A Battle of Articles



Trotsky had scored a temporary victory at the Tenth Party Congress. The theses of the Military Communists on the reorganization of the Red Army had not been adopted by the party. Gusev and Frunze had not made any obvious inroads into the position which Trotsky occupied as the Soviet Republic’s leading figure in the military sphere. Trotsky had not been forced to defend his position in detail against the onslaught of the Military Communists.


Armed Force Class Character Soviet Republic Peaceful Coexistence Soviet State 
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  1. 1.
    For the debate at the Eighth Party Congress, see Vos’mai s’ezd RKP (b), mart 1919 goda: Protokoly (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo politicheskoi literatury, 1959), pp. 143-159. See, also, Nikolai Nikolaevich Tsvetaev, Vaennye voprosy v resheniiakh VIII s’ezda RKP (b) (Moscow: Voennoe izdatel’stvo, 1960).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Armiia i revoliutsiia was a local journal, intended for troops in the Ukraine and the Crimea. Krasnaia nov’ was a general circulation journal. Voennaia nauka i revoliutsiia was a central theoretical journal. See Sovetskaia voennaia pechat’: Istoricheskii ocherk (Moscow: Voennoe izdatel’stvo, 1960), pp. 98-114.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    “Voennaia doktrina ili mnimo-voennoe doktrinerstvo?” Voennaia nauka i revolutsiia, No. 2 (November-December, 1921), pp. 204-234.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Reprinted in Frunze, Izbrannye proizvedeniia (Moscow: Voennoe izdatel’stvo, 1957), II, pp. 4-22.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    This view, while corresponding to the Marxist analysis of war, is not original with Frunze or with the socialist school of writers. The view had, indeed, long been current in non-Soviet thought. Among the Communists, Lenin, for example, had made a similar statement as early as 1905. See V. I. Lenin o voine, armii i voennoi nauke (Moscow: Voennoe izdatel’stvo, 1957), I, p. 49.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Frunze, op. cit., II, p. 6.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    This is language almost identical with that used in the seventeenth of the theses presented to the Tenth Party Congress by Gusev and Frunze.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Frunze, op. cit., II, p. 8.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    A more detailed examination of Frunze’s views on factors influencing the military doctrines of Germany, France, and England will be found below.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Frunze, op. cit., II, p. 10. The italics are Frunze’s.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Frunze considered the French policies in North Africa in the monograph, European Civilization and Morocco, reprinted in ibid., II, pp. 392-472.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ibid., II, p. 11.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    The fact that this is a quotation from Lenin is not noted in the 1957 edition of Frunze’s works. It was, however, noted in the 1929 collected works and in the article when it was published in Krasnaia nov’.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    The editors of the 1957 edition of Frunze’s collected works, published at the height of Khrushchev’s campaign for peaceful coexistence with the West, footnoted this statement with the following comment: “The Communist Party of the Soviet Union absolutely adheres to the Leninist principle of the possibility of the peaceful coexistence of countries with different social systems. Proceeding from this thesis, the Soviet government systematically expands economic and cultural relations with all countries of the world, not interfering in their internal affairs.” Frunze, op. cit., II. p. 474.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    The gloss to the Leninist theory of the inevitability of war which Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev delivered at the Twentieth Congress of the Party in 1956 cannot be applied retroactively to Frunze. It is probably equally improper to apply it retroactively to Lenin. Both Frunze and Lenin were convinced of the inevitability of war and repeatedly made explicit statements rejecting the idea of peaceful coexistence except as a temporary tactic. Khrushchev’s proposition that wars are no longer fatally inevitable so long as the bourgeoisie is wiling to give up without a fight can be the subject of many interpretations. In any case, it can not transform Frunze into a believer in peaceful coexistence. He was an ardent and convinced advocate of the inevitability of war between the Soviet power and the rest of the world. The view of Kosygin and Brezhnev on peaceful coexistence has tended to be Khrushchevian but the two have not made peaceful coexistence the basic, or even a fundamental, element of Soviet action.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Frunze, op. cit., II, p. 17.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    The Leninist and Bolshevik view on the offensive is discussed in a most interesting manner in Nathan Leites, A Study of Bolshevism (Glencoe, III.: The Free Press, 1953), pp. 504-526.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Frunze, op. cit., II, p. 17.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ibid., p. 19. In spite of some contradictory Soviet propaganda, the Soviet partisan actions in German occupied areas of the USSR during World War II were largely unprepared beforehand, and certainly were not widely propagandized before the war. See, John A. Armstrong, ed., Soviet Partisans in World War II (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1964).Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Vesvobuch is a Soviet compound word made up of initial clusters of letters from the words, vseobshshnoe voennoe obuchenie, which mean “universal military training.” For a history of Vsevobuch, see the unpublished dissertation of F. N. Gudchenko, Vsevobuch v period grazhdanskoi voiny v SSSR (1917–1920 gg.) (Leningrad: Leningradskii gosudarstvennyi universitet imeni A. A. Zhdanova, 1953).Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Most modern armies make a distinction between close order drill and combat drill (or exercises). The purpose of close order drill is usually stated as efficiency in moving troops from one place to another and the inculcation of a ready response to commands in the troops. Field exercises and drills have the purpose of providing for efficiency in executing combat tasks, just as stated by Frunze. The purposes of close order drill and combat drill are stated in this manner in appropriate army regulations.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Frunze, op. cit., II, p. 21.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ibid., p. 22. The 1957 Izbrannye proizvedeniia does not contain at this point the following statement which is included in the Sobranie Sochinenii (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo, 1929), I: “In this connection, the idea of D. Parskii of “Basic Military Regulations’ deserves the most serious attention.” In Voenncda nauka i revoliutsiia, No. 2, 1921, D. P. Parskii is described as a military specialist from the tsarist army who was “one of the first, if not the first” such specialists to enter the Red Army. He was apparently the first to suggest the need for unified troop regulations.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Edward Mead Earle, “Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin: Soviet Concepts of War,” Makers of Madern Strategy: Military Thought from Machiavelli to Hitler, ed. by E. M. Earle (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1941), p. 343.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    The Trotsky article is Reprinted in L. Trotskii, Kak vooruzhalas’ revoliutsiia: na voennoi rabote (Moscow: Vysshii voennyi redaktsonnyi sovet, 1925), III, Book II, pp. 212 ff. It is from this reprint that sources are cited here.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Ibid., p. 215.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Ibid., pp. 212-213.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Ibid., p. 214.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Earle, op. cit., p. 343, states, “However sensible Trotsky’s view may seem to the objective student of military affairs, it enraged ardent Communists.” The principal ardent Communist he had in mind was Frunze.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Trotsky, op. cit., p. 221.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Ibid., p. 227.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Trotsky refers here to Ungern-Sternberg who campaigned with the White fonces in Siberia and, later, in Outer Mongolia.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Nestor Makhno was a Ukrainian anarchist who fought in several campaigns of the Civil War with his irregulars. He fought first on the side of the Red Army and later against them. See David Footman, Civil War in Russia (London: Faber and Faber, 1961), pp. 245-302.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    See my “Leninist Revival in Soviet Military Doctrine,” Military Review, XXXVIII (July, 1958), pp. 23-31.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    The developing debate may also have tended to increase the prestige of Frunze by placing him on a level with Trotsky.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MarylandUSA

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