Andrei Grechko

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Grechko, Andrei Antonovich


Born Oct. 4 (17), 1903, in the village of Golodaevka, present-day Kuibyshevo, in Matveev Kurgan Raion, Rostov Oblast. Marshal of the Soviet Union (1955). Hero of the Soviet Union (Feb. 1, 1958). Became a member of the CPSU in 1928. Son of a peasant.

Grechko joined the Soviet Army in 1919 and took part in the Civil War in the First Horse Cavalry Army. He graduated from cavalry school (1926). the Frunze Military Academy (1936), and the Military Academy of the General Staff (1941). During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), he led the 34th Cavalry Division and in January 1942 took command of the V Cavalry Corps on the Southern Front. From April to August 1942 he commanded the Twelfth Army, which was waging defensive battles in the Donbas and the Northern Caucasus. From September to December 1942 he commanded the Forty-seventh and Eighteenth armies on the Novorossiisk and Tuapse lines. From January to October 1943 he commanded the Fifty-sixth Army, which took part in liberating the Northern Caucasus. In October 1943 he became deputy commander of the First Ukrainian Front. From December 1943 to the end of the war he commanded the First Guards Army, which took part in liberating the Ukraine. Poland, and Czechoslovakia.

From 1945 to 1953, Grechko was commander of the troops in the Kiev Military District. From 1953 to 1957 he was chief commander of the Soviet Troop Group in Germany. In November 1957 he became first deputy minister of defense of the USSR and commander in chief of ground forces. In April 1960 he became first deputy minister of defense of the USSR, and from July 1960 to July 1967 he was simultaneously commander in chief of the United Armed Forces of the Warsaw Pact countries. In April 1967 he became minister of defense of the USSR. He was a candidate member of the Central Committee of the CPSU from 1952 to 1961 and has been a member of the Central Committee of the CPSU since 1961. He has been a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU since April 1973. He was a deputy to the second through eighth convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. He has been awarded five Orders of Lenin, three Orders of the Red Banner, two Orders of Suvorov First Class, two Orders of Kutuzov First Class, the Order of Suvorov Second Class, the Order of Bogdan Khmel’nitskii First Class, and many foreign orders, as well as medals.


Bitva za Kavkaz, 2nd edition. Moscow, 1969.
Cherez Karpaty. Moscow, 1970.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
According to Marshal Andrei Grechko, Soviet defense minister from 1967 to 1974, the Politburo made all key decisions on military policy.(32) In practice, "the Politburo" in this case probably meant the core decision-making group for security policy--the Politburo members who were also members of the Defense Council.(33) In either case, the relevant issue is whether the Politburo's oversight was effective: did civilians succeed in ensuring that military strategy followed the doctrinal principles they set?
Sokolovskii's influential book Military Strategy argued that "the acute class nature" of a "war between the socialist and imperialist camps" would "predetermine the extreme decisiveness of the political and military aims of both sides."(42) Further, he argued, "any armed conflict will inevitably escalate into a general nuclear war if the nuclear powers are drawn into this conflict."(43) Defense Minister Andrei Grechko agreed with this view, asserting in the party journal Kommunist as late as 1971 that "rocket-nuclear weapons will be decisive"--that a major war would certainly be an all-out nuclear war and that conventional operations would be limited to the actions of isolated small units.(44)