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In the years between the Russian Revolution of 1917 and World War II, the Soviet Army underwent dramatic changes in conscription, organization and effectiveness. The Russian Army in World War I had been lacking in leadership and drive, but was transformed by the Soviets into a force to be reckoned with, as evidenced by its crucial victory at Stalingrad. Enhanced by color plates, illustrations and photographs, this book traces the development of the Soviet Army from its Tsarist heritage, through the tumultuous years of the Red Army, to its full modernization in 1957.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780850451139
ISBN-10: 0850451132
Format: Paperback
(248mm x 184mm x 4mm)
Pages: 40
Imprint: Osprey Publishing
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publish Date: 15-Jun-1972
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


US Kirkus Review » A detailed military history of the Soviet Army from the Russian Revolution to the present. The Seatons, husband-and-wife collaborators on The Russo-German War: 1941-45, The German Army: 1933-45, and The Horseman of the Steppes, put their expertise to work here in thoroughly dissecting the Russian Army. They begin with a look back at the Red Army's czarist heritage, going back to Peter the Great. The heavily laden class structure of czarist days had resulted in an army devoid of initiative, and by the turn of the century, the Russian field organization was a dim echo of the Prussian's. As observers of the time wrote: "officers of independence and strong character were persecuted rather than promoted." After the February, 1917, revolution, the old army rapidly fell apart. Traditional Party doctrine has it that the breakup was caused by czardom, the officers, and the selfishness of Russia's allies. But the Seatons argue that Lenin's Bolsheviks deliberately set out to destroy the imperial army by conspiracy and subversion. Of course, even the Bolsheviks needed an army, and in actuality, the new Red Army resembled closely its hated predecessor. Soon, the demands of civil war raised the new army into a force of five and a half million, including, by necessity, some 48,000 former czarist officers and 214,000 non-corns. By 1926, fervent socialism and internationalism were replaced by jingoistic arrogance, and the "comrade officers"became typical of officers everywhere else, with their clubs and their privileges. The Seatons' analysis of the Soviet Army during WW II is on the mark: ?? "One of the many reasons for the Soviet victory in 1941-45 was the heavy industry and the armaments complex that came into being during the two five-year plans. . ." they write, and they give American Lend-Lease and British material help their due, while demonstrating Stalin's woeful lack as a commander in chief. In fact, the authors are on the mark throughout. After taking us up to the present, they opine that Moscow would never start a nuclear war, for the risks to the USSR are too great, but that they would cow any nation lacking in nuclear weaponry, rendering Western unilateral nuclear disarmament an act of folly. A most informative guide through the secret thickets of the Soviet military. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Albert Seaton

Lieutenant-Colonel Albert Seaton (Retd.) is the author of many books on Russian military history. His The Russo-German War 1941-45 is one of the most complete and authoritative accounts available, and has appeared in London, New York and Frankfurt. His other works include The Battle for Moscow, Stalin as Military Commander and Stalingrad.

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