Ash heap of history

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is an old revision of this page, as edited by Mushonz (talk | contribs) at 17:30, 1 May 2012 (Added illustration (a part of the initiative)). The present address (URL) is a permanent link to this revision, which may differ significantly from the current revision.

Jump to navigation Jump to search
The ash heap of history

The ash heap of history (or often garbage heap of history or dustbin of history) is a figurative place to where objects such as persons, events, artifacts, ideologies, etc. are relegated when they are forgotten or marginalized in history.

The expression—or something like it—arose in the 19th century in various places[1]. But it was popularized by Leon Trotsky in response to the Mensheviks walking out of the Petrograd Second Congress of Soviets, on October 25, 1917 (Julian calendar), thereby enabling the Bolsheviks to establish their dominance. Trotsky declared: "'You are pitiful, isolated individuals! You are bankrupts. Your role is played out. Go where you belong from now on—into the dustbin of history!'"[2][3][4]

It has since been used in both the direct and the ironic sense in political and nonpolitical contexts.

Later, it was most notably used by Ronald Reagan in a speech to the British House of Commons on June 8, 1982. Reagan's speechwriter chose the expression deliberately because of its prior context. His exact phrase was: "... freedom and democracy will leave Marxism and Leninism on the ash heap of history." [5]

The phrase was most recently used by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi during a March 2011 speech. Speaking of the countries that attacked Libya during the implementation of a no-fly zone, Gaddafi stated, "This assault ... is by a bunch of fascists who will end up in the dustbin of history."[6]

See also


  • Deutscher, Isaac (2003). The Prophet Armed: Trotsky 1879-1921. Verso; New Ed edition. ISBN 1859844413.
  1. ^ Liberman, Mark (23 December 2011). "The what of history?". Language Log. Retrieved 2011-12-23.
  2. ^ Sonne, Paul The Dustbunnies of History The Oxonian Review 8 June, 2009 • Issue 9.7.
  3. ^ Bertrand M. Patenade (2009) Stalin’s Nemesis: The Exile and Murder of Leon Trotsky, Faber and Faber, 352 Pages ISBN 978-0571228751.[failed verification]
  4. ^ Maureen Healey (2004), "11 Dictator in a dumpster. Thoughts on history and garbage", in Alun Munslow, Robert A. Rosenstone (ed.), Experiments in rethinking history (illustrated ed.), Routledge, p. 225, ISBN 9780415301466
  5. ^ Pipes, Richard (June 3, 2002). "Ash Heap of History: President Reagan's Westminster Address 20 Years Later". Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 2007-02-13.
  6. ^ "Foreign forces to end in history's dustbin: Gaddafi". Reuters Africa. 23 Mar, 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2011. Check date values in: |date= (help)