The Military Writings of
Leon Trotsky

Volume 1, 1918

How the Revolution Armed


From the Original Soviet Edition

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

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(Dates previous to February 14, 1918, are given in the old style and new style, but from then onward in new style only.)



(March 9-13) 24-28 General strike in Petrograd. Revolt of the Preobrazhensky, Volhynian and Lithuanian Regiments. Formation of the Executive Committee of the State Duma and of the Provisional government.


18 (July 1) Offensive organized by Kerensky on the South-Western Front.


Armed demonstration by a section of the garrison and workers of Petrograd against the Provisional Government. Turning-point in our offensive at the front and beginning of the retreat from Galicia.


19-21 (Sept. 1-3) German break-through in the Riga positions and capture of Riga.
25-30 (Sept. 7-12) General Kornilov’s mutiny. Movement towards Petrograd by the cavalry corps under Krymov. Bloodless liquidation of themutiny through general arming of the workers.


16 (29) Creation of the Military Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd Soviet.
21 (Nov. 3) At a meeting of the Petrograd Soviet the Military Revolutionary Committee (MRC) is recognised as the leading organ of the troops in the capital. An emergency meeting of all the regimental committees of the garrison resolves to support the MRC.
22 (Nov. 4) ‘The Day of the Petrograd Soviet’. Crowded meetings in all the factories.
23-24 (Nov. 5-6) The MRC puts the entire garrison on a footing of full combat-readiness.
25 (Nov. 7) Victorious accomplishment of the proletarian revolution. Flight of Kerensky to the forces of the Northern Front. Arrest of the Provisional Government. Opening of the 2nd All-Russia Congress of Soviets.
26 (Nov. 8) Congress adopts decree on war and peace. Appeal to the fronts and the armies for the establishment of military revolutionary committees. Formation of the Council of People’s Commissars and the People’s Commissariat for Military Affairs.
27 (Nov. 9) Movement towards Petrograd by the Cossack Division of the First Don Corps under Krasnov’s command and Kerensky’s
leadership, with the aim of suppressing the Bolshevik revolt. 28 (Nov.10) Action by the Red Guards at Krasnoye Selo and Gatchina.
29 (Nov. 11) Suppression of the Cadets’ (Junkers’) revolt in Petrograd.
30-31 (Nov. 12-13) Rout of Krasnov. Tsarkoye Selo taken by the Soviet troops.


1 (14) Capture of Gatchina. Arrest of Krasnov. Bitter struggle for the Moscow Kremlin.
2 (15) Victory of the Red Guards in Moscow.
7 (20) Order given to Acting Commander-in-Chief Dulthonin to begin negotiations with the Germans and to cease military operations.
9 (22) Dukhonin refuses to enter into negotiations for an armistice. Ensign N.V. Krylenko appointed Commander-in-Chief.
14 (27) Commander-in-Chief Krylenko sends envoys under a flag of truce to the Germans, to propose an armistice. The command of the Germans’ Eastern Front agrees to negotiate.
19 (Dec. 2) Liquidation of the counter-revolutionary GHQ. First meeting between our peace delegation and the Germans.
22 (Dec. 5) Signature at Brest-Litovsk of an agreement to suspend military operations from November 24 to December 4.
25-28 (Dec. 8-11) First battles with Kornilov’s shock-troops and with Kaledin on the Don. Dutov’s revolt at Orenburg.


2 (15) Kaledin takes Rostov.
8 (21) Comrade Antonov appointed People’s Commissar for the struggle against the counter-revolution. Arrival of Kornilov and Denikin at Novocherkassk.
11-12 (24-25) Battles at Tamarovka station and at Oboyan and capture of the town of Lyubotin by Sievers. Oboyan lies between Kursk and Byclgorod, Tatnarovka is a station on the line unning westward from Byclgorod, and Lyuhotin is a few kilometres west of Kharkov.
16 (29) Lozoyova and pavlograd captured by Red Guard units. Decree abolishing all ranks and titles in the Army.
18 (31) Sablin’s forces enter Kharkov.
20 (January 2) Formation of the All-Russia Board for Organising the Red Army.
24 (January 6) Formation at Kharkov of HQ of the revolutionary forces of the Southern Front for struggle against the counter revolution, under the command of People’s Commissar Com rade Antonov.
Muravyov appointed Chief of Staff.
27 (Jan. 9) The peace conference at Brest-Litovsk resumes work.
29-31 (Jan. 11-13) Krylenko calls for the creation of a revolutionary people’s socialist army. Beginning of the struggle against the Ukrainian Rada.



1 (14) Diplomatic relations are broken off with Romania, where the Russian troops are disarmed.
3 (16) The All-Russia Central Executive Committee adopts the decree on forming a Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army.
4 (17) Beginning of the Red Guards’ offensive towards Kiev.
5 (18) Poltava captured by Muravyov.
6 (19) Dissolution of the Constituent Assembly.
10 (23) Congress of front-line Cossacks at Kamenskaya sanitsa declares war on Kaledin.
11 (24) Capture of Feodosia and Yalta by the Red Guards. Suppression of revolt by the Crimean Tatars.
16 (29) A revolutionary committee seizes power in Odessa. Formation of a revolutionary government in Finland and beginning of civil war with Mannerheim.
18 (31) Orenburg taken by revolutionary units.
26 (Feb. 8) Kiev taken by Muravyov’s troops.
27 (Feb. 9) Ukrainian Rada signs separate peace with the Germans.
28 (Feb.10) Battles before Kamenskaya and Taganrog. The Russian delegation refuses to sign the annexatory conditions of the peace treaty, after declaring the war at an end.
30 (Feb.12) Capture of Torgovaya and Tikhoretskaya. Successful engagement of the Red Guards before Rogachev with the Polish Corps of Sowbor-Musnicki.


14 Opening of the first command courses in Petrograd, Moscow, Tver and Kazan.
17 The German offensive begins.
19 Radio message by the Soviet Government agreeing to accept the Germans’ peace conditions.
21 Capture of Minsk and Rechitsa by the Germans. EstabLishment of the Revolutionary Defence Commitee in Petrograd. We capture Rostov.
22 The Germans reply, agreeing to continue the negotiations for peace.
23 Publication of the decree on the formation of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army.
24 The German offensive continues. Capture of Borisov, RevAl, Yuriev. Our troops in the Ukraine retreat.


2 Order by the People’s Commissar for War for simultaneous demobilisation of all classes of the old Army.
3 The Brest-Litovsk Treaty signed.
4 Decree by the Government on creation of the Supreme Milit ary Council.
5 Atasnan Golubov takes Novocherkassk.
7 The Soviet Governsnent moves to Moscow, and Petrograd is evacuated.
13 The Germans take Chernigov.
14 The Fourth Extraordinary Congress of Soviets ratifies the conditions of the Brest-Litovsk peace.
15 The Turks take Trebizond and the Austrians take Odessa.
16 The Germans take Kiev.
30 Poltava taken by the Germans.


3 A German expeditionary division under Von der Goltz lands at Hangö [?] to put down the rising in Finland.
6 Occupation of Vladivostok by the Japanese.
8 Decree published on the division of the Republic into eight military districts and establishment of commissariats at vol ost, uyezd, province and district levels.
10 Capture of Kherson and Byelgorod by the Germans. Withdrawal of Russian naval vessels from Helsingfors to Kronstadt.
17 Capture of Novocherkassk by Soviet forces and complete liquidation of the Kornilov movement.
22 The All-Russia Central Executive Committee adopts decrees on the introduction of universal military training on the procedure for appointment to posts in the Red Arm; and on the introduction in the Army of a ‘solemn undertaking’ (oath).
26 Rout of the Central Rada by the Germans and accession to power in the Ukraine by Hetman Skoropadsky.


1-6 Capture of Sevastopol, Rostov and Taganrog by the Germans.
8 Establishment of the All-Russia GHQ.
10 Discovery of conspiracy by the Right SRs in Moscow.
15 Demonstration by the Anarchists and the SRs in Tsaritsyn.
21 Large-scale peasant revolts in the Ukraine against oppression by the German troops and the Haydamaks.
25 First clashes with the Czechoslovaks, and capture of Chelyabinsk by them.
29-30 Capture of Penza and Syzran [Syzran changed hands several times. It was of great strategic importance, as the railway running through Orenburg to Turkestan, Russia’s main source of cotton, ran across the bridge over the Volga at this point.] by the Czechoslovaks. Krasnov takes Liski station. First decisions by the All-Russia Central Executive Committee on mobilising the workers.
31 Decision by the Council of People’s Commissars and its appeal for the organisation of armed grain-procurement detachments.


1 Many arrests in Moscow in connection with discovery of the counter-revolutionary organisation ‘Union for Fatherland and Freedom.’
7 Opening of the First All-Russia Congress of Military Commissars.
8 Battle with the Czechoslovaks before Omsk. The Czechoslovaks capture Samara.
8-14 Call-up of workers and peasants in the Volga region Moscow and the Moscow province.
19 Capture of Syzran by the Czechoslovaks. Counter revolutionary demonstrations in Tambov and Kozlov.
20 Comrade Volodarsky murdered in Petrograd.
21 Admiral Shchastny shot.
23 The Czechoslovaks take Ufa.


1 An Anglo-French expeditionary force !ands at Murmansk.
6 Murder of the German ambassador Mirbach. Armed rising by the Left SRs against the Soviet power. White-Guard mutiny at Yaroslavi.
8 Suppression of the Left SR rising in Moscow. Seizure of Kem and of the northern section of the Murmansk Railway by the Anglo-French forces.
10 Capture of Syzran by the Czechoslovaks.
11 Treachery of Commander-in-Chief Muravyov. He is killed at Simbirsk. White-Guard risings at Murom, Arzamas, Rostov (in Yaroslavl province) and Rybinsk.
16 Nicholas Romanov shot at Yekaterinburg.
20 Publication of decree on organising rear levies.
21 Liquidation of the Yaroslavl mutiny.
22 Simbirsk taken by the Czechoslovaks.
25 Yekaterinburg taken by the Czechoslovaks.
29 At a joint session of the All-Russia Central Executive Com mittee, the Moscow Soviet and other organisations, a decision is taken to declare the Socialist Fatherland in danger.
31 Onega captured by the British.


2 An Allied expeditionary force occupies Archangel.
6 Kazan taken by the Czechoslovaks.
7 First call-up of former officers in Moscow.
8 Comrade Trotsky goes to the Kazan front to lead the fight against the Czechoslovaks.
16 The White Guards in the north occupy Shenkursk.
23 First defeats of the Czechoslovaks. Our forces take Krasnaya Gorka, Nikolayev and Novo-Spasskaya.j
29 Murder of Uritsky in Petrograd.
30 Attempt on the life of Comrade Lenin.


2 Establishment of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic.
4 Discovery of ‘the conspiracy of the Allied diplomats’ against Soviet Russia.
10 Kazan taken by the Red forces. Publication of the decision by the Council of People’s Commissars to introduce Red Terror.
12 Simbirsk and Volsk taken by our forces.
19 Buinsk taken by Red forces.


3 Red forces take Syzran and Krasnoyarsk.
7 Rout of the Czechoslovak units and the People’s Army of the Constituent Assembly in the Samara-Inza-Simbirsk area
8 Samara taken by our forces.
15 Offensive by Krasnov’s Cossack units towards Tsaritsyn
16 Units of the Fifth Army take Bugulma.
29-31 Units of the First Army take Buguruslan and Buzuluk.


1 The Red Army goes over to the offensive on the Don.
9-10 General strike and revolution in Germany. Fall of the monarchy and formation of a Government by the Scheidemannists and the Independents.
11 Armistice on the Western Front between the Germans and the Allies.
13 Decision by the All-Russia Central Executive Committee on annulment of the Brest Treaty.
15 On the Don, Cossack units withdraw southward.
17 The German occupation forces start to withdraw from the territory of the Soviet Republic. Our furces cross the demarcation line.
18 Arrest of members of the Directory at Omsk and proclamation of Admiral Kolchak as ‘Supreme Ruler’ of Russia.
20 Capture of Pskov by units of the Red Army.
29 Narva taken by our troops.
30 Decision by the All-Russia Central Executive Committee on formation of Council for Workers’ and Peasants’ Defence.


1 Formation of Provisional Workers’ and Peasants’ Government of the Ukraine and publication of manifesto deposing of Skoropadksy.
3 In the south, Valuiki taken by units of the Red Army.
6 Dvinsk taken by Red forces.
14-17 Capture of Minsk by Soviet army [?]. Belorussia united with the RSFSR.
23 Decision of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee recognizing the independence of Soviet Estonia, Soviet Latvia and Soviet Lithuania. ,
27 Establishment of the Central Commission for combating desertion.
29-31 Capture of Steritamak and Ufa by units of the Red Army.

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Last updated on: 16.12.2006