History Main / ThePoliticalOfficer

21st Sep '17 7:41:01 PM VutherA
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The famous notion of commissars being empowered to shoot cowards stems from Stalin's 28/7/1942 'No Retreat' Order issued in response to the German 1942 Summer ''Blau'' Offensive to take the Caucusus, which forbade any military unit from retreating without orders (which in that operation were subsequently given by Operational-level commanders acting against Moscow's impractical orders to launch counter-offensives instead, to the Germans' dismay). Though neutered in effectiveness through losses [[note]] dedicated and often rather young Communists tended to gravitate to the job, and if anything were a little ''too'' eager to 'Repel The Fascist Invader'. This cycle was self-perpetuating, with the losses requiring constant replacement [[/note]] and official nerfing by the end of the war, civilian women in Germany were advised to yell 'Commissar' when facing rape by Soviet soldiers because commissars would arrive and either stop the soldier or (in some cases) execute them. There is little doubt that Stalin's February 1945 orders mandating decent treatment of civilians stemmed from concerns about national prestige and foreign relations, not altruism, but it helped codify the notion that commissars were given to shooting their own soldiers.

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The famous notion of commissars being empowered to shoot cowards stems from Stalin's 28/7/1942 'No Retreat' Order issued in response to the German 1942 Summer ''Blau'' Offensive to take the Caucusus, which forbade any military unit from retreating without orders (which in that operation were subsequently given by Operational-level commanders acting against Moscow's impractical orders to launch counter-offensives instead, to the Germans' dismay). Though neutered in effectiveness through losses [[note]] dedicated [[note]]Dedicated and often rather young Communists tended to gravitate to the job, and if anything were a little ''too'' eager to 'Repel The Fascist Invader'. This cycle was self-perpetuating, with the losses requiring constant replacement [[/note]] and official nerfing by the end of the war, war[[note]]The probably most infamous part of the order, mandating that rearguard units be posted behind the frontline to shoot retreating men, was withdrawn after three months due to commanders resenting [[FascistButInefficient that they were forced to make desperately needing manpower]] ''not'' fight the enemy[[/note]], civilian women in Germany were advised to yell 'Commissar' when facing rape by Soviet soldiers because commissars would arrive and either stop the soldier or (in some cases) execute them. There is little doubt that Stalin's February 1945 orders mandating decent treatment of civilians stemmed from concerns about national prestige and foreign relations, not altruism, but it helped codify the notion that commissars were given to shooting their own soldiers.



** Commissars are [[BadassLongcoat longcoat-wearing]] political officers attached to [[BadassNormal Imperial]] [[RedshirtArmy Guard]] armies and [[SpaceNavy Imperial Navy]] ships. Interestingly, they feature elements of both the "eastern" and "western" stereotypes in that they are inspirational badasses who are calm under fire and lead by example, but can and will mercilessly shoot soldiers who fail to meet their stringent standards. One or the other angle can be emphasised DependingOnTheWriter - minor character commissars are more likely to be {{Bad Boss}}es, while [[Literature/GauntsGhosts Ibram Gaunt]] fits the "benevolent commissar" mold, and Literature/CiaphasCain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM) is a pure pragmatist who has caught on to the fact that overzealous commissars [[UnfriendlyFire tend to die in combat suspiciously far from the front line]].

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** Commissars are [[BadassLongcoat longcoat-wearing]] political officers attached to [[BadassNormal Imperial]] [[RedshirtArmy Guard]] armies and [[SpaceNavy Imperial Navy]] ships. Interestingly, they feature elements of both the "eastern" and "western" stereotypes in that they are inspirational badasses who are calm under fire and lead by example, but can and will mercilessly shoot soldiers who fail to meet their stringent standards. One or the other angle can be emphasised DependingOnTheWriter - minor character commissars are more likely to be the [[MemeticMutation memetically-stereotypical]] trigger-happy {{Bad Boss}}es, Boss}}es; while [[Literature/GauntsGhosts Ibram Gaunt]] fits the "benevolent commissar" mold, and Literature/CiaphasCain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM) is a pure pragmatist who has caught on to the fact that overzealous commissars [[UnfriendlyFire tend to die in combat suspiciously far from the front line]]. line]]...[[AlternateCharacterInterpretation maybe]].
27th Aug '17 3:28:55 PM Zaptech
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** And then there's the Death Korps of Krieg, {{Death Seeker}}s for whom dying is seen as a positive and not dying is seen as a negative. They'll happily run themselves into impossible odds, and it usually falls upon the Commissar to try and talk them ''out'' of suicidal charges. Most of the time, the Death Korps will then summarily execute the ''Commissar'' for cowardice and then go ahead and run themselves into certain death.
27th Aug '17 1:42:54 PM nombretomado
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* Creator/CharlesStross's story "Missile Gap" has Misha Gorodin as the zampolit assigned to YuriGagarin's ship on the [[Franchise/StarTrek "five-year mission"]] to explore [[FlatWorld the disk-shaped world]] where human civilization [[AlienSpaceBats has been transplanted]].

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* Creator/CharlesStross's story "Missile Gap" has Misha Gorodin as the zampolit assigned to YuriGagarin's UsefulNotes/YuriGagarin's ship on the [[Franchise/StarTrek "five-year mission"]] to explore [[FlatWorld the disk-shaped world]] where human civilization [[AlienSpaceBats has been transplanted]].
29th Jul '17 4:41:42 PM ImpudentInfidel
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** Most badass of them all is Commissar Sebastian J. Yarrick. He lost an arm in battle with an Ork Warboss and retorted by ''decapitating the Warboss'', only "allowing himself the luxury of passing out" after the battle was won. He then had the Warboss's Power Klaw converted into a prosthetic for his own missing arm, powered (presumably) by the sheer badass he radiates. The Orks have immortalized him in fearful legends, believing that he cannot be killed and that a single glance from him brings death. On hearing the latter part of this legend, Yarrick decided that if the Orks believed he had an evil eye, then by the Emperor, he would HAVE an evil eye. He then proceeded to PLUCK OUT HIS OWN EYE AND HAVE IT REPLACED WITH A LASER-SHOOTING BIONIC EYE. The short version? This man makes ''[[BloodKnight Orks]]'' wet themselves.

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** Most badass of them all is Commissar Sebastian J. Yarrick. He lost an arm in battle with an Ork Warboss and retorted by ''decapitating the Warboss'', only "allowing himself the luxury of passing out" after the battle was won. He then had the Warboss's Power Klaw converted into a prosthetic for his own missing arm, powered (presumably) by the sheer badass he radiates. The Orks have immortalized him in fearful legends, believing that he cannot be killed and that a single glance from him brings death. On hearing the latter part of this legend, Yarrick decided that if the Orks believed he had an evil eye, then by the Emperor, he would HAVE an evil eye. He then proceeded to PLUCK OUT HIS OWN EYE AND HAVE IT REPLACED WITH A LASER-SHOOTING BIONIC EYE. The short version? This man makes ''[[BloodKnight Orks]]'' wet themselves. There's also something of a self-reinforcing cycle thanks to Orks possessing magical ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve abilities.
9th Jul '17 11:57:18 PM MAI742
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* There is a story about a shipwrecked Soviet sailor who was rescued by an American ship. When he saw an officer with a cross on his lapel, he asked why. When told that this was the Chaplain, he asked, "What's a Chaplain?" When he heard the explanation he said, "Interesting. Does he also act as Political Officer?" He was shocked to learn that the US Armed Forces ''didn't have'' political officers - their Two Party-State may have been united by a bipartisan ideology, but couldn't possibly have created a workable power-sharing arrangement for appointing party members to promote American Values in the military.

to:

* There is a story about a shipwrecked Soviet sailor who was rescued by an American ship. When he saw an officer with a cross on his lapel, he asked why. When told that this was the Chaplain, he asked, "What's a Chaplain?" When he heard the explanation he said, "Interesting. Does he also act as Political Officer?" He was shocked to learn that the US Armed Forces ''didn't have'' political officers - their Two Party-State may have been united by a bipartisan ideology, but couldn't possibly have created a workable power-sharing arrangement for appointing party members to promote American Values in the military.military (under conscription the military's loyalties were more evenly split, but the all volunteer military leaned Republican).
9th Jul '17 11:55:33 PM MAI742
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* There is a story about a shipwrecked Soviet sailor who was rescued by an American ship. When he saw an officer with a cross on his lapel, he asked why. When told that this was the Chaplain, he asked, "What's a Chaplain?" When he heard the explanation he said, "Interesting. Does he also act as Political Officer?" (And was shocked to learn that the US Armed Forces don't HAVE political officers.)

to:

* There is a story about a shipwrecked Soviet sailor who was rescued by an American ship. When he saw an officer with a cross on his lapel, he asked why. When told that this was the Chaplain, he asked, "What's a Chaplain?" When he heard the explanation he said, "Interesting. Does he also act as Political Officer?" (And He was shocked to learn that the US Armed Forces don't HAVE ''didn't have'' political officers.)officers - their Two Party-State may have been united by a bipartisan ideology, but couldn't possibly have created a workable power-sharing arrangement for appointing party members to promote American Values in the military.
9th Jul '17 11:45:27 PM MAI742
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The famous notion of commissars being empowered to shoot cowards stems from Stalin's 28/7/1942 'No Retreat' Order issued in response to the German 1942 Summer ''Blau'' Offensive to take the Caucusus, which forbade any military unit from retreating without orders (which in that operation were subsequently given, to the Germans' dismay). Though neutered in effectiveness through losses [[note]] dedicated and often rather young Communists tended to gravitate to the job, and if anything were a little ''too'' eager to 'Repel The Fascist Invader'. This cycle was self-perpetuating, with the losses requiring constant replacement [[/note]] and official nerfing by the end of the war, civilian women in Germany were advised to yell 'Commissar' when facing rape by Soviet soldiers because commissars would arrive and either stop the soldier or (in some cases) execute them. Stalin's orders mandating such treatment were concerned with preserving the prestige of the Soviet army and relations with the Soviets' neighbours, rather than altruism, but it helped codify the notion that commissars were given to shooting their own soldiers.

to:

The famous notion of commissars being empowered to shoot cowards stems from Stalin's 28/7/1942 'No Retreat' Order issued in response to the German 1942 Summer ''Blau'' Offensive to take the Caucusus, which forbade any military unit from retreating without orders (which in that operation were subsequently given, given by Operational-level commanders acting against Moscow's impractical orders to launch counter-offensives instead, to the Germans' dismay). Though neutered in effectiveness through losses [[note]] dedicated and often rather young Communists tended to gravitate to the job, and if anything were a little ''too'' eager to 'Repel The Fascist Invader'. This cycle was self-perpetuating, with the losses requiring constant replacement [[/note]] and official nerfing by the end of the war, civilian women in Germany were advised to yell 'Commissar' when facing rape by Soviet soldiers because commissars would arrive and either stop the soldier or (in some cases) execute them. There is little doubt that Stalin's February 1945 orders mandating such decent treatment were concerned with preserving the of civilians stemmed from concerns about national prestige of the Soviet army and relations with the Soviets' neighbours, rather than foreign relations, not altruism, but it helped codify the notion that commissars were given to shooting their own soldiers.
9th Jul '17 10:48:36 AM DarthWalrus
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Added DiffLines:

** And then there's the Death Korps of Krieg, {{Death Seeker}}s for whom dying is seen as a positive and not dying is seen as a negative. They'll happily run themselves into impossible odds, and it usually falls upon the Commissar to try and talk them ''out'' of suicidal charges. Most of the time, the Death Korps will then summarily execute the ''Commissar'' for cowardice and then go ahead and run themselves into certain death.
9th Jul '17 10:30:29 AM nombretomado
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In RealLife, junior party leaders conscripted as Commissars and Officers (people often applied for re-assignment between the two) played a crucial role in the first months of WorldWarTwo. With virtually the entire peacetime Army wiped out in the first three months, they became the backbone of the new Army. Commissars were often observer officers with veto power over decisions made by their attached units, although they did on occasion get into frontline combat. On the frontline, Commissars were meant to inspire troops through bravery and heroism- and many did. Even before the War's outbreak the German Army passed regulations mandating Communist party leaders' execution upon capture, this consquently covering many officers and all Commissars.

to:

In RealLife, junior party leaders conscripted as Commissars and Officers (people often applied for re-assignment between the two) played a crucial role in the first months of WorldWarTwo.UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. With virtually the entire peacetime Army wiped out in the first three months, they became the backbone of the new Army. Commissars were often observer officers with veto power over decisions made by their attached units, although they did on occasion get into frontline combat. On the frontline, Commissars were meant to inspire troops through bravery and heroism- and many did. Even before the War's outbreak the German Army passed regulations mandating Communist party leaders' execution upon capture, this consquently covering many officers and all Commissars.



* While the Soviet Union is the most obvious example, it was not the only modern dictatorship (communist or otherwise) to use political officers. Ironically enough, the Nazis established their own variant as the [[WorldWarII war]] went on and gave them increasing amounts of power over time, although they still never became as common or as powerful as their Soviet counterparts sometimes did. Maoist China, Communist Vietnam and their Vietcong counterparts, Republican Spain during the Spanish Civil War, and, Saddam's Iraq also had their own variants, as did many others.

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* While the Soviet Union is the most obvious example, it was not the only modern dictatorship (communist or otherwise) to use political officers. Ironically enough, the Nazis established their own variant as the [[WorldWarII [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII war]] went on and gave them increasing amounts of power over time, although they still never became as common or as powerful as their Soviet counterparts sometimes did. Maoist China, Communist Vietnam and their Vietcong counterparts, Republican Spain during the Spanish Civil War, and, Saddam's Iraq also had their own variants, as did many others.
27th May '17 2:09:29 PM nombretomado
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** Catachans, being fiercely independent badass jungle fighter Ramboes, used to have a special rule ("Oops, sorry sir!") in which if a commissar is attached to them, you must roll before the game starts to find out whether or not he suffered an "unfortunate accident". Being based off of VietnamWar soldiers, [[TruthInTelevision such incident were commonplace]]. If you're an American officer and your soldiers don't like you, you ought to be prepared to get [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fragging fragged]]. Considering that most of them were drafted, they had low morale and didn't like their authority, i.e. you.

to:

** Catachans, being fiercely independent badass jungle fighter Ramboes, used to have a special rule ("Oops, sorry sir!") in which if a commissar is attached to them, you must roll before the game starts to find out whether or not he suffered an "unfortunate accident". Being based off of VietnamWar UsefulNotes/VietnamWar soldiers, [[TruthInTelevision such incident were commonplace]]. If you're an American officer and your soldiers don't like you, you ought to be prepared to get [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fragging fragged]]. Considering that most of them were drafted, they had low morale and didn't like their authority, i.e. you.
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