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The End of the Russian Imperial Army

The End of the Russian Imperial Army: The Old Army and the Soldiers' Revolt (March-April, 1917)

ALLAN K. WILDMAN
Copyright Date: 1980
Pages: 434
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zvwc8
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  • Book Info
    The End of the Russian Imperial Army
    Book Description:

    Allan Wildman presents the first detailed study of the Army's collapse under the strains of war and of the front soldiers' efforts to participate in the Revolution.

    Originally published in 1980.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4771-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. PREFACE
    (pp. xiii-xxii)
  5. ABBREVIATIONS OF SOURCE REFERENCES
    (pp. xxiii-2)
  6. CHAPTER I TRADITION, CASTE, AND MODERNIZATION
    (pp. 3-40)

    The Russian Army was the only institution of the old order to survive the debacle of the first days of March 1917. With the dynasty disappeared the old officialdom, the political and conventional police, the courts, the governors and the garrison commandants—all that had symbolized the autocracy to the popular mind. The Army and its command structure, though it too had suffered a grievous blow from which it was not to recover, had to be tolerated for the time being because of the war. The generals were a source of extreme anxiety to the revolutionary forces, who suspected restorationist...

  7. CHAPTER II THE LEGACY OF DEFEAT AND REVOLUTION
    (pp. 41-74)

    For Russia’s society and army alike, the consequences of flawed modernization were fully manifested in the tempestuous years 1904 and 1905. That the autocracy would take on the risk of a major war in such a remote arena at a time of sharply rising social tension in itself bespeaks a deficiency in its instinct for survival. The better heads in ruling circles, such as Witte and Kuropatkin, were well aware of the dangers, but they were overruled by the tsar’s personal policy, which was inspired by the irresponsible Bezobrazov clique.¹ Military planning with regard to troop positioning, strategic roads and...

  8. CHAPTER III THE GREAT ORDEAL
    (pp. 75-120)

    The Great War of 1914-1918 was in every respect a milestone in the history of our era. Utterly unexpected, it gave sudden and powerful release to long-accumulating passions in those layers of society affected by the cultural mobilization of the past half century. The naive and joyous enthusiasm with which millions of men were sent to lemminglike destruction is a phenomenon still difficult to fathom, not because its historical roots cannot be identified—open-ended economic expansion, the new nationalism, the diffusion of culture to the masses, the determination of states to enjoy the full attributes of empire—but because the...

  9. FIGURES
    (pp. None)
  10. CHAPTER IV THE GREAT MUTINY
    (pp. 121-158)

    Western and Soviet historiography present basically different conceptualizations of the overturn that brought an end to the Russian monarchy. Whereas Western works tend to portray it as a consequence of the inner decay of a senescent bureaucracy and court that could not cope with the extraordinary demands of war, Soviet works insist that it was an “armed uprising,” a “revolutionary assault” of the working class in classic Marxist terms. Yet Soviet historians fail to give any serious proof of the level of conscious preparation that they assume, just as their Western counterparts who characterize it as a “fall” or “collapse”...

  11. CHAPTER V THE FOUNDING OF SOLDIER POWER
    (pp. 159-201)

    Although it was only one of the important components of the February Revolution, the Great Mutiny of February 27 and 28 in Petrograd furnished the impetus that accomplished the total political revolution and precluded a settlement based on compromise with the autocracy. Suddenly the power of the autocracy counted for nothing, and an awesome new force was placed on the balance—a tumultuous, unbridled, but armed soldiery several hundred thousand strong. Their officers for the most part disappeared in the first few hours in the interest of their own safety, except for a small number who went with the current...

  12. CHAPTER VI THE REVOLUTION AT THE FRONT
    (pp. 202-245)

    For some time prior to the February Revolution the front soldiers had been feeding on rumors and vague expectations of developments that held out the promise of peace, so that initially, the news of the Petrograd strikes and demonstrations excited no more than the usual interest. They were quite unprepared for the magnitude of the Petrograd upheaval, and certainly not for the end of the dynasty. Although telegraph agencies were forbidden to convey information on the mounting crisis, returning soldiers relayed their versions—which in transmission assumed grotesque and contradictory shapes—within twenty-four hours or so on the Northern Front...

  13. CHAPTER VII GENESIS OF THE SOLDIERS’ COMMITTEES
    (pp. 246-290)

    Perhaps no other feature of the Revolution of 1917 is more imperfectly understood than the proliferation of soldiers’ committees at the front. They are rightly regarded as analogous to the soviets in form and intent, and are vaguely (and correctly) linked to the disintegration of command authority in the Army; but beyond that, even specialists have difficulty envisaging their day-to-day operation or the forces they reflected. There is little awareness of the ubiquity of committees at every level of command, of the diversity of their functions, or of the regulations from Stavka that fully legitimized them by the end of...

  14. FIGURES
    (pp. None)
  15. CHAPTER VIII CRISIS AND REALIGNMENT WITH THE SOVIETS
    (pp. 291-331)

    The previous chapter brought out that the army committees contained a potential to develop either into props to command authority or into counterauthorities on the model of the soviets. The command structure, of course, was banking heavily on the former alternative and had embarked on this hazardous course precisely to ward off the second. By the end of March the command structure appeared to have gained the upper hand. Although it had been compelled to concede a democratic representational structure, it seemed to have achieved a consensus with the elected leadership on a vigorous prosecution of the war, a full...

  16. CHAPTER IX THE MOUNTING DISORDER AND THE DESIRE FOR PEACE
    (pp. 332-372)

    Toward the end of March many officers, higher commanders, and even committeemen were reasonably hopeful that the turmoil of earlier weeks would gradually abate and that army life could resume its normal routine, albeit on somewhat altered foundations. The underlying problems causing unrest seemed to be nearing solution: the most offensive officers had been removed, the rest professed loyalty to the new regime or outwardly conformed, the orders of the Soviet had been clarified (superseded in effect by the authorized committee system and Order No. 114), the old system of discipline had been abolished, and, thanks to the Duma deputies...

  17. RECAPITULATION: THE INVERSION OF THE OLD ORDER
    (pp. 373-380)

    In considering the upheaval in the Army within the context of revolutionary events, one can justifiably conclude that the formation of the Coalition Government (May 5) signified the end of one major phase of the Revolution and the beginning of another. The first phase might be characterized as that of “dual power,” the “politicization of the masses,” or “the inversion of the old order.” The second is far more complex than a single formulation can describe, but it was to be distinguished by the cooptation of the Soviet leadership into the faltering state order, the schism between the apex of...

  18. REVIEW OF SOURCES
    (pp. 381-386)
  19. INDEX
    (pp. 387-402)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 403-403)