The Russian imperial army and navy, together with other imperial institutions of tsarist Russia, disintegrated after the outbreak of the revolutions of 1917. By a decree of Jan. 28 (Jan. 15, Old Style), 1918, the Council of People’s Commissars created a Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army on a voluntary basis. The first units, fighting with a revolutionary fervour, distinguished themselves against the Germans at Narva and Pskov on Feb. 23, 1918, which became Soviet Army Day. On April 22, 1918, the Soviet government decreed compulsory military training for workers and peasants who did not employ hired labour, and this was the beginning of the Red Army. Its founder was Leon Trotsky, people’s commissar for war from March 1918 until he lost the post in November 1924.
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