Login/Sign up

World Association of International Studies

Post Stalin's Officer Purge
Created by John Eipper on 04/24/19 4:01 AM

Previous posts in this discussion:


Stalin's Officer Purge (Cameron Sawyer, Russia, 04/24/19 4:01 am)

Eugenio Battaglia wrote on April 23rd:

"Contrast [Mussolini's actions] with [those of] Stalin, who prior to war eliminated all his untrustworthy officers."

Wow, I don't think any Russian would refer to the hideous bloodbath of 1937 as "eliminating untrustworthy officers," and I doubt that Eugenio thinks of it like that. I think he is playing the gadfly, being intentionally provocative.

For the record, I think that it is uncontroversial that Stalin's purge of the Soviet officer corps, motivated by paranoia and an obsessive fear of losing power, eliminated, on the contrary, most of the talent from the Soviet Army leadership, not the "untrustworthy officers," leaving shockingly incompetent Civil War veterans like Voroshilov and Buddeny.

37,000 officers were purged! 50 of 57 corps commanders, 154 of 186 divisional commanders, 220 of 406 brigade commanders, all army political commissars--the mind boggles (see: https://warfarehistorynetwork.com/daily/wwii/joseph-stalins-paranoid-purge/ ). The word "decimated," meaning the killing of one-tenth (from the Roman practice), is inadequate to describe the purge. More generals and colonels were killed by Stalin, than were killed in the Great Patriotic War altogether!

As a direct result of the destruction of the Soviet officer corps, the mighty Soviet Army was humiliated by the plucky Finns in the Winter War of 1939, and nearly collapsed, taking five million (FIVE MILLION!) casualties, when the Germans launched Operation Barbarossa. The Soviets came within a gnat's eyelash of losing the war in December 1941, as the German forces advanced to within sight of the golden domes of Moscow, and that is 90% the result of extremely poor military leadership, which was in turn the direct result of the 1937 purge.

JE comments:  "Purge" is too gentle a word for the mass murders carried out by Stalin.  Human language cries for a stronger way to describe what happened.  Yet--and this is a big yet--might Eugenio Battaglia have something of a point?  Stalin's officers were probably more terrified of Stalin than of the Germans, which kept them perversely motivated.  "Accommodation" with the Germans and regime change in Moscow were unthinkable options.

Rate this post
Informational value 
Reader Ratings (0)
Informational value0%

Visits: 200


Please login/register to reply or comment: Login/Sign up

Trending Now

All Forums with Published Content (42293 posts)

- Unassigned

Culture & Language

American Indians Art Awards Bestiary of Insults Books Conspiracy Theories Culture Ethics Film Food Futurology Gender Issues Humor Intellectuals Jews Language Literature Media Coverage Movies Music Newspapers Numismatics Philosophy Plagiarism Prisons Racial Issues Sports Tattoos Western Civilization World Communications


Capitalism Economics International Finance World Bank World Economy


Education Hoover Institution Journal Publications Libraries Universities World Bibliography Series


Biographies Conspiracies Crime Decline of West German Holocaust Historical Figures History Holocausts Individuals Japanese Holocaust Leaders Learning Biographies Learning History Russian Holocaust Turkish Holocaust


Afghanistan Africa Albania Algeria Argentina Asia Australia Austria Bangladesh Belgium Belize Bolivia Brazil Canada Central America Chechnya Chile China Colombia Costa Rica Croatia Cuba Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark East Europe East Timor Ecuador Egypt El Salvador England Estonia Ethiopia Europe European Union Finland France French Guiana Germany Greece Guatemala Haiti Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran (Persia) Iraq Ireland Israel/Palestine Italy Japan Jordan Kenya Korea Kosovo Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Latin America Liberia Libya Mali Mexico Middle East Mongolia Morocco Namibia Nations Compared Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria North America Norway Pacific Islands Pakistan Palestine Paraguay Peru Philippines Poland Polombia Portugal Romania Saudi Arabia Scandinavia Scotland Serbia Singapore Slovakia South Africa South America Southeast Asia Spain Sudan Sweden Switzerland Syria Thailand The Pacific Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan UK (United Kingdom) Ukraine USA (America) USSR/Russia Uzbekistan Venezuela Vietnam West Europe Yemen Yugoslavia Zaire


Balkanization Communism Constitutions Democracy Dictators Diplomacy Floism Global Issues Hegemony Homeland Security Human Rights Immigration International Events Law Nationalism NATO Organizations Peace Politics Terrorism United Nations US Elections 2008 US Elections 2012 US Elections 2016 Violence War War Crimes Within the US


Christianity Hinduism Islam Judaism Liberation Theology Religion

Science & Technology

Alcohol Anthropology Automotives Biological Weapons Design and Architecture Drugs Energy Environment Internet Landmines Mathematics Medicine Natural Disasters Psychology Recycling Research Science and Humanities Sexuality Space Technology World Wide Web (Internet)


Geography Maps Tourism Transportation


1-TRIBUTES TO PROFESSOR HILTON 2001 Conference on Globalizations Academic WAR Forums Ask WAIS Experts Benefactors Chairman General News Member Information Member Nomination PAIS Research News Ronald Hilton Quotes Seasonal Messages Tributes to Prof. Hilton Varia Various Topics WAIS WAIS 2006 Conference WAIS Board Members WAIS History WAIS Interviews WAIS NEWS waisworld.org launch WAR Forums on Media & Research Who's Who