chapter  4
21 Pages

Soviet Aviation and Air Power under Stalin, 1928–1941

WithKenneth R. Whiting

Soviet aviation may be said to have begun its “takeoff” phase, to use Rostowian jargon, during the last years of the First Five-Year Plan, and was to come into its own during the Second Five-Year Plan. In addition, the Society for the Promotion of Defense, Aviation, and Chemical Warfare, a voluntary organization dedicated to training young people in skills needed by the armed forces, taught tens of thousands of youth how to operate, maintain, and repair engines, radios, and motor vehicles. By 1928, on the eve of the First Five-Year Plan, Stalin, his commissar of war, Voroshilov, his outstanding military adviser, Tukhachevsky, and other military leaders were extremely dissatisfied with the cadre-militia Red Army and especially with its lack of modern weapons. In October 1928, Stalin announced the beginning of the First Five-Year Plan, the main thrust of which was to speed up the development of a modern military force.