The Military Writings of
Leon Trotsky

Volume 2, 1919

How the Revolution Armed

The Southern Front

III. The Red Army’s Second Offensive in the Ukraine
(August-December 1919)


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

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The great struggle is nearing its denouément. The enemy’s army is making its supreme effort. Having strained its muscles and sinews, it is, in its death agony, stretching out its hand towards one of the jewels of the Soviet Republic – Tula.

That is where steel for weapons is being forged for the workers’ and peasants’ army. Tula is the great arms workshop of the revolution. It is from these that we get rifles, bayonets, machine-guns, cartridges and sabres.

Unable to cope with the heavy masses of the Red Army which are pressing ever more powerfully upon the Don, Denikin has set himself the aim of breaking deeply into the rear of our forces, descending upon Tula and there destroying the factories, annihilating the Red Army’s great smithy.

True, Tula is not now our only source of arms. The Urals have been liberated. The mighty factories of Izhvesk, Votkinsk, Perm, Yekaterinburg and Zlatoust are indefatigably hammering out weapons for our soldiers. These works are expanding and are growing. But Tula still holds first place, the Soviet power can therefore not let Tula be lost, even for a time.

The whole area between Moscow and the Southern front has been transformed into a fortified zone. Every town, every railway junction in this area is a front of the revolution. Every worker, every conscious peasant is a defender and fighter in this fortified area. From one village to another, from volost to uyezd, and from uyezd to province stretches a network of unbroken military communications, and at the centre of this network stands Tula, like a rock of the revolution cast from steel.

The young garrison of Tula has been assigned a lofty task – to defend the approaches to the great workshop where thousands of Red smiths are beating out white-hot steel for the Red fronts. The title of Red soldier of the Tula garrison is doubly honourable today!

Denikin has received from the arsenals of British and French capital rifles and cartridges with which to shed the blood of Russia’s workers and peasants. The gold and arms they get from foreign imperialism are helping Russia’s landlords and capitalists to torture, ravage and ruin our country. But they will not see victory! In this last battle we are as firm and steadfast as on the first day of our struggle. The day is near when the aggressor’s weapon will be smashed to smithereens against Tula steel!

October 6, 1919
En Route, No.96

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Last updated on: 22.12.2006