The Soviet Army – Books – The Soviet Military Experience by Roger R. Reese

Title:The Soviet Military Experience : A History of the Soviet Army, 1917 – 1991
Author:Roger R. Reese
Publication Date:February 2000
Number of pages:224

Review by Anthony Winning:

Roger Reese’s book covers the entire period of the Soviet Army’s existence, from it’s revolutionary birth in 1917, until it’s counter revolutionary demise in 1991. Reese analyses how the Soviet Army was intended to be unlike no other army ever previously conceived, made up of volunteers and loyal party supporters with the aim of being a tool of political expression for the party as much as a military force. He also shows how idealistic considerations for the running of the Army had to give way to practical issues for the effective running of the Army, and how this moved the Army closer to that of the Tsarist Army which many revolutionaries passionately sought to avoid. He also examines the performance of the Army during the Second World War, and the impact this had on dynamics and the moral state of the organisation, as well as refuting the argument that the Great Purges of 1937 – 1938 had an impact on the fighting ability of the Soviet Army. He then goes on to outline the stagnation of the Army which resulted in it reflecting many of the values of the Tsarist regime it replaced. Reese’s focus for the book is a look at the Red Army merely in quantitative terms, but in terms of it’s interaction with society and the health of the organisation internally. A interesting and well written read.