The End to a Debate



Frunze revealed a secret in March, 1925. His secret touched on the debate between him and Lev Davidovich Trotsky concerning questions of military doctrine. The debate had been sharp and, at the Eleventh Party Congress, even acrimonious.


Militia System Military Affair Administrative Apparatus Military Science Military Doctrine 
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  1. 1.
    Mikhail Vasil’evich Frunze, Sobranie sochinenii (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo, 1927), III, p. 150. This speech is not included in the 1957 Izbrannye proizvedeniia of Frunze.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Mikhail Vasil’evich Frunze, Sobranie sochinenii (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo, 1927), III, p. 150.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Sergei Arkad’evich Sirotinskii, Put’ Arsenii: Biograficheskii ocherk o M. V. Frunze (Moscow: Voennoe izdatel’stvo, 1956), p. 230.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sirotinskii’s biography of Frunze received favorable reviews in the following Soviet periodicals, none of which commented on the statement that Lenin supported Frunze’s theses on a unified military doctrine: Agitator, No. 4, 1957, pp. 57-59; Krasnaia zvezda, August 21, 1957; Novyi mir, No. 12, 1956, pp. 268-269; Sovetskii patriot, March 17, 1957; UchiteVskaia gazeta, January 11, 1958; and Zvezda vostoka, No. 5, 1957.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Izbrannye proizvedeniia (Moscow: Voennoe izdatel’stvo, 1957), I, p. 27.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Marshal of the Soviet Union Semen Mikhailovich Budennyi, “Vydaiushchiisia polkovodets i gosudarstvennyi deiatel’ (K 25-letiiu so dnia smerti M. V. Frunze,)” Znamia, No. 10, 1950, p. 129.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Colonel S. N. Shishkin, “M. V. Frunze — odin iz stroitelei Sovetskoi Armii,” Mikhail Vasil’evich Frunze: Polkovodcheskaia deiatel’nost’, Sbornik statei2 (Moscow: Voennoe izdatel’stvo, 1951, p. 204.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    N. G. Kornienko and D. V. Oznobishin, “Iz perepiski M. V. Frunze s V. I. Leninym (1919–1920 gg.),” Istoricheskii arkhiv, No. 3,1958, p. 32.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Sovetskaia voennaia pechat’ (Moscow: Voennoe izdatel’stvo, 1960), p. 110. This book adds that Frunze “proceeded from the Leninist teachings on imperialism and from the experience of the Civil War.”Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    V pomoshch’ ofitzeram, izuchaiushchim marksistsko-leninskuiu teoriiu (Sbornik statei) (Moscow: Voennoe izdatel’stvo, 1959, p. 141.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    A. Vol’pe, Oborona strany i M. V. Frunze (Moscow and Lenningrad: Gosudarst-vennoe izdatel’stvo, 1928), pp. 20–21.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Sobranie sochinenii, op. cit., I, 1929, p. xxvi.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Andrei Sergeevich Bubnov, O Krasnoi Armii (Moscow: Voennoe izdatel’stvo, 1958), p. 86.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    For a description of the reforms of 1924, see Dmitri Daniel Fedotoff White, The Growth of the Red Army (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1944), pp. 199-276. See also Il’ia Borisovich Berkhin, Voennia reforma v SSSR (1924–1925 gg.) (Moscow: Voennoe izdatel’stvo, 1958).Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Izbrannye proizvedeniia, op. cit., II, p. 20. Frunze said, “In the organizational respect, the basis of our armed forces for the near future can only be a permanent Red Army. … We can permit a changeover to the militia system an the basis of Vsevobuch only to the extend to which it allows the achievement of definite economies in the expenditure of state resources and does not undermine the ability of the Red Army for the solution of active aims.”Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Bubnov, op. cit., p. 226.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ibid., note 2. V pomoshch’ ofitseram, izuchaiushchim marksistskolieninskuiu teoriiu, op. cit., p. 208, defines “military art” as “a system of scientific views, principles, and rules, accepted in one form or another, on questions of the employment of armed forces in all scales of military operations.” Soviet military art is divided into “strategy, the operational art, and tactics.” The leading Soviet work on strategy is Marshal of the Soviet Union V. D. Sokolovskii, ed., Voennaia strategiia (2d ed: Moscow: Voennoe izdatel’stvo, 1963). The operational art, m the Soviet view, is a sort of middle ground between strategy and tactics. It appears to be an arbitrary classification developed by Soviet military thinkers with its upper and lower limits not clearly defined. The leading Soviet work on the operational art is Major General V. A. Semenov, Kratkii ocherk razvitiia sovetskogo operativnogo iskusstva (Moscow: Voennoe izdatel’stvo, 1960). See also my “The Art of Operations,” Army, November, 1961, pp. 60 ff. The Soviet view on the limits of tactics seems to correspond with that held in other armies of the world. There are numerous Soviet works on tactics.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    See H. S. Dinerstein, War and the Soviet Union (New York: Praeger, 1959), pp. 28–63 and passim. See also my “A Soviet Attack Capability,” Military Review, XXXVI (December, 1956), pp. 41-44.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    The post-Stalin debate has developed dynamics of its own. The best recent account is Thomas W. Wolfe, Soviet Strategy at the Crossroads (Cambrklge: Harvard University Press, 1964).Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    F. Engel’s (Engels), Izbrannye voennye proizvedeniia (Moscow: Voennoe izdatel’-stvo, 1957), p. 635.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    For a discussion of the Bogdanov thesis, see Edward Hallett Carr, Socialism in One Country (London: Macmillan, 1958), I, pp. 48-51. Leonard Schapiro has suggested, in The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (New York: Random House, 1959), p. 344, that Lenin’s opposition to the Proletkul’t project was more a personal aversion to Bogdanov than to the content of the thesis.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Professor Daniel Bell of Columbia University has suggested to me that this seeming contradiction in Frunze may be explained by the fact that he was an autodidact.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    A scholarly effort has been made in Barrington Moore, Jr., Soviet Politics — The Dilemma of Power (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1950).Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Stalin’s theory of warfare is based on the permanently operating factors, or factors which are supposed to influence all military actions in contrast to temporarily operating factors which may influence military actions. The permanently operating factors, according to Stalin, are: 1) the stability of the rear, 2) the morale of the army and the home front, 3) the number and quality of divisions, 4) the equipment of the army, and 5) the quality and capability of the command personnel. Voroshilov has suggested the addition of the matter of adequate reserves. In the debates immediately following Stalin’s death, the permanently operating factors were the subject of extensive debate in Soviet military circles.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    See, for example, Nikolai Ivanovich Shatagin and Ivan Petrovich Prusanov, Sovetskaia armiia — armiia novogo tipa (Moscow: Voennoe izdatel’stvo, 1957). There are countless other examples from the almost daily statements of Soviet spokesmen.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MarylandUSA

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