Joined the Red Army, 1918. Took part in the quelling of the left-SR revolt in Moscow, 1918. Joined the Bolshevik Party, 1919.
Took part in the Civil War as a regimental commander. Soviet military adviser in China, 1927. Took part in the occupation of Western Belorussia (East Poland), 1939.
Commander of an army during the Soviet-Finnish war, 1939-1940. Military attache in China. 1940-1942. Several high posts during World War II, becoming widely known during the battle of Stalingrad.
After World War II, Deputy Commander, and from 1949, Commander of Soviet forces in Germany. Commander of the Kiev military district, 1953. Commander in Chief of Land Forces, and Deputy Minister of Defence, 1960.
Non-voting member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 1952, and full member, 1961. Head of the civil defence system of the USSR. 1961-1972.