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A predominant reason the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was able to grow into one of the world's largest and most powerful nations was the success of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, or Red Army for short.
- Formed after the October Revolution of 1917
- The Red Army was created by the Bolsheviks to oppose the competing faction for power, that of the Whites and their corresponding army.
- While the Red Army started with a rather small number of regiments, it was the organization and leadership skills of individuals such as Leon Trotsky.
When this was coupled with the efforts of intelligence-gathering services, the secret police, and the Soviet propaganda machine, the Red Army grew in size and scope so as to be seeming undefeatable.
Under the leadership of Joseph Stalin, the Red Army was able to truly show its might during the Second World War, or what the Soviets often referred to as The Great Patriotic War. While the Red Army initially fought under a sense of neutrality with Adolf Hitler's Germany, dividing the Kingdom of Poland between themselves, it was when the German leader reneged on his friendship with Stalin that the two sides became bitter enemies. While the German war machine may have been more technologically advanced, the Red Army had two great strengths: their numbers and their willingness to defend the motherland. More than 34 million men would serve in the ranks of the Red Army; nearly one-third of them would be killed in the fight, according to some estimates. The flexibility of the leadership of the Red Army also proved to be a great strength - when the rifle corps appeared to be ineffective, ranks were dismantled and reorganized. When large tank armies were decimated by German forces, troops were restructured into smaller groups that were easier to coordinate. As time allowed, and as situations changed, leadership of the Red Army routinely assessed situations and made necessary changes, contributing significantly to their overall success.