TIMOSHENKO TRIES TO ANSWER THE
FINNISH WAKE-UP CALL
The end of the Finnish war was followed almost immediately by a series of meetings at the upper levels of the Soviet state. The results and lessons of the war were examined during the March plenary session of the Central Committee of the Party. If for no other reason, the tremendous number of casualties suffered by the Red Army demanded drastic action: an estimated 48,745 killed and 158,863 wounded and frostbitten. (According to the last chief of the Soviet General Staff, M. Moiseev, the number killed was an appalling 67,000 [ Moiseev 1990, 213].) Even Voroshilov abandoned shapkozakidatel'stvo and admitted that neither he nor the General Staff nor the Leningrad Military District had imagined all of the peculiarities and difficulties involved with the Finnish war. Timoshenko, who also spoke at the plenum, focused on the shortcomings in the Soviet theory and practice of troop training and supply. He proposed proceeding immediately to correct the Red Army's inability to keep pace with the progress in military affairs ( Portugal'skii 1994, 105). The next month in northern France, the extent to which the Red Army had fallen behind would be vividly demonstrated by the rapidity with which the Wehrmacht overran what was considered to be the strongest army in Europe.
A meeting of an expanded session of the Main Military Council from 14 to 17 April, described by Timoshenko as the most businesslike that he had attended in many years, worked out the specifics of the corrective measures that would be necessary to overcome the deficiencies exposed by the war. Stalin, speaking to the council, ad-