The Southern Front

The Fight Against Wrangel

Memorandum of the Red Army Man
on the Southern Front

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

* * *


I am a Red Army man, a warrior of the workers’ and peasants’ army who has been sent here, to the Southern front, to fight against Baron Wrangel.


Baron Wrangel is a monarchist. He stood and he stands for restoring the rule of the Tsar. Baron Wrangel is a nobleman, an aristocrat. He stands for restoring the domination of the blue-blooded nobility. Baron Wrangel is a general. He fights to restore the former oppression by the generals. Baron Wrangel is a former rich landlord. He fights to restore the land to the landlords.


I, a warrior of the workers’ and peasants’ army, am striving to bring about peaceful, harmonious labour by the workers and peasants, for the common good. I cannot permit a restoration of the power of the Tsar, the Princes, Counts and Barons, the landlords, capitalists and generals. That is why I am fighting against Baron Wrangel and all who follow him.


Over two years ago, Baron Wrangel sought help from the German Kaiser Wilhelm against the Soviet power. After the revolution had taken place in Germany, Baron Wrangel allied himself with the French and British capitalists, who aided him with money and arms. The oppressors, exploiters and hangmen of all countries support each other against the working people. Our Red Army is defending the working people against attack by the hangmen of all countries.


Baron Wrangel made a deal with the Polish gentry. When the Polish gentry launched their offensive against the Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Great-Russian and Lithuanian workers and peasants, Baron Wrangel helped the White-Polish offensive with all his might. Their aim was one and the same – to give back the land to the landlords, Polish, Russian and Ukrainian, and restore power to the nobles and to capital.


The French capitalists, striving to enslave the Ukraine and Russia, are preparing to strike a blow from the sea at Odessa, Nikolayev, Novorossiisk and other points. French admirals are acting in collusion with Baron Wrangel. In order to wrest the cities of the Ukraine and Russia from the workers and peasants, Wrangel is handing over these cities into the bloody hands of the French admirals and capitalists. Their aim is one and the same: to force the Russian people to work not for themselves but for the rich.


The Polish landlords’ government would not have dared to attack us if it had not expected help from Baron Wrangel. We should not have had to fight fierce battles and suffer losses on a huge front – almost from the Baltic to the Black Sea – but for Baron Wrangel.


The Red forces answered the attack by the Polish gentry with a stout counter-blow, and, going over to the offensive, they reached the walls of Warsaw and Lvov. Our Red Army would have achieved complete victory over the Polish gentry and bourgeoisie, and would have helped the Polish working people to free themselves from oppression, if we had not had Baron Wrangel at our back, diverting our armed forces and resources from the Polish front. Baron Wrangel and all the Wrangelites are landlords and hirelings of the Polish gentry, traitors and mortal enemies of workers’ and peasants’ Russia.


We are agreeing to a burdensome treaty of peace with the bourgeois government of Poland. We have been obliged to abandon, in Galicia, the Western part of the Ukraine, Byelorussia and Lithuania, many millions of Ukrainian, Russian, Byelorussian and Lithuanian workers and peasants, leaving them under the yoke of the Polish gentry. Let all of them know that the guilt for their captivity lies with Baron Wrangel and his White-Guard host!


Baron Wrangel is trying to break through to the East and seize the Donets Basin. The coal of the Donets is needed by the whole country. If we increase the output of Donets coal, our works and factories will spring to life, together with our railways and ships, and our villages will receive from our industry clothes, footwear, nails, glass, tea and sugar – everything that a peasant family needs in order to live and to cultivate its holding. Wrangel is trying to devastate the Donets Basin. If he were to succeed in this he would do frightful harm to the workers’ and peasants’ Ukraine and Russia.


A little while ago, Baron Wrangel landed his troops on the Caucasian coast. He is trying to cut off the Don, the Kuban and all of North Caucasia from Soviet Russia. If he were to succeed in this, our country would be left without the grain of the Kuban and the oil of Baku. Factories and railways would come to a standstill and in the towns hunger would intensify.

Baron Wrangel wants to bring the nobility and the Tsarist bureaucracy to power over the corpses of working men and women, old men and children.


The former landlords, capitalists, generals, exploiters and oppressors, usurers and stock-exchange speculators of Russia and the Ukraine, and the imperialists and vultures of all countries look to General Wrangel with hope. They still expect him to triumph over the working people. But for that hope, the bourgeois governments of Britain, America and other countries would long since have made peace with us and entered into commercial relations. We should have received from abroad agricultural implements, medical supplies, locomotives and other products we have need of. This will not happen so long as Baron Wrangel’s army exists.


The workers’ and peasants’ republic needs peace. We need the harmonious, creative labour of all the workers and peasants. Through peaceful labour we should have revived both agriculture and industry in a short time, and gathered in our Soviet storehouses large reserves of all needful commodities. Everyone in our country would be clothed, shod and well-fed. Schools, people’s universities and theatres would have flourished. All this has been prevented by the war. It is Wrangel, the hireling of the world’s bourgeoisie, who has imposed war upon us. In order to win peace we must exterminate the White-Guard host of Baron Wrangel.


I, a Red Army man of the southern front, have been sent here by the workers’ and peasants’ power so that I may take part in the routing and extermination of Baron Wrangel’s army. I recognise and understand my sacred duty to the workers and peasants’ republic.

The weapon which has been entrusted to me I shall wield with a sure hand, to strike a stout blow. My comrades and brothers will do as I do. By a unanimous onslaught we shall sweep away, overthrow and destroy the enemy.

We shall act steadily and without respite until we have attained our aim. We shall not allow the Wrangelites to slip away and shut themselves up in the Crimea. We shall not stop until we have cleansed the workers’ and peasants’ country of them, to the last inch. We shall accomplish this task during the autumn, so as not to let matters dragon into a winter campaign.

I, a Red warrior of the Southern front, promise this to the working people of all countries, and my word is firm!

1 1

Last updated on: 26.12.2006