Tukhachevskii, Mikhail

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tukhachevskii, Mikhail Nikolaevich


Born Feb. 4 (16), 1893; died June 11,1937. Soviet military figure. Marshal of the Soviet Union (1935). Member of the CPSU from 1918.

The son of nobility, Tukhachevskii was born on the estate of Aleksandrovskoe, Dorogobuzh District, Smolensk Province, near what is now the village of Slednevo, Safonovo Raion, Smolensk Oblast. He graduated from the Aleksander Military School in 1914 and served in World War I as a first lieutenant in the life guards of the Semenovskii Regiment. He was taken prisoner in 1915 but escaped to Russia in 1917.

Tukhachevskii joined the Red Army in 1918. He was military commissar for defense of Moscow Region in 1918. He commanded the First Army of the Eastern Front from June 1918 to January 1919 and the Eighth Army of the Southern Front from January to March 1919. From April to November 1919, Tukhachevskii commanded the Fifth Army of the Eastern Front, carrying out successful joint operations to free the Urals and Siberia from Kolchak’s armies. He commanded the troops of the Caucasian Front from February to April 1920 during the rout of Deni-kin’s forces and commanded the troops of the Western Front from April 1920 to August 1921 in the Polish-Soviet War of 1920. Tukhachevskii was commander of the Seventh Army when the Kronstadt Anti-Soviet Rebellion was suppressed in March 1921 and commander of the forces in Tambov Region from April to May 1921, when the Antonov revolt was put down.

After the Civil War of 1918–20, Tukhachevskii was active in implementing the military reform of 1924–25. In 1921 he became director of the Military Academy of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army (RKKA) and commander of the forces of the Western Military District. He became assistant chief of staff of the RKKA in 1924 and served as chief of staff from November 1925 to May 1928. Tukhachevskii commanded the forces of the Leningrad Military District from May 1928 to June 1931. In 1931 he was named deputy chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR and director of armaments of the RKKA. He became deputy people’s commissar for defense in 1934 and first deputy people’s commissar for defense and head of the directorate for military training in 1936.

Tukhachevskii was instrumental in rearming the Red Army, in reorganizing the armed forces, and in training command and political personnel. He helped develop new services and branches of the armed forces, such as the air force, mechanized and airborne forces, and the navy. Tukhachevskii took part in establishing several independent military academies, including that of mechanization and motorization, and wrote many books, articles, and reports on modern military strategy that significantly influenced military thought and organization. He contributed to the development of strategy, operational art, tactics, and military science as a whole. He emphasized the need to train an army for protracted wars.

Tukhachevskii, particularly as director of armaments and deputy people’s commissar for defense, was important in organizing and equipping the armed forces of the USSR for future war. In 1934 he became a candidate member of the Central Committee of the ACP(B). Tukhachevskii was awarded the Order of Lenin and the Order of the Red Banner.


Izbr. proizv., vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1964.


Todorskii, A. I. Marshal Tukhachevskii. Moscow, 1966.
Marshal Tukhachevskii: Vospominaniia druzei i soratnikov. Moscow, 1965.
Popov, A. Trud, talant, doblest’. [Moscow, 1972.]
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.