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TERMS AND CONCEPTS Evolution of the Concept of "Victory" in Soviet Military-Political Thought After the Second World War ANDREY A. KOKOSHIN, VIKTOR M. SERGEEV, AND VA-DIM L. TSYMBURSKY The notion of "victory" as "the achievement of an established goal in military conflict against the opposition of the other side," is one of the oldest concepts in military-political thought. The semantic structure of the concept can be illustrated as two intersecting axes: one axis reflects a conception of a final point, at which it is necessary to finish the war in a manner considered "victorious"; the second axis symbolizes the notion of what must be done in order to achieve superiority over the enemy. The choice running the length of the first axis is marked as one of opposites: "the unconditional surrender of the enemy" versus "the readiness of the enemy to make concessions." The choice symbolized by the second axis is also a unification of opposites: "the maximum application of one's own forces and capabilities in battles" versus `'the maximum exploitation of the enemy's vulnerabilities." The first axis describes the goal-oriented aspect of the concept of victory; the second is concerned with the technical aspect. Correspondingly, the "phraseology of victory" must be embodied in the context, reflecting some representation of the status of the victor and the defeated, as well as the sources of superiority and weakness of the two sides when they were fighting. At the same time, the phraseology of victory, as we have used it, has always carried a pragmatic orientation: victory has been "predicted," it has been "promised," and so on. Authors analyzing the evolution of this concept in Soviet military-political thought are coming to the conclusion that there is a pragmatic transformation in its use which can be linked to changes in the relationship between the two more profound concepts of "superiority" and "rightness." Thus, after the Second World War, victory was interpreted in Soviet military doctrine in terms of the Soviet experience in that war, based as it 42

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TERMS AND CONCEPTS 43 was on the full destruction of the opposition, the achievement of maximum destruction of its actual forces and capabilities, and the eventual capitulation of the opposition. The pragmatic nature of this concept underwent some cardinal changes from the middle 1940s through the end of the 1980s, which has contributed to a change in the meaning of the concept. The successive phases of this evolution in meaning are examined below. The first stage primarily encompasses 1945-1955, when the phraseology of victory in the USSR was formulated on the basis of Stalin's so-called "permanently operating factors of war." In the first decade -of confrontation with the United States, which possessed superiority in nuclear weapons, foremost among these factors were the stability of the rear and the spirit of morale as determined by the Soviet regime, the patriotism of Soviet citizens, and the organizational work of the Party; other factors, such as the quality of the divisions, the value of the full use of weapons, and the art of organization within the armed forces, also held positions of importance. The certainty of the United States's use of atomic weapons in any future war, along the lines of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was examined as a variation of the blitzkrieg strategy, emphasizing the short- term advantages of surprise attack. According to Stalin, if the aggressor began to win as a result of this transitory advantage, that advantage would be liquidated in the course of the war by virtue of the permanently operating factors and the manifestation of the historical advantage of socialism and the inevitability of its victory, such as the victory over Nazi Germany. During the second stage, which stretched from 1955 through 1967, the sharp growth of atomic potential on both sides, and especially the achievements of the USSR in missile technology, prompted a serious re- examination of the significance of the surprise factor. The initial stage of war, during which this factor operates, was turning out to be the primary stage, determining the outcome of the war and denying any possibility of the manifestation of the permanently operating factors. During this time it was believed, as before, that victory in war would result in the complete annihilation of imperialism, although victory was now conditional not on the action of immutable laws of history in and of themselves, but upon the superiority of the USSR in a different sense, as based upon nuclear weaponry. In the place of predictable victory, which was based on the ad- vantages of socialism and the "laws of history," there now came the promise of victory, assured in the eyes of commanders and military servicemen by the technical and geostrategic advantages of the USSR, which granted the feasibility of victory even in a total nuclear war. This particular stage in the evolution of the Soviet concept of victory is illustrated in the speeches and publications of the Minister of Defense of the USSR, Rodion Malinovsky, and Military Strategy, under the editorship of Marshal V.D. Sokolovsky. The

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44 SOV7ET-AMERICAN DIALOGUE IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES foundation of this new phraseology was the practical formula, "our histori- cal right combines successfully with our material superiority." At the same time, such a formula, illuminating the causal connections between right and superiority, established the first step on the path to their conceptual differentiation. Simultaneously, the ideology of deterrence was being formed in the publications of Nikita Khrushchev and Malinovsky. The nature of thinking about victory quickly split onto a second plane, in which preparation for total war was thinkable more than anything else as a means of preventing war in general. The third stage in the evolution of the phraseology of victory, from the end of the 1960s through the middle of the 1980s, was characterized by action that turned away from the concept of "material-technical (and geostrategic) superiority as such." At the beginning of this stage, Minister Andrey ~ Grechko returned to a discussion of the qualities inherent in socialism that served as a constant source of strength for the Soviet Army. However, the phrasing this time was different: instead of predicting inevitable victory, it took a moralistic tone, introducing a striving for victory, placing victory as the duty of military servicemen, both commander and soldier. In the overwhelming majority of contexts in the third stage, victory was discussed not on the strategic level, but on the tactical and operational levels, directly and simply understandable by the ordinary serviceman. For these lower levels of military service, the slogan "moral right as a guarantee of superiority of battle" was reestablished. As far as the strategic level is concerned, from the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s two different approaches were inevitable. On the one hand, the publications of the Chief of the General Staff of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, Nikolai Ogarkov, launched ideas that began a discussion of the USSR's lack of military superiority (and any aspiration to it) and of the advantages flowing from the nature of socialism that might ensure victory in war. But insofar as the idea of superiority in any sense was associated with the concept of victory, there arose a practical contradiction between the denial of superiority and the guaranteed advantages of socialism in war; this developed into a contradiction in meaning between lack of superiority and victory. Another set of phrases was used by Minister of Defense Dmitri F. Usti- nov, who consistently proclaimed both the USSR's lack of superiority and any aim for victory. On the other side of such calculations, he attributed to the United States not only a striving for superiority, but also the possibility of aggressive action against the USSR. Such ideas were formulated in the unique slogan, "our right is in our denial of superiority and victory." This brought forth a new contradiction, between the "refusal to achieve victory"

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TERMS AND CONCEPTS 45 on the strategic level, and the "moral orientation of war towards victory" on the operational and tactical levels. These serious contradictions were neutralized by the concepts of "crip- pling" or "decisive" strikes, which since the mid-1970s have gained con- siderable popularity in military texts and in the 1980s replaced both the general understanding of victory and various other cliches, such as "decisive defeat" and "crushing rout." The "secret" of the success of the formula of "rebuff" was that these cliches treated the results of war in a basically technical manner. They did not indicate the unconditional surrender of the loser or the importance of securing concessions from him; instead, they considered two variations of response: either the opposition would carry out a significant strike in return (called a "crippling strike") or that "we would apply all possible force for resistance" (a "decisive striker. Ulti- mately, all of these formulas implied a solely reflexive response to the use of force, and excluded any examination of Soviet action in a goal-oriented sense. The strike-repulse formula placed all responsibility for the deliberate advancement of goals in war on the other side: "They desire victory; and all things considered, we give only a response." By the middle of the 1980s, the phrase "the moral orientation of the military towards victory" was basically transformed into the phraseology "preparation to retaliate decisively against the aggressor." In practical military terms, the purely technical formulas of "repulsion" indicated a base line but no goals in military action comparable to the goals that existed in politics, such as "the deterrence of the aggressor" or "the opposition's nonachievement of superiority." This situation created disunity between the technical and the goal-oriented aspects of victory, insofar as each correlates with one of two conditions in the "ideology of deterrence": namely, deterrence itself or an act of retribution if deterrence fails. It is precisely because of this disunity that the military doctrine of the members of the Warsaw Pact proclaims the unusual military goal of "the banning or the nonassumption of war." This goal does not preclude carrying out an act of retribution in the event of military action; retribution lies on a completely different, "goal-less" plane. More than anything else, the reign of technical definitions in military phraseology, of "the acceptance of particular concessions" versus "unconditional surrender," has made military thought receptive to the idea of localized military success of the type based on a "nonaggressive defense." So this is how the phraseology of victory has evolved from the di- rect derivation of superiority from the notion of right to the proclaimed inappropriateness of this conception, ultimately undermining the semantic structure of the concept of victory itself, and placing in doubt all of its aspects that reflect the idea of superiority over the opposition. It is in- teresting that, although this change is related to the technical axis of the

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