The Military Commission, which had been authorised and appointed by the Central Control Commission, carried on with its investigation of the Red Army and the Soviet military establishment until January

This attack launched upon Trotsky by his opponents on the Central Committee, however, was indirect in comparison with the direct political struggle, which was reaching flash-point as the Military Commission was gathering up the results of its labours and submitting its report. The 'FortySix', the loose combination of political opposition to the policy and purposes of the Stalin-Kamenev-Zinoviev triumvirate, had triggered off a dangerous situation. In their demand for the restoration of inner-Party democracy, this group had forced the triumvirate to open the discussion of Party policy in the Moscow 'cells', and subsequently in the provinces. The day went badly with the triumvirate, who were subject to a torrent of criticism and hostile verdicts. In the military 'cells' of the Moscow garrison, Antonov-Ovseenko, head of the PUR, delivered an address, in which he declared that the military 'cells' were solidly behind Trotsky.1 It was this fervid political discussion, aimed against the ruling group, which gave Circular No. 200 of the PUR, issued without the knowledge of the Central Committee and promulgated on 24th December, 1923, its particular political potency. The political organisations within the armed forces were now fully authorised to discuss matters of Party policy at meetings of the 'cell' and, indeed, to initiate such

discussion in terms of inner-Party democratic procedure. While AntonovOvseenko had obviously and dramatically over-simplified the position of the support for Trotsky in the military organisations, there can be little doubt that the younger political workers (like the students of the University of Moscow) were sympathetic to the cause of this phase of opposition. One-third of the military 'cells' of the Moscow garrison had come out in support for the programme of the 'Forty-Six', and hence underwritten Trotsky's own position.2 This was the beginning of calamity indeed, when that instrument of control which had been specifically designed to achieve outright loyalty to the ruling group - the political administration of the Red Army - sided with the opponents or critics of that very group.