How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Georgy Zhukov (1896 - 1974) was born in a poor village family in 1896. He was sent to Moscow at the age of 10 to work for furrier uncle, where he had to work very hard and slept on the floor.
At 19 he joined the cavalry and soon realized the folly of autocratic, aristocratic officers. He was wounded and decorated in the first world war.
After the war, he supported the revolution and joined the Communist Party early on.
Determined to succeed, he studied hard, adding another 3 to 4 hours of learning to 12 hour working days. He rose through the ranks and commanded a regiment in 1923.
He escaped Stalin's 1937 early purges through his outstanding action against Japanese and became chief of staff in 1940. In 1942 he was appointed Deputy Supreme Commander-in-Chief. After the war, Stalin, fearing Zhukov's popularity made him an un-person, sending him to a remote post.
Zhukov returned as Khrushchev's Minster of Defence, but was not skilled at politics and was often too heavy-handed.
Perhaps as a result of his studies, he understood military strategy well and used this knowledge to his advantage. He once said: 'To exaggerate the capabilities of one's forces is just as dangerous as to underestimate the strength of the enemy.'
He was totally determined to win and nothing could deflect him from his path of aggression against his enemy. He would sacrifice large numbers of soldiers to achieve this end.
He was very innovative and, although not all worked, he was alway experimenting. for example he used short (30 minute) but massive bombardments at Seelow and attacked at night with searchlights shining at enemy.
In the second world war, Zhukov built Leningrad's defense system and Leningrad was never defeated by the Germans. He successfully defended Leningrad but with casualties estimated at around a million and many executed for cowardice.
Before Zhukov, defense was considered a defeatist activity, but he showed it to work in the Russian system.
In charge of Moscow's defense, he was perhaps fortunate that Germany withdrew before the winter, fearing a Napoleonic freeze. He harried the Germans all the way back to Germany, who were perhaps justified in their terror of the Soviet advance.
In Germany, he built a model of Berlin which he used to meticulously plan its defeat and capture.
Starting with a revolutionary group of illiterate peasants, he turned them into a serious army, which was necessary to fight the well-trained Nazi troops.
He was a disciplinarian. Did not believe in the personal touch. His iron character was apparent to all in his attention to detail, his will and discipline, his strictness of appearance and behavior.
Although he was a disciplinarian, he engendered awe rather than fear. He expected efficient, dedicated soldiers who wanted to fight through discipline, fear, love of homeland and hatred of the enemy.
Cowardliness, shirking and other similar offences were dealt with in such as way as to deter others. Officers who disappointed him were sent to most hazardous positions.