The inner-Party disputes over the form and function of the centralised military machine had been resolved at the 8th Party Congress in a manner which suggested that the cracks had only just been papered over. The bitter and inescapable struggles over strategy and the operation of the fronts, which were merely another dimension of the basic struggle over and within the military machine, took place against the background of the evolution of a number of very uncertain relationships. Among the more precarious of these was that between the higher command echelons and the senior 'military specialists'. Here conflict and rivalry had rapid and enormous consequence.