MARXIST INTERNET ARCHIVE | History of CP Bolshevik

H I S T O R Y O F  T H E C O M M U N I S T   P A R T Y

O F  T H E

S O V I E T  U N I O N

(B O L S H E V I K S)

C H A P T E R  E I G H T
THE BOLSHEVIK PARTY IN THE PERIOD OF FOREIGN MILITARY INTERVENTION AND CIVIL WAR (1918-1920)
1. BEGINNING OF FOREIGN MILITARY INTERVENTION. FIRST PERIOD OF THE CIVIL WAR
2. DEFEAT OF GERMANY IN THE WAR. REVOLUTION IN GERMANY. FOUNDING OF THE THIRD INTERNATIONAL. EIGHTH PARTY CONGRESS
3. EXTENSION OF INTERVENTION. BLOCKADE OF THE SOVIET COUNTRY. KOLCHAK'S CAMPAIGN AND DEFEAT. DENIKIN'S CAMPAIGN AND DEFEAT. A THREE-MONTHS' RESPITE. NINTH PARTY CONGRESS
4. POLISH GENTRY ATTACK SOVIET RUSSIA. GENERAL WRANGEL'S CAMPAIGN. FAILURE OF THE POLISH PLAN. ROUT OF WRANGEL. END OF THE INTERVENTION
5. HOW AND WHY THE SOVIET REPUBLIC DEFEATED THE COMBINED FORCES OF BRITISH-FRENCH-JAPANESE-POLISH INTERVENTION AND OF THE BOURGEOIS-LANDLORD-WHITEGUARD COUNTER-REVOLUTION IN RUSSIA
 

5. HOW AND WHY THE SOVIET REPUBLIC DEFEATED THE COMBINED FORCES OF BRITISH-FRENCH-JAPANESE-POLISH INTERVENTION AND OF THE BOURGEOIS-LANDLORD-WHITEGUARD COUNTER-REVOLUTION IN RUSSIA

    If we study the leading European and American newspapers and periodicals of the period of intervention, we shall easily find that there was not a single prominent writer, military or civilian, not a single military expert who believed that the Soviet Government could win. On the contrary, all prominent writers, military experts and historians of revolution of all countries and nations, all the so-called savants, were unanimous in declaring that the days of the Soviets were numbered, that their defeat was inevitable.

    They based their certainty of the victory of the forces of intervention on the fact that whereas Soviet Russia had no organized army and had to create its Red Army under fire, so to speak, the interventionists and Whiteguards did have an army more or less ready to hand.

    Further, they based their certainty on the fact that the Red Army had no experienced military men, the majority of them having gone over to the counter-revolution, whereas the interventionists and Whiteguards did have such men.

    Furthermore, they based their certainty on the fact that, owing to the backwardness of Russia's war industry, the Red Army was suffering from a shortage of arms and ammunition; that what it did have was of poor quality, while it could not obtain supplies from abroad because Russia was hermetically sealed on all sides by the blockade. The army of the interventionists and Whiteguards, on the other hand, was abundantly supplied, and would continue to be supplied, with first-class arms, ammunition and equipment.

    Lastly, they based their certainty on the fact that the army of the interventionists and Whiteguards occupied the richest food-producing regions of Russia, whereas the Red Army had no such regions and was suffering from a shortage of provisions.

    And it was a fact that the Red Army did suffer from all these handicaps and deficiencies.

    In this respect -- but only in this respect -- the gentlemen of the intervention were absolutely right.

    How then is it to be explained that the Red Army, although suffering from such grave shortcomings, was able to defeat the army of the interventionists and Whiteguards which did not suffer from such shortcomings?

    1. The Red Army was victorious because the Soviet Government's policy for which the Red Army was fighting was a right policy, one that corresponded to the interests of the people, and because the people under stood and realized that it was the right policy, their own policy, and supported it unreservedly.

    The Bolsheviks knew that an army that fights for a wrong policy, for a policy that is not supported by the people, cannot win. The army of the interventionists and Whiteguards was such an army. It had everything: experienced commanders and first-class arms, ammunition, equipment and provisions. It lacked only one thing -- the support and sympathy of the peoples of Russia; for the peoples of Russia could not and would not support the policy of the interventionists and Whiteguard "rulers" because it was a policy hostile to the people. And so the interventionist and Whiteguard army was defeated.

    2. The Red Army was victorious because it was absolutely loyal and faithful to its people, for which reason the people loved and supported it and looked upon it as their own army. The Red Army is the offspring of the people, and if it is faithful to its people, as a true son is to his mother, it will have the support of the people and is bound to win. An army, however, that goes against its people must suffer defeat.

    3. The Red Army was victorious because the Soviet Government was able to muster the whole rear, the whole country, to serve the needs of the front. An army without a strong rear to support the front in every way is doomed to defeat. The Bolsheviks knew this and that is why they converted the country into an armed camp to supply the front with arms, ammunition, equipment, food and reinforcements.

    4. The Red Army was victorious because: a) the Red Army men understood the aims and purposes of the war and recognized their justice; b) the recognition of the justice of the aims and purposes of the war strengthened their discipline and fighting efficiency; and c) as a result, the Red Army throughout displayed unparalleled self-sacrifice and unexampled mass heroism in battle against the enemy.

    5. The Red Army was victorious because its leading core, both at the front and in the rear, was the Bolshevik Party, united in its solidarity and discipline, strong in its revolutionary spirit and readiness for any sacrifice in the common cause, and unsurpassed in its ability to organize millions and to lead them properly in complex situations.

    "It is only because of the Party's vigilance and its strict discipline," said Lenin, "because the authority of the Party united all government departments and institutions, because the slogans issued by the Central Committee were followed by tens, hundreds, thousands and finally millions of people as one man, because incredible sacrifices were made, that the miracle took place and we were able to win, in spite of repeated campaigns of the imperialists of the Entente and of the whole world." (Lenin, Collected Works, Russ. ed., Vol. XXV, p. 96.)

    6. The Red Army was victorious because: a) it was able to produce from its own ranks military commanders of a new type, men like Frunze, Voroshilov, Budyonny, and others; b) in its ranks fought such talented heroes who came from the people as Kotovsky, Chapayev, Lazo, Shchors, Parkhomenko, and many others; c) the political education of the Red Army was in the hands of men like Lenin, Stalin, Molotov, Kalinin, Sverdlov, Kaganovich, Ordjonihdze, Kirov, Kuibyshev, Mikoyan, Zhdanov, Andreyev, Petrovsky, Yaroslavsky, Yezhov, Dzerzhinsky, Shchadenko, Mekhlis, Khrushchev, Shvernik, Shhryatov, and others; d) the Red Army possessed such outstanding organizers and agitators as the military commissars, who by their work cemented the ranks of the Red Army men, fostered in them the spirit of discipline and military daring, and energetically -- swiftly and relentlessly -- cut short the treacherous activities of certain of the commanders, while on the other hand, they boldly and resolutely supported the prestige and renown of commanders, Party and non-Party, who had proved their loyalty to the Soviet power and who were capable of leading the Red Army units with a firm hand.

    "Without the military commissars we would not have had a Red Army," Lenin said.

    7. The Red Army was victorious because in the rear of the White armies, in the rear of Kolchak, Denikin, Krasnov and Wrangel, there secretly operated splendid Bolsheviks, Party and non-Party, who raised the workers and peasants in revolt against the invaders, against the Whiteguards, undermined the rear of the foes of the Soviet Government, and thereby facilitated the advance of the Red Army. Everybody knows that the partisans of the Ukraine, Siberia, the Far East, the Urals, Byelorussia and the Volga region, by undermining the rear of the Whiteguards and the invaders, rendered invaluable service to the Red Army.

    8. The Red Army was victorious because the Soviet Republic was not alone in its struggle against Whiteguard counter-revolution and foreign intervention, because the struggle of the Soviet Government and its successes enlisted the sympathy and support of the proletarians of the whole world. While the imperialists were trying to stifle the Soviet Republic by intervention and blockade, the workers of the imperialist countries sided with the Soviets and helped them. Their struggle against the capitalists of the countries hostile to the Soviet Republic helped in the end to force the imperialists to call off the intervention. The workers of Great Britain, France and the other intervening powers called strikes, refused to load munitions consigned to the invaders and the Whiteguard generals, and set up Councils of Action whose work was guided by the slogan -- "Hands off Russia!"

    "The international bourgeoisie has only to raise its hand against us to have it seized by its own workers," Lenin said. (Ibid., p. 405.)

 

B R I E F   S U M M A R Y
 

    Vanquished by the October Revolution, the landlords and capitalists, in conjunction with the Whiteguard generals, conspired with the governments of the Entente countries against the interests of their own country for a joint armed attack on the Soviet land and for the overthrow of the Soviet Government. This formed the basis of the military intervention of the Entente and of the Whiteguard revolts in the border regions of Russia, as a result of which Russia was cut off from her sources of food and raw material.

    The military defeat of Germany and the termination of the war between the two imperialist coalitions in Europe served to strengthen the Entente and to intensify the intervention, and created new difficulties for Soviet Russia.

    On the other hand, the revolution in Germany and the incipient revolutionary movement in the European countries created favourable international conditions for the Soviet power and relieved the position of the Soviet Republic.

    The Bolshevik Party roused the workers and peasants for a war for the fatherland, a war against the foreign invaders and the bourgeois and landlord Whiteguards. The Soviet Republic and its Red Army defeated one after another the puppets of the Entente -- Kolchak, Yudenich, Denikin, Krasnov and Wrangel, drove out of the Ukraine and Byelorussia another puppet of the Entente, Pilsudski, and thus beat off the forces of foreign intervention and drove them out of the Soviet country.

    Thus the first armed attack of international capital on the land of Socialism ended in a complete fiasco.

    In the period of intervention, the parties which had been smashed by the revolution, the Socialist-Revolutionaries, Mensheviks, Anarchists and nationalists, supported the Whiteguard generals and the invaders, hatched counter-revolutionary plots against the Soviet Republic and resorted to terrorism against Soviet leaders. These parties, which had enjoyed a certain amount of influence among the working class before the October Revolution, completely exposed themselves before the masses as counter-revolutionary parties during the Civil War.

    The period of Civil War and intervention witnessed the political collapse of these parties and the final triumph of the Communist Party in Soviet Russia.