The Military Writings of
Leon Trotsky

Volume 2, 1919

How the Revolution Armed

The Fight for Petrograd

ORDER No.161

By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic and People’s Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs to the Seventh Army, October 28, 1919, No.161, Petrograd

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

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The first part of the Seventh Army’s task has been accomplished: the enemy has been thrown back from Petrograd. The Red proletarian capital is out of danger. Everyone, from the army commander to the most junior Red Army man has done his duty and deserves the gratitude of the socialist fatherland. It now remains to carry out with the same success the second half of the task – to destroy the enemy for good and all. There is only one way to do this: not to allow the enemy any respite, to pursue him and beat him until he is completely annihilated. The situation of Yudenich’s army is essentially hopeless. It could be saved for a time only by delay on our part. Hence it is the duty of the Seventh Army to concentrate and focus all its strength on pursuing the half-beaten bands. Advance and drive the enemy in front of you, overcoming your own weariness, dog the enemy’s heels. Every hour wasted now could be paid for in the future in fresh large-scale losses. Therefore, do not lose a moment. The success of a battle depends on its speed.

Red Army men, commanders, commissars! the Soviet power expects that you will exert the maximum effort you are capable of. Forward! Surround the beaten enemy. Cut off his line of retreat. Forward! Do not allow the enemy any respite, chase him, crush him, beat him without mercy. The time for rest will come when the snake has been destroyed.

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Last updated on: 23.12.2006