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View Poll Results: Who was the greatest strategic genius?
Stalin 1 1.85%
Vasilevsky 13 24.07%
Zhukov 40 74.07%
Rokossovsky 0 0%
Konev 0 0%
Malinovsky 0 0%
Tolbukin 0 0%
Kuznetsov 0 0%
Chuikov 0 0%
Rotmistrov 0 0%
Voters: 54. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
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Old 07-31-2002, 09:47 AM   #1
CZ
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Who was the greatest strategic genius?

Gentlemen,

another poll (to come over the summer ...):

Who was the greatest strategic genius during the whole 40s in the Soviet Union among the marshalls, generals and admirals?

The question is only about S T R A T E G Y and not about rudeness, brutality, sacrificing RA-soldiers ....

The period goes from 1940 to 1949.

If anyone should be somehow uncertain about his decision, please send an e-mail to US-Colonel Prof. David M. Glantz: rzhev@aol.com , he knows, who was the greatest strategic genius at this certain time in the Soviet Union.

Most of the 10 heros listed above have the "Order of Victory" (3 of them twice ...) or are at least HSUs.

Best regards

Christian Zulus
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Old 08-01-2002, 07:18 AM   #2
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Chris,

I think I'll have to vote for Zhukov, as I believe he was the saviour of the former USSR. I don't really know anything about the other guys, which makes me sound really dumb, I know, but I'm afraid I know very little of Russian history, as I'm still in the early stages of learning about it.

I'd have to put Stalin at the bottom on the list, as, strategically, I think he's got to have been fairly dumb. He executed may of his senior officers in the time prior to WW2, and didn't even have sufficient troops near the border to hold an attack, should it come.

I think the war turned at Stalingrad mainly by luck and bad planning by the Germans. Hitler was supposed to have studied the great leaders of history, yet made exactly the same mistake as Napoleon, a prolonged campaign into the Russian winter. He compounded this mistake by opening another front, when he had not yet invaded England. Had he not attacked Russia, he probably would have taken all of Europe and Africa, and America would probably never have entered the war.

However, Stalin did redeem himself by his scorched earth policy, which was strategically good, but very devastating to his own people. Moving everything east, rebuilding, and then bringing technically better weaponry back to push the Germans back out of Russia was quite good thinking. How much of this was his idea and how much his generals, I have no idea. So maybe I wouldn't rate him quite bottom of the list after all.

Kind Regards,
Shane Cook.
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Old 08-01-2002, 08:48 AM   #3
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Why not mail to Prof. Glantz?

Shane,

you are posting: "I don't really know anything about the other guys, which makes me sound really dumb, I know, but I'm afraid I know very little of Russian history, as I'm still in the early stages of learning about it."

So why did you not use the oppertunity to send an mail to Prof. Glantz? He would have explained to you in a few words, why only one single person, at this poll, receives to be seen as "the greatest strategic genius" and his name definitly does not begin with a "Z", like "Zulus", "Zoe" or "Zacharias". Also Stalin had his advisors.

Even our own experts (these friends, who are always in oppostion to me) at the forum regard Prof. Glantz as T H E authority in the military history of the Soviet Union.

BTW: I did not install this poll to ask the question: "Who was the S A V I O U R of the former Soviet Union", but the question is: "Who was the greatest S T R A T E G I C genius ...". So my next friend will post, that he had to vote for Admiral Kuznetsov, because he was always sailing such elegant ships ....

Anyhow, thanks for voting and I think, that I will install the next poll without any question at the beginning ....

Don't take my remarks too serious...

Best regards

Christian
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Old 08-01-2002, 10:49 AM   #4
Ed Maier
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Christian,

I think that you are going to need to define what you mean by "strategic." Are you defining "strategic genius" as someone who planed strategically important operations, or are you defining it as the person who carried out opperations in the field that were strategically important to ultimate victory in the war. These are two different things and could effect the answer to your question.

Thanks,
Ed
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Old 08-01-2002, 11:43 AM   #5
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What means "strategic"?

Ed,

in all military dictionaries there are definitions, but I will give some examples:

The role of Vasilevsky i.e. at "Uranus" (the whole Stalingrad-operation) and his role in the "Blitzkrieg" in autum 1945, in the Far East, where the Red Army crushed the Japanese, was a "strategic" one.

The role of Zhukov in the epic desaster in late 1942, north-west of Moscow, called "Mars", where he lost in 3 weeks much more tanks (1,600 !!!) and almost as much soldiers, as Vasilevsky lost in the whole (10 times longer !!!) Stalingrad operation, which ended up as one of the great victories in military history and not as a deseaster, was a "strategic" one. The "Mars"-deseaster meant the same to the STAVKA, as the Western Allies would have failed with the invasion at the Normandie, just that you understand the proportions.

Also the deseaster at the "Seelower Höhen" was a strategic miscalculation of Zhukov. Even "Moscow 1941" was only a 50 % victory, because the 2nd half of the operation failed.

For further informations, please contact David Glantz, I am only a humble person in the classical music business and live in Vienna ...

Best regards


Christian

BTW: If someone of the estimated members is interested in classical piano music, I organized a new small website (in english) for my wife Natasa Veljkovic http://www.concertartist.info/bios/veljkovic.html

Last edited by CZ; 08-01-2002 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 08-01-2002, 11:59 AM   #6
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Christian,

Will you please answer a straight forward question with a straight foward reply. My question is valid in relation to your question. If you are talking about the strategic planning of opperations then Vasilievsky would rank very high as he is one of the most important people at Stavka in planning opperations, such as Uranus, and in his calming effect on Stalin. His ability helped Stalin pull away from everyday military planning and leave these decisions to the professionals.

If you are talking about a strategic genius whose battlefield exploits affected the war in a strategic manner, then Zhukov would rate higher, as his strategic plans and operations at Moscow, Leningrad, Stalingrad, Kurskand Berlin changed the course of the war at the Strategic level (defeats at Operation Mars do not change the effects of these victories). Without Zhukov at Moscow, you do not need to worry too much about Vasileskii in Japan. In addition, Zhikov effected the strategic makeup of the Red Army in 1939 at Khalkin-Gol, which resurected the discredited "operational art" theories of Tukachevskii when he was executed, and pushed the Red Army back towards the "tank army" model which ultimated proved victorious in 1945. Khalkin-Gol was also one of the most important strategic victories in that it keep Japan out of the German-Soviet conflict in 1941 and freed up the Soviet Far Eastern troops for the defense of Moscow in 1941-42.

In your statement about Vasilivskii in your last post, you seem to be trying to use both scenarios to support Vasilevskii. Strategic Planning in Operation Uranus, and battlefiled exploits in Mongolia. While I agree that in planning he was great, and the performance of his troops in Mongolia was unbeilievable both from a logistical and operational level. I do not know if I would call the victory in Mongolia a "strategic" victory on the level with Stalingrad or Moscow in that the fate of Japan was already decided.

Just my opinion,
Ed
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Old 08-01-2002, 01:18 PM   #7
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The grass is blue and the sky is green ...

Ed,

what for sort of stories do you always want to tell us:

"If you are talking about a strategic genius whose battlefield exploits affected the war in a strategic manner, then Zhukov would rate higher, as his strategic plans and operations at Moscow, Leningrad, Stalingrad, Kurskand Berlin changed the course of the war at the Strategic level (defeats at Operation Mars do not change the effects of these victories). "

a) Vasilevsky was responsible for Stalingrad ("Uranus")

and

b) I tell it the 4th (!!!) time: My question for the poll is after the S T R A T E G I C genius and not after "battlefield exploits"

and

c) Why are you (and "Panzerführer" Tal Inbar) so fascinated about this Zhukov? He was a rude, primitive und disgusthing character with a very strong inclination towards fashism and bonapartism - that stopped his career after 1945! Vasilevsky was a very calm and moderate charakter and believed till to the end of his life in socialism.

I think, I will have to send an e-mail myself to Prof. Glantz and to ask him, to send a message to this forum, to finish up with all that "STUMPfsinn" about the "great" Zhukov.

Best regards


Christian

BTW: Only the recipients of 2 "Orders of Victory" got votes from our forum up to now, so the award system in the old Soviet Union was not too bad.

Last edited by CZ; 08-02-2002 at 03:47 AM.
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Old 08-01-2002, 05:03 PM   #8
Ed Maier
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Christian,

I still wish you would write down your definition of "strategy" as it seems to shift to any definition that supports your case. Even if you do not want to consider battlefield exploits (which can be strategic in nature, and you say Vasilevski's battlefield expoits in Mongolia are a reason for his genius), Zhukov and many of the other Marshals/Generals that you list served on Stavka and/or were Stavka representitives and planned the operations as well as carried them out on a strategic level. Zhukov at Moscow and Leningrad are examples of this. So by whatever deffinition you want to use, Zhukov qualifies as a canidate and should receive votes in this poll.

Yes, Vasilevskii planned Uranus. But you have not said why he is the "strategic genius" that you claim that he his. Please support your agrument. I have given multiple reasons for my support for Zhukov. And I have also given support for Vasilevskii under certain definitions of the term "strategic genius." And while I consider Colonel Glantz to be the formost expert on the Soviet military in World War II, his opinion that you keep alluding to does not answer the question that you asked. (By the way, please post the quotation so we can read it in its context.) I think a strong case can be made for Zhukov just on the basis of Khalkin-Gol and Moscow as without these STRATEGIC victories, you have no Stalingrad and Uranus and no opportunity for Vasilevskii to rise in stature and exert his infulence on Stavka.

In you original question, you said that personality, brutality and character were not factors in this excercise yet you start name calling with Zhukov. When you contact Col. Glantz please ask him his opinion of why Zhukov was removed from power. It was not because of an inclination towards "fascism and Bonapartism" but because of his great popularity among the Soviet people which was overshadowing Stalin. Stalin had Beria begin making a case against Zhukov in the middle of the war so that he could be removed. It was Zhukov's popularity that saved him for execution. "Bonapartism and Fascist inclinations" were convienient excuses that Stalin used to remove (i.e. execute) any threat towards his power.

Just my opinion,
Ed
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Old 08-01-2002, 05:05 PM   #9
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Art and Christian,

How come I cannot cast a vote in this poll? Are moderators bared from voting? If so, then it looks like 2 more votes for Zhukov.

Ed
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Old 08-01-2002, 05:40 PM   #10
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Christian,

I totally don't understand how can you separate strategic genius from battlefield exploits, but if you insist on that just look at the maps of Stalingrad, Vislo-Oder and Berlin operations. Just these three outweight everything else that was ever planned during WWII by other commanders. These operations are brilliant, and are still studied by military cadets all over the world.

Also you should know that Zhukov's career did not end in 1945, he was the Commander-in-Chief of Soviet troops in Germany till July 1946, and after a period of excile in Odessa, the reasons for which Ed had described, he became Deputy Minister of Defense and Minister of Defense (1955).

Alexei
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