The Russian empire was based on strength, and the survival of any of the state’s institutions was possible only if the country was protected by a powerful and efficient army. In order for the army to exist as a force, it needed iron discipline and a one-man management. In other words, as the support of power, the army should be led by a strong and recognized authority. Russian soldiers refused to recognize the authority of their commanders in 1917, thereby destroying the army’s base and leading to its complete collapse. This collapse led to the famous Order No. 1 being issued on March 1; this order became the point of no return for the Russian army. The points of this Order were highlighted by discipline and a one-man management. Further military legislation only aggravated the situation. This article analyzes the main initiatives of the Provisional Government concerning the reform of the army’s institutions. The article also emphasizes that these initiatives did not help to save the combat-capability of the Russian army weakened in the battlefields of the First World War, but that the Order’s initiatives in total were a good basis of the spreading of anti-government sentiments and the successful propaganda of the Bolsheviks. In using anti-government agitation, the Bolsheviks bet on inciting “class hatred” between officers and soldiers, which would make the unconditional fulfillment of the commander’s orders impossible. The author of the article underlines the point that further military legislation of revolutionary democracy only aggravated the situation.
This chapter explores experience of the Jewish soldiers of the Russian Army during First World War.