Satellite Generals: A Study of Military Elites in the Soviet Sphere

Satellite Generals: A Study of Military Elites in the Soviet Sphere

Satellite Generals: A Study of Military Elites in the Soviet Sphere

Satellite Generals: A Study of Military Elites in the Soviet Sphere

Excerpt

In the academic year 1952-53 a group of scholars at the Hoover Library strove to learn something about the social structure of modern military institutions by applying the technique of elite analysis to the leadership of a number of armies. Few institutions of comparable influence have been as little studied by social scientists as have armed forces. The present volume is a report on a particularly little known group of armies, those of the satellites. It is an analysis of biographical data on their general officers.

A year ago the manuscript of this monograph was sent away. Now reading proof, I realize with some pain how swift-moving is the revolution of our times. It poses to this author an immediate dilemma: to correct statements about it which are now out of date and gain the advantages of hindsight, or to leave some embarrassing evidences of his fallibility, reporting only what the research showed at the time it was done. In general I have followed the latter policy. Since I cannot now undertake a new analysis of the 1955 generals of the satellite armies, it seems better not to doctor the conclusions which flowed from the analysis of the 1951-52 generals so as to make the findings conform better to what has actually happened since. Except in the chapter on China, no changes in the text have been made since its completion shortly after the fall of Beria. In the Chinese chapter we have simply cut some illustrative material which derived much of its interest from the fact that it gave current information on who held what posts. With a major reorganization of the Chinese government in the fall of 1954, that became passé. The conclusions, however, have been left in full view.

When the manuscript was written, Malenkov was the ruler of Russia and the "new course" in the satellites was just getting under way. However, the data had been analyzed and the conclusions drawn well before then. Our conclusion was that a vigorous militarization was going on in the satellites. During the new course, with its emphasis on coexistence and consumers' goods, one could have doubted this conclusion. The fall of Malenkov, and with it the restoration of an emphasis in the satellites on military production and military preparation, has justified the thesis (p. 27) that the new course was a temporary deviation, the thesis which led us to stick to the conclusions deriving from our 1951-52 data.

As I look over the monograph, what I might change now are not so much specific statements as emphases. We mention the gradual softening of the pattern of purges, yet perhaps in our prognoses the pattern of 1938 still weighs a little too heavily. A number of generals who had been purged when we wrote have reappeared in minor or symbolic posts, notably General Svoboda in Czechoslovakia. Perhaps future purges will be more gradual and less conspicuous than now, though they will not cease. Army officers in particular may be han-

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