In the lead-up to World War II, both Germany and the Soviet Union pursued important changes in military doctrine that proved crucial during the armed confrontation between the two countries in 1941–1945. Using a new book by the military historian Mary Habeck as a point of departure, this essay explains how the German and Soviet armed forces by the late 1930s had developed almost identical doctrines without extensively borrowing from each other. Although the doctrinal innovations that informed the German Blitzkrieg and the Soviet conception of “deep battle” have long attracted attention, Habeck's book is the first detailed comparison of the development of armored warfare in these two countries. Although the book does not provide a comprehensive explanation of the sources of innovation in military doctrine, it sheds a great deal of light on the revolutionary changes in German and Soviet military doctrines during the interwar years.

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