World War 2
War and Military History
Essays

Does Georgy Zhukov deserve the title one of the greatest generals?

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01/13/2007

Every war produces genuine military strategists and heroes, many of whom die on the battlefield or whose exploits go unrecognized. Decorated "Hero of the Soviet Union" four times, Marshal Georgi Zhukov was indisputably the most honored military figure in the Soviet Union. During World War II he rose to the position of deputy supreme commander and, after Josef Stalin, was the USSR's most popular figure. Viktor Suvorov, arguably the foremost revisionist of the Russo-German War, attempts in his most recent book[1] to show that Zhukov was neither a genuine hero nor a great strategist. Not only, Suvorov contends, was Zhukov the only general in world history to be honored for losing more than five million of his men in combat, but he was also an unscrupulous commander who squandered the men serving under him through gross incompetence and callousness. As to the character of the man, Suvorov argues that Marshal Zhukov was by no means an honorable soldier, but, as the Russians say, a "soldafon"--a crude, loud-mouthed martinet.