Trotsky wrote this while he was in exile. Lenin was dead, and Stalin had come to power in the Soviet Union, striking a death knell for world revolution as he moved to consolidate the gains that the working class had won and establish an elite, privileged power structure, corrupt and bureaucratic.
In Germany, the revolutionaries, courageous to the bitter end, were rounded up and for the most part, exterminated.
Trotsky offers a convincing argument regarding the causes of fascism. He does not see this as mass hysteria or a “quasi-religious” movement, to quote others on the topic, but one with a purely economic basis.
It is not light reading. It is an historical treasure and possibly instruction for what the future may hold if workers, farmers, students, and social activists who care about the world are not wary and careful. The best way to read it is with the television set off and some sticky notes or a highlighter in your hand.
I was stunned to see I had not reviewed this sooner, as I have read it multiple times. Alongside the work of Daniel Guerin, I consider this the best analysis of the causes of fascism ever written.