Aleksandr Andreevich Svechin

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Svechin, Aleksandr Andreevich


Born Aug. 17 (29), 1878, in Ekaterinoslav (now Dnepropetrovsk); died July 29, 1938, in Moscow. Russian and Soviet military historian and theoretician; major general (1916).

The son of a general, graduated from the Mikhail Artillery School in 1897 and the Academy of the General Staff in 1903. He fought in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05. From 1905 to 1914 he served in the Main Headquarters and on the General Staff. During World War I, Svechin served as an assignments officer attached to the chief of staff of the supreme commander.

He commanded a regiment from 1915 to 1917 and a division in 1917. He became chief of staff of the Fifth Army in July 1917 and chief of staff of the Northern Front in September 1917. Svechin joined the Red Army in March 1918 and served as military director of the Smolensk Region. He was chief of the All-Russian Main Headquarters from August to November 1918 and became a professor at the Academy of the General Staff of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army (now the M. V. Frunze Military Academy) in November 1918. From 1918 to 1921 he also served as chairman of the Military History Commission to Study the War of 1914–18.

Svechin was the author of many works on military history, tactics, and strategy, in which he summarized military experience up to the early 20th century from a materialist point of view. As a representative of progressive military thought in prerevolutionary Russia, Svechin defined the art of war as the science of the laws of development of military affairs. He held that the evolution of the art of war was dependent on economic and sociopolitical processes. In his research procedures and methods, he was a follower of H. Delbrück. Svechin’s works are noted for a wealth of factual material, their broad formulation of questions, and their deep analysis. They are still important today.


Voina v gorakh, parts 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1907.
V Vostochnom otriade: Ot Liaoiana k Tiurenchenu i obratno. Warsaw, 1908.
Russko-iaponskaia voina 1904–1905 gg. po dokumental’nym dannym truda Voenno-istoricheskoi komissii i drugim istochnikam. St. Petersburg, 1910.
Takticheskie uroki russko-iaponskoi voiny. St. Petersburg, 1912.
Istoriia voennogo iskusstva, parts 1–3. Moscow, 1922–23.
Strategiia, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1927.
Evoliutsiia voennogo iskusstva, vols. 1–2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1927–28.
Klauzevits. Moscow, 1935.
Stralegiia XX v. napervom etape. Moscow, 1937.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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