The Military Writings of
Leon Trotsky

Volume 2, 1919

How the Revolution Armed


II. Commanders and Commissars


By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic and People’s Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs, January 10, 1919, No. 75, Gryazi
[Gryazi is the junction of the Kozlov (Michurmsk)-Voronezh and Orel Tsaritsyn (Volgograd) lines.]

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

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The internal service regulations require that commanders obtain precise knowledge of the soldiers under their command, keeping close track of their daily lives, education, development, military actions, mistakes and merits. Commissars are in the same way required to keep careful observation of the life of all the soldiers in their respective Units. The principal task in this sphere consists in enabling fresh forces to develop and bringing forward youthful talents from among the mass of the soldiers. Among our soldiers there are many capable, resource ful, courageous men. Many of them sometimes lack only the education and training needed to occupy a position of command with dignity and honour. Such capable and industrious soldiers must be singled out, given the opportunity to study, sent on instructors’ courses, and promoted to positions of command. Up to now this work has been done on a scale that is quite inadequate.

I invite the Revolutionary War Councils of all the armies to pay special attention to this aspect of the work, to direct regi mental commissars and commanders, acting through all battalion, company and platoon commanders, to draw up special lists of soldiers who by their work have put themselves in line for positions of command, to correct these lists on the basis of experience, and to insert in them notes concerning the special characteristics, abilities, qualities and knowledge possessed by each of the soldiers whose names are being put forward, and to send these lists monthly to the Revolutionary War Council of the army, which will pass them on to the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic.

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Last updated on: 23.12.2006