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)

ORDER No.174

By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic and People’s Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs to the Red forces entering the Ukraine, November 30. 1919, No.174, Moscow

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

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To be read to all companies, squadrons, batteries and task-forces

Comrade soldiers, commanders, commissars!

You are entering the Ukraine. [69] By defeating Denikin’s bands you are freeing a fraternal country from its oppressors.

The Ukraine is the land of the Ukrainian workers and working peasants. They alone have the right to rule in the Ukraine, to govern it and to build a new life in it.

While striking merciless blows at the Denikinites you must at the same time show fraternal care and love for the working masses of the Ukraine.

Woe to anyone who uses armed force to coerce the working people of the Ukraine’s towns or villages! The workers and peasants of the Ukraine must feel secure under the defence of your bayonets!

Keep this firmly in mind: your task is not to conquer the Ukraine but to liberate it. When Denikin’s bands have finally been smashed, the working people of the liberated Ukraine will themselves decide on what terms they are to live with Soviet Russia. We are all sure, and we know, that the working people of the Ukraine will declare for the closest fraternal union with us.

Do your duty, Red soldiers, commanders, commissars.

Death to the aggressors and oppressors – the Denikinites, the landlords, the capitalists and kulaks!

Long live the Red Army!

Long live the free and independent Soviet Ukraine!


69. As the result of stubborn, month-long battles, Denikin had to begin retreating on the whole front. Only by December 1 1919 was his resistance broken and his attempts to frustrate our operation smashed. These battles brought our armies once more into the Ukraine. (The course of events can be followed from the chronology and Map 4.)

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Last updated on: 23.12.2006