The Purge of the Red Army and the Soviet Mass Operations 1937-1938
This article explores the possible connections between Stalin's purge of the Red Army, sanctioned in June 1937, and the Soviet mass operations, launched just weeks later. It argues that Stalin ordered the military purge to combat a misperceived threat from foreign agents in the Red Army that had become a pressing issue in the early months of 1937. The article makes the case that, once launched, the military purge provided the catalyst for the mass operations as the regime sought not only to destroy a ‘fifth column’ in the Red Army, but soon turned attention to the wider population.
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