Trotsky Gets Tough With His Soldiers, 1918

After the Bolsheviks took control of the Soviet government, Lenin ordered the formation of the Red Army and appointed Leon Trotsky its leader. The army's first orders were to neutralize the White Army during the Russian Civil War. Trotsky proved to be an outstanding military leader, as he led the army of 3 million to victory. The task was difficult, as Trotsky directed a war effort that was at times on 16 different fronts. On May 21, 1918 received this letter from some of his officers: "Because of the difficult situation of some of the units in the Red Army in Petrograd, the staff of the Kommisars deems it necessary to give for the fitst half of the month of May 150 rubles as before and for the second half of May we give according to the new decree issued by you 75 rubles. We are insistently asking you to give us permission to make such payment and inform us today." Trotsky angrily writes back in fountain pen telling them that he refuses to overrule his own directive and implies that the Kommisars have broken the trust of the Soviet Revolution. This document is historically significant because it shows the unrest in the Red Army at the beginning of the Civil War. Trotsky initials the first page with his usual "M" and signs his name on the second page in Cyrrilic.