Phase one: tanks are now sitting ducks

Notes on the war

At this particular juncture the west’s proxy finds itself on the back foot, says Jack Conrad. Doubtless that explains why Donald Tusk is warning Russia that a wider war in Europe is “a real threat”

After the long, hellishly cold months of winter, spring has finally arrived and, when it comes to Ukraine, the talk turns to a Russian offensive. Some altogether silly armchair generals have a spring offensive: you see, the ice has melted and the sunshine is drying out the ground. Except, of course, it isn’t - well, not in Ukraine anyway.

Winter makes military operations difficult, but perfectly feasible. Tanks, howitzers, armoured personnel carriers, infantry and, crucially, lorries can move swiftly over solidly frozen ground and this allows for attack and manoeuvre. But spring and autumn in Ukraine bring the rains and therefore the rasputitsa - not dry ground, but deep, thick, squelching mud. Everything, especially lorries - vital for supplying the frontline with rations, munitions, fuel and reinforcements - gets bogged down.

The Sun vividly reports, for example, that the “biggest challenge” faced by the British-supplied Challenger II, is that it keeps getting stuck in what are in Ukrainian terms ordinary puddles. Mighty diesel engines roar, but tracks dig deeper and deeper into the mire, to the point where the 74-ton monster almost buries itself.1

Remember, while phase one of the Ukraine war began in late February 2022, Russia sent its tanks mainly along conventional roads and highways, not through boggy fields, woods and rough ground. True, that gave Ukrainian soldiers - equipped as they were with shoulder-launched Javelin and Nlaw missiles - sitting targets in what turned into a turkey shoot. But a tank-led invasion across a wide front was hardly a realistic option. The rasputitsa would have brought everything to a gooey, gluey, ghastly halt.

So we should not expect a full-scale Russian offensive in 2024 till well into May. And here is where Donald Tusk, Poland’s prime minister, and his remarks about war in Europe being a “real threat” find at least some kind of purchase. It is not that Vladimir Putin is just about to open a western front with Nato and order the invasion of the Baltic countries, let alone Poland. But, after months of incremental advances, with Avdiivka successfully captured, a concerted Russian push towards Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, in the north-east and/or Odessa in the south-west is quite conceivable. Taking Odessa would all but landlock Ukraine - meaning a strategic victory for Russia by giving it effective control over the entire northern Black Sea coastline.

Russia has certainly ramped up war production, militarily adjusted to the needs of a slow, grinding war and has just mobilised an additional 150,000 young men into its much expanded army. By contrast, Ukraine finds itself badly wrong-footed.

In part that is down to factors beyond its control: ie, Donald Trump and the Republican Party in America. Grandstanding over migration and the southern border with Mexico has seen the Biden administration repeatedly fail to get its $60 billion aid package for Ukraine through Congress. Maybe that is about to change. Mike Johnson, Republican House speaker, says it will if “innovations” are included, such as the provision of loans to Ukraine and the REPO for Ukraine Act is used - it allows for the seizure of sovereign Russian assets.2 We shall see.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s recently appointed commander-in-chief, colonel general Oleksandr Syrskyi, bitterly complains that, with US supplies blocked, Russia has a 5:1 advantage when it comes to artillery shells. Russia routinely fires 10,000 daily, whereas Ukraine can only manage 2,000. That very much matters on the battlefield. Neither strategic nor tactical advance is possible without massive artillery bombardment. That was certainly true in World War I, World War II and even the Iraq war, as shown by Verdun, Stalingrad, El Alamein, Fallujah and other such battles.

Even tactical defence is problematic without strong artillery support. That explains, says Syrskyi, the commander in Bakhmut, who was prepared to sacrifice countless men to hold this strategically unimportant town, why he ordered the evacuation of Avdiivka. Supplies of artillery shells were running dangerously low. Of course, all this might be part of an elaborate ruse designed to push the US Congress into agreeing Biden’s package. But the idea, touted by some armchair generals, that artillery has been made irrelevant by drones and other such high tech weaponry, is obviously false. No, nowadays, it is surely tanks - once the prime instrument for delivering shock and awe on the battlefield - which have largely been rendered ineffective. By contrast traditional artillery, yes, coupled with drones for forward observation, create a “lethal and efficient deep fire affect” (former UK minister of defence, Ben Wallis).3

Artillery systems serve four main functions: firstly, suppress enemy fire or counter-battery fire; secondly, take out high-value targets; thirdly, break up enemy force concentrations; fourthly, provide fire support for battlefield manoeuvre. Drones are brilliant for taking out high-value targets: eg, tanks, electronic jamming stations and command posts. However, drones “cannot create the firepower necessary for enemy fire suppression or for breaking up enemy force concentrations”.4 They simply cannot lift the necessary payload. In other words, drones have not made artillery irrelevant: rather, in many cases, drones have made artillery more effective and precise. Then there is the price tag: whereas the top-end MQ-9 Reaper drone costs $28 million, a MQ-IB Predator drone $6.7 million and an Abram tank $10 million, an artillery shell comes in at a mere snip - $5,000.

The EU has pledged to plug the gap by upping production to one million artillery shells annually. Yet so far there has been a considerable shortfall. Meanwhile, the US is capable of producing 1.3 million shells annually - but, of course, deliveries are stymied because of the narrowest political calculations (showing, surely, the dysfunctional nature of the US constitutional order).

Ukraine has other problems though - not least the shortage of manpower. Once, fuelled by patriotic fervour, there were queues snaking around recruiting offices. Now supplies of the willing have all but been exhausted. Hundreds are dying on the front line daily, while others return home badly injured or horribly mutilated - leading, understandably, to an increasing reluctance to serve in the military. More and more are “fleeing conscription”.5 The BBC recently put the figure of those who have sneaked abroad - mainly to Poland and Slovakia - at 650,000. That despite a ban on males aged between 16 and 60 from leaving the country.6

Average age

Strangely, the average age of a Ukrainian front-line soldier is an extraordinarily high 43 - explained in good part by the fact that till just a few days ago only those over 27 faced conscription. In December president Volodymyr Zelensky said 450,000 to 500,000 extra soldiers would be needed to fight Russia in 2024. Ukraine’s parliament, the Rada, had for weeks been dithering over new legislation, which would reduce the minimum to 25. The age was, in fact, lowered in separate legislation last May and approved by the Rada, but Zelensky only got round to signing it into law on April 3. The ten month delay in implementing the change has not been seriously explained.

Given that we are repeatedly told that Ukraine faces an existential threat, Zelensky’s lethargy is curious, to say the least. After all, the newly established French Republic responded to invasion by aristocratic Europe by introducing near-universal conscription (levée en masse).

Deputy Jean-Baptiste Jourdan, along with Lazare Carnot, drafted the decree agreed by the National Convention on August 16 1793. Its first sentence reads: “From this moment and until all enemies are driven from the territory of the Republic, all French persons are placed in permanent requisition for the service of the armies.” This characteristically Jacobin measure enabled the creation of the Grande Armée, “the nation in arms”, which overwhelmed the professional armies fielded by Austria, Prussia, Spain and Russia. All unmarried men between the ages of 18 and 25 were immediately drafted into military service. The elderly, married men, women, even children were expected to provide economic, logistical and moral support. At a stroke, the levée replaced all previous theories and legal claims about war upheld by the ancien régime.7

Why Zelensky refrained from mobilising Ukraine’s young men is something of a mystery to me. Are anti-war sentiments particularly strong amongst them? Perhaps. It is unlikely, though, that this age cohort will have anything much in the way of sympathy for the war aims of Russia. After all, they, in their vast majority, are Ukrainian-Ukrainians, who have reached adulthood after the 2014 Maidan coup and the eruption of what was in effect civil war between Russian-speaking partisans in the south and east of the country, and Ukrainian official and unofficial state forces.

Ukraine has also woefully failed to prepare adequate defences. In late November 2023, Zelensky ordered the “construction of an extensive network of fortifications”.8 However, little seems to have happened till early February this year, when a new working group within Ukraine’s defence ministry was given responsibility to coordinate construction. There is a budget of $800 million available and, according to Zelensky, the aim is to “build new fortifications along three lines of defence totalling 2,000km by the end of spring”.9 A tall order.

Three lines of defence is, of course, exactly what Russia put in place in the winter-spring of 2022-23 along the entire front line, and then arching up following the internationally recognised border between the two countries. Typically, there are: firstly, wide anti-tank ditches; secondly, earth berms, tightly packed minefields and three rows of dragon’s teeth; thirdly, there comes the network of trenches and bunkers sheltering troops. Attackers also face deadly fire raining down upon them from well-protected artillery and howitzer positions located in the rear. No wonder Ukrainian attempts to make a breakthrough with its summer offensive in 2023 came to nought.

Euphoria over Russia’s surrender of Kherson in the south and retreat from the gates of Kharkiv in the north-east, assured of unwavering western support and confident that Challenger, Abram and Leopard tanks would allow Ukraine to punch through Russian defences and get its forces all the way to the warm waters of the Black Sea - meant that the construction of fortifications behind the front line went neglected. So after the forced withdrawal from Avdiivka in February, the Ukrainians had no defences to fall back onto.

Hence, Ukraine will be vulnerable to a Russian summer offensive ... unless Zelensky’s “end of spring” deadline is met. That is why, at least in my opinion, we have Donald Tusk touting a ‘Weimar Triangle’ uniting Poland, France and Germany to support Ukraine and thereby warning Russia about the danger of a wider conflict in Europe.

Once a dove, now a hawk, Emmanuel Macron has even raised the possibility of deploying French combat troops to Ukraine. True, he promised, in his televised address delivered from the Elysée, that France would “never” take the “initiative” in any offensive in Ukraine. However, he insisted that, while France is “not at war with Russia …, we must not let it win”.10

In part this is about domestic politics. As the National Assembly voted to approve the 10-year Franco-Ukrainian security agreement on March 12, the president saw an unmissable opportunity to round on Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s left-reformist France Insoumise, which opposed the agreement, and Marine Le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement National, which abstained. The president’s party, note, is trailing far behind in opinion polls … and European and presidential elections are looming.

Nonetheless, across Europe there is a drive by mainstream bourgeois politicians, opinion makers, arms manufacturers and the top brass alike to win a sceptical public to accept bigger military budgets in the name of ‘not letting Russia win’. Already Poland spends 3.9% of its GDP on the military, Greece some 3% and the UK, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Estonia, Slovakia and Romania around 2%.11 But the trend is upwards with all Nato members ... and between January 2022 and January 2024 some $165 billion has gone to finance and arm Ukraine.12

Logically this choice of guns over butter should be wholeheartedly welcomed by the social-imperialist ‘left’. Some mealy-mouthed representatives of this camp - eg, Branko Marcetic, a Jacobin staff writer - oppose the delivery of “offensive weapons”.13 The more honest, the more brazen - eg, Stephen R Shalom of the Mandelite ‘Fourth International’ - rightly says that the distinction between offensive and defensive weapons is meaningless.14 Unashamedly, they constitute themselves outriders of the Weimar Triangle and demand ‘Arm, arm, arm Ukraine’.

By contrast, we stick with Wilhelm Liebknecht’s time-honoured slogan, “Not a man and not a penny for this system!”15 Socialists - genuine socialists, that is - take no responsibility for the ‘defence budget’ of capitalist governments. We maintain that position because of political principle, because we are a party of extreme opposition, not out of economic calculation. After all, it is argued that military expenditure (milex) stimulates economic activity - a line taken by military Keynesians and Marxists such as Paul Baran, Paul Sweezy, Michael Kidron and Ernest Mandel. Doubtless the profits of the arms companies are boosted with increased state orders for the means of destruction. However, the main burden is borne by taxpayers, not least other sections of the capitalist class. Dan Smith and Ron Smith conclude that the effects of milex are “complex and contradictory”: it maintains capitalism, but suppresses overall economic growth.16

Such debates aside, everything else being equal, more on milex equals less on local government grants, sickness benefits, transport projects, etc. The social-imperialists ought, therefore, to take responsibility for that choice next time they march with their Banderite buddies. ‘Arm, arm, arm Ukraine’ should be accompanied with calls to ‘Cut, cut, cut … services and welfare’.

Western front

If Ukraine manages to put in place its three lines of defence along the whole front line and the whole Russia-Ukraine border by the end of spring, admittedly a big ‘if’, then a Russian summer offensive in 2024 will have as much chance of success as Ukraine’s summer offensive in 2023. Well, unless Russia strikes via Belarus.

In other words, we have a situation similar to the western front in World War I, but with the addition of drones, glide bombs, cruise missiles and electronic warfare. Successful surprise attacks become all but impossible. Instead there is siege warfare.

In World War I the background to this was remarkably similar to Ukraine. Having been forced onto the defensive in 1915, the Germans responded by fortifying their front: lines of trenches, barbed wire, machine guns, concrete bunkers. To have any hope of breaching such awesome defences required the delivery, via rail and lorry, of huge quantities of artillery shells, prolonged bombardments and then massively costly infantry assaults (artillery conquered and infantry held any territorial gains).

Trotsky, at the time, it should be noted, devoted several, typically incisive, articles to trench warfare, including ‘The trenches’ (September 1915) and ‘Fortresses or trenches?’ (October 1915). He dismissed fortresses as anachronistic - artillery bombardment quickly reduced them to rubble. Hence, Trotsky declared, “trenches” had triumphed and to such an extent that both militarists and pacifists worshipped them.17 Deluded pacifists imagined that state borders protected by trenches could finally abolish war.

Certainly, as a “temporary sanctuary” trenches served as “decisive boundaries, the smallest crossing of which by either side is paid for with numerous victims”. But conditions in the trenches were terrible. Trotsky called them “disgusting dumps”. German, Austrian, Italian, French and British troops alike found themselves crouching in mud, water and filth. They thought not about the grand plans of monarchs, ministers and generals. Nor did they think about killing the enemy. No, their overriding concern was getting a crust to eat - that and survival. Trotsky quotes testimony from men at the front about how they would enter into a silent agreement not to fire upon the other side.18

However, fortress warfare continued, albeit in different form. German chief of staff Erich von Falkenhayn promulgated a military doctrine that allowed for no retreat. As with a fortress under siege, the “standard response” was that any breach of the defences had to be met with swift counterattacks, no matter what the cost.19 Given that German forces had behind them a thousand square miles of captured French territory, such a doctrine was militarily unnecessary, but ensured that the final outcome ultimately depended on who could produce the most munitions and who could sustain the greatest losses in human life.

The US and UK top brass - above all their political masters in Washington and Whitehall - seem quite prepared to let hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians die for the sake of their imperial ambitions: subordinating France and Germany, degrading and dismembering the Russian Federation and strategically surrounding and strangling the People’s Republic of China.

There is, inevitably, the possibility of a frozen conflict. To this day, for example, the war on the Korean peninsula continues, but as a prolonged ceasefire - there is no peace treaty, no settlement. But that does not look like being on the cards any time soon when it comes to Russia and Ukraine. Nor do peace negotiations.

True, the US paymaster told Zelensky to drop his intransigent position of ‘no negotiations till the last Russian soldier leaves the last piece of pre-2014 Ukrainian soil’. While Zelensky instantly fell into line, this owed more to public relations than any moves towards a peace deal. Indeed there is plenty of evidence showing that the US and UK governments worked hard to block a “peace deal” in the first months of Russia’s ‘special military operation’.

Former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder testifies that such a Russia-Ukraine deal was nearly reached in the spring of 2022 and included four main points: firstly, Ukraine would abandon plans to join Nato; secondly, bans on the Russian language in Ukraine would be removed; thirdly, Donbass would remain in Ukraine, but function as an autonomous region; fourthly, the UN and Germany would oversee security agreements. Crimea was to be left to the future.20

According to David Arakhamia, parliamentary leader of Zelensky’s Servant of the People party, Boris Johnson flew into Kyiv and told Ukrainian officials not to “sign anything with them at all; just go to war”.21 Apparently, a clincher.

Trench warfare, because of its static nature, allows for - encourages - fraternisation. Ordinary soldiers, especially those in non-elite units, dread the prospect of being ordered over the top. The chances of death are exceedingly high. Meanwhile, they endlessly wait and wait, and do their best to reduce the discomfort, suffering, boredom and dangers. There is an obvious interest in not being sacrificed in useless military operations. Rank-and-file soldiers and their NCOs frequently take a common stand against the non-combatant officer class safely located in distant headquarters. Men in the trenches bond, form a close-knit community. Staff officers are with very few exceptions held in utter contempt: self-serving, out of touch, arrogant and determined to save their children from the meat grinder.

Live and let live

Away from the most active battle zones, with their fanatical stormtroopers, human waves and mass casualties, there is ‘live and let live’.22 If you do not shoot us when we are bucketing out our waterlogged trenches, we will not shoot you when you are bucketing out yours. The same goes with the retrieval of the dead and the badly wounded from no-man’s land. A tacit, always illicit, truce is observed. The antithesis of the official ‘kill or be killed’. Veterans instruct newcomers in the arts of peace as well as of war.

Morally, there grows a recognition of mutual suffering. The poor buggers on the other side endure the same cold, the same mud, the same infestations of rats, mice and lice as we do. They get to know their neighbours in the nearby trenches not only through the drones buzzing overhead, the shells whizzing in and the night raids. They hear the agonised screams, the curses, the familiar songs and the messages shouted in a closely related language. They also smell what the other side is cooking. Fellow feeling, empathy, can easily develop, as was famously the case with Christmas 1914 in World War I.

This was, though, argues Tony Ashworth, “neither the first nor the last instance of ‘live and let live’”.23 Perhaps things began with coinciding mealtimes, perhaps it was night sentries not firing upon each other. Whatever the exact case, on December 25 1914 German troops began setting up Christmas trees above their parapets, lighting candles and singing carols. The Tommies joined in. A few brave souls ventured out of their trenches. They were met not with a hail of bullets. Instead, other brave souls joined them. Smiles, handshakes and hugs, the exchange of small presents and games of football, followed. Some 100,000 are thought to have been involved across the whole of the western front.

Naturally, the internationalist left - not least Lenin and the Bolsheviks - celebrated the 48-hour unofficial Christmas truce and used it to considerable polemical effect against the social-imperialists and their social-pacifist and centrist apologists. Lenin quotes Karl Kautsky, the former ‘pope of Marxism’, saying: “There is only one practical issue - victory or defeat for one’s country”. Lenin’s reply is damning: “[I]f one were to forget socialism and the class struggle, that would be the truth. However, if one does not lose sight of socialism, that is untrue.”24

There can be no argument that one of the key preconditions for the Christmas truce and other spontaneous acts of fraternisation lay in the prior history of mass anti-war propaganda and agitation carried out by the parties of the Socialist (Second) International. Nevertheless, it is worth pointing out that, while most British front-line troops came from a working class (ie, Labourite) background, that was not the case with German forces. Most came from rural areas and therefore were of peasant stock. They were not natural social democrats. However, the trenches themselves, the commonality imposed by life on the frontline, the technology of industrial warfare, proletarianised them.

The dangers of fraternisation were all too apparent for the officer class. On December 5 1914, general Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien, commander of one of the two corps which made up the British Expeditionary Force, issued this revealing warning:

Experience of this and of every other war proves undoubtedly that troops in trenches in close proximity to the enemy slide very easily, if permitted to do so, into a ‘live and let live’ theory of life. Understandings - amounting almost to an unofficial armistice - grow up between our troops and the enemy, with a view to making life easier, until the sole object of war becomes obscured and officers and men sink into a military lethargy, from which it is difficult to arouse them when the moment for great sacrifices again arises. The attitude of our troops can be readily understood and to a certain extent commands sympathy. So long as they know that no general advance is intended, they fail to see any object in understanding small enterprises of no permanent utility, certain to result in some loss of life, and likely to provoke reprisals.

Such an attitude is, however, most dangerous, for it discourages initiative in commanders and destroys the offensive spirit in all ranks. The corps commander therefore directs divisional commanders to impress on subordinate commanders the absolute necessity of encouraging offensive spirit, while on the defensive, by every means in their power. Friendly intercourse with the enemy, unofficial armistices (eg, ‘We won’t fire if you don’t’, etc), however tempting and amusing they may be, are absolutely prohibited.25

Such orders were, of course, powerless to stop fraternisation. In subsequent years sentries were posted with instructions to shoot anyone tempted to repeat the Christmas truce.

A similar story could be told about French and German, Italian and Austrian, and Russian and German troops. High commands on both sides issued instructions forbidding the slightest manifestation of fraternisation. Those who disobeyed were to be charged with high treason. Nonetheless, life in the trenches creates a tendency towards fraternisation, even if it is only at the level of ‘live and let live’.

The same goes for the Ukraine war. Anything smacking of fraternisation horrifies Volodymyr Zelensky and Vladimir Putin alike. Not surprisingly, therefore, each belligerent imposes strict media censorship and tightly controls access to the front.

The claim is that this guards against spies, lies and fake information. Nonsense. No, it is obvious, Moscow and Kyiv are united in a mutual fear of honest, objective and truthful reporting. Sometimes, though, the real picture can be gleaned, even if it comes via indirect evidence.

Ukrainian rank-and-file troops face draconian punishment: five to eight years in prison for disobedience, 10 years for desertion or failure to appear for duty without a valid reason. “Threatening commanders, consuming alcohol, questioning orders” and many other misdeeds are dealt with equally harshly.26 Such punitive measures would be entirely unnecessary if discipline was internally generated, if there was no refusing of orders, no desertion, no drunken cursing of corrupt politicians and high-handed officers.

Ukrainian and Russian conscripts alike endure appalling conditions, suffer from the same mud, cold and rain. Together they object to risking their lives in pointless military operations and inevitably develop fellow feeling for the grunts on the other side of no-man’s land.

That is not something the social-imperialists want to hear. Instead of promoting fraternisation, the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, Ukraine Solidarity Campaign, Anticapitalist Resistance, RS21, Labour Representation Committee and their like deny the self-evident fact that the US and its Nato allies are fighting a proxy war, urge Ukraine’s oligarkhiya regime on to complete victory, oppose any talk of ceasefires and complain that the short-sighted west does not “provide enough weaponry”.27

For these traitors to socialism - for that is what they are - the draft dodgers, the endemic conflict between conscripts and the officer caste, and above all the unofficial, tacit ceasefires on the front line come as bad news. For them it is ‘Kill or be killed’.

  1. The Sun March 8 2024.↩︎

  2. thehill.com/homenews/house/4566836-johnson-says-ukraine-aid-will-come-up-right-after-recess-and-will-include-some-innovations.↩︎

  3. www.gov.uk/government/speeches/defence-secretarys-speech-on-defence-reform.↩︎

  4. defence.nridigital.com/global_defence_technology_jan21/why_modern_militaries_still_need_artillery.↩︎

  5. www.dw.com/en/ukraine-to-shake-up-recruitment-as-troops-prove-scarce/a-67348780.↩︎

  6. www.bbc.com/ukrainian/articles/cd1px4z922wo.↩︎

  7. See Alan Forrest, ‘Le partie en danger’ in D Moran and A Waldon The people in arms: military myth and national mobilization since the French Revolution Cambridge 2006.↩︎

  8. The Wall Street Journal December 1 2023.↩︎

  9. Financial Times March 28 2024.↩︎

  10. www.euractiv.com/section/politics/news/ukraine-macron-accepts-possibility-of-need-for-troops-in-ukraine.↩︎

  11. www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-44717074.↩︎

  12. Figure arrived at from www.statista.com/statistics/1303432/total-bilateral-aid-to-ukraine.↩︎

  13. B Marcetic Jacobin March 27 2022.↩︎

  14. SR Shalom International Viewpoint April 22 2022.↩︎

  15. See Wilhelm Liebknecht’s November 30 1893 speech to the Reichstag during its debate on the imperial budget: www.marxists.org/archive/liebknecht-w/revolt/11-not-one-penny.html.↩︎

  16. D Smith and R Smith The economics of militarism London 1983, p100.↩︎

  17. Mistranslated by Isaac Deutscher as “French” in The prophet armed: Trotsky: 1879-1921 Oxford 1979, p228n - see ID Thatcher Leon Trotsky and World War One: August 1914-March 1917 Glasgow 1993, p34n.↩︎

  18. ID Thatcher Leon Trotsky and World War One: August 1914-March 1917 Glasgow 1993, p27-28.↩︎

  19. A Jones The art of war in the western world London 1988, p456.↩︎

  20. Berliner Zeitung October 21 2023.↩︎

  21. J Wojcik and CJ Atkins People’s World November 29 2023.↩︎

  22. The term can also be rendered as ‘rest and let rest’ or ‘let sleeping dogs lie’. During World War I such tacit truces developed into a widespread, unofficial culture of minimising death, violence and suffering - see T Ashworth Trench warfare 1914-1918: the live and let system London 2000, p18.↩︎

  23. T Ashworth Trench warfare 1914-1918: the live and let system London 2000, p24.↩︎

  24. VI Lenin CW Vol 21 Moscow 1977, p182.↩︎

  25. Quoted in A Richards The true story of the Christmas truce: British and German accounts of the First World War Barnsley 2001.↩︎

  26. www.politico.eu/article/ukraine-zelenskyy-war-military-law.↩︎

  27. Solidarity January 11 2023.↩︎