The Military Writings of
Leon Trotsky

Volume 2, 1919

How the Revolution Armed

The Eastern Front

Kolchak’s Offensive (March-April 1919)


By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic and People’s Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs to the Third Army, April 26, 1919, Vyatha

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

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To be read in all companies, squadrons, battalions and task-forces

Comrade soldiers, commanders and commissars! The command of your army has given you an order: to prepare for an offensive. This order you must carry Out with maximum concentration of all your strength. Those few days which still remain for preparation must be utilised. You must apply your selves to training. You must correct all shortcomings, make up for all oversights, repair all omissions. Every commander must inspect his unit carefully and strictly. Every commissar must remind the soldiers of his regiment of the lofty responsibility that they bear. Every soldier must remember that the entire country is now looking expectantly to him.

When the order is given to begin the offensive there must be no doubts, waverings, or looking this way and that. Woe to the soldier or the commander who leaves the ranks, as a violator of unity, a renegade! Iron discipline must be established in your ranks. The salvation of the country requires this. Every commander, from section leader up to divisional commander, must remember that he answers for his unit. Every commissar must remember that he shares responsibility with the commander.

I have spent a few days with your army. I have seen the units and talked with soldiers, commanders and commissars. I firmly believe that the moment for a decisive turn has come. There will be no more retreating. The Third Army will go over to the offensive.

I send fraternal greeting to all those units of the Third Army which I was not able this time to meet personally. In the next few weeks, comrades, I shall meet you in Penn and then in Yekaterinburg. May victory crown your banners!

Long live the Third Army!

Long live workers’ and peasants’ Russia!

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Last updated on: 23.12.2006