Zhukov: The Rise and Fall of a Great Captain

Zhukov: The Rise and Fall of a Great Captain

Zhukov: The Rise and Fall of a Great Captain

Zhukov: The Rise and Fall of a Great Captain

Synopsis

No World War II Soviet military leader has received more attention in the current revision of Soviet history than Georgii Konstantinovich Zhukov. When the recent policy of glasnost allowed publication of Zhukov's original memoir and release of secret material on his relationships with Stalin and Khrushchev, the true story of the Soviet Union's most renowned soldier began to emerge. The name Zhukov is intimately connected with a series of victorious land battles that changed the course of World War II: the defense of Moscow and Leningrad, the staggering defeat of the Germans at Stalingrad, the recapture of Khar'kov, and the battle for the Ukraine. Although hated by many in the high command for his "Stalin style" of leadership, Zhukov's successes captured the popular imagination and he became a Soviet hero. In 1946, Zhukov was disgraced by the vindictive Stalin, and although he returned to favor following Stalin's death, he was forced into early retirement soon after Khrushchev came to power. Until his death in 1974, the old soldier tried to ensure that his version of the great events in which he played a key role would be available to historians. But this was not to be: his memoir was highly censored by the Soviet hierarchy, and personal jealousies isolated the aging hero and made him a target of unjust criticism. William Spahr, an expert on Soviet military policy, has carefully examined Zhukov's uncut memoir and other new Soviet material which he has translated, and presents the first truly balanced and accurate biography of this great soldier. Filling in missing pieces of the puzzle, Spahr sheds new light on Zhukov's brilliant career and his place in Soviet history.

Excerpt

I cannot keep silent;
for I hear the sound of the trumpet,
the alarm of war.

Jeremiah 4:19

Perhaps no one of the prominent Soviet military leaders of World War ii has received more attention in the current rewriting of Soviet history than Georgii Konstantinovich Zhukov. the policy of glasnost' has permitted the exposure of the considerable revisions that his memoirs underwent prior to their publication in 1969. the conditions of glasnost' have also allowed the revelation of the details of episodes in Zhukov's career not covered in his memoirs--his military exile in 1946, his disgrace in 1957, and his enforced silence and isolation until his death in 1974.

From the German invasion in June 1941 until Soviet troops smashed their way into Berlin in May 1945, the name of Zhukov was intimately connected with a series of victories in important land battles that changed the course of the Second World War in Europe. But from 1946 until 1953 he was banished to the command of secondary military districts. Then, following the death of the dictator Josef Stalin, Zhukov seemingly recovered his position, becoming Minister of Defense and the first military professional to become a member of the Soviet Politburo. His new prominence did not continue for long. in 1957 Stalin's successor, Nikita Khrushchev, accused Zhukov of Bonapartism and removed him from his party and government positions, forcing him into early retirement and isolation.

From then until his death in 1974, the old soldier was concerned with ensuring that his version of the great events in which he had played such an important part would some day be available to historians. the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.