The War with Poland

That Which is Soviet and That
Which is of the Polish Gentry

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

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White Poland possesses a quite substantial army. The foreign wireless gives its numbers as 500,000. With the money of the French capitalists this army has been well armed and equipped. Through the efforts of French regular officers the army of the Polish gentry has acquired a proper form of organisation. Consequently, we have before us an enemy who is strong.

It would be criminal light-mindedness on the part of the workers of Soviet Russia to shut their eyes to this fact. On the contrary, we must tirelessly explain to the working masses of our country that only the greatest possible effort can bring quick and decisive victory.

But, at the same time we now have the right to say that the Soviet Army has every justification for victory and that with every day that passes its hope of victory will be transformed into certainty.

We shall never find ourselves weaker numerically than our adversary. We have powerful reserves on all our former fronts. We have powerful sources of replacements. If need be we can counterpose to the Polish troops a force twice and three times as large as theirs.

Our troops are well armed. They are being better supplied with every passing day. All parts of the country are competing to furnish the Western and South-Western fronts with everything they need. The animal-transport resources of the fronts are steadily increasing. Thanks to petrol from Grozny, motortransport resources are also reviving and expanding. This gives us every reason to hope that even with the rapid advance that we hope to carry out, the troops will continue to receive without interruption all the materials and resources they require.

But what is most important is the morale of the troops. This is truly splendid. The original divisions of the Western front are

competing with the divisions which have been transferred from other fronts in their readiness to put up with the hardships, difficulties and sacrifices involved in defending the Workers’ and Peasants’ Republic. Our glorious Red veterans, tempered amid the smoke and flame of almost three years of revolutionary war, stand steadfast at their posts. Around them rally the youngsters who have come to encounter their first experiences of war.

And what leaps to the eye first and foremost when one tours the units of the Western front is the extraordinarily increased consciousness not only of the old Red Army men but also of the young ones, of the peasants who have only just left their villages.

The forces of the Western and South-Western fronts know what it is they have to fight and shed their blood for. They have indestructible faith in victory. We have seen our Red regiments on various fronts. Their driving force was always revolutionary consciousness. But never has the flame of socialist enthusiasm flared up so high as now, on the Western front. After many days of hard marching, our soldiers came of their own free will to hear a few words of greeting on behalf of the Soviet centre and to voice, in a thunderous ‘Hurrah!’, their readiness to give themselves utterly for the cause of the working people. There is not a suspicion of chauvinism in their attitude to the Polish people. The slogan that met with the most enthusiastic response was that of fraternal alliance with an independent Workers’ and Peasants’ Poland.

The Polish Army can try to rival us in numbers and armament. But it will not equal our spirit. Over there, the army belongs to the gentry. There, a deep class gulf yawns between the commanders, drawn from the sons of the gentry, and the soldier masses, a gulf that will grow ever wider as the war goes on. Over there, the aim of the war is exploitation, aggression, robbery. Our commanders are inseparably bound up with the army of the working people, in unity of life and purpose. The task of the war is, for us, defence against dishonourable attack. The spells woven by Polish chauvinism will burst like soap bubbles. The war-like enthusiasm of the Red troops will burn ever more brightly.

Over there, the army is an army of slaves, held by force, steeped in priests’ lies and bourgeois dupery, an army of the Polish gentry. Ours is an army built upon the irresistible striving of the working people to free themselves, and therewith the whole world. There can be no doubt as to the outcome of the conflict between these two armies: that which is Soviet will rout that which is of the Polish gentry.

May 15, 1920
En Route, No.116

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Last updated on: 27.12.2006