The Great Patriotic War, 1941–1945
The decision to concentrate on tactical air operations and new aircraft reflected a realistic appraisal of productive capacity, resources, geographic and strategic position, and military requirements. Air operations at Berlin and to the south in Austria and at Prague concluded the third and final period of the Great Patriotic War against Germany. The “traditionalists” have looked back to the Great Patriotic War for valid historical reasons to enlighten and guide present-day military doctrine, while the “modernists” have seen little applicability of past lessons to the conditions to be faced in nuclear warfare. Late in 1940, the Commissariat of Defense, the Army General Staff, the chief of the Voenno-vozhdushnie Sili (VVS), and the Main Directorate of the VVS submitted their plans for the expansion and complete re-equipment of the VVS. The launching of the Stalingrad counteroffensive concluded the first, or defensive, period of the Great Patriotic War.