FORMING AN ARMY OF A NEW TYPE
The Soviet Army that reeled back from the German onslaught in the early morning hours of 22 June 1941 was the product of almost twenty-four years of political, economic, and social change that transformed the Russian Empire from an underachieving Eurasian colossus into a premodern industrial state. These changes afforded free reign to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The cost of what its advocates called the Great October Socialist Revolution and the upheavals that followed has never been calculated reliably in terms of human lives. Military losses in the various conflicts in which the Soviet state was involved from 1917 until 1940 have been calculated at 8,015,692* ( Krivosheev 1993, 407). If and when the noncombat losses due to famine, forced collectivization of agriculture, and political and military purges are added to the acknowledged military losses, they may total tens of millions.
The man whose policies were responsible for the major portion of these casualties, Iosef Vissarionovich Stalin, emerged as the sole leader of the Soviet state in the late 1920s and as its absolute dictator in the early 1930s. He rose to his dominating position while serving as general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the political party that, under the leadership of Vladimir Il'ich____________________