Military Doctrine

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Military Doctrine


the system of official views and propositions that determines the direction of military development, the preparation of the country and its armed forces for war, and the methods or forms of conducting the war. The military doctrine is developed and defined by the political leadership of the state. The principal propositions of a military doctrine are formed and changed in accordance with politics and the social structure, the level of development of the productive forces, new scientific achievements, and the nature of the anticipated war.

The principles of the military doctrine of the young Soviet state were developed under the guidance of V. I. Lenin. A great contribution to the development of military doctrine was made by M. V. Frunze, who gave the following definition of its essential nature: “A ’unified military doctrine’ is the teaching accepted in the army of a particular state that determines the nature of the development of the country’s armed forces, the methods of combat training of the troops, and the leadership of the troops on the basis of the views prevailing in the state on the nature and the methods of performing the military missions facing the state; these methods stem from the class nature of the state and are determined by the level of development of the country’s productive forces” (Izbr. proizv., vol. 2, 1957, p. 8). The present-day Soviet military doctrine is based on the peace policy of the Soviet Union. It has been developed on the basis of instructions of the Central Committee of the CPSU, instructions of the Soviet government, and military science, and it relies on the political and economic might of the USSR and the other countries of the socialist commonwealth. Soviet military doctrine reflects the policy of the CPSU on questions of war and peace and defines the essence and nature of possible wars and the attitude toward them and the missions involved in preparing the armed forces and the country as a whole for a struggle against an aggressor. Soviet military doctrine determines the structure of the armed forces, the technical supplies to be used, the direction of the development of military science and the art of war, and the tasks and methods of the training and political education of personnel. Great importance is attached to the close cooperation of the Soviet armed forces with the armies of the fraternal socialist countries to ensure the security of the entire socialist commonwealth. Soviet military doctrine serves the cause of peace, restrains the imperialist aggressors, and has a clearly expressed progressive character. The propositions of the military doctrine that apply to the armed forces are reflected in military field manuals, regulations, and other official instructions, as well as in works on military theory that substantiate individual propositions of military doctrine. The military doctrine of the member countries of the Warsaw Treaty of 1955 reflect general propositions that are aimed at ensuring the security of the entire socialist commonwealth, as well as particular propositions adapted to the special conditions of each country.

The military doctrine of the USA is based on views for waging war with the goal of establishing world domination and has an aggressive character. It expresses the desire of the USA to unite under its leadership all the countries of the capitalist world and to use their territories and armed forces to wage war against the socialist countries and the peoples fighting for freedom and national independence. Soon after World War II (1939-45) the USA adopted a military doctrine of nuclear deterrence, which is a doctrine for nuclear black-mail and for the preparation of a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries. The setting up of the NATO bloc in April 1949 led to the adoption of the doctrine of sword and shield, in which the role of the “sword” was assigned to the nuclear weapons and the US Air Force and that of the “shield” to the ground forces of the European member countries of NATO, which were designated to exploit the results of nuclear strikes and to invade the territories of the socialist countries. In the early 1950’s the USA adopted the military doctrine of massive retaliation, in which was envisaged a surprise nuclear attack on the USSR and the other socialist countries and the unleashing of a nuclear war on a worldwide scale. In view of the growth of the nuclear might of the Soviet Union in 1962 the USA adopted the military doctrine under the name of strategy of flexible response. This doctrine is composed of the strategic concepts of “assured destruction” (the annihilation of the enemy by nuclear strikes), of “counter-force” (the destruction of nu-clear delivery means and other military objectives), and of “escalation” (the gradual widening and intensification of the military conflict). The doctrine of flexible response was adopted in 1967 by the NATO Council as the official doctrine of this aggressive military bloc. At that time the Federal Re-public of Germany (FRG) succeeded in making NATO adopt the doctrine of forward deployment, which provided for the advance of NATO forces directly toward the frontiers of the socialist countries in order to invade their territory and rapidly transform a conventional war into a nuclear war. Member countries of imperialist military blocs are guided by the general military doctrine adopted by their respective bloc. At the same time the military doctrine of each country has some special and distinctive features. The military doctrine of the reactionary political and monopolistic circles of the FRG has a revanchist character and is directed against the European socialist countries. The military doctrines of Great Britain and the USA provide for readiness to wage nuclear warfare within NATO and in limited wars. France, since it left the NATO military system, has been pursuing an independent military policy. Its military doctrine proceeds from the assumption that any war in which France could possibly become involved would become an all-out nuclear war; however, strategic nuclear weapons are viewed as a method for preventing a nuclear war. The other capitalist countries that are members of military blocs do not play an independent military role.

The military doctrines of the majority of independent developing countries reflect the desire to strengthen national independence and to oppose the aggressive policy of imperialism.


Frunze, M. V. Izbr. proizv., vol. 2. Moscow, 1957.
Malinovskii, R. Ia. Bditel’no stoiat’ na strazhe mira. Moscow, 1962.
Voennaia strategiia, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1968.
Marksizm-Leninizm o voine i armii, 4th ed. Moscow, 1965.
Mil’shtein, M. A., and A. K. Slobodenko. O burzhuaznoi voennoi nauke, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1961.
Smit, D. O. Voennaia doktrina SShA: Issledovanie i otsenka. Moscow, 1956. (Translated from English.)
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