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Stalin- Transcripts from Soviet Archives
Stalin to the Deputy Peopleʹs Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs and Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR M.N.
A source: Formation of the defense‐industrial complex of the USSR (1927‐1932). M. 2008, p. 662.
Archive: RGASPI. F. 558. Op. 11.D. 447.L. 4‐7. Autograph.
Letter from the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the AllUnion Communist Party of Bolsheviks I.V. Stalin to the Deputy Peopleʹs
Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs and Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR M.N. Tukhachevsky on the revision of critical comments on the latterʹs proposals on the main directions of reconstruction of the armed forces. *
May 7, 1932
The attached letter addressed to Comrade Voroshilov was written by me in March 1930 ² * It means 2 documents: a) your ʺnoteʺ on the deployment of our army, bringing the number of divisions to 246 or 248 (I don’t remember exactly) ³ *; b) the ʺconsiderationsʺ of our headquarters with the conclusion that your ʺnoteʺ requires, in fact, bringing the number of the army to 11 million souls, that this ʺnoteʺ in view of this is unreal, fantastic, beyond the strength of our country *.
In my letter addressed to Comrade Voroshilov, as you know, I joined mainly the conclusions of our headquarters and spoke sharply negatively about your ʺnoteʺ, recognizing it as the fruit of ʺclerical maximalismʺ, the result of a ʺgame of numbersʺ, etc. So, there was a case two years ago. Now, two years later, when some unclear questions have become clearer for me, I must admit that my assessment was too harsh, and the conclusions of my letter are not entirely correct.
First, the closest acquaintance with the case showed that the figure “11 million souls” does not follow from your “note”, because what your “note” may require and what it really requires is an army of 8 million. Of course, the 8 million army is also unrealistic, unnecessary and unbearable for our country, at least in the next 3‐4 years (not to mention
the first five‐year plan). But 8 million is still not 11 million.
Secondly, there is no doubt that the changed character of armies in recent years, the growth of military transport technology and the development of aviation, the emergence of mechanized units and the corresponding reorganization of the army create a completely new situation that deprives the old disputes about a large number of divisions of their decisive importance. There is no need to prove that not the number of divisions, but above all their quality, their saturation with equipment will henceforth play a decisive role. I think you will agree with me that an army of 6 million, well‐equipped with equipment and newly organized, will be quite enough to defend the independence of our country on all fronts without exception. And we are more or less capable of such an army. It seems to me that my letter addressed to t. Voroshilov would not have been so harsh in tone and it would have been free from some wrong conclusions about you if I had then transferred the dispute to this new base. But I didnʹt, since obviously the problem was not clear enough for me yet.
Do not scold me for undertaking to correct the shortcomings of my letter with some delay.
With communist greetings,
1 * A copy has been sent to K. E. Voroshilov.
2 * Not published. See: RGASPI. F. 558. Op. 11.D. 447.L. 8.
3 * See doc. on January 11, 1930 ‐ Report of the commander of the Leningrad Military District Tukhachevsky Peopleʹs Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs of the USSR, Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR Voroshilov about the main directions of reconstruction of the armed forces.
4 * See doc. March 5, 1930 ‐ From the conclusion of the Headquarters of the Red Army on the report of the Commander of the Leningrad Military District MN Tukhachevsky on the main directions of the reconstruction of the Red Army .