On January 28 (15th according to the old style), 1918, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin signed a decree of the Council of People's Commissars on the creation of the Workers 'and Peasants' Red Army and the establishment of the All-Russian Collegium for the organization and management of the Red Army under the People's Commissariat for Military Affairs.
Podvoisky, Yeremeev, Mekhonoshin, Krylenko, Trifonov, Yurenev were appointed members of this structure.
As you can see, Trotsky was not among these people. At that time, Trotsky held the position of People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, and it was through his fault that the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed on conditions that were unfavorable for Soviet Russia. Trotsky disrupted peace negotiations with Germany, and the Germans launched an offensive against Soviet Russia, where on February 23, 1918, near Pskov and Narva, they were stopped by units of the Red Army.
The failure of negotiations with Germany was the reason for the removal of Trotsky from the post of People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs. That is, on February 23, 1918, on a day that is symbolic for the Red Army, Trotsky had nothing to do with it.
If we consider the date of the actual birth and creation of the Red Army on February 23, 1918, then it was created without Trotsky, who at that time was the people's commissar for foreign affairs.
The first people's commissar of defense in Soviet Russia was an old Bolshevik (member of the party since 1901), Russian by origin, Nikolai Ilyich Podvoisky. He held this position from December 10, 1917, to March 14, 1918.
In January 1918, the formation of the First Corps of the Red Army began in Petrograd. The largest part of it was made up of St. Petersburg workers. In March 1918, this unit already included 10 battalions, a machine gun and horse regiments, a heavy artillery battalion, a light artillery brigade, a mortar battalion, 3 air squadrons, a motorcycle, engineering and automobile units, and a searchlight team. In February and March 1918, parts of the corps took part in the famous battles with the Germans near Pskov and Narva, as well as near Vitebsk and Orsha.
On March 4, 1918, at the suggestion of Lenin, the Supreme Military Council was formed. Mikhail Bonch-Bruevich became the head of the Air Force, and Proshyan and Shutko were appointed commissars.
And again, we do not see Trotsky's name in the composition of the council. And only on March 19, Trotsky was appointed chairman of the Supreme Military Council, and the position of Leader (which was occupied by Bonch-Bruevich) was not abolished. Bonch-Bruevich and Trotsky worked in parallel for several months.
Trotsky came to an already formed Red Army. The foundation of the Red Army was laid without his participation. The process of creating the Soviet armed forces before the arrival of Trotsky developed successfully.
If you look at the relations between Commissar Trotsky and the Red Army, it is clearly seen that in a critical situation, Trotsky's role was narrowed down to the role of a wedding general, while there was constant activity of his headquarters, mostly ineffective, which is why grassroots structures systematically telegraphed to the Revolutionary Military Council: "Remove Trotsky !".
On the one hand, Trotsky, like any apparatchik, with his apparatus was not superfluous in a country engulfed in the collapse of the old and the hasty construction of a new one, but even those truly revolutionary decisions that would overtake the general mood of the then Red Army Trotsky did not make, but not bad on his own Participation promoted, and therefore claimed an undeserved place in the management system.
But no one in the party wanted a leader who was politically chattered from side to side, and whose competence was considered by wide circles of large, medium and grass-roots leaders to be at least insufficient. But in the heat of the struggle in the 1920s and 1930s, no one could really explain it otherwise than as betrayal and initially sabotage, with the exception of a group of the most advanced Marxists. And it was even more difficult to explain these nuances to the masses, for whom the administrative, educational, theoretical level of even Trotsky was out of reach, and they had not grown up to Stalin or Kirov.
Author: I. Shevtsov.