A Worker's Way of War: The Red Army's Doctrinal Debate, 1918 - 1924
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH
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Following the October 1917 Revolution, the leaders of the fledgling Red Army embarked on a debate concerning the nature, form, and function of military doctrine. A group known as the military communists, including M.V. Frunze, M.N. Tukhachevsky, K. Voroshilov, and S.I. Gusev sought to formulate a proletarian military doctrine based on the lessons of the Russian Civil War 1918-21 and purged of supposedly outmoded, bourgeois military thought. Their doctrine, they claimed, would be based overwhelmingly on maneuver and the offensive, which they felt best represented the active nature of the working class. Against them stood Commissar for War Leon Trotsky, supported by ex-Tsarist military specialists, notably A.A. Svechin. Trotsky and his allies, noting the Soviet Unions backwardness relative to the West, professed a policy of expediency in military affairs. Though Trotsky and Svechin proved their position correct both in reference to military affairs and orthodox communist thought, the ripening political struggle eventually secured Frunzes and Tukhachevskys domination of the Red Army and Trotskys eventual ouster and exile.
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