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Rodion Malinovsky

Malinovsky was not regarded as a spokesman for the Russian military. He was regarded basically as a political general even though he had a good wartime record.

The childhood years of Rodion Yakovlevich Malinovsky were not easy. His mother, a struggling cook, hardly managed to send her son to an elementary school after which he was forced to take up a number of manual jobs. Reading books about Russian heroes was his only diversion from the daily toil. Impressed by his readings, the young Rodion dreamed about someday becoming a military man too.

By the time the Great War broke out he, already a 16-year-old young man, made his way to the battlefront. He fought valiantly, was wounded and decorated with the much-touted St. Georges Cross for Valor. In 1916 his life took a drastic turn and he found himself on board a steamer that was taking elite Russian soldiers to Marseilles across two oceans around Asia, via Singapore and across the Red and Mediterranean Seas. The Russians were being sent to reinforce the allies who were fighting an uphill battle against the Germans. Once, it was outside Rheims, a small Russian unit was encircled by the Germans and held out heroically for nearly 24 hours until reinforcements finally arrived and pushed back the advancing enemy.

The best fighters were later awarded by the French, including Rodion Malinovsky who received a military cross for meritorious service. He spent two more years away from Russia fighting the Germans as part of the Foreign Legion of the First Moroccan Division. His second French award was for the heroism he displayed fighting the enemy in Picardy.

Back in Russia, Malinovsky was now fully dedicated to military service. In 1930 he graduated from a military academy and seven years later, already a full Colonel, he was in Spain fighting the mutinous forces of General Francisco Franco. During the Second World War that broke out shortly after, Rodion Malinovsky commanded large Red Army units. During the battle of Stalingrad the Second Guards Army he commanded routed the Germans Don group of armies commanded by Field Marshal Mannstein.

If it hadnt been for the Second Armys heroic performance the Germans would have reached Stalingrad and helped the stranded Sixth German Army of Field Marshal von Paulus break out of the Soviet encirclement in which case the outcome of the Stalingrad battle could have been quite different. Malinovskys armies later did an equally great job liberating Ukraine, Moldavia, Hungary and Czechoslovakia from Nazi enslavement.

On 13 February 1945 the operation ended with the liberation of Budapest by Soviet troops. OVer 138 thousand enemy soldiers surrendered. Many Soviet soldiers and generals acted bravely. Marshals Rodion Malinovsky and Fyodor Tolbukhin commanded the fronts advancing on Budapest. The Budapest operation meant Hungary pulling out of the war and its further anti-fascist policy. As for Germany, it lost its last ally. Now Soviet troops could conduct campaigns on the Southern borders of Germany, particularly in Austria and Czechoslovakia.

The much-awaited Victory Day did not mean the end of war for Rodion Malinovsky, however. In the Far East the Japanese armies still remained a formidable force and so Malinovsky was put at the head of the Far Eastern Army that was now poised to destroy Hitlers onetime ally in the Pacific. By its scope, ingenuity and strategic excellence the Far Eastern campaign went down in the history of the Second World War. The Kwantung Army was the backbone of Japans military might.

Almost 40 divisions-strong, it was a formidable force of well-trained soldiers eager to fight to the bitter end. On August 9 of 1945 the Russian forces launched a general offensive and, implementing Malinovskys plan, hit out hard surprising the enemy. Caught virtually flat-footed, the Japanese defenses started falling apart and in some sections of the front the Russian forces cut up to a hundred kilometers deep into the enemy territory already on the first day of the battle. The Kwantung army was eventually trapped and just 24 days after the start of the far eastern campaign Japan unconditionally surrendered to the allied powers.

Malinovsky had for several years been the Soviet military commander in the Far East. He had been the Soviet military commander who had occupied Manchuria and who had facilitated the turnover of Manchuria to the Chinese Communists. The Chinese Communists were largely the product of Malinovskys efforts after World War II. Some of the top Chinese Communist military commanders formerly worked under Malinovsky, including General Lin Piao, Chinese Communist Minister of Defense.

On 26 October 1957, TASS announced that Marshal Georgi K. Zhukov had been replaced as Minister of Defense by Marshal Rodion Ya. Malinovsky. The announcement provided no other details.

Malinovsky spared no time and effort building this countrys defense potential. During his more than a half century long military career Rodion Malinovsky worked his way up the military ladder from an ordinary soldier to a Marshal, from a machine gunner to Defense Minister. A warrior and an outstanding military leader, Rodion Malinovsky fulfilled his soldier duty.

Khrushchev continued to develop the attack against the anti-party group at the 22nd Party Congress in October 1961. The continuing adulation of Khrushchev underscores his evidently unassailable authority in the Soviet hierarchy. Virtually all speakers at the congress have contributed to a burgeoning "cult of Khrushchev" with fulsome praise. While most speakers concentrated on describing Khrushchev as the chief architect of Soviet communism, Defense Minister Rodion Ya. Malinovsky referred to him as "our supreme commander-in- chief," an appellation no Soviet leader had enjoyed since Stalin assumed the title of Generalissimo in the early days of World War II.

The stand-off of Soviet and American tanks in the heart of Berlin in October 1961 constituted the most dangerous moment of the Cold War in Europe. It has been attributed to unnecessarily confrontational policies of General Lucius D. Clay, who served as President Kennedy's Special Representative in Berlin.

On 27 October 1961, Soviet tanks, stripped of Red Army markings, confronted US Army tanks at Checkpoint Charlie in a tense stalemate. It was the first time in history that American and Russian troops had faced each other as adversaries. Clay was staging this confrontation to draw the Soviets into admitting that they, not the DDR, were the real power behind the Wall.

Clay's experience was hopefully predictive: he was convinced the Soviets were again bluffing in Berlin and he alone had called their bluff once before, with his airlift, and made them crawl. The Soviets, while not wanting war, kept pushing their campaign of bluffing. On Wednesday 25 October 1961, the first American tanks took up.their positions at the bordet. On Thursday, the first Soviet tanks rumbled up to face them at the border.

Throughout the tank confrontation the Premier was getting telephone reports from Marshal Koniev at the scene and was conferring with his Defense Minister, Marshal Rodion Malinovsky, in the Kremlin, Khrushchev later said that it was. he who gave the order for his tanks to withdraw because he wanted no conAict. "If the tanks went forward, it was war," he said. "If they went backward, it was peace." Khrushchev was willing to make considerable concessions to avoid war.

In 1962, the Soviet Minister of Defense Marshal Rodion Malinovsky, stated that the USSR had to accelerate its efforts to exploit the strategic potentials of modern science and technology. He said, "We do not intend to follow behind in development or be inferior to our public enemies in any way in the competition for quality or armament in the future (our) superiority will evermore increase."

The plan to put missiles in Cuba in 1962 was vintage Khrushchev, a wild gamble that promised a huge payoff for both his domestic and foreign policies. He had thought of it himself, and so he pushed it through the presidium, manipulating the doubters with alternating displays of reasonableness and combative confidence. He began by enlisting the support of the equally facile enthusiast, Marshal Rodion Malinovsky, his minister of defense. In a picturesque metaphor, typical of him, Khrushchev confided in Defense Minister Rodion Malinovsky, that the missiles would be like "throwing a hedgehog at Uncle Sam's pants." A military mind with no political sense, Malinovsky told a visiting Cuban delegation: "There will be no big reaction from the U.S. side. And if there is a problem, we will send the Baltic Fleet."

Soviet Defense Minister Marshal Rodion Y. Malinovsky, a grade school dropout who rose to the top of the Soviet military machine, died 01 April 1967 at the age of 69, the official Tass news agency announced. Malinovskys death was believed caused by cancer of the throat. He suffered from the disease for more than a year and had been hospitalized since November 1966.

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Page last modified: 16-01-2016 18:15:43 ZULU