Redizdat was created around mid-1919. It opened printing and publishing outlets in various Soviet-controlled zones during the Russian Civil War. Between April and June 1919, the Ukrainian branch of Redizdat (in concert with Narkomvoen, Ukraine) printed over six million propaganda leaflets and over one million copies of the book Red Army. Additionally, Redizdat printed or published materials for Narkomzem (People's Commissariat for Agriculture and Foodstuffs) and the UKRPURA (Ukrainian Political Administration) during the civil war. By 1937, Redizdat was transformed into Gidrometeoizdat (State Scientific and Technical Hydro-meteorological Publishing House).
Formal reorganization of the armed forces took place during the dismantling of the war ministry of the Russian Provisional Government. The most immediate task was dealing with the demobilization of Imperial Army troops and the second critical need was the formation of a new Red Army and Red Navy, along with the introduction of universal military training. During the Russian Revolution, Tsarist elements in the rank and file of the armed forces were eliminated and replaced by Bolshevik-friendly Red Guards, armed workers and regular soldiers and sailors. Initially, the Soviets formed the Committee for Military Affairs to take charge of this military organization but it was reorganized as the People's Commissariat for Military Affairs (Narkomvoen). Narkomvoen was the central apparatus that managed the Soviet military until the 1930s. In March 1918, Leon Trotsky became the head of Narkomvoen and led it through the Russian Civil War, a post he held until 1923. Narkomvoen was renamed the People's Commissariat for Defense (NKO) in 1934.