Industry and the Soviet Army, 1928–1941

  • David R. Stone


From 1928 to 1941 the Red Army was simultaneously a victim, a beneficiary, and an instigator of Joseph Stalin’s revolution-from-above, the violent and sudden transformation of die Soviet Unions economy and society in the name of defending socialism and maximizing Stalin’s personal power. In a Faustian bargain, the Red Army became a modern, powerful, mechanized force, but tied itself irretrievably to Stalin. This choice would have fateful consequences for both the Red Army’s high command personally and for the Soviet people.


Foreign Agent Officer Corps Interwar Period Soviet Economy Faustian Bargain 
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Sources and Further Reading

  1. All research on the interwar Red Army starts from two classic studies: D. Fedotoff White’s The Growth of the Red Army (Princeton, 1944) and John Erickson’s The Soviet High Command (London, 1962). Those two books took the study of the Red Army about as far as it was possible to go in the absence of archival sources.Google Scholar
  2. Since the opening of the archives, the area that has received the most study is die growth and development of the Soviet military economy in the interwar period. This boomlet in research includes R W. Davies, “Soviet Military Expenditure and the Armaments Industry, 1929—33: A Reconsideration”, Europe-Asia Studies 45 (1993): 577–608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Davies and Mark Harrison, “The Soviet Military-economic Effort during the Second Five-Year Plan (1933–1937)”, Europe-Asia Studies 49 (1997): 369–406; Lennart Samuelson, Plans for Stalin’s War Machine: Tuhhachevskii and Military Economic Planning, 1923–1941 (London, 1999); Nikolai Simonov, Voenno-promyshlennyi kompleks SSSR (Moscow, 1996); Sally Stoecker, Forging Stalin’s Army: Marshal Tukhachevsky and the Politics of Military Innovation (Boulder, 1998); and my own Hammer and Rifle: The Militarization of the Soviet Union, 1926–1933 (Lawrence, KS, 2000) and “Tukhachevskii in Leningrad: Military Pontics and Exile, 1928–31”, Europe-Asia Studies 48 (1996): 1365–1386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Archival documents on the Soviet side of the collaboration with Germany are available in Yuri Dyakov and Tatyana Bushueva, The Red Army and the Wehrmacht: How the Soviets Militarized Germany 1922–1933 (Amherst, NY, 1995).Google Scholar
  5. For new information on die Soviet Navy, see Jurgen Rohwer and Mikhail Mon-akov, “The Soviet Union’s Ocean-Going Fleet, 1935—1956”, International History Review 18 (1996): 837–868.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. David Glantz’ Stumbling Colossus (Lawrence, KS, 1998) explores the parlous state of the Red Army on the eve of World War II. See also Cynthia Roberts, “Planning for War: The Red Army and the Catastrophe of 1941”, Europe-Asia Studies 47 (1995): 1293–1326. The disastrous Finnish campaign is covered in Carl Van Dyke, The Soviet Invasion of Finland, 1939–1940 (London, 1997).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Other scholars have examined die social history ol die Red Army. Written before archives became available, Mark Von Hagen’s Soldiers in the Proletarian Dictatorship: The Red Army and the Soviet Socialist State, 1917–1930 (Ithaca, NY, 1990) looks at the Soviet state’s changing view of the place of the military in its new order. Roger Reese, Stalin’s Reluctant Soldiers: A Social History of the Red Army, 1923—1941 (Lawrence, KS, 1996) delivers exactly what its title promises. See also his “Red Army Opposition to Forced Collecdvization, 1929—1930: The Army Wavers”, Slavic Review 55 (1996): 24–45.Google Scholar
  8. New scholarship, especially in Russia, on the purges of the military has tended to celebrate those purged without exploring the purges themselves. Until large-scale new research is carried out, see the chapter in Reese, Stalin’s Reluctant Soldiers,and Robert Conquest, The Great Terror (London, 1968).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Robin Higham and Frederick W. Kagan 2002

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  • David R. Stone

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