Like most other revolutions of this century, the Sandinistas' victory in Nicaragua was planned and led by intellectuals turned soldier who, it turns out, are as much at home in a classroom explaining their vision of the future as they were on the battlefield fighting for it.
The nine members of the Sandinista National Directorate all but one of them highly educated and extremely articulate, were until two weeks ago engaged in a bloody and costly guerrilla war that finally toppled the Somoza dynasty.
Although they were well known to most Nicaraguans, few outside the country knew much about the shadowy figures who led the revolution or what they would do with power once they had it.
In two sessions in the last four days, televised for the nation but held in a large classroom that until recently was part of the National Guard's Infantry Training School, the top Sandinista leaders demonstrated that they are at ease with words and ideas as well as with guns.
They also showed that they know what kind of society they want to create and that they have every intention of retaining sufficient control - through the army, national police and trusted lieutenants in each key ministry- to ensure that their revolutionary ideas are carried out by the civilian junta government they placed in power.
"There are many people asking who is the government of Nicaragua," Daniel Ortega, a member of the Sandinista directorate, said Monday evening, "the Sandinista National Liberation Front or the Junta of National Reconstruction.
"It was wrong to think that the Sandinista Front was only a military organization.It was, is and will continue to be a political organization," he said.
The Sandinistas at the sessions were dressed in olive drab fatigues. Some of them carried submachineguns.The two sessions are part of what they say will be a series of appearances to explain their goals to Nicaragua and the world.
"We are going to stay until our program is fully accomplished," Ortega said.
At least for the moments, they seem to be tempering their decidedly leftist and possibly authoritarian views with rhetoric and actions designed more to reassure their potential enemies than their supporters - both inside and outside Nicaragua.
But it was evident throughout both of the sessions that the Saninistas see their current conciliatory positions and statements as only a first stage in what they have always said will be a far more sweeping revolution than what they have proposed for the present.
On the subject of agrarian reform, for example, Jaime Wheelock, the young Sandinista leader named as minister in charge of implementing a land redistribution program, said that only the Somoza family's vast holdings would be nationalized at the present time.
Wheelock also made a strong and seemingly ironclad statement that the new revolutionary government would respect private property.
But he added, almost in passing, that the new government is aware that many large farms that did not belong to the Somoza family have not been farmed efficiently and are not productive.
"We will review this situation at a later time," Wheelock said.
"We want to make profound changes in this country but in harmony with private interests," Wheelock said at another point during the three-hour session last night. "We think this is perfectly possible. Within our own plan, we will respect private property."
Another subject discussed during Monday's presentation - broadcast on the Sandinista-controlled national radio network that has been the sole disseminator of news since the downfll of Anastasio Somoza - was freedom of the press.
Once again, there were ambiguities that will only be resolved when hard decisions have been made and more time has elapsed.
Bayardo Arce, a former journalism professor and member of the Sandinista directorate, explained that until now the new Government of National Reconstruction and the Sandinista directorate thought it best to allow only one newspaper, one radio station and one television channel - all controlled by them - to operate.
"We support freedom of the press," Arce continued. But, of course, the freedom of the press we support will be a freedom of the press that supports the revolution."
One the subject of national unity, especially during the crucial months ahead when Nicaragua must undertake extraordinary measures if it is to rebuild, Ortega warned that those who disagreed with the decisions made by the junta and the Sandinistas might fall into the category of traitors.
"The enemies of the revolution, the enemies of the Sandinistas, are going to try to divide this escort," Ortega said. "There is a great need to walk together along the road to national reconstruction."
So far, there has been little disagreement, in public anyway, about the steps the new government has taken. The problems here are so overwhelming, the destruction so extensive, and the joy at overthrowing Somoza so evidently shared by the vast majority of Nicaraguans, that the country is still on a postrevolution honeymoon with the young Sandnistas.
Thus far, few of the serious abuses or recriminations that have characterized other revolutions has been evident in Nicaragua. But the Sandinistas can see the problem that lie ahead.
The kind of society they have planned and are beginning to explain to may not be what everyone had in mind. It will favor the workers, the peasants and the poor, the Sandinistas said, those who were so long neglected during the Somoza years.
It will also entail sacrifice, which the Sandinista leaders acknowledge has thus far meant restrictions or certain liberties considered important in Western democracies but often abridged in revolutionary situations.
"Those who did not understand the revolution," Arce said, "thought that half an hour after somoza's fall there would be absolute liberty."