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Natalia Sedova Trotsky

Natalia Sedova Trotsky

Catastrophe Faces USSR as Result of Stalin’s Rule

Stalin’s Purges Beheaded Red Army

(25 September 1941)


Written: 25 September 1941.
Source: The Militant, Vol. V No. 40, 4 October 1941, p. 1.
Online Version: Natalia Sedova Internet Archive, May 2016.
Transcribed/HTML Markup: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.



The German army keeps advancing deeper and deeper into the Soviet Union. The fascists have seized Kiev, they are marching on Kharkov, Rostov, the Donetz Basin. They are in a position to occupy Crimea. They can occupy Leningrad. The heroic Red Army is not attaining its goal despite its high morale, despite its frightful sacrifices, despite the millions of fighters who perish. The sacrifices so far have been in vain! Under such conditions, the morale of the Red Army will begin to decline.

It is absolutely self-evident that the causes for the lack of successes of the Red Army lie in the lack of leadership. The Red Army has been beheaded by the greatest criminal in history. Stalin bears the guilt for all the ills suffered by the Soviet Union.

It is necessary to undertake a resolute campaign against the criminals responsible for the defeats.

Irrefutable facts are now confirming with invincible force the diagnosis made by Leon Trotsky on the basis of an all-sided analysis of the general political and economic conditions in the USSR.

It is necessary by means of the merciless blows of facts to lay bare unceasingly, with all our energy, the causes for the defeats of the Red Army. The time has come to remind all workers daily, hourly, of the crimes of the Kremlin regime and its chieftain. They must be reminded of the doom of such fighters and military activities as Muralov, Mrachkovsky, Ivan Nikitich, Smirnov, Smilga, Pyatakov and other heroes of the revolutionary civil war of 1918–1920 who fell victims of the “verdict” of the infamous Moscow trials. It is necessary to sound the alarm concerning the consequences of Stalin’s murder of the revolutionary military leaders, Tukhachevsky, Yegorov, Uborevich and the others.

The brazen and untalented Lozovsky now speaks in humble tones and together with the Menshevik Maisky begs at Churchill’s feet for assistance. Stalin pleads for arms from the “democracies.” He dares not summon the world proletariat. Payment is now being exacted from Stalin for his bestial crimes, his narrow mind, his rudeness, his boorish vaingloriousness, and his moral monstrousness.

The Red Army is being bled white by the struggle against the fascists which is being conducted without revolutionary leadership and without strategists. The successes of the fascists will begin at a certain stage-to be considered by the Red Army as due to its own impotence. The moral uplift of the army together with that of the population will begin to decline; and this, in its turn, can lead Stalin to capitulate to Hitler. It is necessary to sound all alarms to warn of the catastrophe that threatens.

Drawing the lessons from its own bloody experience the Red Army must become convinced, must draw the conclusion, that its impotence lies in the absence of leadership and in Stalin’s rotten regime.

What is the truth about guerrilla warfare? Stalin has come back to it, he has returned to the guerrillaism against which Lenin and Trotsky fought so relentlessly during the civil war in the revolutionary Soviet Union. Stalin needs guerrillaism as a facade, as something to show, something to fool the people with. By guerrillaism he tries to cover up the absence of strategists, the absence of a genuine revolutionary and planned leadership of the war; he distracts public opinion by means of the heroes of guerrilla warfare. But in a correctly conducted war there is no need at all of guerrillas; they can only be a hindrance and incur disproportionate sacrifices. Who benefits by this?

The morale of the army is of decisive significance in war, but it is self-evident that there must in addition exist such indispensable prerequisites as the general knowledge of how to conduct a particular war, leaders trained in the military arts, a unified strategic plan. But all this is lacking in the Stalinist apparatus. The best revolutionary commanders were murdered by Stalin before the outbreak of the war. Under such conditions the sacrifices of the Red Army are being made in vain!

How far removed from the threatening tragedy in the USSR are the things that are now being written about the Soviet-German conflict! All these descriptions of heroic guerrilla fighters who refuse to drop their silenced weapons serve only to obscure the truly tragic position of the Red Army. These descriptions really reveal sacrifices which are devouring precious human material. They reveal the lack of a unified and correct organization. There is no one to harness the heroic elemental force of the Red Army, its great power, its readiness to defend the land of the Soviets. There is no one to harness and direct all this into the channels of a unified strategic plan. The richest material equipment of the bourgeois “democratic” imperialists of England and the United States cannot make up for this glaring gap in the conduct of the Soviet Union’s war.

The questions I raise are questions of the greatest importance. Everything must be concentrated on them, everything else must be subordinated to them. For the fate of the Soviet Union is now being decided.

Coyoacan, D.F.
September 25, 1941.


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