Shaposhnikov, Marshal Boris, 1882-1945

Shaposhnikov was a brilliant military theorist, who at various times in the war was a member of the Stavka and Chief of General Staff. Throughout the 1930s he was extremely influential as Deputy People’s Commissar for Defense. In 1940 he was made Head of the Stavka with ZHUKOV as his deputy and in August of that year was put in charge of fortifications. He put forward a plan to withdraw the Red Army behind the old borders, the Stalin Line, rather than allow them to be thinly spread over the new Polish frontier. This plan was overruled and Shaposhnikov was dismissed as Chief of Staff and replaced by MERETSKOV. On 10 July 1941, following the German invasion STALIN reformed the Stavka and once again included Shaposhnikov who was also reinstated as Chief of General Staff. However he counseled withdrawal as part of a policy of strategic defense and thereby courted Stalin’s anger. After a tour of duty in Belorussia, Shaposhnikov fell ill and was replaced by VASILIEVSKY in November 1941, but nevertheless helped plan the defense of Moscow and the counterattack which followed. In June 1942 Shaposhnikov advised against an offensive at Kharkov considering it premature and once again argued for strategic defense. In the same month he was again appointed Deputy People’s Commissar of Defense in charge of revising military regulations. From June 1943 until his death, Shaposhnikov served as Commandant of the Voroshilov Military Academy.

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