The blow to Trotsky's head was bungled and failed to kill him instantly. Witnesses stated that Trotsky spat on Mercader and began struggling fiercely with him. Hearing the commotion Trotsky's bodyguards burst into the room and nearly killed Mercader but Trotsky stopped them, laboriously stating that the assassin should be made to answer questions. Trotsky was taken to a hospital, operated on and survived for more than a day, dying as a result of loss of blood and shock. (21 August 1940)
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