Andrei Grechko

Last updated

Andrei Grechko
Андре́й Гре́чко
Andrei Grechko 3 (cropped.jpg
Minister of Defence
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
In office
12 April 1967 26 April 1976
Premier Alexei Kosygin
Preceded by Rodion Malinovsky
Succeeded by Dmitriy Ustinov
Full member of the 24th Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
In office
27 April 1973 26 April 1976
Personal details
Andrei Antonovich Greczhko

(1903-10-04)4 October 1903
Golodaevka, Don Host Oblast, Russian Empire
Died26 April 1976(1976-04-26) (aged 72)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
NationalityFlag of the Soviet Union.svg  Soviet Union
Political party Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1928–1976)
Profession Soldier
Awards Hero of the Soviet Union (twice)
Signature Andrei Grechko Signature 1949.png
Military service
AllegianceFlag of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (1918-1937).svg  Soviet Russia (1919–1922)
Flag of the Soviet Union (1936-1955).svg  Soviet Union (1922–1976)
Branch/service Soviet Army
Years of service1919–1976
Rank Rank insignia of marshal Sovetskogo Soiuza.svg Marshal of the Soviet Union (1955–1976)
Commands 18th Army
1st Guards Army
Kiev Military District
Battles/wars Russian Civil War
Second World War

Andrei Antonovich Grechko (Russian : Андре́й Анто́нович Гре́чко; 17 October [ O.S. 4 October] 1903 – 26 April 1976) was a Soviet general, Marshal of the Soviet Union and Minister of Defense.



Born in a small town near Rostov-on-Don on 17 October 1903, [1] the son of Ukrainian [2] peasants, he joined the Red Army in 1919, where he was a part of the "Budyonny Cavalry". After the Russian Civil War, Grechko was enrolled into the 6th Cavalry College in the city of Taganrog, which he graduated in 1926. He joined the Communist Party in 1928, and graduated from the Frunze Military Academy in 1936. He next attended the Soviet General Staff Academy, graduating in 1941, just a few weeks before the beginning of Operation Barbarossa.

Grechko's first command during World War II was of the 34th Cavalry Division, which put up a valiant fight around Kremenchug (near Kiev) in Ukraine. On 15 January 1942, Grechko was put in command of the 5th Cavalry Corps. Starting 15 April 1942 and lasting until 16 October 1943, Grechko was placed in command of 12th Army, 47th Army, 18th Army, and 56th Army. All of these units were part of the North Caucasus Front, and Grechko led them all with distinction.

In October 1943, Grechko was promoted to Deputy Commander-in-Chief of 1st Ukrainian Front. Then, on 14 December 1943, he was made the Commanding General of 1st Guards Army, a position he held until the end of the war. The First Guards Army was a part of the 4th Ukrainian Front, which was led by Col.-Gen. Ivan Yefimovich Petrov. Grechko led the 1st Guards in a number of offensive operations, predominantly in Hungary and into Austria.

After the war, Grechko was the Commanding General of the Kiev Military District, until 1953. Between 1953 and 1957, Grechko was the Commander-in-Chief of Soviet Forces in East Germany. On 11 March 1955, Grechko, along with five other high-ranking colleagues, all of whom had gained recognition during World War II, was promoted to the rank of Marshal of the Soviet Union. From 1957-1960, Grechko was the Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces, and from 1960–1967, he was the Commander-in-Chief of the Warsaw Pact Forces [3] ). On 12 April 1967, Grechko was made the Minister of Defense, taking over shortly after Marshal Rodion Malinovsky died. Grechko served in this capacity until his death in 1976. During the 1970s, Grechko served as the chairman of the editorial commission that produced the official Soviet history of the Second World War. [4]

Grechko was an active member in the Communist Party, and was a member of the Politburo. As Minister of Defense, Grechko helped modernize the Soviet Army, and was greatly responsible for maintaining the military strength of the Soviet state. As Defense minister, Grechko's most notable idea was his assumption that a Third World War would always go nuclear at some point, and as such he planned that if World War III did begin, to launch all-out nuclear strikes against the NATO nations the moment that the war began. [5] For Grechko, nuclear weapons would be weapons of first resort in a world war, not weapons of last resort. [5] The urn containing his ashes is buried by the Kremlin Wall Necropolis.

Honours and awards

Related Research Articles

Kliment Voroshilov

Kliment Yefremovich Voroshilov, popularly known as Klim Voroshilov, was a prominent Soviet military officer and politician during the Stalin era. He was one of the original five Marshals of the Soviet Union, the highest military rank of the Soviet Union, and served as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, the nominal Soviet head of state, from 1953 to 1960.

Ivan Kozhedub Aviator, thrice Hero of the Soviet Union

Ivan Nikitovich Kozhedub was a Soviet World War II fighter ace. Credited with over 60 solo victories by most historians, he is considered to be the highest scoring Soviet and Allied fighter pilot of World War II. He is one of the few pilots to have shot down a Messerschmitt Me 262 jet. He was made a Hero of the Soviet Union on three occasions. After the war he remained in the military and commanded the 324th Fighter Air Division during Soviet operations in the Korean War.

Ivan Yakubovsky Soviet Army marshal

Ivan Ignatyevich Yakubovsky was a Marshal of the Soviet Union, twice made a Hero of the Soviet Union and serving as commander-in-chief of the Warsaw Pact from 1967 to 1976.

Sergey Biryuzov

Sergey Semyonovich Biryuzov was a Marshal of the Soviet Union and Chief of the General Staff.

Andrey Yeryomenko

Andrey (Andrei) Ivanovich Yeryomenko was a Soviet general during World War II and, subsequently, a Marshal of the Soviet Union. During the war, Yeryomenko commanded the Southeastern Front during the Battle of Stalingrad in summer 1942 and planned the successful defense of the city. He later commanded the armies responsible for the liberation of Western Hungary and Czechslovakia in 1945.

Kirill Moskalenko

Kirill Semyonovich Moskalenko was a Marshal of the Soviet Union. A member of the Soviet Army who fought in both the Russian Civil War and World War II, he later served as Commander in Chief of Strategic Missile Forces and Inspector General for the Ministry of Defense.

Sergey Akhromeyev

Sergey Fyodorovich Akhromeyev was a Soviet military figure, Hero of the Soviet Union (1982) and Marshal of the Soviet Union (1983).

Ivan Yumashev

Ivan Stepanovich Yumashev was a Soviet Navy admiral, Hero of the Soviet Union, and Commander-in-Chief of the Soviet Navy from January 1947 to July 1951.

Pyotr Koshevoy

Pyotr Kirillovich Koshevoy was a Soviet military commander and a Marshal of the Soviet Union.

Vasily Petrov (marshal)

Vasiliy Ivanovich Petrov was a Russian military official and Marshal of the Soviet Union.

Ivan Tyulenev

Ivan Vladimirovich Tyulenev was a Soviet military commander, one of the first to be promoted to the rank of General of the Army in 1940.

Semyon Krivoshein

Semyon Moiseevich Krivoshein was a Soviet tank commander, who played a vital part in the World War II reform of the Red Army tank forces and in the momentous clash between German and Soviet tanks in the Battle of Kursk.

Pavel Kurochkin

Pavel Alekseyevich Kurochkin was a Soviet army commander.

Vasily Reshetnikov Hero of the Soviet Union

Vasily Vasiliyevich Reshetnikov is a former Soviet pilot who served during World War II. Reshetnikov flew 307 missions, mainly as a pilot of a long-range bomber, and in the summer of 1943, received the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. After World War II, he was named commander of an Aviation Division, Air Corps. Reshetnikov was subsequently promoted to Colonel General and took command of the Long-Range Aviation branch from 1969 to 1980 and was made Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force of the Soviet Union from 1980 to 1986.

Mikhail Malinin

Mikhail Sergeevich Malinin was a Soviet general.

Nikolai Simoniak

Nikolai Pavlovich Simoniak was a General in the Soviet Army during World War II.

Sagadat Nurmagambetov

Sagadat Kozhakhmetovich Nurmagambetov was a Soviet and Kazakhstani general who served as Chairman of Kazakhstan's State Defense Committee in 1991-1992 and Kazakhstan's first Minister of Defense following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, holding the office of Defense Minister from May 1992 to November 1995. He was an adviser to Nursultan Nazarbayev in 1995-1996.

Vladimir Govorov

Vladimir Leonidovich Govorov was a Soviet General and military leader. He was the son of Soviet military commander Marshal Leonid Govorov.

Sergey Bobruk

Sergey Antonovich Bobruk was a Belarusian Soviet Army lieutenant general and a Hero of the Soviet Union.

Fyodor Kharitonov Soviet general

Fyodor Mikhailovich Kharitonov was a Soviet military leader, participant of the Great Patriotic War, Lieutenant General.


  1. Dennis Kavanagh (1998). "Andrei Grechko". A Dictionary of Political Biography. Oxford: OUP. p. 196. Archived from the original on 2019-05-20. Retrieved 2017-08-24.[ ISBN missing ]
  2. "Герои страны". Archived from the original on 2004-09-07. Retrieved 2019-07-28.
  3. Газета «Северная Осетия» // Гость «СО».
  4. Годы войны. 1941—1943 Archived 2009-03-05 at the Wayback Machine . 1976
  5. 1 2 Cant, James "The SS-20 Missile-Why Were You Pointing at Me?" pages 240-253 from Russia War, Peace and Diplomacy edited by Ljubica and Mark Erickson, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2004 page 245
  6. Дважды Герой Советского Союза Гречко Андрей Антонович на сайте «Герои страны» Archived 2016-08-03 at the Wayback Machine .
  7. Сайт «Молодая Гвардия». А. А. Гречко Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine .
Political offices
Preceded by
Rodion Malinovsky
Minister of Defence of Soviet Union
Succeeded by
Dmitriy Ustinov
Military offices
Preceded by
Ivan Konev
Supreme Commander of the Unified Armed Forces of the Warsaw Treaty Organization
Succeeded by
Ivan Yakubovsky