Brezhnev - Great Patriotic War
As with other Russians, the Great Patriotic War remained an earth shaking experience for him. He took to having his role inflated in publicity. He was proud of his service, of having been a general, of being a veteran. He knew something of the human disaster of war -- one should credit him with genuine abhorrence of it, though, of course, he used fear of war in others to obtain political ends. Like all his closest associates, Brezhnev was a man of war. This means that his life and political experience, his understanding of the most important state interests, were formed mainly in the war years. Accordingly, taking the highest positions in the party and state, he directed his main efforts to strengthen the defense power and international positions of the USSR. And he succeeded in this good deed.
In 1935, Brezhnev received a diploma of a heat engine engineer and was called to serve in the Red Army. He enrolled as a cadet in the Chita Armored School, where soon the command of the platoon was entrusted. In 1935-1936 he passed active military service as a political officer of a tank company in the Trans-Baikal Military District. But the leadership of specific equipment and concrete people apparently did not suit him and when he returned home he for the same reason again found himself in the chair of the technical school director.
From the first days of the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union in 1941-45, Leonid Brezhnev conducted a great deal of organizational and political work in the army, holding posts: Chief of the Political Department of the Southern Front, Chief of the Political Department of the 18th Army, Chief of the Political Administration of the 4th Ukrainian Front.
Leonid Brezhnev left the post of the third secretary of the Dnepropetrovsk regional committee of the party. Before that, he participated in mobilization and evacuation events. The further service of Leonid Ilyich was connected with political and ideological activity in the troops - while the Institute of Brigade Commissars was functioning, abolished in October 1942, Brezhnev held this post. Then he served in various political structures of the Caucasian and Southern fronts, the 18th Army, by the end of the war he was already a major general.
The essence of the activities of a political worker at the front is to inspire fighters for military exploits, to maintain a high morale. Like other party ideologists, Leonid Brezhnev took direct part in the admission of new members to the party on combat positions. The first order of the Red Banner (Brezhnev had two in all, both awarded during the war) Leonid Ilyich received in 1942 for the Barvenkovo-Lozovskaya operation and the battles near Dnepropetrovsk, in which he took part. One of the most significant battles for Brezhnev was the battle for Novorossiysk, for which he was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War of the 1st degree.
In the early spring of 1943 Brezhnev was presented to the Order of the Red Star for a great political work during the offensive of the Red Army near Novorossiysk. In 1944, he was awarded the rank of Major General.
The second order of the Red Banner, the chief of the political department of the 18th Army received in 1944 for the excellent organization of party work and personal courage displayed in the battles on the First Ukrainian Front. In November of the same year, as stated in the award sheet on Leonid Brezhnev, he was awarded the Order of Bogdan Khmelnytsky, 1st Degree for excellent organizational activities in the combat situation, with the liberation of a number of cities in Ukraine. By that time, Brezhnev was already a knight of two Orders of the Red Banner, the Order of the Red Star and the Patriotic War, he had a medal "For the defense of the Caucasus." Another Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky, now the second degree, was presented to Leonid Ilich at the end of May 1945.
And already in 1945, a few days after the Victory, he was entrusted with the post of Chief of the Political Administration of the 4th Ukrainian Front. In 1945-1946 he was the head of political administration of the Carpathian Military District. After Stalin's death, he was removed from the central apparatus of the party. In 1953-1954 he was chief of the Political Department of the Naval Ministry, deputy head of the Main Political Directorate of the Soviet Army and Navy.
Brezhnev wanted Marshal G.K.Zhukov to mention him in his biography. But the trouble was that during all the war years they had not met once on any of the fronts. So the editors wrote that while present in the 18th Army of Gen N.K.Leselidze, Marshal Zhukov had supposedly gone to "consult" with the chief of the army political section, L.I.Brezhnev, but, unfortunately, Brezhnev had not been there - "He was precisely at Malaya Zemlya, where the heaviest fighting was underway."
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