, these continued to supply the essential management levers of Soviet society, often remaining under the control of individuals who had risen to prominence during the years of the Stalinist terror. But the element of total personal dictatorship did not survive Stalin in its most extreme form. One result of his death was the resurgence of the Communist Party as the primary centre of power, after years during which that organization, along with all other Soviet institutions, had been subordinated to a single man’s whim. Yet, despite the great power wielded by Stalin’s successors as party leaders, they became no more than dominant figures within the framework of a ruling oligarchy. They did not develop into potentates responsible to themselves alone, such as Stalin was during his quarter of a century’s virtually unchallenged rule.

That Stalin’s system persisted as long as it did, in all its major essentials, after the death of its creator is partly due to the very excess of severity practiced by the great tyrant. Not only did his methods crush initiative among Soviet administrators, physically destroying many, but they also left a legacy of remembered fear so extreme as to render continuing post-Stalin restrictions tolerable to the population; the people would have more bitterly resented—might even, perhaps, have rejected—such rigours, had it not been for their vivid recollection of repressions immeasurably harsher.
Just as Hitler’s wartime cruelty toward the Soviet population turned Stalin into a genuine national hero—making him the Soviet Union’s champion against an alien terror even worse than his own—so too Stalin’s successors owed the stability of their system in part to the comparison, still fresh in many minds, with the far worse conditions that obtained during the despot’s sway.

 
 

Stalin has arguably made a greater impact on the lives of more individuals than any other figure in history. But the evaluation of his overall achievement still remains, decades after his death, a highly controversial matter. Historians have not yet reached any definitive consensus on the worth of his accomplishments, and it is unlikely that they ever will. To the American scholar George F. Kennan, Stalin is a great man, but one great in his “incredible criminality…a criminality effectively without limits,” while Robert C. Tucker, an American specialist on Soviet affairs, has described Stalin as a 20th-century Ivan the Terrible. To the British historian E.H. Carr, the Georgian dictator appears as a ruthless, vigorous figure, but one lacking in originality—a comparative nonentity thrust into greatness by the inexorable march of the great revolution that he found himself leading. To the late Isaac Deutscher, the author of biographies of Trotsky and Stalin—who, like Carr, broadly accepts Trotsky’s version of Stalin as a somewhat mediocre personage—Stalin represents a lamentably deviant element in the evolution of Marxism. Neither Deutscher nor Carr has found Stalin’s truly appalling record sufficiently impressive to raise doubts about the ultimate value of the Russian October Revolution’s historic achievements.

To such views may be added the suggestion that Stalin was anything but a plodding mediocrity, being rather a man of superlative, all-transcending talent. His special brilliance was, however, narrowly specialized and confined within the single crucial area of creative political manipulation, where he remains unsurpassed. Stalin was the first to recognize the potential of bureaucratic power, while the other Bolshevik leaders still feared their revolution being betrayed by a military man. Stalin’s political ability went beyond tactics, as he was able to channel massive social forces both to meet his economic goals and to expand his personal power.

Ronald Francis Hingley
EB Editors

Encyclopædia Britannica
 
 

Joseph Stalin, lying in state in Hall of Columns of the House of Unions in Moscow.
 
 
     
 
Vladimir Lenin

Joseph Stalin
     
 
 
 
1879
 
 
Trotsky Leon
 

Leon Trotsky, byname of Lev Davidovich Bronshtein (born November 7 [October 26, Old Style], 1879, Yanovka, Ukraine, Russian Empire—died August 21, 1940, Coyoacán, Mexico), communist theorist and agitator, a leader in Russia’s October Revolution in 1917, and later commissar of foreign affairs and of war in the Soviet Union (1917–24). In the struggle for power following Vladimir Ilich Lenin’s death, however, Joseph Stalin emerged as victor, while Trotsky was removed from all positions of power and later exiled (1929). He remained the leader of an anti-Stalinist opposition abroad until his assassination by a Stalinist agent.

 

Leon Trotsky
  Early life, education, and revolutionary career
Trotsky’s father, David Bronshtein, was a farmer of Russified Jewish background who had settled as a colonist in the steppe region, and his mother, Anna, was of the educated middle class. He had an older brother and sister; two other siblings died in infancy. At the age of eight, he was sent to school in Odessa, where he spent eight years with the family of his mother’s nephew, a liberal intellectual. When he moved to Nikolayev in 1896 to complete his schooling, he was drawn into an underground socialist circle and introduced to Marxism. After briefly attending the University of Odessa, he returned to Nikolayev to help organize the underground South Russian Workers’ Union.

Arrested in January 1898 for revolutionary activity, Bronshtein spent four and a half years in prison and in exile in Siberia, during which time he married his coconspirator Aleksandra Sokolovskaya and fathered two daughters. He escaped in 1902 with a forged passport bearing the name Trotsky, which he adopted as his revolutionary pseudonym. His wife remained behind, and the separation became permanent. Trotsky made his way to London, where he joined the group of Russian Social-Democrats working with Vladimir Ulyanov (Lenin) on the revolutionary newspaper Iskra (“The Spark”).
At the Second Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers’ Party, held in Brussels and London in July 1903, Trotsky sided with the Menshevik faction—advocating a democratic approach to socialism—against Lenin and the Bolsheviks.

 
 
Shortly before this, in Paris, Trotsky had met and married Natalya Sedova, by whom he subsequently had two sons, Lev and Sergey.

Upon the outbreak of revolutionary disturbances in 1905, Trotsky returned to Russia. He became a leading spokesman of the St. Petersburg Soviet (council) of Workers’ Deputies when it organized a revolutionary strike movement and other measures of defiance against the tsarist government. In the aftermath, Trotsky was jailed and brought to trial in 1906. While incarcerated, Trotsky wrote one of his major works, “Results and Prospects,” setting forth his theory of permanent revolution.

In 1907, after a second exile to Siberia, Trotsky once again escaped. He settled in Vienna and supported himself as a correspondent in the Balkan Wars of 1912–13. At the outbreak of World War I, Trotsky joined the majority of Russian Social-Democrats who condemned the war and refused to support the war effort of the tsarist regime. He moved to Switzerland and then to Paris. His antiwar stance led to his expulsion from both France and Spain. He reached New York City in January 1917, where he joined the Bolshevik theoretician Nikolay Bukharin in editing the Russian-language paper Novy Mir (“The New World”).

 
 

Lev Davidovich Bronstein, 1897
  Leadership in the Revolution of 1917
Trotsky hailed the outbreak of revolution in Russia in February (March, New Style) as the opening of the permanent revolution he had predicted. He reached Petrograd in mid-May and assumed the leadership of a left-wing Menshevik faction.

Following the abortive July Days uprising, Trotsky was arrested in the crackdown on the Bolshevik leadership carried out by Aleksandr Kerensky’s liberal government.

In August, while still in jail, Trotsky was formally admitted to the Bolshevik Party and was also elected to membership on the Bolshevik Central Committee.

He was released from prison in September and shortly afterward was elected chairman of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies.

When fighting was precipitated by an ineffectual government raid early on November 6 (October 24, Old Style), Trotsky took a leading role in directing countermeasures for the soviet, while reassuring the public that his Military Revolutionary Committee meant only to defend the Congress of Soviets.

Governmental authority crumbled quickly, and Petrograd was largely in Bolshevik hands by the time Lenin reappeared from the underground on November 7 to take direct charge of the Revolution and present the Congress of Soviets with an accomplished fact when it convened next day.

 
 
Trotsky continued to function as the military leader of the Revolution when Kerensky vainly attempted to retake Petrograd with loyal troops. He organized and supervised the forces that broke Kerensky’s efforts at the Battle of Pulkovo on November 13. Immediately afterward he joined Lenin in defeating proposals for a coalition government including Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries.
 
 

Leon Trotsky in 1918
  Role in Soviet government
As foreign commissar, Trotsky’s first charge was to implement the Bolsheviks’ program of peace by calling for immediate armistice negotiations among the warring powers. Germany and its allies responded, and in mid-December peace talks were begun at Brest-Litovsk, though Trotsky continued vainly to invite support from the Allied governments.

In January 1918 Trotsky entered into the peace negotiations personally and shocked his adversaries by turning the talks into a propaganda forum. He then recessed the talks and returned to Petrograd to argue against acceptance of Germany’s annexationist terms, even though Lenin had meanwhile decided to pay the German price for peace and thus buy time for the Soviet state. Between Lenin’s position and Bukharin’s outright call for revolutionary war, Trotsky proposed the formula “no war, no peace.”

When the Germans resumed their offensive in mid-February, the Bolshevik Central Committee was compelled to make a decision; Trotsky and his followers abstained from the vote, and Lenin’s acceptance of the German terms was endorsed.
 
 
Following the conclusion of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Trotsky resigned as foreign commissar, turning the office over to Georgy Chicherin, and was immediately made commissar of war, theretofore a committee responsibility. As war commissar, Trotsky faced the formidable task of building a new Red Army out of the shambles of the old Russian army and preparing to defend the communist government against the imminent threats of civil war and foreign intervention. Trotsky chose to concentrate on developing a small but disciplined and professionally competent force. His abandonment of the revolutionary ideal of democratization and guerrilla tactics prompted much criticism of his methods among other communists. He was particularly criticized for recruiting former tsarist officers (“military specialists”) and putting them to work under the supervision of communist military commissars. Trotsky’s military policies were resisted unsuccessfully by a coalition of ultraleft purists and rival party leaders, notably Stalin, with whom Trotsky had an acrimonious clash over the defense of the city of Tsaritsyn (later Stalingrad, now Volgograd). Trotsky’s approach was, however, vindicated by the success of the Red Army in turning back attacks by the anticommunist White armies in 1918 and 1919.
 
 

Trotsky, Vladimir Lenin and Kamenev at the Second Party Congress of the Communist Party of Russia in 1919
 
 
With the triumph of the communist forces and the end of the Russian Civil War in 1920, Trotsky, retaining his office as commissar of war, turned his attention to the economic reconstruction of Russia. He first proposed a relaxation of the stringent centralization of War Communism to allow market forces to operate. Rejected in this, he endeavoured to apply military discipline to the economy, using soldiers as labour armies and attempting to militarize the administration of the transportation system.
 
 

Trotsky c. 1920
  During the Civil War and War Communism phase of the Soviet regime, Trotsky was clearly established as the number-two man next to Lenin. He was one of the initial five members of the Politburo when that top Communist Party policy-making body was created in 1919. In intellectual power and administrative effectiveness, he was Lenin’s superior and did not hesitate to disagree with him, but he lacked facility in political manipulation to win party decisions. Trotsky took a prominent part in the launching of the Comintern in 1919 and wrote its initial manifesto.

In the winter of 1920–21 widespread dissension broke out over the policies of War Communism, not only among the populace but among the party leadership as well. The point at issue in the controversy was the future role of the trade unions. The utopian left wing wanted the unions to administer industry; Lenin and the cautious wing wanted the unions confined to supervising working conditions; Trotsky and his supporters tried to reconcile radicalism and pragmatism by visualizing administration through unions representing the central state authority.

The crisis came to a head in March 1921, with agitation for democracy within the party on the one hand and armed defiance represented by the naval garrison at Kronshtadt on the other. At this point Trotsky sided with Lenin, commanding the forces that suppressed the Kronshtadt Rebellion and backing the suppression of open factional activity in the party. Trotsky accepted Lenin’s retreat from ideal communism in favour of the New Economic Policy, including his conventional view of the trade unions. This degree of accord, however, did not prevent Trotsky from losing a substantial degree of political influence at the 10th Party Congress in March 1921.

 
 
The struggle for the succession
When Lenin was stricken with his first cerebral hemorrhage in May 1922, the question of eventual succession to the leadership of Russia became urgent. Trotsky, owing to his record and his charismatic qualities, was the obvious candidate in the eyes of the party rank and file, but jealousy among his colleagues on the Politburo prompted them to combine against him. As an alternative, the Politburo supported the informal leadership of the troika composed of Grigory Zinovyev, Lev Kamenev, and Stalin.

In the winter of 1922–23 Lenin recovered partially and turned to Trotsky for assistance in correcting the errors of the troika, particularly in foreign trade policy, the handling of the national minorities, and reform of the bureaucracy. In December 1922, warning in his then secret “Testament” of the danger of a split between Trotsky and Stalin, Lenin characterized Trotsky as a man of “exceptional abilities” but “too far-reaching self-confidence and a disposition to be too much attracted by the purely administrative side of affairs.” Just before he was silenced by a final stroke in March 1923, Lenin invited Trotsky to open an attack on Stalin, but Trotsky chose to bide his time, possibly contemplating an alliance against Zinovyev. Stalin moved rapidly to consolidate his hold on the Central Committee at the 12th Party Congress in April 1923.

By fall, alarmed by inroads of the secret police among party members and efforts to weaken his control of the war commissariat, Trotsky decided to strike out against the party leadership.

 
A Polish poster depicts Trotsky on a pile of skulls and holding a bloody knife, during the Polish-Russian war of 1920
 
 
In October he addressed a wide-ranging critique to the Central Committee, stressing especially the violation of democracy in the party and the failure to develop adequate economic planning. Reforms were promised, and Trotsky responded with an open letter detailing the direction they should take. This, however, served only as the signal for a massive propaganda counterattack against Trotsky and his supporters on grounds of factionalism and opportunism. At this critical moment Trotsky fell ill of an undiagnosed fever and could take no personal part in the struggle. Because of Stalin’s organizational controls, the party leadership easily won, and the “New Course” controversy was terminated at the 13th Party Conference in January 1924 (the first substantially stage-managed party assembly) with the condemnation of the Trotskyist opposition as a Menshevik-like illegal factional deviation. Lenin’s death a week later only confirmed Trotsky’s isolation. Convalescing on the Black Sea coast, Trotsky was deceived about the date of the funeral, failed to return to Moscow, and left the scene to Stalin.
 
 

Funeral of Felix Dzerzhinsky. Trotsky and Stalin bearing the coffin, 30 July 1926
 
 
Attacks on Trotsky did not cease. When the 13th Party Congress, in May 1924, repeated the denunciations of his violations of party discipline, Trotsky vainly professed his belief in the omnipotence of the party. The following fall he took a different tack in his essay The Lessons of October 1917, linking the opposition of Zinovyev and Kamenev to the October Revolution with the failure of the Soviet-inspired German communist uprising in 1923. The party leadership replied with a wave of denunciation, counterposing Trotskyism to Leninism, denigrating Trotsky’s role in the Revolution, and denouncing the theory of permanent revolution as a Menshevik heresy. In January 1925 Trotsky was removed from the war commissariat.
 
 

Trotsky with American comrades, including Harry DeBoer (left) in Mexico, shortly before his assassination, 1940.
 
 
Early in 1926, following the split between the Stalin-Bukharin leadership and Zinovyev-Kamenev group and the denunciation of the latter at the 14th Party Congress, Trotsky joined forces with his old adversaries Zinovyev and Kamenev to resume the political offensive. For a year and a half this “United Opposition” grasped at every opportunity to put its criticisms before the party membership, despite the increasingly severe curbs being placed on such discussion. Again they stressed the themes of party democracy and economic planning, condemned the leadership’s concessions to bourgeois elements, and denounced Stalin’s theory of “socialism in one country” as a pretext for abandoning world revolution.

The response of the leadership was a rising tide of official denunciation, supplemented by an anti-Semitic whispering campaign. In October 1926 Trotsky was expelled from the Politburo, and a year later he and Zinovyev were dropped from the Central Committee. After an abortive attempt at a demonstration on the 10th anniversary of the Revolution, the two were expelled from the party.

 
 

Frida Kahlo and Leon Trotsky, Mexico
 
 
Exile and assassination
In January 1928 Trotsky and his principal followers were exiled to remote parts of the Soviet Union, Trotsky himself being assigned to Alma-Ata (now Almaty) in Central Asia. In January 1929 Trotsky was banished from the territory of the Soviet Union. He was initially received by the government of Turkey and domiciled on the island of Prinkipo. He plunged into literary activity there and completed his autobiography and his history of the Russian Revolution.
 
 
In 1933 Trotsky secured permission to move to France. After Hitler’s victory in Germany, Trotsky gave up the hope of reforming the Communist International and called on his followers to establish their own revolutionary parties and form a Fourth International. This movement (whose American branch was the Socialist Workers’ Party) proved to be little more than a shadow organization, although a small founding conference was officially held in France in 1938.

In 1935 Trotsky was compelled to move to Norway, and in 1936, under Soviet pressure, he was forced to seek asylum in Mexico, where he settled at Coyoacán.
 
Frida Kahlo and Trotsky
 
 
He was represented as the principal conspirator, in absentia, in the treason trials of former communist opposition leaders held in Moscow (1936–38). The evidence of treasonable plotting, however, was later proved to be fictitious.

In May 1940, men armed with machine guns attacked his house, but Trotsky survived. Some three months later, however, Ramón Mercader, a Spanish communist who had won the confidence of the Trotsky household, fatally struck him with an ice pick. The Soviet government disclaimed any responsibility, and Mercader was sentenced to the maximum 20-year term under Mexican law.

 
 

Trotsky, Rivera and Breton
 
 
Assessment
Trotsky was undoubtedly the most brilliant intellect brought to prominence by the Russian Revolution, outdistancing Lenin and other theoreticians both in the range of his interests and in the imaginativeness of his perceptions. He was an indefatigable worker, a rousing public speaker, and a decisive administrator.

On the other hand, Trotsky was not successful as a leader of men, partly because he allowed his brilliance and arrogance to antagonize the lesser lights in the communist movement.
 
Perhaps he fatally compromised himself when he became a Bolshevik in 1917, subordinating himself to Lenin’s leadership and accepting the methods of dictatorship that he had previously condemned. Had Trotsky won the struggle to succeed Lenin, the character of the Soviet regime would almost certainly have been substantially different, particularly in foreign policy, cultural policy, and the extent of terroristic repression. Trotsky’s failure, however, seems to have been almost inevitable, considering his own qualities and the conditions of authoritarian rule by the Communist Party organization.

Robert V. Daniels
EB Editors

Encyclopædia Britannica
 
Leon Trotsky on his Deathbed, August 21, 1940
 
 
 

 
 
CONTENTS
  BACK-1878 Part IV NEXT-1879 Part II