«Народному Комиссару Обороны товарищу Сталину»: донесения командующего Ленинградским фронтом К.Е.Ворошилова

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This essay examines activity by the Commander-in-Chief of the Leningrad Front, Marshal Voroshilov, during the Battle of Leningrad, up to his dismissal in mid-September 1941. Based on daily military reports to Stalin, the article reveals the main challenges faced by the Soviet Northwestern Command, and then by the Military Council for the Defense of Leningrad. These challenges were fourfold: the German forces had significant superiority over their Soviet counterparts in organization and management; they enjoyed a large advantage in aviation, artillery, and machine guns; Voroshilov was taken by full surprise by the rapid collapse of the defense of the Karelian peninsula; and the rapid advance by Finnish troops towards Leningrad threatened the encirclement and loss of the city. Contrary to widespread belief that Voroshilov was replaced by Army General Zhukov for incompetence that was becoming more evident each day, the article proves the opposite. From mid-July on, Voroshilov and Leningrad Front’s Command met the bulk of these challenges more or less effectively, taking into account limited resources. Because the High Command was not able to provide Leningrad with substantial material help, the key strategy by Voroshilov and the Military Council as the whole was to mobilize domestic resources, both human and material. Organizing many thousands of militia troops and fortification near Luga, and strengthening discipline in the army, delayed the German approach to the city. However, he overestimated the Finnish threat and substantially weakened his 42 nd Army in the South.

Translated title of the contributionTo comrade Stalin, People’s commissar of Defense″: Reports by K. Voroshilov, commander-in-Chief of Leningrad Front’
Original languageRussian
Pages (from-to)35-55
Number of pages21
JournalModern History of Russia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Scopus subject areas

  • History

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