Generalissimo Stalin: The Myth of Stalin as a Great Military Strategist, Boris Gorbachevsky

Generalissimo Stalin: The Myth of Stalin as a Great Military Strategist, Boris Gorbachevsky

The official aim of this book is to examine Stalin's performance as a military leader during the Second World War, and how it was portrayed in the Soviet Union. The author served in the Red Army during the war, and so had direct experience of some of the events he is discussing, and his personal involvement and anger comes through strongly throughout the book.

This is quite an unusual book. First, it is much more of an angry polemic than a clearly argued work of history, with a distinctly Russian tone to the style. Second, it tends to wander off its main topic to look at loosely related issues - the post-war treatment of badly wounded veterans, the real death count for the Soviets, the fate of returning POWs or those who fought for the Germans etc. Third, there is an assumption that it's going to be controversial that might well be true in modern Russia, where Stalin is currently undergoing an ill-deserved rehabilitation, but isn't the case in the west, where he hasn't been seen as a great military leader for many years.

One also has to assume that not all units were the same as the author's, where the NKVD and its successors were clearly a threatening presence. I've ready plenty of other memoirs from Red Army veterans with no reason to dissemble that give a different picture of life in their units.

Having said that, the author does look at Stalin's role as a war leader, the dishonest nature of Stalinist historiography, and the post war efforts by Stalin to make sure nobody else got any credit for the victory. The author is a valid eyewitness, who lived through the events he writes about and had his own close calls with the NKVD and Smersh, and as such has to be taken seriously.


1 - In the Years of the Great Patriotic War
2 - How did Stalin Deceive his 'Brothers and Sisters"?
3 - How One Must not Fight - 'At Any Cost'
4 - Stalin's Favorite Animal - a little Goat!
5 - The Clash of Two Dictators
6 - Stalin's Myths and the soldiers' telegraph
7 - The Petty Storyteller
8 - How 'Uncle Joe' Outplayed the American President and the British Prime Minister
9 - The Meeting at the Elbe
10 - The Military and Political Fervor Surrounding the Taking of Berlin
11 - The Last Five Days of the War
12 - For Many, Victory didn't Mean Liberation
13 - The Fall Guys and the Devil
14 - Whose Victory?
15 - How Generalissimo Stalin Stole the Victory
16 - Comrade Stalin's Return
17 - Stricken from Memory of the War
18 - When will the last Soldier be Buried?

Author: Boris Gorbachevsky
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 350
Publisher: Helion
Year: 2014 translated edition of 2010 Russian original

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