The Military Writings of
Leon Trotsky

Volume 2, 1919

How the Revolution Armed

The Southern Front

II. Denikin’s Offensive (May 15-August 1919)


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

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Our affairs in the East are going splendidly. The Red troops are tirelessly pursuing the beaten, disorganised and frightened bands of Kolchak. Kolchak’s best regiments, that is, the ones made up of more conscious workers and peasants, are willingly surrendering to us. The less conscious are taking flight. There are evidently very few worker or peasant enthusiasts left who are ready to sacrifice their heads so that Admiral Kolchak’s head may wear a crown. We have taken Zlatoust, are approaching Yekaterinburg and we are moving on Chelyabinsk. The Red garrison of Uralsk, which was for a time surrounded by White-Guard Cossacks, did not surrender, for it expected help from without. The help came: Soviet forces broke through the ring round Uralsk and linked up with its Red garrison.

Our brilliant victories in the East are of immense importance for the whole country. Very rich grain-growing regions have been opened up. The industry of the Urals has been restored to the workers and peasants. The factories of Perm and Zlatoust – and soon this will be true of those of the Yekaterinburg areas as well – are working in the interests of the Red Army. The Izhvesk works, wrested from Kolchak’s hands, is already pro ducing the rifles we so badly need. Great is our victory in the East. [53]

In the South victory has yet to come. We have only checked the enemy’s offensive. But this is already a great thing. In the first place, it shows that Denikin has spent his forces and is played out. In the second place, this enables us to bring up reinforcements, supply and reorganise units which have fallen into disorder, and re-establish a powerful front. Soviet Russia is now engaged in doing just that.

Leading workers of the Southern front! Commissars, commanders, conscious Red Army men! Do not lose so much as a single hour. By checking the enemy’s offensive we have gained a breathing-space. This breathing-space we must utilise to bring up to strength, supply, train and educate our units. Our work must go forward intensely and conscientiously. Tens of thousands of reinforcements have to be educated, disciplined, turned into good soldiers.

The Southern front must equal the Eastern front. We must prepare for Denikin the fate of Kolchak. We have sufficient forces and resources to do this, and they are growing day by day. All that is needed is to bring them to order, and then – forward!

The sun rises in the East, and at noon it stands over the South. So it is with our victory. This began on the Eastern front, and in the next few weeks the sun of victory will stand high over the Southern front, and light up our Red banners in Rostov, Novocherkassk and Yekaterinodar.

July 15, 1919
Bukreyevka-Korennaya Pustyn
[Korennaya Pustyn is about 30km north-east of Kursk, on the line from Orel.]
En Route, No.61


53. On the course of the events in the East, see note 75 and the Chronology.

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Last updated on: 22.12.2006