The phrase "ash heap of history" (or "dustbin of history"[1]) figuratively refers to the place to where persons, events, artifacts, ideologies, etc., are relegated upon losing currency and value as history. A notable usage was that of the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky referring to the Mensheviks: "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!" in response to the Menshevik faction walking out of the All-Russian Congress of Soviets (25 October 1917) in Petrograd, which allowed the Bolshevik faction to dominate the party.[2][3][4][5] In a speech to the British House of Commons (8 June 1982), U.S. President Ronald Reagan said that "freedom and democracy will leave Marxism and Leninism on the ash heap of history".[6]


  1. Alternative versions include: "dust heap of history", "trash heap of history", "garbage heap of history", "ashcan of history" See: Safire, William (16 October 1983). "On Language; Dust Heaps of History". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  2. Liberman, Mark (23 December 2011). "The What of History?". Language Log. Retrieved 23 December 2011. 
  3. Sonne, Paul, "The Dustbunnies of History", The Oxonian Review 8 June 2009 • Issue 9.7. ISBN 978-0-571-22875-1
  4. Bertrand M. Patenade (2009) Stalin's Nemesis: The Exile and Murder of Leon Trotsky, Faber and Faber, pp. 193–194, 352. ISBN 978-0-571-22875-1
  5. Maureen Healey (2004), "11 Dictator in a Dumpster: Thoughts on History and Garbage", in Alun Munslow, Robert A. Rosenstone, Experiments in Rethinking History (illustrated ed.), Routledge, p. 225, ISBN 978-0-415-30146-6 
  6. Pipes, Richard (3 June 2002). "Ash Heap of History: President Reagan's Westminster Address 20 Years Later". Heritage Foundation. Archived from the original on 17 September 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2007. 
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