The Case of Mikhail Tukhachevsky: How Trotsky Destroyed the Leadership of the Red Army (1937)

Mikhail Tukhachevsky (1893-1937)

Mikhail Nikolaevich Tukhachevsky (born February 16th, 1893, Aleksandrovskoe, Smolensk Province, Russian Empire – died June 12th, 1937, Moscow, RSFSR, USSR) – was a prominent Soviet military leader, military leader of the Red Army during the Civil War, military theorist, and was made Marshal of the Soviet Union in 1935. He was charged with ‘Treason’, tried and found ‘Guilty’ of this crime by a Soviet (Military) in 1937. He was sentenced to ‘Death by Firing Squad’ – and was executed on June 12th, 1937 (alongside seven others charged with the same crime).  This trial was reported throughout the Soviet Press, but due to the nature of the allegations (which included ‘spying’ for Nazi Germany), the Military Court was held in closed session.

In the general and simplistic (anti-Soviet) narratives of the West, everything that happened in the USSR is directly blamed upon the personage of Joseph Stalin – who was the ‘elected’ General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In reality Stalin had very little direct power as Western narratives suggest, but he and his office acted as an ideological filter ensuring that decisions and policies decided elsewhere (and often through widespread voting) were ‘correct’ from a Marxist-Leninist perspective. This was the purpose of the elected office he held, and he was chosen due to his unshakeable commitment to his correct interpretation and application of Marxist-Leninism, designed to develop the USSR and empower the Soviet people to an even greater degree! Much, if not all, of the ‘anti-Stalin’ hysteria that informs the West dates back no further than post-1945 with the development of US Cold War Disinformation, which generated false historical narratives, and projected those narratives backwards into a history that no one knew had happened at the time!

Hitler rose to power in 1933 and suddenly gave a solid ideological backbone to the fascism of Italy, and the spiritual fascism of Imperial Japan. Hitler also posed a direct geographical-military threat to the USSR which was being aided and abetted by Leon Trotsky (exiled from the USSR for ‘Treason’ in 1929), and his followers who were trying to build a ‘4th International’ premised upon collaboration with bourgeois capitalism, Roman Catholicism and International Fascism. From 1936-1939 the USSR led the Communist World in the battle against Hitlerite and Italian fascism in Spain, represented by General Franco (the Catholic Church called upon all true Catholics to join Franco’s Army). Thousands of working class men and women from the West volunteered to form ‘International Brigades’ to oppose Franco, an effort not accepted or supported by any Western democratic power. All though there was a ‘United Front’ between the democratic left, Communists, Socialists and Anarchists, Trotskyite elements (Britain’s George Orwell being amongst them), sought to undermine the Soviet aligned left alliance, and allow the Franco forces to prevail – which is, of course – exactly what happened in the end. This is the historical background to the Tukhachevsky affair and it needs to be considered when assessing these events.

Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky was a Defendant in the case referred to as the ‘Anti-Soviet Trotskyist Military Organization’. Typical Western narratives give the (false) impression that an insane Joseph Stalin walked up to Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky and ‘shot him’ just because he felt like doing it! The historical reality is far different, and it must be remembered that in modern (capitalist) Russia, many Russian authors with no experience (or liking) for the USSR are only too willing to translate Western (US) Disinformation into the Russian language, and integrate this fabricated body into legitimate Soviet history – thus creating a false narrative. Matters are not helped by the fact that the Trotskyite Nikita Khrushchev – the traitor who aligned himself with the US Disinformation discussed – not only ‘rehabilitated’ Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky in 1957 (a year after demonising Joseph Stalin in his 1956 ‘Secret Speech’) but also called for the documented material directly involving Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky’s  collaboration with Nazi German Intelligence to be ‘destroyed’ (i.e. ‘burned’).

Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky was said to be something of a military genius. He foresaw the mass use of tanks, artillery and aeroplanes at a time when this was not a common paradigm. He was from an impoverished peasant background and was fighting as a low-ranking officer in the Czarist Army of WWII (1914-1917). He was captured by the Germans in February, 1915 and spent around a year in a POW camp (where he met Charles de Gaulle) before escaping. Travelling through France, England, Norway and Sweden, he finally returned to Russia in October, 1917 – where he was immediately returned to duty in the Czarist Army. A French officer named Remi Ruhr, described Tukhachevsky in the following manner, ‘It’s not that he was cruel – he just didn’t have pity.’ He voluntarily joined the Red Army in March 1918, and worked in the Military Department of the Central Executive Committee. He joined the Communist Party of Russia (Bolshevik) in the early spring of 1918, and was soon appointed Military Commissar of the Moscow Defense District.

During the Western invasion of Revolutionary Russia (i.e. the ‘Russian Civil War 1917-1922), Tukhachevsky proved an effective war leader, securing victories or preventing defeats wherever he was ordered to deploy his men. However, there is one incident that departed from usual Red Army tactics which occurred in 1921 (when the Western-backed forces were virtually defeated all over Russia).

From the Order of Tukhachevsky No. 0116 issued June 12th, 1921:

I order:

Forests, where gangsters hide, to clear with poisonous gases, precisely calculate that a cloud of suffocating gases spread throughout the forest, destroying everything that is hidden in it.

The inspector of artillery immediately submit to the field the required number of cylinders with poisonous gases and the necessary specialists.

The chief of the military units will persistently and energetically execute this order.

On the measures taken to convey.

Commander Tukhachevsky,

Chief of Staff of the General Staff Kakurin.

Despite his rising high rank in the USSR military, and despite his success in combat, one or two people had noticed his ‘non-Socialist’ attitudes which were generally brutal. The people targeted in the above attack are said to have been uneducated Russian peasants manipulated by Western forces to fight for the White Army. These are usually the type of people who come over to the Red Army as friends and converts once the situation is properly explained to them. The above is a sample of odd decisions made by Tukhachevsky (who was not liked by Stalin and certainly not promoted by him). As Tukhachevsky rose in rank, he had personality clashes with other high-ranking Soviet officers about the nature and form of the Red Army in any future war. His attitudes and approaches appeared to mirror those of the Germans rather than those of the Soviets, despite his ideas being considered innovative (including the idea of jet engines for fighter-planes, etc). Eventually (in early 1937), the Soviet military, Intelligence and Police, following an in-depth investigation, stated that Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky was part of a Trotskyite Clique of high-ranking Soviet officers who was in direct contact with Nazi German Intelligence. A year later, in 1938, Trotsky would openly called upon his followers to co-operate with the forces of International Fascism, and for Soviet Citizens to carryout random acts of terrorism against the Soviet State in preparation for any attack upon the USSR. Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky is said to have ‘confessed’ when presented with the documented evidence of his crime (which included transcripts of telephone conversations with Nazi German Intelligence Operatives). Just as Trotsky seemed to know that an invasion of the USSR was imminent in 1938, it would appear that Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky was aware of such a planned event on May 22nd, 1937 (the day of his arrest).

During the preliminary investigation, Tukhachevsky pleaded guilty to the preparation of a military conspiracy in the Red Army, the purpose of which was to forcefully overthrow the government and establish a military dictatorship in the USSR. To achieve success, it was planned to prepare the defeat of the Red Army in any future war with Nazi Germany and, possibly, Japan. Testimony of Marshal Tukhachevsky dated May 26th and June 1st 1937. Tukhachevsky also acknowledged that he – as well as other participants – where involved in this conspiracy of Nazi German intelligence, and thsat he (and ‘they’) had given information that constitutes a State Secret to the Nazi Germans, which revealed the location and number of Red Army Unites stationed in the border areas. He (and the others) were charged with ‘espionage, treason and preparation of terrorist acts’ which clearly contravened Soviet Law such as Articles 58-1 ‘b’ 58-3 58-4 58-6 and 59-9 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR. By the decision of the court (Special Court Presence of the USSR Supreme Court), the defendants were found guilty of committing the crimes which attracted the Death Sentence. Joseph Stalin took no part in the initial investigations, no part in the arrests or interrogations, and no part in the judicial process whatsoever. When the Court proceedings were completed, he was given a report to look over and check that everything had been carried-out correctly. He then ‘confirmed’ that the severity of the crimes did attract the Death Sentence. Today, Western (and some Russian narratives) portray Stalin as a lunatic and Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky as a ‘hero’ despite all the evidence to the contrary.

In my opinion, Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky was one of many high-ranking Soviets who was a supporter of Trotsky. Trotsky himself had devised a system of ideology that so distorted Marxist Leninism that it was supportive of religion and predatory capitalism, and thought useful in the West as a bulwark against the ideology of genuine Marxist-Leninism. By supporters of Trotsky taking over the USSR, Trotsky would have returned triumphant to Russia and immediately made a permanent peace and military alliance with Nazi Germany – after abolishing the Soviet Socialist System.

Russian Language Sources:Тухачевский,_Михаил_Николаевич




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