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  • Print publication year: 2015
  • Online publication date: June 2015

Part III - Fighting Forces


Any strategic decision according to A.A. Svechin answered three questions: 'Who, Where, and When?' Hence, strategy admitted only three standards of measure: 'Mass, Space, and Time'. During the late 1920s and early 1930s, as Soviet ideologists pondered whether contradictions within the imperialist system might pit the major capitalist powers against each other, RKKA planners gravitated to a scenario for war that was closer to Svechin than to Lenin or Trotsky. Further developments in military art marched in lock-step with enhancements to technology and force structure. A decade later, in 1941, the initial German assault would demonstrate the error in Adolf Hitler's expectation of a quick victory. Until May, pre-emption via a surprise offensive may have been the preferred option, but this assertion rests on scattered evidence. Soviet relations with the Western Allies were seriously strained during this period. For the Soviet leaders, this was as much a matter of status and prestige as it was of actual aid to war-fighting.