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When did Stalin turn his attention to the armed forces?
Why had Stalin turned his attention to the armed forces in 1937?
He had become terrified that the leading officers could easily end his dictatorship.
As a result of Stalin becoming terrified that the leading officers of the armed forces could easily end his dictatorship (and hence turning his attention to the armed forces in 1937), what happened?
Marshal Tukhachevsky and seven other generals, all experienced Red Army leaders, were secretly tried and executed. Then 75/80 of the men on the Supreme Military Council were executed. All ranks of the army were purged, and the Soviet Navy and air force.
In what way were all ranks of the army purged?
35,000 officers were shot or imprisoned - half of the total number of officers.
In what way was the Soviet Navy purged?
All six Admirals were shot.
In what way was the air force purged?
Most of the air force commanders were shot.
At what time did the crippling of the armed forces happen?
At the time that Stalin was becoming increasingly worried about Hitler.
Why was Stalin becoming increasingly worried about Hitler?
Hitler's speeches frequently talked of Germany needing more lebensraum (living space) to the east of Germany. Poland and the USSR were clearly being threatened.
What happened in August 1939?
Germany and the USSR signed the Nazi-Soviet Pact.
When did Germany and the USSR sign the Nazi-Soviet Pact?
By signing the Nazi-Soviet Pact in August 1939, what did Germany and the USSR promise?
Not to attack each other.
Why did Stalin agree to the Nazi-Soviet Pact (Germany and the USSR promising not to attack each other) ?
Because he saw it as a way of directing Hitler's expansion westwards. He was also able to gain half of Poland as an extra buffer against any later threat.
When did the Nazi attack on the USSR come?
June 1941, by which time the armed forces were recovering from the worst excesses of the purges.
What happened in June 1941?
The Nazi attack on the USSR came, though by this time the armed forces were recovering from the worst excesses of the purges.