The War with Poland

Order No.210

By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic and People’s Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs to the Forces of the Western Front, May 8, 1920, No.210, Smolensk

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

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To be read to all companies, squadrons, batteries and task-forces

Having arrived on the Western front, in the name of the Council of People’s Commissars and the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic, I greet you, comrade Red Army men, commanders and commissars!

The fate of the Russian people is now being decided on the Western front.

We wanted to reach an agreement with the enemy even at the price of heavy concessions, for the Soviet Government’s main aim was to spare the blood of the workers and peasants and preserve their strength for peaceful labour.

But Poland is now controlled – behind the backs of the Polish working people – by a bourgeois-gentry clique, a government of adventurers, which is incapable of thinking ahead. They are ruled by blind greed and savage hatred for workers’ and peasants’ Russia. Their brains have been clouded by conceit, by boasting and by the impunity that they have enjoyed. The more concessions we offered for the sake of safeguarding peace, the more convinced they became that we were weak and defenceless and could be overthrown without difficulty.

Behind the screen of negotiations, they assembled their forces in the Ukrainian front and prepared acts of betrayal in the Galician units which had previously fought on the side of the Soviet Ukraine: and in this way the Polish gentry seized not only Volhynia but also the capital of the Ukraine, Kiev.

Soldiers of the Western front! Red Kiev is in the clutches of the Polish aggressors. The workers’ and peasants’ Ukraine is threatened with serfdom and enslavement to foreigners. At the same time a great menace looms over all Russia.

There is only one salvation from the yoke, from slavery -must strike a decisive, merciless, crushing blow at the bourgeois gentry troops.

Regiments of the Western front! Get ready to strike the blow! Close your ranks more tightly! Grasp your rifles more firmly!

Long live the union of fraternal revolutionary consciousness with the iron discipline of self-sacrificing fighter!

Let there be no wavering or indecision among us!

Let the heavy hand of death fall upon every self-seeker and deserter who betrays his brothers in the hour of difficulty

Honour and glory and a fraternal embrace to every brave fighter!

Warriors of the Western front, forward!

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Last updated on: 26.12.2006