This is coolbert: .
The Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky is not
a person someone could ever regard as a military man. But did
influence the military of the Bolshevik regime in a very big way. An influence which lasted for a long time, perhaps until the very end of communism in the old Soviet Union [70 years].
As with David Ben Gurion, Trotsky [real name Lev Davidovich Bronstein] was not
a stereotypical military man.Did not
ever serve in the military of any nation per se
, in any capacity.
physically imposing, and surely did not
possess charisma or bearing as would be normally found in the traditional military leader.
Was an intellectual, a long time Bolshevik revolutionary, and a confident of Lenin.
Still, in the period after the successful revolution that led to the Bolshevik regime gaining power in Russia, DID
have an inordinate influence on the course of the military in what became the Soviet Union.
Trotsky was keenly aware, that after gaining power, the Bolsheviks must first
consoldate their power, and then defend it
against all comers. Merely gaining control was not
good enough. Control of political power had be maintained, and maintained through FORCE!
There were many factions
contending for power, autonomy, or seeking to displace the Bolsheviks during the period directly following the end of World War One [WW1]. Threats to "red" rule.
Among the contenders were:
* The German Army
in the latter days of WW1.
"the new Russian (Bolshevik) government made peace with Germany at the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, ratified on March 6 1918. This negotiated peace was the only option because the Russian army was in a chaotic and undisciplined state when the Germans advanced in February 1918, although the old Russian army had been re-organized in January into the "'Workers' and Peasants' 'Red Army'".
* White Guards
. Russian forces opposed to the Bolsheviks.
* Communist dissidents. [Kronstadt rebellion
, Poles, Cossacks.
* Nationalist "Asians".
* Social Revolutionaries.
* Nationalists and anarchists, such as the "Greens"
and the "Blacks"
[bandits of Central Asia].
* Foreign interventionist forces
. The militaries of England, France, the United States, and Canada.
To combat such an array of opponents, the Bolsheviks had to rely upon a military force that was counter
to the precepts which had had followed in the past. A violation of basic Bolshevik precepts
that caused consternation among the loyal "red "rank and file.
This at the insistence and perseverance primarily
The Bolsheviks had seized power by relying upon small, proletariat fighting groups
. Small bands of heavily armed and determined communists, politically reliable and fanatical, who seized control of power bases when they could.
Trotsky quickly realized that such "fighting groups" could not
possibly ward off, defend against, and emerge victorious, when faced with widespread and massive rebellion as the communist faced. Trotsky understood that the "old ways" would no longer
"That we could no longer fight
was perfectly clear to me and that the newly formed Red Guard and Red Army detachments were too small and poorly trained to resist the Germans." [Trotsky]
"The German side resumed military operations on February 18. Within a day, it became clear that the German army was capable of conducting offensive operations and that Red Army detachments, which were relatively small, poorly organized and poorly led, were no match
A enormous conscript army had to be created mostly from scratch, organized, and led into battle by a group of professional, trained, experienced officers.
Such a cadre of professional, trained, experienced officers was lacking
Conscripts could be had by the millions, but they would not
and could not
win with mere revolutionary Bolsheviks at the helm.
A solution had to be found. And was.
"Following their poor display against the Germans, the Red Army re-reorganised under the new Supreme Military Council, headed
by Leon Trotsky. The many units were homogenized and former army officers were brought back into the army as "military specialists". In May 1918, compulsory conscription
was reintroduced because the number of soldiers was only 450,000. In July, army commanders were purged, with the purpose not of introducing Communists but of bringing back experienced military officers from the pre-revolution period
. In September Trotsky was appointed head of a new Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic, with wide-ranging powers."
About 20,000 former Czarist military officers were let into the Red Army as commanders. Soldiers from the old regime of the "pre-revolutionary period".
This again, was done at the insistence
This was extreme heresy to the dedicated Bolshevik rank and file. All the old ways of the Czarist government were being re-introduced. This did cause a lot of dissidence and consternation within Bolshevik ranks. Trotsky was reviled and had an enormous amount of hatred directed at him. But the decision of Trotsky to follow this path was agreed upon by Lenin as the only course
"They [the hard-core Bolsheviks] believed that the Red Army should consist only
of dedicated revolutionaries, rely on propaganda as well as on force, and have elected officers. They viewed former imperial officers and generals as potential traitors who should be kept out of the new military, much less put in charge of it."
But was an effective plan. Proved to be successful. ONE by ONE
, the various rebellions, uprisings, and challenges to Soviet power were defeated. Even the foreign interventionists had to flee.
[one prominent exception to Soviet rule was the victory of the Poles
that created a free and independent Poland from what had been Czarist territory. This is the "Miracle on the Vistula!!"]
Trotsky was also a determined and harsh taskmaster:
"Facing military defeats in mid-1918, Trotsky introduced increasingly severe penalties for desertion, insubordination, and retreat. He organized the formation of the infamous "blocking units", special squads stationed behind the front-line troops, whose role it was to summarily gun down all soldiers suspected of desertion and unauthorized retreat."
[those who have seen the movie, "Enemy at the Gates" will remember the use of such "blocking units" at the start of the movie. This of course from World War Two!]
Trotsky was vindicated. His policies set into motion the reliance upon military power to maintain Soviet rule and to expand where and when possible. Trotsky saw HIS
Soviet Red Army as being the vanguard of world-wide revolution. His idea did not
manifest itself on a world-wide scale, but did pose a threat to the "free world" for a period of almost seventy years thereafter!!