Stalin's Lieutenants: A Study of Command under Duress

By William J. Spahr | Go to book overview
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7
THE ARMY DEVELOPS A BRAIN

ADDRESSING THE DEMAND FOR A "UNIFIED
MILITARY DOCTRINE"

Even before the civil war drew to a close, freewheeling discussions began on the influence of the new social order, the political theories of Marxism, and the lessons to be derived from the Red Army's victories on Red Army doctrine and strategy. Trotsky, while seemingly standing aloof from the practical problems of force demobilization and restructuring, took an active part in these often heated debates, and he managed to have his point of view published before he lost his standing in the Party and the government.

The question of a new Red Army military doctrine was first raised in a "critical and impatient way" prior to the Tenth Party Congress ( 1921) by Frunze and Gusev in the form of theses that they attempted to "push through the Congress" ( Trotsky 1925, vol. 3 book 2, 242). Mikhail Frunze at that time was the commander of Red Army forces in the Ukraine, and Sergei Gusev was the chief of the political directorate of the RKKA. Gusev was the reluctant political commissar who finally approved the order transferring the First Cavalry Army to the Western Front at the critical stage in the war with Poland in 1920. Klim Voroshilov, who was elected to the Party's Central Committee at the Tenth Congress, as might have been expected, was an active supporter of the concept, because the absence of such a doctrine was considered to be a shortcoming of Trotsky's administration of the People's Commissariat of Defense and Naval Affairs. Trotsky's opposition prevented the presentation of the theses to the congress ( Erickson 1962, 120).

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