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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August 3, 1918

Non-commissioned officer! The country is calling you. The Soviet power is creating an army which will have the duty of defending the freedom and independence of the working classes of Russia from attacks by aggressors both external and internal. The workers’ and peasants’ army needs a serious, strong and honest commanding apparatus. A section of the old officer corps is working conscientiously at the task of creating the military might of the Soviet Republic. But they are an insignificant minority. The majority, accustomed to fawning and groveling before Tsardom, are unwilling to serve the working class and the poor peasantry. We are compelling the opponents of the Soviet power to act as military instructors. But we cannot entrust them with powers of command.

The Soviet power summons you, the former NCOs, to posts of command: You are yourselves sons of the working people. The Workers’ and Peasants’ Army is your army. You will stand at the head of its platoons, its companies, and later also of its regiments and divisions, in order firmly and valiantly to serve the Russia of the working people. You will create indestructible cadres for the socialist officer corps of the Soviet Republic. As from now, every NCO serving in the Red Army, whether as a volunteer or through compulsory enlistment, is promoted to the post of platoon commander.

The Soviet power will give you every opportunity to complete your military education. While remaining true sons of the revolutionary people, you must ascend to the highest levels of the military art.

Non-commissioned officers, your hour has struck! Soviet Russia calls you. Forward, on the road of stubborn work, on the road of valiant struggle for the freedom and happiness of Soviet Russia! Forward on the road of glory and honor!

Izv.V.Ts.I.K., August 6, 1918

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Last updated on: 15.12.2006