In This Review

The People, the Army, the Commander (A Soviet View)
The People, the Army, the Commander (A Soviet View)
By Colonel M. P. Skirdo
Voyenizdat/U.S. Air Force, 1978, 166 pp

Nominally another volume on Marxism-Leninism written for Soviet military officers, this book is instructive on several levels. On one level it reemphasizes already familiar aspects of Soviet military doctrine: nuclear war is possible as long as imperialism exists; the principal threats to peace are the U.S. and West Germany; the Soviet objective in a thermonuclear war is victory; and the role of the civilian population is decisive. On another level it comments on current foreign policy issues, rejecting both "left" revisionism (PRC) and "right" revisionism (Eurocommunism). On a third level the book examines the characteristics and contributions of great military leaders, reflecting a growing Soviet dilemma in choosing between a doctrine of troop control, centralization and discipline, and the desire to develop commanders who have imagination, creativity, and a propensity for risk-taking on the battlefield.