Leadership Training in the Soviet Union

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

The heads of the GRU — Soviet military intelligence, in charge of spetsnaz, or special forces — considered special training necessary for every function — except that of leader:

A leader cannot be produced by even the best training scheme. A leader is born a leader and nobody can help him or advise him how to manage people. In this case advice offered by professors does not help; it only hinders. A professor is a man who has never been a leader and never will be, and nobody ever taught Hitler how to lead a nation. Stalin was thrown out of his theological seminary.

Marshal Georgi Zhukov, the outstanding military leader of the Second World War, had a million men, and often several million, under his direct command practically throughout the war. Of all the generals and marshals at his level he was the only one who did not suffer a single defeat in battle. Yet he had no real military education. He did not graduate from a military school to become a junior officer; he did not graduate from a military academy to become a senior officer; and he did not graduate from the Academy of General Staff to become a general and later a marshal. But he became one just the same.

There was Khalkhin-Gol, Yelnya, the counter-offensive before Moscow, Stalingrad, the lifting of the Leningrad blockade, Kursk, the crossing of the Dnieper, the Belorussian operation, and the Vistula-Oder and Berlin operations. What need had he of education? What could the professors teach him?

Leave a Reply