At the time the articles in this volume were written (September 1938 - July 1939), Leon Trotsky was in exile in Mexico and was writing a biography of Stalin; but he was continually interrupted by political developments he felt compelled to discuss and analyze.
This ten-month period was cheifly marked by preparations for the coming world war. Trotsky examined all the major developments in this process, including the Munich crisis, the occupation of Czechoslovakia, Franco's victory in Spain, the efforts of the Second and Third Internationals to line the labor movement up behind the war, and the 18th congress of the Communist Party of the USSR, where Stalin made a bid for a pact with Hitler and introduced a revision of the Marxist theory of the state.
Trotsky also gave his attention during this period to problems and disputes in the Fourth International, founded in September 1938. This volume contains several previously unpublished letters and discussions with leaders of the Socialist Workers Party on its work in the U.S.: its youth group, its newspaper, its work in the American CP. He also tried to alleviate a crisis amongst his French comrades over whether to enter a new centrist party. At the same time, he wrote under pen names in the Spanish-language press on problems of the Mexican labor movement, including its relation to the war, the trade unions, the coming elections and the Stalinists.
Also contained in this edition is a collection of thirteen statements and letters never before published concerning the "Diego Rivera affair," documenting the details of the celebrated artist's break from the Fourth International.
Fifty-three of the ninety-nine articles in this edition are published here in English for the first time.