The last quarter of the 20th century was marked in the Russian stories the introduction into scientific circulation of a huge array of previously inaccessible documents. But little-studied topics remain. One of them - a discussion at the beginning of 20-ies of the Military Doctrine of the Red Army.
In the USSR, ideas about it were reflected in the words of a popular song about peaceful people and an armored train, standing on the siding, but ready to leave at the right time. Thus the idea was postulated: we don’t want wars, but if that, remember, bourgeois, “from the taiga to the British seas the Red Army is the strongest”. And if necessary, it will assist the proletariat of any neighboring country.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, a different point of view appeared: the Leninist government obsessed with the idea of the world revolution followed a very aggressive formula in its foreign policy: "We will blow the world fire on all the bourgeoisie on the mountain." Let not the fire, but at least the Bolsheviks tried to kindle a fire in the expanses of Europe in 1920 by extending a helping hand to the Polish proletariat. However, the latter showed a blatant class ignorance and began to actively fight for the freedom of pans Poland. The defeat near Warsaw cooled the fervor of the Communists, and plans to export the revolution were put on the shelf - as history showed, until the Khrushchev era.
Marx was not a commander
After the end of the Civil and failure of the Polish campaign, the prospects of a great war of Soviet Russia with any of the neighboring countries were absent. And the leadership of the young state could reflect on the development of the Armed Forces. What led to the discussion about the military doctrine of the Red Army.
Faced two glance. The first was defended by Leon Trotsky (Bronstein), who headed the Revolutionary Military Council and the People's Commissariat for Military and Naval Affairs. The Bolshevik state owed this victory to the Civil War to no small degree, for Trotsky, who had no military education at the very beginning, understood perfectly: the key to victory was to create a regular army, for which it was necessary to abandon dilettantism and bring professionals to the service. In a very short time, a considerable part of the officer corps of the former imperial army was mobilized in the Red Army. By the end of the Civil War, the number of military specialists in the Red Army was 75 thousand. They are the true creators of communist victories on all fronts.
Close contact with the Russian military elite was not a gift for Trotsky, and therefore the successful end of the Civil War for the Bolsheviks could not shake his convictions: the future of the Red Army should be based on a thorough study of world experience — first of all, the First Imperialist one. Trotsky outlined his views at the April 1922 meeting of delegates to the XI Congress of the RCP, and in the same year published the book Military Doctrine and Imaginary Doctrinalism.
Trotsky's opponent was his future successor as chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council, Mikhail Frunze, who wrote the work “United Military Doctrine and the Red Army”. Frunze is also a purely civilian person who was interested in military matters exclusively at the journalistic level. From the military point of view he had nothing to do with the victories attributed to him by Soviet historiography. They are the merit of advisers to the commander, former generals F. F. Novitsky and A. A. Baltiysky. However, to honor Frunze, we note that he never claimed the status of commander, and even the position of the head of the Revolutionary Military Council demanded not so much strategic talent and professional training as loyalty to the Bolshevik ideals and parties, and these qualities did not hold Mikhail Vasilyevich. But the very line of Trotsky was not going to curtail the involvement of Frunze military experts in the construction of the Red Army, being a clever man, although he was skeptical about them, considering it to be retrograde.
The discussion of Trotsky and Frunze turned around the question of what kind of war should be taken as a basis: First World War, which was primarily of a positional nature, or Civilian with its maneuverable character, lack of a solid front line, conducting combat operations mainly along railroads, rear raids enemy and cavalry battles.
Already on the first pages of his work, Frunze complains about the inability of former generals to say something meaningful about the military doctrine of the proletarian state. He seemed to have forgotten that it was thanks to military experts that the Bolsheviks won the Civil War, and he himself acquired the status of commander in the eyes of the people. A considerable part of the Bolshevik command personnel, whose herald was Frunze, could not idealize the actions of the Red Army. They even talked about the new proletarian strategy and other innovations in military affairs, born in the bloody chaos in the open spaces of Russia.
Paradoxically, Marxist, to the core, Trotsky rather sharply opposed the division of military science into bourgeois and proletarian. From his point of view, the class nature of the proletarian state determines the social composition of the Red Army and especially the governing apparatus, its political outlook, goals and moods, however, the strategy and tactics of the Bolshevik Armed Forces depend not on the outlook, but on the state of the technology action. Criticizing the views of opponents, Trotsky does not hide the irony: "To think that it is possible, by arming yourself with the Marxist method, to decide on the best organization of production at a candle factory, means to have no idea about the Marxist method, nor about the candle factory."
Defense of Trotsky
How did Trotsky see the future of the Red Army? In his opinion, the cornerstone of the Bolshevik Military Doctrine under the conditions, as he put it, "the greatest demobilization of the army, its continuous reduction in the NEP era" should be defense, because it "meets the whole situation and all of our policies."
If we take into account the circumstances of the era, the judgment of Trotsky cannot but be considered as going against the mood of the military elite of the Red Army, which made a dizzying career in the fields of the Civil War.
He justified his position as follows: “We deliberately imagine the enemy to attack first, by no means considering that this gives him some kind of“ moral ”advantage. On the contrary, with space and strength for ourselves, we calmly and confidently draw the line where the mobilization provided by our elastic defense will prepare an adequate fist for our counteroffensive. ” Very sober and reasonable judgments, coinciding with the views of the Russian military thinker A. A. Svechin - the author of the strategy of starvation.
Along the way, Trotsky criticized Frunze, who argued: “Our Civil War was primarily maneuverable. This was the result of not only purely objective conditions (the enormity of the theater of military operations, the relative small number of troops, etc.), but also the internal properties of the Red Army, its revolutionary spirit, the fighting impulse as manifestations of the class nature of the proletarian elements that guided it. ” Trotsky reasonably objected to Frunze, drawing his attention to the fact that it was White who taught the Bolsheviks maneuverability and the revolutionary properties of the proletariat to do with it. Then we have to explain the basics of military art: “Maneuverability stems from the size of the country, from the number of troops, from the objective tasks facing the army, but not from the revolutionary nature of the proletariat ...”
Some words of justification for Frunze can be recognized by his words: “I consider it most harmful, dumb and childish now to speak of offensive wars on our part.” However, he immediately did not fail to notice: "We are a party of a class marching to conquer the world."
One of Trotsky's leitmotifs: the doctrine should correspond to the capabilities of the Armed Forces, this is the task of military art: reduce the number of unknowns in the equation of war to the smallest number, and this can be achieved only by ensuring the greatest fit between design and execution.
“What does this mean?”, Trotsky asks. And he answers: “It means to have such parts and such a management team that the goal is achieved by overcoming the obstacles of place and time by combined means. In other words, you need to have a steady - and at the same time flexible, centralized - and at the same time springy command apparatus, possessing all the necessary skills and passing them down. Looking for good shots. ”
Born of revolution
That is, Trotsky advocated building an army according to all the rules of military science. But was he just a polemic with Frunze? No, one of Trotsky’s opponents was the former second lieutenant and executioner of his own people, who by the will of Khrushchev turned into almost a genius general, MN Tukhachevsky. He literally issued the following: “The Marxist method of research shows that in matters of recruitment, in matters of organizing the rear (in a broad sense) there will be a very significant difference. And this difference is already changing to a great extent the nature of the strategy to which we will adhere. ”
As the Marxist method should reflect on it, Tukhachevsky wrote in his work “National and Class Strategy”, but the above lines indicate the future marshal’s inclination to demagogy, with which he throughout his career in the Red Army tried to compensate for the lack of knowledge and education.
Thus, to Trotsky’s fair statement, according to which it was White who was taught by the Bolshevik troops to maneuver, Tukhachevsky replied: “Now, as to whether we had maneuverability in the last Civil War and what kind of maneuverability it was. Tov. Trotsky is inclined to depreciate this maneuverability. True, it was somewhat primitive, that is, a thousand miles ahead and a thousand miles ago, but there was maneuverability and such a good one that would probably go down in history. ”
Comments are superfluous. And this man, who was not able to formulate his thoughts in an accessible form, which in principle is unacceptable for a strategist, was for a long time considered in the USSR the standard of a commander. Unfortunately, in the words of Frunze there was a lot of demagogy: “In the Red Army, we sometimes lacked, perhaps, technical knowledge, orderliness, consistency, but there was determination, courage and breadth of operational design, and in this direction we certainly formally close to the methods that were used in the German army. This is our property that I put in connection with the class nature of the proletarian elements that have become the head of the Red Army. ”
At the head of the Red Army were professional revolutionaries and military experts, most of whom had nothing to do with the proletariat. Mikhail Vasilyevich knew this perfectly well, but the ideology demanded the birth of proletarian commanders and they "appeared".
Trotsky's recommendations, and in fact the views of military specialists he voiced - in a future war to stick to the strategy of starvation - were contrary to the one adopted a decade later by the Voroshilov doctrine of “Little blood in a foreign territory”. The latter, as history has shown, turned out to be erroneous, because an active defense, exhausting the enemy and capable of inflicting significant damage on his manpower, was what the Red Army lacked in 1941.
Trotsky had to argue not only with Frunze and Tukhachevsky. In the Bolshevik military elite there were hotheads demanding preparations for offensive revolutionary wars. So, from the point of view of the head of the Red Army Political Directorate, S. I. Gusev, it is necessary to train the class army of the proletariat not only in defense against bourgeois-landlord counterrevolution, but also in revolutionary wars against the imperialist powers.
In response, Trotsky drew the attention of his opponent to the need for favorable foreign policy conditions for the realization of expansionist ideas.
However, recognizing the sobriety of Trotsky’s strategic views during the period under review, the following should be taken into account. He was of high opinion about the military abilities of the same Tukhachevsky, despite the differences with him. And it is quite likely that he would have left him in key posts in the Red Army, as well as his fellow amateurs Uborevich and Yakir, whom he wrote very warmly in the preface to the book “The Devoted Revolution”, where these military leaders are called the best generals of the Red Army.
Such a flattering assessment would guarantee the named military leaders (they cannot be called commanders in any way) the preservation of places in the Bolshevik army elite. And in military science, the amateurish views of the former second lieutenant would have been established, which at the beginning of the Great Patriotic War would have led to even more terrible losses, and perhaps, to the defeat of the Red Army.
It is unlikely that if a war had happened, Trotsky would have gone on to restore relations with the Church. Even the attempt of the Bolsheviks to create Cossack formations in 1935 caused its sharp criticism.
Thus, Trotsky's correct vision of the main directions of military construction in the USSR could be negated by his policies, primarily internal, that were harmful to the country and its national spirit. And over time, the amateur Soviet views of Tukhachevsky on how the Red Army should develop could have prevailed in the highest Soviet military-political leadership. And then the defeat in the Great Patriotic War would have become virtually inevitable.