Technology the Key?

“The Front “(1942) by  Aleksandr Korneichuk   on p. 345 of the book Mass Culture in Soviet Russia. “The front” is a play that shows the reason why the military failed so early on in World War 2. This problem is that the military is led by Old Civil War Veterans refuse to learn how to wage war in the modern sense. Some examples of old civil war veterans who thought in this manner is Voroshilov and Budyonny. This play also shows what Stalin and the party did to fix the failures of the military. The solution was to replace them by younger officers that went through a traditional officer course.

It does this in the play by showing the stubbornness of the Old Civil War Veterans to learn about modern warfare, and learn about from every experience to improve on the part of a veteran of the civil war who is the General of the front (General Gorlev). It shows this by setting it during the time of the German advance into Russia, this particular section of the front has been broken through by the Germans because of the ignorance to modern warfare (tanks, artillery) of the General of the front. But the day is saved by a young major general who knows how to wage war in the modern age and learns from every encounter a general of a regiment (General Ognev) overseeing a certain column of the front. He does this by ignoring the order from the general of the front to pull back, and instead comes up with his own plan to destroy the German army near his position (approved by Moscow). After this Moscow recognizes his tactical genius and ability to succeed in the modern age of war and promotes him to General of the Front replacing the previous general.


This is a T-34, the main tank in the russian arsenal, had such a high destruction rate early on in WW2 as a result of old civil war veterans refusing to use them as an advantage (

This play brings an enormous problem within the military into the light. That is the commanders of the military are old civil war veterans that refuse to utilize the new technology (tanks, artillery, other machines) against the Germans who use these machines quite liberally. This is recognized by not only the party but also Stalin who starts replacing the civil war veterans who refuse to learn new tactics to defeat the Germans. He does this by replacing them with professional officers, who actually went through an officer training school and utilize technology in their favor, and learn from every encounter to become more tactically successful. He even elevate one of these professional officers to Deputy Commander of Soviet forces (Georgii Zhukov), who oversaw the defense of Stalingrad and had an important role in the Battle of Kursk. These new professional officers raised the efficiency of the military and the morale of it, because of their success compared to the failures of the old civil war veterans. This is from the seventeen moments article “Epaulettes Back on Uniforms



4 thoughts on “Technology the Key?

  1. This is a great post, it represents the old phrase, “out with the old, in with the new.” It truly shows the Soviet ability to adapt and tells those that can’t that they are out.


  2. The T-34 was an incredible tank. It was one of the first tanks in the world to use sloped armor… a revolutionary concept at the time. The Soviets were smart to implement this new system into their tank designs. Great post!


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