Hi, I'm Ben Arrona, here for About.com. I'm a historian with a Master's degree in American History, and today we'll be discussing the life of Leon Trotsky. Leon Trotsky was a Communist theorist and a writer who helped lead the Russian Revolution in 1917, and who held several positions within the Soviet Union's new Communist government. Let's take a closer look.Born on November 7, 1879 as Lev Davidovich Bronstein, Trotsky was sent away to Odessa at the age of eight to attend school. In his late teens, he was introduced to Marxism, and soon thereafter he began to help in the organization of the South Russian Worker's Union. Trotsky was arrested and exiled to prison in Serbia in 1898 for revolutionary activity. He was able to escape in 1902 with a forged passport, permanently shedding the name Bronstein, in favor of his now famous alias, Leon Trotsky. After another short stint in prison for taking part in the failed Russian Revolution of 1905, Trotsky escaped and would live the next decade of his life in cities across Western Europe and even in the United States.It was with the overthrow of Tzar Nicholas the Second in 1917 that Trotsky would finally make his way back to his homeland. Upon his return, Trotsky became one of the leaders of the revolution, joining Lenin's Bolshevik Party. As Lenin ascended to power in the new Soviet Union, Trotsky was named the People's Commissioner for Foreign Affairs. A year later, after crafting the treaty to remove the Soviet Union from WWI, Trotsky was placed in command of the Red Army. His position within the Soviet power structure was second only to Lenin.Although Trotsky seemed to finally find his place, serving his country, this stability was to be short lived. After Lenin's death in 1924, Trotsky, who was his hand-picked successor, was out-politicked for the leadership position by a crafty Joseph Stalin. With Stalin in power, Trotsky was slowly phased out of leadership roles within the Soviet government and then ultimately exiled, once again, from his country.While in exile, Trotsky wrote criticisms of Stalin's rule of the Soviet Union. Stalin retaliated by accusing Trotsky, and 16 other rivals, of a plot to remove him from power. On August 20, 1940, Trotsky was attacked in his home in Mexico with an ice axe by one of Stalin's men. He would eventually die of his injuries a day later, ending the life of one of the 20th Century's most politically charged figures.Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at About.com.