C H A P T E R E I G H T
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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.
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
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.
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
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.