The Military Writings of
Leon Trotsky

Volume 2, 1919

How the Revolution Armed

The Fight for Petrograd


By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic and People’s Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs to the Red Army men, commanders and commissars defending Petrograd, October 20, 1919, Petrograd

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

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Red Army men, commanders, commissars! Tomorrow will decide the fate of Petrograd. While in the South the Red armies have gone over to a decisive, victorious offensive, have retaken Orel and smashed ten of Mamontov’s regiments, on the Petrograd front a series of defeats has forced our troops to fall back to the Pulkovo positions. They must not retreat any further. Petrograd cannot be surrendered – even a temporary surrender of Petrograd would mean the loss of thousands of workers’ lives and of innumerable cultural treasures. Petrograd must be defended, no matter what the cost.

All measures have been taken. Additional units have been brought up, giving us an immense superiority in numbers. The commanding personnel have been revitalised and renewed. The best battle-hardened proletarians have been enrolled for the fight. All the conditions for victory are present. All that is needed is for you to want, and to pledge yourselves, to secure this victory.

Remember this: to your lot has fallen the great honour of defending the city where the workers’ and peasants’ revolution was born.


Into the attack!

Death to the hirelings of foreign capital!

Long live Red Petrograd!

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Last updated on: 23.12.2006