Questions of Military Theory

From a Talk with a Representative
of the American Press

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

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Before the end of 1917 I never expected to be concerned with military matters. Books on military questions I read just as I read books on, say, astronomy or other subjects: I read them in prison. But I became more interested in military matters during the imperialist war, when I lived in France. I possessed no military knowledge. In my opinion there are certain general methods which are applicable in all spheres of life and creative activity. People talk, for example, about juridical logic. Actually, this is human logic applied to juridical questions. Similarly, in the sphere of administration, a good administrator of a factory will also be a good military administrator. The methods of administration are, by and large, just the same. Human logic finds the same application in the military sphere as in others: precision, perseverance, all these qualities are necessary in every sphere in which people want to build, create and learn.

We acquired elementary technical knowledge through experience: we were under fire all the time. We made enough mistakes and had fronts enough to fight on, we made many observations, and so we were able to learn. Entire fronts were commanded by men who had never before been in the army, such as, for instance, Comrade Frunze. In order to be a good gunner, and especially to be a skilful one, it is necessary to have attended an artillery academy, but in order to play a leading part in the formation of an army one need not have had any special education as a gunner, or any other sort – one just has to possess certain administrative and political qualities.

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Last updated on: 31.12.2006