Jews in the Russian Army during the First World War
This chapter explores experience of the Jewish soldiers of the Russian Army during First World War.
The article reflects the results of the social-economical analysis of restructuring the Russian Army from the fall of the Soviet Union and until the present times. The author assumes that large-scale actions carried out by Defence ministers in 1991-2013 did not result in the establishment of the civil control institution and professionalization of the Russian Army, but only reinforced its corruption and ineffectiveness. Objects for the analysis are transformation processes in the Russian army during the post-soviet period. Close attention is paid to personal input of the Defence Ministers who led restructuring processes. The structural-functional approach to the analysis of the military institute serves as a theoretical background for the research. The article concludes that the transformation of the system of military management and the structure of military forces led to dismantling of the grand mobilization and deployment system that the Russian army inherited from the Soviet Union and to the annulment of the voluminous, however, in reality an illusory potential to lead a long-lasting war. Significantly lesser results during the military reform were reached during the gradual transition to professional armed forces system, which core is formed not by conscripts but by contract soldiers. The basis for low effectiveness of the Russian army lies in the incomplete recruitment of military units with contract soldiers and professional sergeants, as well as the overall crisis of the recruiting system.
This book—the first part of an entire volume about military affairs in Russia’s Great War and Revolution—is based on the premise that the military history of World War I in the Russian theater and the subsequent Civil War cannot be sufficiently understood by focusing exclusively on descriptions of war plans, strategy, and operations and that precisely because war is a human activity it is crucial to establish the place of humans in this military story. Moreover, this book interprets the notion of the military “front” very broadly, extending far beyond the lines of trenches and even beyond the army-controlled front zones. It was in all the vastly different circumstances where soldiers lived, fought, and died; it was where medical staffs worked around the clock to administer aid to the wounded; it was even in the POW camps. The common theme here is the military character of the experiences. Importantly, while Russia’s Great War did share many of the characteristics of the campaigns in Western Europe, it was also characterized by a host of important factors that were significantly different from the war experiences in Western Europe. Aside from the greater mobility and fluidity of the front, these other factors included time and space, nationality, religion, gender, the vast numbers of casualties, status, and politics. And that means that while this book seeks to add to the growing literature about Russia’s Great War and to a much lesser extent the Civil War by examining these types of theme through the prism of “human experiences,” it does not aim simply to mimic the existing studies of war experiences on the Western Front.
Relevance of this research is related to the fact that the first world war had major influence on the processes important for modern economic politics. The major one is governmental regulation. Newness of this monography is in consideration of unities and contradictions in theories, practices and politics during war and after it. Peculiarity of the work is that additionally to the researches of the modern authors it has works and researches of last century famous authors based on the unique historical archives.
This monoghraphy will fit both students, researchers and lecturers of the economic science as well as broader audience.
The paper is devoted to the creation of information system "The First World War in Perm Provincial Periodicals" (http://permnewspapers.ru/). The system is based on ten newspapers’ collections published in Perm province (Russia) during the First World War. Publications cover periods of Imperial Russia (1914 – Feb. 1917), the 1917 Revolution and the Civil War and represent different ideological political movements. The information system can be used as a source for humanitarian studies in political, economic and social history, the history of printing and journalism, literature, linguistics, philology, cultural studies, political science, etc. The resource provides free access for scholars to images and full-texts of more than 2500 issues as well as different search tools.
The First World War became a watershed in the European and world history. 100 years after the outbreak of the Great War historians continue to debate a role of this milestone event in the development of European civilization. The authors of the monograph try to make their own contribution to this discussion.
Designated for historians and for all those interested in the history of early twentieth-century Europe and Russia.
During the First World War, heroes and soldiers who “sacrificed their lives for the Father- land” were seen ambiguously in various segments of Russian society. The article analyzes the representation of those fallen at the two poles of Russian culture: in the official dis- course generated by the high and middle class urban ‘educated society’ and in the ‘com - mon’ discourse of villagers and urban dwellers who were culturally close to them. The study draws on official accounts, periodicals, popular literature, folklore (songs, poems, laments), peasant’s letters, and recorded conversations. The official patriotic discourse sacralized and romanticized the images of the fallen he - roes. In the traditional rural culture, attitudes towards the death on the battlefield and the posthumous fate of those fallen were articulated within different discourses, to which the binary opposition “hero” vs. “not hero” was not central. Here, the war victims were often regarded as needless sacrifices. Not only were they believed to be lost forever for their loved ones and for the communities they had belonged to, but also as disadvantaged and facing trouble in their afterlife. However, at both poles the ideas were changing in the course of the war. In the official ‘romantic-heroic’ discourse, the emphasis initially was on heroic deeds of brave individuals and gradually shifted towards the image of anonymous, sublime and tragic mass sacrifice, producing a cult of fallen soldiers. The warfare tech - niques changed, and the widespread use of weapons of mass destruction and of long- range artillery restricted the individuals’ opportunities for showing courage and led to de- personalization of heroes. This depersonalization crisis was resolved in the official dis- course by way of a gradual equalization of “heroes” and “the fallen”. The ‘popular’ front-line discourse took a rapid way from peasant fatalism and religiously motivated self-sacrificing victimhood, which was involuntary and not reflected upon, to- ward cynical and cold-blooded desacralization and depreciation of this sacrifice. These two discourses had little in common besides the religious motivation and the rhetoric of heroism. They were inherently different in terms of contents and articulation intensity. In a revised form, both discourses were later to be used by the Bolsheviks to compro- mise patriotism in Tsarist Russia and to develop Soviet rituals for honoring the “soldiers of the revolution”.
Notes of a Cavalryman (Zapiski kavalerista, 1915–1916) by Nikolai Gumilev are dedicated to the poet’s participation in World War I and reveal a deep influence of Tolstoy’s novel War and Peace. A brief analysis of the work leads to the conclusion that Gumilev on a superficial level often argued with Tolstoy’s concept of war. Nevertheless, on a deeper level he took cues from Nikolai Rostov not only by getting in the same situations as Tolstoy’s hero, but also by resembling Rostov’s psychological type. This consequently allows us to claim that during World War I, Nikolai Rostov was a model according to which Gumilev fashioned his own life.