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Tuesday April 9th 2019Tim Candler9

 

    When Stalin achieved the leadership of the Soviet Politburo one of the first things he did to secure his power was conduct a series of purges. Much of the officer class of Soviet Military had served their country in a long series of wars, including a civil war and most of them had been in professional military service since before the revolution, they were experienced men. Stalin was suspicious and he got rid of the best and brightest in Soviet military, leaving the army in a somewhat chaotic condition. In soldiering it's not just about being brave. There's a whole structure from recruiting, through supplies and transport, maintenance, doctoring, moral and all these things need experience if they are to work smoothly.  When in the November of 1939 the Soviet Union invaded Finland, their military was badly outclassed. In terms of casualties, Finland lost 70,000 men, the soviets made little progress and they lost 375,000 men.

 

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      Then in battle a large army needs leadership that has an understanding of what is and is not possible, the various gradients of risk in between and it needs leadership that understands learning to push the envelope of possibilities from experience rather than blind faith, and often a good leader of soldiers has a dexterity of mind that enables him or her to accurately weigh risk and take decisions without getting all panicky, some are good at it some are bad at it. Stalin was more worried about maintaining his own power than he was about the condition of his military. In a way that's kind of what we have at the moment, a bunch of guys more interested in high fiving their own power. And that's why it's always someone else's fault, never theirs.  Funny thing about saying "I was wrong." Never easy to do, but people, unless they think they are perfect or they are frightened, can embrace you for being true.

 

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