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Commissars - the Communist Enforcers in the Red Army
Communist Enforcers in the Red Army
© 2010
150 pages; 15 chapters and 2 appendixes
In World War II, the Red Army would have collapsed by 1942 without the
pressures exerted by
Red Army commissars. Commissars were fanatic
Soviet officers,
placed at all levels of command, whose purpose was to
ensure that the common
Red Army soldier would continue to fight as
zealously as possible. The
commissars ruled by terror, and utilized the
communist in every unit as well as NKVD troop units that were embedded in
Red Army combat forces to ruthlessly quell any deviation from the
commissars’ warfighting norms.
The commissars also used two carrots along with their sticks. They
insured that the fear-crazed soviet infantry was fed daily doses of vodka and
continuous propaganda messages crafted to instill hatred of the Germans and
acceptance of death. For those more intelligent soldiers who didn’t swallow the
commissars’ lies, there were the penal battalions. The Red Army in World
War II
had hundreds of penal battalions, which were forced to spearhead
attacks across enemy minefields and into the teeth of enemy fire. No soldier in
a penal battalion survived the war.
Red Army commissars also created
as a propaganda device to inspire and motivate the poor, fearful
Red Army infantry
that was dying in the hundreds of thousands.
commissars were everything that is ugly and hateful in the human
. It is a rotten irony that so many of them survived while millions of the
men they forced to fight lay dead.
Review Table of Contents
“The example set by the commissars and the terror that they inspired was largely responsible for the tenacious
resistance of the Russian soldier, even in hopeless situations. It is not wholly true that the
German Commissar Order,
directing that upon capture,
commissars be turned over to the SD (Security Service) for "special treatment," that is
execution, was solely responsible for inciting the commissars to bitter last-ditch resistance; the impetus much rather was
fanaticism together with soldierly qualities, and probably also the feeling of responsibility for the victory of the Soviet
Union. The previously mentioned occupation of the bunkers on the Bug and the continued resistance in the citadel of
Brest Litvosk can be traced to the
influence of the commissars. In innumerable other cases dogged perseverance
even under hopeless conditions was to be credited to the soldierly conduct of the commissars. For instance, in
September 1941, long after the city of Posyolok Taytsy (south of Leningrad) had been taken, and German troop units
had been drawn up in the castle park, German tanks passing near the park wall with open hatches drew single rounds
of rifle fire from close range. The shots were aimed at the unprotected tank commanders who were looking out of the
turrets. Not until three Germans had been killed by bullets through the head did the passing tank unit realize that the
shots were coming from a narrow trench close under the park wall 10 yards away. The tanks then returned the fire,
whereupon all 13 occupants of the trench met death. They were the officers of a Russian regimental headquarters,
grouped around their commissar who fell with his rifle cocked and aimed.
After the German divisions broke out of the Luga bridgeheads in August 1941, the commander of a task force inspected
several Russian tanks, which had been knocked out 2 hours earlier near a church. A large number of men were looking
on. Suddenly, the turret of one of the knocked-out tanks began to revolve and fire. The tank had to be blown up. It
turned out that among the crew, which had been assumed dead, there was a commissar who had merely been
unconscious. When he revived and saw the many German soldiers around him, he opened fire.
When in April 1942 the Germans took a strong position southwest of Rzhev, they continued to receive rifle fire from one
lone barricaded bunker. All demands for surrender were in vain. When an attempt was made to shoot through the
embrasure with a rifle, the Red soldier grabbed it and fired the last three shots. Two of the bullets wounded German
soldiers. The
commissar, who was defending the bunker alone in the midst of his dead comrades, then shot himself
with the third.”
Excerpt from Commissars
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Commissars - Red Army's Communist Enforcers