The Military Writings of
Leon Trotsky

Volume 2, 1919

How the Revolution Armed

The Southern Front

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

ORDER No.143

By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War council of the Republic and People’s Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs to the armies of the Southern front, August 13, 1919, No.143, Vonezh

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

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Comrade Red Army men!

Using exceptionally dirty methods, Denikin and the Denikinites are circulating numerous false orders over my signature. The purpose of these ‘orders’ is to befog the brains of the soldiers who have been forced to serve in the White army and to deceive you, soldiers of the Red Army, bringing confusion and division among us.

I do not doubt that an intelligent soldier will be able without difficulty to distinguish between a Denikinite forgery and a genuine order by the Soviet power. For the benefit of the hesitant and doubtful I offer this reliable guide: if an order is dictated by the interests of workers and peasants, in the struggle against the landlords, then it is a genuine order: if, however, an order is directed to supporting landlords’ greed and bourgeois profits, then it comes from Denikin and his accomplices.

The Denikinites have recently been fabricating, in particular, false orders about leave for Red Army men, and they are trying by every means to incite Red soldiers to apply for leave. Their purpose is plain: quickly to thin out the ranks of our fighters, to weaken us, and to strangle us.

Comrade soldiers!

We all need leave. More than that, we need our discharge to the reserve – we need to hang our rifle on the wall, to settle down with our families and to work under peaceful conditions for the good of the whole people.

This leave we shall win for ourselves through victory over Denikin’s landlord horde. When we have crushed the snake we shall return to peaceful labour.

It is in Rostov-on-Don, whither Denikin has transferred his headquarters, that we shall get our leave, comrade fighters!

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Last updated on: 22.12.2006