Poster Plakat A Collection of Posters from the Soviet Union and its Satellite Nations

< Return to Publishers List


Narkomvoen (People's Commissariat for Military Affairs)

Formal reorganization of the armed forces took place during the dismantling of the war ministry of the Russian Provisional Government. The most immediate task was dealing with the demobilization of Imperial Army troops and the second critical need was the formation of a new Red Army and Red Navy, along with the introduction of universal military training.

Read Full Description...

Formal reorganization of the armed forces took place during the dismantling of the war ministry of the Russian Provisional Government. The most immediate task was dealing with the demobilization of Imperial Army troops and the second critical need was the formation of a new Red Army and Red Navy, along with the introduction of universal military training. During the Russian Revolution, Tsarist elements in the rank and file of the armed forces were eliminated and replaced by Bolshevik-friendly Red Guards, armed workers and regular soldiers and sailors. Initially, the Soviets formed the Committee for Military Affairs to take charge of this military organization but it was reorganized as the People's Commissariat for Military Affairs (Narkomvoen). Narkomvoen was the central apparatus that managed the Soviet military until the 1930s. In March 1918, Leon Trotsky became the head of Narkomvoen and led it through the Russian Civil War, a post he held until 1923. Narkomvoen was renamed the People's Commissariat for Defense (NKO) in 1934.

Close Full Description

Sources & Citations

Smele, J. D. (2015). Historical Dictionary of the Russian Civil Wars. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Barber, J. (2000). The Soviet defence-industry complex from Stalin to Khrushchev. New York: St. Martin's Press.
McCauley, M. (1991). The Russian revolution and the Soviet State 1917-1921: Documents. London: Macmillan.
Soviet military review. (1977). Moscow: Krasnaya Zveda Pub. House. (Committee for Military Affairs, cited therein)