The Military Writings of
Leon Trotsky

Volume 2, 1919

How the Revolution Armed

The Southern Front

I. The Red Army’s Offensive
Towards the Ukraine and the Don (January-May 15, 1919)


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

* * *

Moscow province and Petrograd are the most important con centrations of industrial and political life in our country. It is there that consumer goods and means of production are man ufactured. There also the people’s consciousness is elaborated and perfected – there the thoughts, feelings and hopes of the people are given the form of specific demands, slogans and programmes.

But if life at the centre is not to die, the centre must receive nourishment from the borderlands. Moscow and Petrograd need bread for their workers. They need coal and iron for their production. They need cotton, to be worked up into textiles. Raw material must flow from our country’s rich borderlands to the centre, and then, after being processed there and trans formed into the products needed for life, must be spread throughout the country.

The landlord and bourgeois counter-revolution has occupied the borderlands, consolidated itself there, and disrupted the country’s economic circulation. No coal or grain comes to us from the South or the East. The famine-stricken Centre does not give the South or the East the textiles and machinery they need.

A firm, sound economic life, for the good of all the working people, can be restored by one means alone: by driving away the counter-revolutionary vultures, clearing the borderlands, and linking them closely with the centre through properly- functioning railways.

In the first place, we need coal. Our factories, railways, steamships and domestic hearths are in mortal need of coal our own Soviet coal. As soon as we restore production of this invaluable material in the Donets Basin, no Anglo-American blockade will hold any terrors for us. With her own Soviet coal and her own Soviet iron-ore, Soviet Russia will build her own Soviet machines, so as, by means of them, to make Soviet cotton into Soviet textiles.

In the Donets Basin is buried a great treasure, on which depends the welfare, prosperity and happiness of the whole country. This treasure has to be won by force of arms.

Mobilisation of the Donets workers is now taking place. They have suffered more than anyone else from the disruption of economic life and from the drunken, savage raging of the Krasnovite and Denikinite bands. And they, the Donets workers, will be in the front ranks in the fight for Soviet coal.

This fight will not take long. In his last offensive the enemy expended all that was left of his reserves and of his strength. He has already begun visibly to weaken. On May 15 we captured Lugansk, which we had momentarily lost.

No time must be wasted! We must go forward to the complete extermination of the Denikinite bands!

Donets proletarians! Forward, into the fight for Soviet coal!

May 16, 1919
Shipilovo station
En Route, No.46

return return

Last updated on: 23.12.2006