In This Review

Stalin and the Soviet-Finnish War, 1939-40
Stalin and the Soviet-Finnish War, 1939-40
Edited by Alexander O. Chubaryan and Harold Shukman
Frank Cass, 2002, 299 pp

In April 1940, the leaders of the Soviet Union gathered to ponder the lessons of the Finnish war. Summoned before Stalin and his key lieutenants were 46 commanders, ranging from senior generals to regimental commanders. These transcripts show in what detail the Soviet leadership probed its operational and technical (but not political and strategic) errors. Within those important bounds, the candor of the Soviet high command is striking. In respect to both the brutal thoroughness of its self-criticism on tactical matters and its discreet silence about larger ones, one sees foreshadowed the successes and calamities of coming years.