The Southern Front

The Fight Against Wrangel

The Last Born

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

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Wrangel is the last of a long series of generals who have mutinied against the workers’ and peasants’ power. The first to rise was Kornilov, then there was Kaledin, on the Don, with alter him, Krasnov, and in the Ukraine, Skoropadsky: Dutov revolted beyond the Volga, Kolchak in Siberia, in the South Denikin raised the flag of rebellion. Yudenich launched an offensive against Petrograd. All were defeated, annihilated, crushed. Every one of these generals was a defender of the interests of the nobility and of big capital. They succeeded in confusing a section of the Cossacks, especially the richer ones. They raised the flag of ‘Russia one and indivisible’ while making deals first with the German Emperor Wilhelm, when he was powerful, and then with the Anglo-French bourgeoisie.

Kolchak, Denikin, Yudenich seriously thought they could seize power: they prepared to restore the monarchy, give the land back to the nobles and the factories and banks to the capitalists, and rule over all Russia with their support. All that remains of these schemes are the wretched remnants hiding in the Crimea, and at the head of these remnants stands the German-Russian Baron Von Wrangel [sic]. He was known as a loyal supporter of the German Kaiser [1], and at one time tried to join up with him. After the defeat of Germany, Wrangel offered his services to the British and French Governments. But the French Government treated Wrangel with distrust, for the time being, because they regarded him as a German agent.

Wrangel’s services were needed when the campaign of the Polish gentry against the Ukraine and Russia was being prepared. France hired the German baron to help the White Polish army. No-one, of course, seriously believes that Wrangel will take power and rule over Russia. But he is needed in order to weaken the workers’ and peasants’ republic, to damage the Red Army’s rear, to co-operate with the Polish gentry’s forces, which have been reorganised with the help of French officers and French war materials and are now once more advancing eastward.

Denikin stood, in words at least, for ‘Russia one and indivisible’. But the successor to the mutineer generals, Wrangel the Last-Born, is openly fighting for the dismemberment of Russia, for rule by the Polish gentry over the Ukraine and Byelorussia.

Wrangel feels cramped in the Crimea. He sits there as though in a bottle. Although he has now thrust his head out through the bottleneck, he is about to pull it in again to escape from the blows that rain down on him. This is why Wrangel is breaking out towards the Don, the Kuban and North Caucasia. The last-born general wants to establish his base over there. He dreams of drawing the Kuban Cossacks into civil war once again and bringing upon them the same ruin to which Kaledin, Krasnov and Denikin subjected the Don.

Wrangel’s landing on the shore of the Sea of Azov is the last reckless attempt by the last-born to find a fresh point of support for his work of destruction, devastation and ravaging of the working people’s country.

Men of the Don and the Kuban! If Wrangel were to succeed, even for a few weeks, in establishing himself in your lands, it would mean new burdens for you, new sacrifices, new outrages, ruin and destruction. If you desire to live quietly and work peacefully, help the Red Army to crush the White-Guard bands of the last-born general before they leave the seashore.

August 25, 1920
En Route, No.119


1. It is not clear what this allegation is based on. Wrangel was living in the Crimea when the Germans occupied it. While on a visit to his family estate, he passed through Kiev and called on Skoropadsky, with whom he had served in the Russo-Japanese war. Skoropadsky invited Wrangel to become his chief of staff, but Wrangel said he was sure Germany would lose the war, and rejected the offer. In September 1918 he went to the Don and joined the Volunteer Army.

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Last updated on: 26.12.2006