Historical Roots of Contemporary Debates on Soviet Military Doctrine and Defense

by Sally W. Stoecker

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This Note examines the themes of, and historical context for, the writings of Soviet strategists of the 1920s, such as Alexander Svechin and Leon Trotsky, who emphasized the importance of defensive operations. It discusses early Soviet debates about the "operational-political" and "operational-strategic" aspects of doctrine, wars of destruction vs. wars of attrition, and strategic offense vs. strategic defense, as well as related arguments about the organization and missions of infantry and the use of fortifications. Finally, it suggests some parallels between the strategic circumstances facing Soviet military theorists in the 1920s and those confronting planners today.

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