Documents from the Stalin's archive

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Der Alte Fritz
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Re: Documents from the Stalin's archive

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 02 Sep 2023 17:27

The two letters are interesting for their difference in tone between the soldier Timoshenko and the Party heavyweight, Malenkov. The latter talks in terms of 'Bolshevik self-criticism', at least of others, highly critical of subordinates, applying 'harsh measures without hesitation' and the view that all failures some from 'wreckers' or those lacking the Party spirit.

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Re: Documents from the Stalin's archive

Post by Art » 04 Sep 2023 10:13

I believe, military commanders like Zhukov and Gordov didn't need external pressure to apply "harsh measures". Both, especially Gordov, were notorious for their harsh treatment of subordinates.
Regarding those words about "defeatist" commanders and staffs, I believe that Malenkov perceived very well feelings of the boss and was eager to adjust to them. It worked like an echo chamber of a sort.

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Re: Documents from the Stalin's archive

Post by Vasilyev » 06 Sep 2023 15:33

The below is a telegram to Stalin from the Georgian First Party Secretary KN Charkviani detailing the manpower situation in the republic on March 29, 1943 and requesting Stalin reduce plans for further mobilizations in Spring 1943:
As of March 25 of this year, 545,000 people were mobilized and sent to the army from Georgia. By now, the resource pool of those fit for military service has been almost completely exhausted. Together with those identified as a result of a recent re-examination of those fit for military service in the republic, only 9,982 people remained, including 6,475 people from 48 to 50 years of age. There are 27,334 fit for non-combatant service under the age of 50: 6,462 were weeded out for political and moral reasons and 2,875 people were unfit for military service but fit for physical labor. In addition, there are 12,159 more people liable for military service who are not drafted into the army on a national basis. Thus, if we do not count the nationalities who are not to be drafted into the army, for all categories liable for military service, in the overwhelming majority from 45 to 50 years old, 43,778 people remain in Georgia. These people make up the main male labor force in the industrial and agricultural sectors of the republic. From this number, all those recognized fit for military service and part of the non-combatants will be mobilized in the near future for the replenishment of those withdrawn for combat and non-combat service.

Given this situation, it is clear that the mobilization of workers in Georgia to be sent to other regions in the Republics seems completely impossible. Meanwhile, on the basis of comrade Shchadenko’s [Head of the Main Directorate of Formation and Manning of the Red Army, Glavupraform] orders, the Georgian military commissariats were proposed to mobilize from among those unfit for military service but fit for work and non-combatants of older ages, to be transferred as workers: to the People’s Commissariat of Power Plants in Grozny 300 people, the Volga-Caspian Fish Trust in Astrakhan 150 people, People's Commissariat of the Coal Industry 5500 people, including for sending to Donbass - 3500 and for the Georgian coal trust - 2000 people, for the Black Sea Fleet 550 people, a total of 7550 people. In view of the fact that industrial workers and educators are not subject to mobilization, the entire indicated number of military servicemen must be withdrawn from the collective farms, in which after that a completely insignificant number of able-bodied men will remain.

Considering it necessary to bring to your attention the above, the Central Committee of the CP(b) of Georgia requests your instructions to Shchadenko:

1) Remove orders for 7,550 workers from the military registration and enlistment office of Georgia for direction to the organizations named above, and in the future not to mobilize the labor force in Georgia.

2) Allow mobilization of young men from among the nationalities who are not called up for the army, in the amount of 1,500 people, through military enlistment offices to provide labor for the coal industry in Georgia.
RGASPI F. 558, Op. 11, Del. 61, Ll. 11-12.

Stalin agreed the next day:
First. Shchadenko's order on the mobilization of 7,550 people in Georgia to meet the shortages in the People's Commissariats in the labor force is canceled as illegal.

Second. I authorize the Georgian military commissariats to mobilize young men from among the nationalities not allowed in the army in the amount of 1,500 people to provide labor in the coal industry of Georgia.

Third. Please keep in mind that Comrade Shchadenko is forbidden to carry out any kind of mobilization in Georgia.
RGASPI F. 558, Op. 11, Del. 61, L. 10.

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Re: Documents from the Stalin's archive

Post by Art » 01 Oct 2023 16:29

A letter from general Filipp Golikov (deputy commander of the Stalingrad Front) to Stalin:
Dear comrade Stalin!

I am forced to ask You to recall me from command of comrade Yeryomenko.

With such attitude he has towards me, under such situation I’m placed in, working as his deputy is impossible. It is plainly obvious that he want to have in this role another person, more corresponding to his peculiarities, methods and views. And this should be made as soon as possible in the interests of our cause.

The one and a half month period of my work at Stalingrad that ended now I fully spent in the valiant troops of the 57-64-62 Armies, being in most serious and decisive places, and didn’t spend a single full day in the staff of the front while it was in Stalingrad.
At the same time I took a number of measures to be not merely a travelling officer of the front but to occupy the place of the com. Yeryomenko’s deputy on the South-East Front assigned to me by the Stavka. Nothing came out of it, and it definitely won’t come out now.

Comrade Yereyomenko from the very first day keeps me at a distance, fully detached from a common work of the front and in a complete isolation from operations of the command and control apparatus of the front headquarter. I never took part in discussions and decisions of question pertaining to the front as a whole.
I’m ashamed to say that there was not even a dedicated working place for me at the front’s staff or the Military Council.

During all this time I hardly managed to achieve from com. Yeryomenko several short meetings concerning urgent affairs of my battle sectors, only to depart or being sent there again.
Especially in recent time I feel exceptional aloofness of com. Yeryomenko. Although I don’t leave work, he simply doesn’t talk with my by his own initiative.
Meanwhile in my work and in my relationship to com. Yeryomenko I never provided any reasons for such his attitude towards me.

Recently he, never saying me a word, signed with his own hand and issued a front’s order regarding me in connection with shortcomings in ferrying of the 13 [Guards] R[ifle] D[ivision] due to late issue of ammunition.
On the day when this crossing occurred I’ve just arrived from the battle sector in Stalingrad, where I stayed for 4 days after the departure of the Military Council and the Front’s staff; the division was prepared and supplied by the Administration for rear and Administration for Ordnance supply, who failed to do their duties. Nevertheless, I was made and declared the main and only culprit in the eyes of the entire front.
Of course, I took the experience of this crossing into account, and hereafter I have ferried four formations in complete order, but the very fact of this order says a lot to me.

In 25 years of my work in the party and in the Red Army, with all my shortcomings, I have never been a bad worker, and I am sure I will never be.

I wouldn’t write to You without a reason in such time, difficult as the deputy’s work is in general.
I ask you to recall me from command of com. Yeryomenko.

Yours F. Golikov.

From RGASPI f.588, op.11. d. 725, ll.180-184

A copy of the handwritten letter was made using a typewriter, funny that the word "Stalin" was typed with all captial letters in the copy. Worth to add that Golikov was recalled from the Stalingrad Front soon after the letter.

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Re: Documents from the Stalin's archive

Post by Art » 28 Oct 2023 21:59

A letter from Lazar Kaganovich to Stalin, 13 August 1942
Greetings, comrade Stalin!

In addition to the detailed report submitted by the military council I want to say the following:
During the 14 days of my presence on the front I put all efforts to improve the situation in some way, but little came out of it, and, of course, I bear responsibility for that.

The principal problem is that, if the commanding and political personnel (majority of them) had not lost their confidence in feasibility of stopping and beating the Germans with the present forces even without tanks, then it would be possible to do a lot to stop the retreat and after stabilizing the front launch the counteroffensive. In concrete examples I see confirmation of your words that forces of the German are not as large as panic-mongers imagine them.

On the Kuban River and later on the Laba River we had managed to deploy our forces and create a more or less continuous front, but as soon as the enemy breaks through the front with only 3-5 tanks at one point, the panic starts the engulf units closest to the penetration and after some combat these units start retreating. The enemy especially utilizes his superiority in tanks, he rushes far forward and appears surprisingly in one place and than in another and thus disorganizes our rear and demoralizes not only troops but also staffs and even single workers of the front’s staff, who frequently seek the solution not in battle actions but in drawing “new lines” on the map, unfortunately in a direction of retreat.

From the moment the fronts were merged [1] we put our main efforts in recovery of the discipline and morale and political stability of commanders according to your order [2], improved the work of courts and prosecutors, shot 37 deserters in front of the troops, sent 200 political workers immediately to the frontline, called some commanders and political workers for talks, we went themselves to units on positions, nevertheless the results thus far are poor. A large work and struggle is needed to sanitize first of all commanding and political personnel, a part of whom is sick with tank scare, panic-mongering and retreatism. That especially applies to workers of the former South Front, who before Rostov [3] were suffering from arrogance and self-complacency, it is sufficient to read the report of the South Front’s military council submitted to Scherbakov (4) on activists of the 56 Army to see how narcissistic these people were just 20 days before the catastrophe at Rostov. And even here at every step one encounters a complete lack of understanding of what was written in your order on the South Front [2], no one of them wants to critically examine it, at best they try to hush it up. I had to explain that sharply to a number of political workers and warn them that their further recalcitrance would be an even more serious political mistake. I must say to you, comrade Stalin, that there is much formalism in political work in the army, they don’t reach the soul of the Red Army soldier, whereas we know how much attention is paid, how much importance is given by the real Bolsheviks to the agitation and propaganda.

As concerns the operational situation I can add to what was said in the report, that at the present time the most important thing is organizing and rallying the best men in regiments. If there are no tanks (although it would be better to have them), then it is necessary to organize the anti-tank means and most importantly the bravest men and to form, following the example of Moscow, groups of tank destroyers in each regiment, which we address ourselves to now.

At the present moment all our activity and tactics will be subordinated to the task assigned by you – consolidation on the line Maikop-Tuapse and around Novorossiysk. Aside from official maps from my talks with local workers I’ve obtained all trails, which can be used by the enemy to get to the see shore, all these trails will be occupied by us. Though our forces are not that large.

I ask you very much, comrade Stalin, to help us with artillery shells, we have written about them, to help us with tanks. Where is the tank industry and comrade Molotov who manage it, he cannot supply our front and leaves us without tanks.

Now we capture all the deserters and retreating groups and form new units and penal companies, we need some assistance.

Your reproach, comrade Stalin, regarding poor communications and information, I took as my personal fault; I will fix it in the future.

I ask you, comrade Stalin, to give me periodically some assignments or instructions. You know that I will do my best to carry them out.

My cordial greetings to you.
Yours L. Kaganovich

13/VIII 42.
1. South and North-Caucasus Fronts merged on 24 July 1942
2. Apparently the order No.227 of 28 July 1942
3. The (second) fall of Rostov on 24 July 1942
4. Aleksander Scherbakov, the head of the Red Army’s Main Political Administration.

From RGASPI, f.588, op. 11, d.743, ll.77-84

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