The International Situation and the Red Army

II. Genoa and the Hague


At the Parade on Red Square, May 1, 1922

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

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Comrade Red Army men, commanders, commissars and all of you – representatives of workers’ and peasants’ Russia!

Our military festival today coincides with the great festival of the world working class. Today, the First of May, we, the Red Army, pronounce together for the first time our solemn oath to the working class of our country and of the whole world.

The Red Army exists in so far as Soviet Russia as a whole exists. Our Red oath was created in the first weeks of the Red Army’s existence. But then there was no time for us to take, as one man, the revolutionary oath of loyalty to the working class. We swore it at the fronts, amid passionate battles against the enemies of the working people, the hirelings of the capitalists. And in those battles, which defended and saved Soviet Russia, and the memory of which will survive from century to century and from generation to generation, the Red Army was tempered as the armed force of the whole world.

We were invited to distant Genoa, to negotiations which turned out to be a market-place. They proposed that we pay the old Tsarist debts, that is, that we pay for the blood shed by the workers and peasants who died, under Tsardom, to ensure the triumph of British and French capital. They demanded that we pay for the factories and the land which once belonged to foreigners who plundered the Russian workers and peasants. They said that they were ready to recognise us if we paid two ransoms – one for the Tsar and one for the revolution – and if we agreed to become not Soviet Russia but an enslaved Russia, the slave of capital.

We replied: ‘No! Russia, in the persons of her workers and peasants, did not shed her blood in order to become a slave.’

We offered an agreement on common rights and all-round disarmament, we proposed that we live and labour in peace.

They refused, and showed thereby that their minds are filled with bloody schemes for the future.

And today, on the First of May, we, the Moscow garrison, in the presence of the Moscow Soviet, the representatives of the central institutions of the Republic and the leaders of the working class of Russia and the whole world, have assembled on this Red Square in order to declare that we, the soldiers and workers of peasants’ Russia [sic] [Presumably a misprint for ‘the soldiers of workers’ and peasants’ Russia’.] of peaceful revolutionary labour, looked toward Genoa with hope, but with justified mistrust. Our hopes have now grown smaller, our mistrust has increased. And here, before the representatives of the working people, we give our solemn promise, our revolutionary Red oath, that we remain and shall continue to be the armed hand of the working class, that we shall be true to it to the end, to the last drop of our blood.

I call upon you, comrades, to take this oath with pure thoughts of the very great tasks and aims that it implies. [1]

Isv.V.Ts.I.K., No.96


1. For the text of the oath see Volume One, page 160.

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Last updated on: 30.12.2006