Stalin's Conception of Maritime Power: Revelations from the Russian Archives

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Through unprecedented access to archival documents, the author places Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin's decisions regarding the navy in the context of a national economy in ruins, bureaucratic infighting, and Stalin's own unique understanding of geopolitics and naval strategy. These documents illustrate the decidedly defensive character of Stalin's maritime conception, as it reveals the Kremlin leader's strong disposition against attempts to ‘mimic the Americans' and pursue an ocean-going fleet. The author also discusses Stalin's lessons from the Korean War and the impact of these lessons on the subsequent development of the Soviet fleet. Finally, this study offers insights for students of asymmetric warfare, as it explores the challenges and dilemmas that confront relatively limited powers within intense rivalries.

Keywords: Korean War; Stalin; shipbuilding industry

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Center for Cold War Studies, Institute of General History, Russian Academy of Sciences

Publication date: April 1, 2005

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