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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The crops in the fields of the Ukraine are very rich. The cornfields are coming luxuriantly into ear. They threatened us that, in the absence of the landlords, the gendarmes and the Tsar, the land would cease to bear fruit. But nature does not commit sabotage. The rain moistens the land, the sun warms it, the shoots become stalks, the stalks bring forth ears – and all this goes on without landlords, gendarmes or a Tsar. There is only one difference: previously, the lion’s share of the crop went into the capitalist’s bin, whereas now it all belongs to the peasants and the workers.

It is the same with the factories. Coal is just as capable of burning in the blast furnaces, a steam hammer is just as capable of beating out iron, and a steam-driven saw cuts planks just as it did before, without the help of any manufacturer, any capitalist. The landlord and the manufacturer are thus not needed by the economy. They are like boils on the body: they contribute nothing to the organism but merely suck out its substance. With this plentiful harvest the country would be set to rights in a few months, and it would be restored to full life if the coal and iron of the Donets were in the hands of the workers.

How quickly would our economy, the people’s wealth, expand if we could bring back the workers and peasants from all our fronts to the factories and fields! The war has dragged on for too long. The workers and peasants of the Ukraine and of all Russia are too slow in cleansing their land, their towns and villages, of the accursed enemies who are disrupting the people’s wealth and the people’s well-being.

We must finish it as quickly as possible. We must cleanse the Donets Basin and North Caucasia. We must recover Baku. Then coal, iron, cast iron and oil will bring to life the economy of the whole country. The Urals have already been freed. Very soon the cotton of Turkestan will reach us. We must finish the final blow at the accursed enemies of the working class, and cleanse the Ukrainian land of the Tsarist generals and the minor bandits – the Grigoriyevs, Zelyonys, Angels, Makhnos and the rest – and then the Soviet Ukraine will step out, hand in hand with Soviet Great Russia, on the broad road of economic prosperity and spiritual development.

One final exertion, one final effort is needed. We must carry through faultlessly the mobilisation of men, horses and all the necessary forces and resources.

The heavy ears of wheat in the fields of the Ukraine show the economic might that all the workers and peasants of Russia will be able to develop if they pursue their cause to the end. Let us press still harder, workers and peasants! The last pass to be crossed lies ahead. Beyond it are freedom, prosperity and happiness.

July 19, 1919
[Lokhvitsa is north of Romodan, on the line from Konotop.]
En Route, No.66

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Last updated on: 22.12.2006