Preparing for the Future War: The Soviet Military and Industrial Buildup from 1924-1933


  • Harvey D. Munshaw Wichita State University


Joseph Stalin, Soviet Union, U.S.S.R., communism, Red Army, military industrialization, First Five Year Plan


On January 21, 1924 V. I. Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik revolution and founder of the Soviet state, died of a cerebral hemorrhage. During the next three years Joseph Stalin consolidated his power over the Soviet state. In 1927 he began preparing the Soviet Union to wage an aggressive war aimed at the heart of Europe, in order to advance Marx's prophesied world proletarian revolution. To achieve this, Stalin's government began the buildup of a massive military industrial infrastructure capable of producing vast quantities of weapons, and other equipment which could support a modern army waging aggressive warfare. To prepare for the anticipated war in Europe, the U.S.S.R. embarked on a revolution in military strategic thought, rapid industrialization, extensive expansion of infrastructure, and widespread economic and industrial espionage. Due to the development of new military theories by Tukhachevsky, Triandafillov and Snitko, as well as its vast expansion of military industrial infrastructure, the Soviet Union was transformed from an agrarian nation incapable of fielding a modern army, into a powerful industrial state capable of waging aggressive warfare.