One Hundred Red Days: A Personal Chronicle of the Bolshevik Revolution

By Edgar Sisson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXII February 14--February 21, 1918. "No Peace, No War!" Is War."

TROTSKY went before the Central Executive Committee on February 14 and made his public report of the death of the Peace Conference. The presence of outside observers was invited. So Trotsky was talking the last time I set eyes on him. In spite of the dire tidings he bore, his speech was aggressive and his bearing high.

I logged that night under date of February 14, though I wrote at three o'clock on the morning of the fifteenth:

Feb. 14. (Thursday) Trotsky's speech--reiteration "Will fight for no imperialists--will not deal with allies." "Will hold Social- Democrats of Germany responsible before the world if Germany takes offensive against Russia." And in reply to debate his account of private talk with Czernin warning him that if Austria took advantage of peace bargain with defunct Rada to enter Ukraine, Bolsheviks "from heads of Government down to the last individual will fight and shed their blood in defense of Revolution." Czernin's careful public statement next day that Ukraine would be regarded as neutral. Resolution for each Soviet to help raise Red Army.

Tea 2 A.M. in room. Vaskov's statement that Lenin's idea was to sign any separate peace: "It is only for a little time"--and that "No Peace, No War!" idea was Trotsky's accepted by Lenin. Paragraph as read by Trotsky was adopted by Council before he went down. Revert to Trotsky at Soviet Convention-- "Would have made separate peace if could have done it with dignity."

Vaskov, as I have said, was a Bolshevik politician whom I liked for himself. He knew a fact when he met it and his hostility to Germany was not assumed.

Trotsky, in the body of his speech, made a general apology for Russia's defeat at Brest-Litovsk, a defeat that he did not deny. He said that the major force of Germany displayed itself at the council table as well as in war. Germany, he said, was

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