The Military Writings of
Leon Trotsky

Volume 1, 1918

How the Revolution Armed



Transcribed and HTML markup for the Trotsky Internet Archive by David Walters

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The Central Executive Committee has instructed the People’s Commissariat for Military Affairs to direct all its efforts to the creating of a strong, strictly-organized and internally united Red Army, capable of defending the Soviet Republic from enemies both external and internal. The creation of an armed force requires as its primary condition the existence of a well- regulated apparatus of military administration in the localities. By its decree of April 8 the Central Soviet Government instructed all province, uyezd and volost Soviets to set up in the localities commissariats for military affairs, each consisting of three members, one of whom must in every case be a military specialist. However, the majority of soviets have not as yet put this decree into effect. In many places amorphous military departments exist, which have not so far been brought within the framework of the military commissariats. There are also no few places where the working of the local military administration has not been separated off from the Soviets’ organs of general administration.

Under these conditions, work towards the formation of a Red Army, in accordance with a single plan, is absolutely impracticable. By the present order it is made the responsibility of the chairmen of local soviets and the chairmen of local military departments, where these exist, to implement, within one week of receiving this telegram, the decree of April 8 on organizing local military commissariats. Any delay will be regarded as direct failure to fulfill a decree of the Soviet Government, and direct responsibility for such non-fulfilment will be borne by the chairmen of the respective province, uyezd and volost soviets.

All daily press organs published on the territory of the Russian Soviet Republic are required to print this instruction in three consecutive issues, on the front page. – May 18, 1918

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Last updated on: 13.12.2006