Images of War: The Russian Revolution, World War to Civil War 1917-1921, Nik Cornish

Images of War: The Russian Revolution, World War to Civil War 1917-1921, Nik Cornish

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Images of War: The Russian Revolution, World War to Civil War 1917-1921, Nik Cornish

Images of War: The Russian Revolution, World War to Civil War 1917-1921, Nik Cornish

This entry in the Images of War series looks at the two Russian Revolutions (the first overthrew the Tsar, the second saw the Bolsheviks overthrow the Provisional Government and ignore the results of a free election), then moves to look at the Civil War that followed (perhaps best seen as a series of semi-linked wars between the Reds, Greens, Whites, various sets of Nationalists and Blacks).

The author has avoiding including too many pictures of the Western intervention in Russia and instead the focus in on the various factions within the Russian Empire (as well as the powerful Czech Legion that played a major part in the conflict). Most of the factions are well represented, including the Germans who occupied large parts of western Russia for much of 1918. We start with pictures from the last days of Tsarist Russia, move on to the two revolutions and then concentrate on the costly but rather chaotic civil war. We end with the Kronstadt uprising of 1921, in which the sailors who had helped keep Lenin in power ruse against him when they realised how brutal the Bolshevik regime had become.

The chapter introductions build up to provide a useful brief history of the revolutions and the Civil War that followed. The pictures all have purpose-written captions, avoiding the danger of repeating material from the introductions. The text is very useful as the Russian Civil War was a complex affair, with a variety of competing and often hostile factions facing the Bolsheviks.

The pictures are varied and interesting, cover a wide range of topics, and are generally of a high quality. We see normal soldiers, military leaders, the varied equipment at their disposal and sometimes the civilians whose lives they so badly disrupted.

1 - Events in Petrograd are Far from Calm
2 - A Time of Confusion and Hope
3 - The Opposition Emerges
4 - Confusion be their Epitaph
5 - Black, Red, Green and White - the Rainbow at War
6 - Adrift in a Counter-revolutionary Sea
7 - Zeniths and Nadirs - Target Moscow
8 - Crimean Sunset
9 - Bolsheviks Triumphant

Author: Nik Cornish
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 144
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2012

Images of War: The Russian Revolution, World War to Civil War 1917-1921, Nik Cornish - History

Military Archive Research
by Dr. Stuart C Blank
Member of the Orders and Medals Research Society (OMRS)
Member of the Royal Air Force Historical Society (RAFHS)
Member of the Naval Historical Collectors and Research Association (NHCRA)
Member of the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS)
Member of the International Bank Note Society (IBNS)
Member of the International Bond and Share Society (IBSS)

Review of
Images of War - The Russian Revolution World War to Civil War 1917 - 1921
By Nik Cornish
ISBN 9781848843752
Published by Pen and Sword ( )
GBP £14.99


This book is another outstanding addition to the Images of War series. It is a photographic review of the events in Russia during this tumulus period – from its conflict with Germany to a soul destroying civil war. Many of the images are new to English language books and they represent a superb visual record of the key proceedings.

The period of history spans the disastrous Russian-German war, the dramas of the October Revolution, the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks and the multiple sided civil war between the Reds, Whites and the other “Rainbow” fractions (such as the Blacks and Greens).

This vivid photographic record gives coverage to each of these momentous events and the book illustrates the change from the Imperial Russia of the Romanovs to the Soviet dictatorship. There are numerous contemporary photos of the key players such as Tsar Nicholas II, Kerensky, Lenin and Trotsky, other leading Bolsheviks and White Commanders such as Denikin, Kolchak, Wrangal etc.

The effects on the ordinary people who were involved (often against their will) and caught-up in these heart breaking situations are also recorded. They were often affected in numerous ways which were unforgettable. Peasants were robbed of their crops as numerous armed bands stole their valuable foodstuffs off them, civilian crowds were forcibly “contained” and common soldiers from all sides lived off the land.

There are many images of “ordinary” soldiers and civilians from across the entire geographic range of Russia. There are the faces of common soldiers fighting on multiple fronts from all sides of the conflict and theatres– such as Russia, Poland, the Baltic, the White Sea, the Black Sea and Siberia.

If you are interested in this exciting period of Russian history then this book is an essential addition to your library. It is an excellent photographic record of the period and all the key events and the leading personalities are presented. The text is easy to read and relaxing. I found it exceptionally interesting and I did not wish to put it down until I had finished it. It comes high recommended and I am sure you will appreciate the author’s marvellous work.

Images of War: The Russian Revolution, World War to Civil War 1917-1921, Nik Cornish - History

Often the drama of the October Revolution and the Bolshevik seizure of power overshadow the disastrous Russian-German war that preceded it and the extended, confusing, many-sided civil war between the Reds and the Whites that followed. But Nik Cornish's vivid photographic history gives equal coverage to each of these momentous events and shows how the Russian empire of the Romanovs was transformed into the Soviet dictatorship.

Contemporary photographs show the leading characters in the drama Tsar Nicholas II, Kerensky, Lenin and Trotsky and other Bosheviks, and the White commanders Denikin, Kolchak, Wrangel and the rest. But they also record, in an unforgettable way, the ordinary people who were caught up in the surge of events, civilian crowds on the city streets, peasant groups in the villages, the faces of common soldiers on all sides who fought on multiple fronts across Russia from Poland, the Baltic states and the White Sea to the Black Sea and Siberia.

The scale of the conflict was remarkable, as was the intensity of the experience of those who took part and witnessed it, and this collection of historic photographs gives a poignant insight into the conditions of their time. It is a fascinating introduction to a period that saw a sea change in Russian history.

The Russian Revolution: World War to Civil War 1917-1921 by Nik Cornish (Paperback, 2012)

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Images of War: The Russian Revolution, World War to Civil War 1917-1921, Nik Cornish - History

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Often the drama of the October Revolution and the Bolshevik seizure of power overshadow the disastrous Russian-German war that preceded it and the extended, confusing, many-sided civil war between the Reds and the Whites that followed. But Nik Cornish&rsquos vivid photographic history gives equal coverage to each of these momentous events and shows how the Russian empire of the Romanovs was transformed into the Soviet dictatorship.

Contemporary photographs show the leading characters in the drama &ndash Tsar Nicholas II, Kerensky, Lenin and Trotsky and other Bosheviks, and the White commanders Denikin, Kolchak, Wrangel and the rest. But they also record, in an unforgettable way, the ordinary people who were caught up in the surge of events &ndash civilian crowds on the city streets, peasant groups in the villages, the faces of common soldiers on all sides who fought on multiple fronts across Russia from Poland, the Baltic states and the White Sea to the Black Sea and Siberia.

The scale of the conflict was remarkable, as was the intensity of the experience of those who took part and witnessed it, and this collection of historic photographs gives a poignant insight into the conditions of their time. It is a fascinating introduction to a period that saw a seachange in Russian history.

An introduction to a crucial era in Russian history: Photos give glimpses of the uniforms, weapons, and various settings to inform modeling pursuits in this timeframe.

FineScale Modeler, September 22, 2016

Now, I share Nik Cornish’s passionate interest in this period of history (though I would never claim his depth of knowledge, the man is superb on all aspects of the subject), and their simply aren’t enough books on this period.
To sum up, I can give no great compliment to Mr Cornish than to say in all sincerity that if I had to recommend only one book on this incredible period on history, it would be his.

Destructive – Steve Earles

Taking it as a modeller I was interested to read a relatively concise account of the conflict, starting before WW1 had ended for much of Europe and therefore distracts us from the story.
For those interested in uniforms then this has lots of interesting references, and for some units demonstrating that there was nothing ‘uniform’ between troops in the same unit, indicating the diverse nature of these fighters who came together.
So an interesting and useful account of the events that we round up under the title of the Russian Revolution but illustrated with some fascinating photo content to support and add life and body to the story, and maybe something of a hint of what was to come in WW2.
All in all another good value for money photo reference in the Images of War series.

Military Modelling

This book is one of a series produced by pen and Sword using photographs many which are very rare and not seen before, all of which show the reality of varied conflicts in graphic images. Consisting of a total of 144 pages, each chapter is full of photographs and there are wonderfully supplemented by a very readable and informative text. If this is your period of interest then this should be on your bookshelves, a great book full of very thought provoking images and very inspirational. Highly recommended.

Military Modelcraft International

excellent introduction to an extraordinary story full of extraordinary characters

Bulletin- Military Historical Society

This is a wonderful book. The photographs are all stunning, offering masses of scope to re-enactors or model makers. The text is concise and easy to follow, but concentration making sense of the myriad of armed factions, front and going on.
You might use this book as a stepping stone to more advanced understanding of the beginners of the USSR or you might just enjoy looking at great photographs of such a range of people, events and nationalities. Whatever your reason, this book is on the button and well worth the money.

War History Online

Nik Cornish is a former head teacher whose passionate interest in the world wars on the Eastern Front and in Russia’s military history in particular has led to a series of important books on the subject including Images of Kursk, Stalingrad: Victory on the Volga, Berlin: Victory in Europe, Partisan Warfare on the Eastern Front 1941-1944 and The Russian Revolution: World War to Civil War 1917-1921.

Individual aspects

Enthusiasm for war and anti-war demonstrations

At the beginning of the war, people showed a broad spectrum of very different reactions, ranging from protest and refusal to helplessness and shock to patriotic exuberance and hysteria. There was no general enthusiasm for the war, nor were the proletarian and peasant classes united and consistently opposed to the war. Large sections of the bourgeois academic classes in particular welcomed the coming war event. The conservative bourgeoisie reacted to the ultimatum and Austria-Hungary's declaration of war on Serbia with patriotic parades, for example in Berlin-Mitte on July 25, 1914 with around 30,000 participants. In smaller towns and especially in rural regions, however, the mood was downright dejected, thoughtful and pessimistic. The coming war produced similarly restrained and depressed reactions among the workers in the industrial centers. In none of the countries affected by the outbreak of war has there been an “intoxicating” enthusiasm for war that touched all sections of the population.

On the other hand, in Germany, as in Great Britain and France, anti-war demonstrations took place at the end of July, for example in Germany alone (according to the SPD) 288 meetings and marches in around 160 cities, for example in Berlin-Mitte on July 28, 1914 with more than 100,000 people and this despite a ban by the magistrate. The turning point to the truce was the news of the Russian partial mobilization on July 28, 1914. Similar to the labor movement in other countries, the Social Democrats joined the political united front, although only a few days earlier they had opposed the “warmongering” of their own government . On August 1, 1914, between 40,000 and 50,000 people gathered in front of the Berlin City Palace for the second balcony speech by Wilhelm II , who announced that he knew “no more parties and no more denominations”. Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg also knew how to portray Russia as an alleged aggressor. SPD party executive Hugo Haase , who had organized numerous anti-war rallies and fought within the party against the acceptance of war credits until August 3, 1914, declared for the SPD the next day: “In the hour of danger, we will not let our own fatherland down ”. In all the countries involved in the war, there was broad political solidarity at the start of the war, and there was a concerned, serious and determined acceptance of the war.

War target policy

Germany’s military war goal, which was initially in the foreground and contributed significantly to the outbreak of war, was - in accordance with the council of war of December 8, 1912 - to wage the war against the Entente, which was considered to be inevitable, at a favorable point in time had been considered favorable. According to the German military leadership, the European balance of power developed increasingly unfavorable for Germany. Triggered by the army's rapid successes in the Western campaign, annexations in East and West were added as political goals to secure a hegemonic position for the German Empire on mainland Europe, which was reflected in the 1914 “ September Program ” , among other things . The demands for annexation, which could not be reconciled with the general military situation during the war, were a major obstacle to peace negotiations.

Austria-Hungary claimed to be fighting for its interests in the Balkans and for its very existence. Contrary to the nationalistic tendencies of the time, Austria-Hungary stuck to the universal idea of ​​empire and thus to the multi-ethnic state. The official war goal of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy was to maintain its existence and strengthen its position as a great power. At the same time, Austria-Hungary sought the integration of Serbia, Montenegro and Romania or, instead of the latter, Russian Poland.

The primary war goal of France was the recovery of Alsace-Lorraine . In the autumn of 1915, further French war aims emerged: the pushing back of Germany to the Rhine through the annexation or neutralization of the Rhineland up to the dissolution of imperial unity or at least its weakening in the federal sense as well as an economic and military annexation of Belgium and Luxembourg to France. According to the Briand government's war target program of November 1916, France should at least get the border of 1790 and thus Alsace-Lorraine with the Saarland. The establishment of two neutral, independent buffer states under French protection was preferred to the permanent occupation of the Rhineland. Contrary to the ideas of the General Staff, Belgium should be left independent.

Russia saw itself as the natural protective power of Pan-Slavist endeavors in the Balkans. After the Ottoman war, the Russian side hoped to gain Constantinople and the straits between the Aegean and the Black Sea (→ Agreement on Constantinople and the Straits ). The Russian war goals included the old goal of the straits as well as Galicia and East Prussia, which protruded into Russian territory . In his 13-point program of September 14, 1914, Russian Foreign Minister Sasonov primarily provided for territorial cedings of Germany, allegedly on the basis of the nationality principle. Russia would annex the lower reaches of the Nyemen ( Memelland ) and the eastern part of Galicia as well as annex the east of the province of Posen , (Upper) Silesia and western Galicia to Russian Poland .

At the beginning of the war, Great Britain demanded the restoration of the independence of the smaller European nations that had been destroyed by the attack by the Central Powers, especially those of Belgium, whose invasion was the official reason for entering the war. The formula of smashing Prussian militarism emerged as the goal of liberating Belgium . On March 20, 1917, Lloyd George described the elimination of reactionary military governments and the establishment of democratically legitimized governments as war goals that should contribute to the creation of international peace. Increasingly, their own expansion wishes came to light in the form of demands for self-determination for the German colonies and the already occupied Arab parts of Turkey under British rule . The fall of Russia from the war coalition and - to a lesser extent - the annexation wishes of France endangered the British concept of the balance of power even in the event of the Allied victory. In the east, a cordon sanitaire of states dependent on France and Great Britain should now be created in order to create a new counterweight to Germany. At the inter-allied economic conference in Paris from June 14 to 17, 1917, negotiations were held, not least on the initiative of the British, on a post-war economic order with which the German position in world trade was to be permanently suppressed. Great Britain was also particularly interested in the destruction of the Ottoman Empire and the division of the Arab territories. The Sykes-Picot Agreement of May 16, 1916 regulated the interests of Great Britain and France in the Middle East . Great Britain received southern Mesopotamia while Palestine was to be internationalized. Great Britain insisted on the surrender of the bulk of the German fleet.

Italy's war aims were primarily the annexation of Italian-populated areas under Austro-Hungarian rule (→ irredentism ). After the Russian Empire agreed to the Italian wish to annex Slavic populated areas and thereby establish the Adriatic as mare nostro (“our sea”), the secret treaty of London came into being on April 26, 1915.

The American war goals were formulated in the 14-point program of January 8, 1918. It contained the complete restoration of Belgian independence, the return of Alsace-Lorraine, the establishment of Italian borders along the nationality borders and the continued existence of Austria-Hungary, whose nations should be allowed to develop freely. Turkey was granted independence, but without the inclusion of other nationalities, the straits were to be kept open by international guarantees. The establishment of an independent Polish state was called for. In October 1918 the Americans added and expanded Wilson's 14 points: Italy was granted South Tyrol and a protectorate over Albania for strategic reasons, the liberation of all Slavic peoples under German and Austro-Hungarian rule was demanded and the division of the Middle East between Great Britain and France was demanded accepted.

War economy

Central problems of the war economy were the regulation of the relationship between the state and the economy, the maintenance of industrial peace, the restructuring for arms production, the security of consumption and the financing of the war. The economic potential of the Central Powers and the Entente were already unequal at the beginning of the war the former only had 46 percent of the population and 61 percent of the Entente's national product.

At the beginning of the war, those provisions that were intended for military mobilization and for a short war came into force. For example, exports of war-essential products were banned, food imports were made easier and maximum prices were set for some goods. The gold standard as the basis of most pre-war currencies was suspended in the warring countries. These measures were often not sufficient. The munitions crisis of 1914/15 initiated the transition to a war economy. The origins of the " total war " propagated by Ludendorff in 1935 and later by the National Socialists can be found in the war economy of the First World War.

The transition was opposed by war-related restrictions: France had lost a large part of its industrial potential as a result of the German occupation in the north, Russia was underdeveloped industrially and largely cut off from supplies by the Allies due to the sea blockade of the Dardanelles and the Baltic Sea, and German foreign trade was in turn due to the English naval blockade severely restricted. Great Britain's foreign trade could only be seriously threatened by the submarine war in the first half of 1917. The US did not have to mobilize the economy to the same extent as the warring states in Europe. The state gained considerable influence on the economies since 1916/17, the government spending ratios increased considerably, in Germany from 17 to 70 percent, in Great Britain from 13 to 48 percent and in the USA from 1.4 to 22 percent.

Aside from the arms sector, industrial production declined in many warring states. Industrial production in the German Reich fell by almost half. The decline was weaker in Great Britain, while there were hardly any restrictions in the USA. Agricultural yields also fell in most of the warring states, again with the exception of Great Britain and the United States. A bottleneck in the course of the conversion to the war economy was the supply of raw materials, on the one hand due to the sea blockades (the Central Powers and Russia were affected) and in France due to the separation of the northern departments. Another bottleneck, especially in the Central Powers and in France, resulted from the fierce competition between the army, which required more and more soldiers, and industry, which required qualified personnel.

To maintain industrial peace, cooperation and discipline were applied in different proportions: In Austria-Hungary, workers in armaments factories were tied to their jobs and were subject to military control and jurisdiction. In Germany there was no militarization of employment relationships with the auxiliary service law of December 5, 1916, however, compulsory service was introduced, while corporatist regulations ensured the consent of the trade unions. In France, postponed workers were placed under the supervision of the military by the Loi Dalbiez (named after the politician Victor Dalbiez ) of August 15, 1915. In Great Britain, the Treasury Agreement with the trade unions and the Munitions of War Act 1915 restricted the right to strike and the free movement of arms workers . There were no comparable restrictions in the USA, but the Selective Service Act of May 18, 1917 (to build up the army) could be used to direct workers into the arms industry.

In spite of the drafts, the number of employees in the war economy hardly rose or fell, and through the expansion of mass production and assembly line production, it was able to expand its production considerably. In Germany, the number of people employed in the armaments industry rose by 44 percent, while those in civilian production fell by 40 percent. Prisoners of war, conscripts and foreign workers (mostly from the colonies) were used to varying degrees. At the same time, women and young people moved up. In Great Britain the number of working women rose by 23 percent, in Germany by 17 percent.

Private consumption - important for morale on the home front - was indeed subordinate to the war economy in all states, the success of distributing the available goods fairly fairly, or at least giving the impression of doing so, was achieved with varying degrees of success. The USA hardly had to accept any restrictions, in Great Britain the supply was comparatively good. But even there, spending on private consumption fell by around 20 percent between 1913 and 1918. In France, in cooperation with the Allies, food could be guaranteed relatively well. The Central Powers, on the other hand, encountered considerable problems - and not only because of the sea blockade - which arose, among other things, from the forced state economy that began in 1914. The supply problems and especially the injustice in the distribution of food undermined the authority of the state and led to unrest. The same was true for Russia. The supply policy in favor of urban consumers and industrial workers fizzled out because of its discontinuity and lack of coercive means. The tsarist empire disintegrated into supply regions excluding the cities, as the farmers marketed less and less.

Public expenditures to finance war rose dramatically. In Great Britain the last war budget was 562 percent above the first, in Germany it was 505, in France 448 and in Russia (until 1916) 315 percent. The war cost around $ 209 billion (adjusted for inflation in 1913 prices: $ 82 billion). In terms of the amount of money expended, it was “cheaper” to lose the war than to win it: the Allies raised $ 147 billion for the conduct of the war, the Central Powers $ 62 billion.

The war was financed in all states by taxes, loans or money creation. The public sector raised money for government spending from the central banks in exchange for short-term debt . After the money had flowed to the economy and households, it was partly siphoned off again through taxes or loans. Since tax increases were only used to a limited extent to finance war for various reasons (truce, poorly efficient tax systems) (France 15 percent, Germany 17 percent, Great Britain 26 percent), all warring states relied primarily on loans ( war bonds ) granted by the enemy after the War should pay in reparations. The Allies continued to borrow heavily abroad, primarily in the USA. In total, inter-allied debts totaled $ 16.4 billion.

After the war, Germany faced a mountain of debt totaling 156 billion marks (1914: 5.4 billion), Great Britain before 5.8 billion pounds (1914: 0.6 billion). The French national debt increased by 130 billion francs and the American by 24 billion dollars. The money supply had grown by 111 percent in Great Britain and by 285 percent in Germany, which laid the foundation for German inflation until 1923 .

Trench warfare

Trench warfare and grave war are almost as a "symbol" and determining forms of the First World War: a war along permanent fortified front lines, "millions of soldiers, many years mired in the mud in a senseless battle, only to achieve tiny under ungeheurlichen losses territorial gains, a years Bloodletting for the population and the resources of the warring nations. ”This trench warfare mainly characterized the situation on the approximately 700-kilometer-long western front between November 1914 and March 1918, but at times also the situation on the eastern front and the Italian front . Until 1914, all great powers had included a war of movement in their war plans. After the failure of the Schlieffen Plan and the mutual outflanking in the race to the sea , the armies dug themselves in. The reasons for the freezing of the fronts were the level of military development, which favored the defender, as well as the initial loss of control in the operational leadership of the mass armies and the relative balance of forces.

In January 1915, the German Supreme Army Command ordered that the front positions on the western front had to be expanded so that they could be held against numerically superior forces. The experience of combat led initially to the relocation of the line - as far as possible - to a rear slope and the introduction of a second line, from around the end of 1916 the warring parties had introduced three trench lines in many areas, from the simple trench line increasingly a deeply staggered position system and an elastic one developed Zone defense. Successful attacks required local superiority and careful preparation. At first they tried to destroy the enemy position system with several days of treacherous artillery preparation, attacks increasingly turned into material battles with previously unknown ammunition consumption. Other attempts to soften the frozen fronts were the use of poison gas ( gas warfare ), blowing up mines ( mine warfare ), and the introduction of tanks , grenade launchers and submachine guns ("trench sweeps"). The hand grenade experienced a renaissance, while the bayonet almost lost its importance as a conventional melee weapon: in the narrow trenches (sometimes sharpened) feldspades were used as edged weapons . The German army reacted with tactical changes, especially in the spring offensive of 1918, shock troops pushed through the lines regardless of any remaining resistance and tried to destroy the infrastructure at the rear with this "infiltration tactic". On the other hand, in this positional warfare there was what is known as “ live and let live ”, an unpredictable occurrence of non-aggressive behavior between warring troops, which in some areas of the front was maintained over a longer period of time.

The everyday life of the soldiers in the trenches was characterized by alternating phases of long periods of inactivity and an acute struggle for survival. The results were on the one hand art forms such as "Trench Art" (" trenching "), on the other hand severe war neuroses (for example in the case of buried victims) and war trauma (such as " war tremors ") or previously little known fear reactions such as so-called "sleepy sleep" (falling asleep suddenly in the trench , especially from attacks).

Gas war

On April 22, 1915, up to 5,000 people fell victim to a German use of chlorine gas on the Ypres bend (today's estimates: 1,200 dead and 3,000 wounded). This date is seen today as the birth of modern weapons of mass destruction and the actual beginning of the gas war, with which the image of the soldier and the idea of ​​war as "knightly combat" was changed and called into question much more radically than with the introduction of other weapons. The military leadership was completely surprised by the resounding success of the first use in the blowing process developed by Fritz Haber and was unable to exploit it due to a lack of reserves, and the attackers were also affected by the gas. The Allies assessed the massive use of deadly gases as a clear violation of the Hague Land Warfare Regulations and as further evidence of the “barbaric” German warfare. The use of chemical weapons was no longer a novelty, but previously only irritants had been used in this war , which were also ineffective. The failure of offensive warfare, the grueling trench warfare and the ammunition crisis due to a lack of saltpetre as well as the superior but underutilized German chemical industry led to the decision in favor of this weapon. In the German officer corps , doubts arose, but ultimately accepted the mission as an allegedly necessary evil. On May 31, 1915, phosgene (" green cross ") was added for the first time during a German attack on the eastern front near Bolimów . Most of the gas deaths of the First World War can be traced back to the effects and, above all, the long-term consequences of this warfare agent, which is used in increasing concentrations. On September 25, 1915, the British opened the first large-scale gas attack at the beginning of the Battle of Loos , which also made it possible to break into the German authorities.

The first gas masks were introduced in autumn 1915 . Increasingly, the warring parties fired the gas with grenades in order to be less dependent on the wind direction. On July 10, 1917 at Nieuwpoort the first use of "mask breakers" (" blue cross "), which penetrated the filters of the gas masks. At the same time or shortly thereafter, a lung-damaging, mostly fatal weapon (for example "green cross") was usually fired, as the urge to cough often caused the soldiers to take off their masks (" colorful shooting "). Two days after the first use of the “blue cross”, a completely new warfare agent followed near Ypres , the contact poison mustard gas (“ yellow cross ”), also called “hun stuff” by the British . Mustard gas leads to severe injuries (similar to chemical burns ) to the skin, eyes and bronchial tubes and, if exposed to high levels, death. When using mustard gas, it was definitely taken into account that seriously injured people requiring intensive care put more strain on the other side than dead people.

In total, around 112,000 tons of poison gas were used in the First World War, 52,000 tons of which from Germany. The exact number of those who were poisoned or killed by war gas during World War I is difficult to determine, especially since the majority of soldiers died of the long-term effects only after the war: estimates assume around 500,000 injured and 20,000 dead for the Western Front, including the number of fatalities probably needs to be set even higher. No reliable figures are available for the Eastern Front .

Aerial warfare

Play media file

The less robust aircraft at the beginning of the war were mainly used for aerial reconnaissance . In doing so, they fulfilled an important task that many generals initially underestimated.

When the British arrived in France, they only brought 48 reconnaissance planes with them. They observed the front and reported the enemy movements to the high command. It was mainly thanks to them that General Joffre initiated the offensive on the Marne. The German army had intended on its advance to bypass Paris to the west. When it unexpectedly turned to the southeast, leaving a large gap between the individual armies, this was first noticed by the aviators of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC). They passed the observation on to the French chain of command, which was then able to initiate the counterattack on the Marne.

Aerial reconnaissance and aerial photography gained in importance, which is why the first methods of combating them were developed. When trench warfare began, the airmen were used to coordinate artillery. The introduction of telegraphic extinguishing spark transmitters since 1915 was synonymous with the actual beginning of aviation radio .

The French aviation pioneer Roland Garros was the first to develop a real fighter plane . In 1915 he mounted a machine gun on the tip of his aircraft. To protect the propeller blades from damage, he reinforced them with steel plates . In the spring of 1915 he hunted German, mostly unarmed aircraft with his new weapon over Flanders for 18 days until he was shot down on one of his missions.

A little later, the Dutchman Anton Herman Gerard Fokker installed an interrupter gearbox in his Fokker E.III . Due to the synchronization, the MG always put out its fire if it had hit the propeller. The first successful pilots of these machines were Max Immelmann and Oswald Boelcke , who established the reputation of the Fokker Scourge . Until the beginning of 1916, the Germans dominated the sky over the western front.

Bombing attacks intensified as the war progressed. The first bombs dropped by German zeppelin on August 6th over Liège, more on August 24th, 1914 over Antwerp.

In December 1914, German airships attacked the British island for the first time. Heavy attacks were carried out on London until 1917 , after which some industries had to shut down. After that, the airships, which offered too large an attack surface and were too immobile, were increasingly replaced by large aircraft . By 1918, German bombs dropped by zeppelins had killed 1,400 British civilians and wounded nearly 5,000. The Royal Flying Corps, in turn, concentrated their attacks on the industry in West Germany and the zeppelin works on Lake Constance . World War I was the first war in which bombers were used. These were particularly large and sturdy biplanes that could drop aerial bombs , some weighing more than half a ton.

In the course of the militarization of aviation, the seas were upgraded. Until then, seaplanes and naval aviators that had only been used for reconnaissance and landed on the water were armed and used against ports, coastal fortifications and military units in the air and at sea. The First World War was also the first war in which early aircraft carriers were used. For this purpose, the Americans and British converted several of their warships. These early models were only suitable for use by seaplanes, which took off from the deck, landed near the aircraft carrier and were then transported back on board with a crane. The accelerated development of aircraft carriers against the background of the First World War was to prove decisive in the fighting in the Pacific during the Second World War .

From 1916 the Germans lost their air superiority again. The Allies had reorganized themselves and flew very successful attacks with some robust aircraft (for example Nieuport 11). The Germans responded. Oswald Boelcke trained some of the best aviators and imparted his combat knowledge to them, which he wrote down in the Dicta Boelcke . The German fighter squadrons (Jasta for short), especially the Jasta 11 , inflicted heavy losses on the Allies. After Boelcke's death in early 1917, Jasta 11 was managed by Manfred von Richthofen . He arranged with its pilots for the bloody April , in which the Allies lost 443 airmen. Richthofen himself shot down 20 planes during this time, his brother Lothar had 15 kills. Another pilot, Kurt Wolff , scored 22 aerial victories that April.

When the Americans arrived in 1918, the tide turned. The Americans were inexperienced, but the Germans could not compensate for their numerical superiority in aircraft. From the summer of 1918, the imperial pilots had to try their luck with fall attacks, otherwise they would have no chance against the Allied squadrons. The Allies then let several squadrons fly over each other, which continued to harass the Germans.

On April 21, 1918 Manfred von Richthofen was shot down by an Australian machine gunner while he was being pursued by Arthur Roy Brown . With 80 confirmed aerial victories, he was the most successful fighter pilot of the First World War. The loss of their idol and increasing supply difficulties hit the German hunting squadrons. The air forces could not contribute much to the outcome of the war. The war was decided on the ground.

Numerous fallen German aviators, including Richthofen, were buried in the Invalidenfriedhof in Berlin .

Naval warfare

Before 1914, the war at sea was considered to have played a major, if not decisive, role. In fact, with the Battle of the Skagerrak the “greatest naval battle in world history” did occur, but not the decisive battle that was widely expected. The share of the naval war in the outcome of the First World War as a whole was not decisive and was more important in its indirect effect.

In all theaters of war there was a clear superiority of one side: Great Britain over Germany in the North Sea, Germany over Russia in the Baltic Sea (in fact), France and Italy over Austria-Hungary in the Mediterranean Sea (except the Adriatic Sea) and Russia (since late 1915) over the Turkey in the Black Sea, although Turkey still managed to block the Black Straits. The seas were predominantly a place of movement for the war fleets, merchant ships and troop transports of the Entente, but not for those of the Central Powers.

The blockade of the North Sea by the Royal Navy in the form of the Northern Patrol around Scotland and the Dover Patrol in the English Channel contributed significantly, according to Anglo-American naval historians , to the exhaustion of the Central Powers the blockades of the Baltic Sea and the Dardanelles played a major role in the defeat of the Russians Army . Actions by the German Mediterranean Division prompted the Ottoman Empire to enter the war on the side of the Central Powers. The cruiser war - the means per se of numerically inferior naval forces - had only an insignificant part in the war due to the lack of preparation on the part of the German admiralty and the lack of bases. Unexpectedly, the submarine war turned out to be the most important part of sea warfare. Since the submarine was underestimated as a weapon on all sides, the naval forces were generally poorly prepared for the submarine war. Nevertheless, German submarines brought the Entente into serious trouble, especially in the first half of 1917. The submarine war indirectly led to the entry of the United States into the war and thus ultimately to the defeat of the Central Powers.

The order for the decisive battle at sea was only given when the Supreme Army Command had declared the war was lost, and led to the Kiel sailors' uprising , which in turn triggered the November Revolution.


Propaganda campaigned mainly for the motivation for military service and for the support of the war participation in the own population or with hoped-for allies, for which xenophobic prejudices and patriotic symbols were used. For the first time in history, the warring states established their own authorities for this purpose.

In the German Reich, the Central Office for Foreign Service was set up for propaganda purposes on October 5, 1914, followed by the Military Office of the Foreign Office (MAA) on July 1, 1916 and finally the Image and Film Office (BUFA) on January 30, 1917. In The Austro-Hungarian War Press Quarters (KPQ), created on July 28, 1914, was responsible for Austria-Hungary . On the side of the Allies, the Maison de la Presse was founded in France in February 1916, in Great Britain the War Propaganda Bureau existed for the same purpose , in the USA the Committee on Public Information .

In the German-speaking part of Austria-Hungary, the propaganda showed, among other things, war-glorifying drawings in poster size with the illustrated statement “Every kick a Britt, every push a French, every shot a Russ” and “Serbia must die”. The motif of " Lord Kitchener Wants You " was copied many times during the war.

After reports of the fire at the University Library in Leuven at the end of August 1914, prominent British scholars declared that the German army had set the fire on purpose. German prominent scholars responded with counter-declarations, including the Manifesto of 93 and the declaration of the university professors of the German Reich who tried to justify the world war as a cultural war and a war of defense, which in turn resulted in a British response to the German professors . The " Huns " speech , with which Wilhelm II had called on German troops sent to China to suppress the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 , to a ruthless campaign of revenge, subsequently earned the Germans in Anglo-American countries the name "huns". Other propaganda campaigns included the alleged crucifixion of nuns at church gates in Belgium or the alleged chopping off of children's hands by German troops in Belgium, which was reflected in the Bryce Report , among other things .

The attitude of the British press has been well studied: in the last two years before the war it had adopted an increasingly positive attitude towards Germany. The newspapers represented inter alia. the opinion that the German armament at sea was a nuisance, but posed no real danger to the Royal Navy. During the July crisis , the Russian tsar was initially primarily blamed for the escalation. This changed with the German ultimatum to Russia and above all with the invasion of Belgium and Luxembourg. As the war continued, Germany was not only discredited as an enemy and branded as the sole bearer of war guilt, but also stylized as the enemy of all humanity. It was only at the beginning of the war that a distinction was made between government and population. This excessive atrocity propaganda was one reason why no mutual or negotiated peace could be reached, and after the war it made reconciliation more difficult on all sides. The National Socialists were later able to cover up their crimes more easily with reference to this propaganda ( Völkischer Beobachter of September 4, 1939: " Atrocity reports as before ").

The atrocity propaganda of the Central Powers was already less pronounced because hardly any German territory was occupied and therefore comparatively few German civilians were exposed to direct effects of the war. First and foremost, the Russian side (army and people) were denigrated. The Allies' use of colored colonial troops on European battlefields was alternately denounced as a cultural breach or as immoral. The propaganda departments of the Central Powers tended to demean their opponents, to make them look ridiculous and to emphasize their own strengths. For this purpose, numerous pictures were published and distributed as postcards showing fallen Allied soldiers and corresponding mass graves .

In Germany after the war, the enemy - especially British - propaganda was considered to be much more effective than their own, and not a few attributed the German defeat to the war with enemy propaganda. While in exile in the Netherlands, Wilhelm II wrote of the English publisher Northcliffe , whose newspapers were at the forefront of anti-German propaganda: "If we had had a Northcliffe, we could have won the war." In retrospect, Erich Ludendorff also expressed his appreciation. In Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler went into great detail about the war propaganda and summed it up with serious consequences: "I also learned infinitely from this hostile war propaganda."

Weapon technology development

The First World War revolutionized weapons technology in numerous aspects. In infantry equipment, the First World War brought the final breakthrough to camouflage clothing and steel helmets . The rifles of the infantry were roughly equivalent, only the British Lee-Enfield was superior to those of the other combatants due to the rapid rate of fire and caused high German losses, especially in Flanders. The trench warfare brought a renaissance of the hand grenade , only the Central Powers had sufficient quantities at the beginning of the war, the British had retired them in 1870. The machine gun was developed from models that were difficult to transport (e.g. the German MG 08 weighing 30 to 40 kg) to lighter models (e.g. the later proverbial MG 08/15 weighing 14 kg). The first "real" submachine gun MP 18 was also tellingly called "Trench Sweep" and was mainly used to support new infantry tactics ( storm troops ).

Machine guns and later tanks made the traditional use of cavalry an anachronism, the era of the well-known "battle cavalry " had inevitably come to an end as early as 1914, the cavalry lost its status as the main weapon in World War I and was mainly used for armed reconnaissance and terrain security. In the extensive areas of the Eastern Front, both sides made extensive use of their cavalry troops, especially in the war of movement of 1914/15, the British made extensive use of their cavalry troops towards the end of the war in Palestine. In the later years of the war, all belligerent powers greatly reduced their cavalry troops.

From the first moderately successful tank Mark I , the Allies developed the effective attack weapon Mark IV and the "ancestor" of today's tank types, the Renault FT . By the end of the war, Germany developed insufficient means of defense, such as the so-called M1918 tank rifle . The only mass-produced German tank A7V could not be produced in sufficient numbers: only 20 A7Vs faced 1220 Mark IV and 2700 Renault FT as well as about 2,000 other Allied armored vehicles, which exemplifies the material superiority of the Allies in the last year of the war.

The limits of the artillery led to an increase in the importance of bombers in the course of the First World War . For example, at the beginning of the war against fixed targets, “ Big Bertha ”, which was sometimes effective, was system-related weaknesses (immobility, high shot wear, moderate accuracy). The technically complex Paris gun had no military value because of its very poor accuracy and is considered a pure "terror weapon" against civilian targets. The light and manoeuvrable French " Canon 75 " revolutionized artillery even before the war and showed its capabilities against the German attack, especially in the early stages of the war, but proved to be too small-caliber for the requirements of trench warfare. The ratio of light to heavy batteries in the warring parties shifted in the context of trench warfare from 11: 2 at the beginning of the war to 9: 7 at the end of the war.

The first series-produced fighter planes (e.g. the Fokker EI ), which aimed at the enemy with rigidly built-in machine guns and the entire plane, emerged from makeshift arrangements. Early long-range bombers such as the German large and giant aircraft or the British Handley Page Type O , which increasingly replaced war zeppelins, also developed from makeshift arrangements. The First World War can also be equated with the actual beginning of aviation radio , which raised the possibilities of aerial reconnaissance to a completely new level.

The submarine - at best regarded as an auxiliary weapon before the war - became the central offensive weapon in naval warfare . The superior radio reconnaissance (" Room 40 ") of the British made it difficult for the deep-sea fleet to operate until relevant missions in the North Sea came to a complete standstill. The British rarely used their superior Grand Fleet offensively, mainly because of the threat posed by submarines, so that the decline in importance of capital ships began with the First World War .

Apart from the mobilization of all reserves within the framework of the war economy , the industrialized war was shown by the fact that primarily ranged weapons dominated the war: artillery caused around 75 percent of all injuries in war, infantry weapons around 16, hand grenades 1 to 2 and poison gas just under 1.7 percent. The traditional, "bare" weapons (saber, dagger, side gun) inflicted only 0.1 percent of the wounds in the entire war. Less fits into the picture of the industrialized and thus “modern” war, however, that almost a tenth of the German, one sixth of the Austro-Hungarian and one fifth of the French dead fell victim to illness.

Military judgment

The equally unexpected and all-round world war disaster of warfare had its main cause in the unequal development of technology and military tactics. In the last 30 years before the war, new inventions in weapons technology piled up: low-smoke powder , small-caliber multi-loading rifles, rapid-fire guns , machine guns, aircraft and much more condensed into a "critical mass", the behavior and consequences of which could be reduced without the "big experiment" that broke out in the summer of 1914 could not be easily assessed.

Both the German as well as the French army command tried to ignore and devalue the increasing weighting of technology in their profession, on the other hand to put the will and the idea of ​​attack in the foreground. The emphasis on fighting morale (" offensive à outrance ") offered itself to relativize the problems caused by the mechanization of armaments. Accordingly, lessons from the siege of Port Arthur (1904/05) were only drawn unilaterally , although the new military-technical situation of the industrialized war was already clearly emerging here.

What was special about the military doctrines in France and Germany was not the focus on the offensive, but rather its unique exaggeration - tactical reason was practically lost in the process. Last but not least, the ideological character of social Darwinism played a role. Social Darwinism offered the trade of war a new, quasi-scientific legitimation: a consciousness of modernization was combined with an emphasis on the vital element of warfare and thus led on a path that, in view of an unprecedented development in weapons technology, led to tremendous bloodbaths. Nowhere were the military leaders willing to acknowledge that the unequal level of development of firepower and movement made offensive warfare of movement impossible. Victory could only be fought with victims who, even by the standards of the time, were disproportionate to the profit.

Front experience

The First World War with its material battles brought about a change in the self-perception and in the external perception of soldiers. Before the First World War, the general idea of ​​war was still characterized by open field battles, in which the soldier was daring, chivalrous and heroic to stand up to the enemy. Almost all Germans had stuck to their ideas of war at the level of 1871 and earlier. Accordingly, the war was intended as an "open, honest fight with knightly weapons" that would bring adventure, romance and personal heroism to the participants. Commercial prostitution was widespread both at the front and at the stage . It took place in separate brothels for soldiers and officers, which were controlled by military doctors and in some cases even operated by the military itself . But the transfigured view of the war could not withstand the realities of trench warfare. The experience at the front destroyed such ideas: "Courage, bravery and skill - all superfluous . " The war did not bring the soldiers the adventure and heroism they had hoped for, but the disturbing experience of a complete degradation of the individual to the defenseless object of the war machine, with which the image a depersonalized and industrialized war arose.

The almost constant fire of the artillery shaped this impression, which claimed more than half of the victims of the war. The soldiers' only reaction to this weapon was the helpless wait for the impact, for the onset of a force that could not be influenced: "The war machine seemed to be all-powerful and to impose their decisions on those who participated in its opaque movements." Iconography of a new type of soldier, the "emotional, spontaneous and loyal youth" of the Langemarck myth gave way to the Verdun fighter, ideally a "trained, cold, aggressive, isolated and technically equipped leader figure." Soldiers, he represented the modern, technical and functional appearance of war.

The static arrangement of trench warfare was paradoxically inherent in a tendency to limit violence as long as the soldiers on both sides pursued the safeguarding of the status quo, which was the case in large areas of the front outside of large offensives. In order to break this situation, the army guides specialists translated the violence one, on the British side, especially sniper ( "Snipers") on German and Austrian side shock troops fighters extremely high individual combat motivation, which in the normal force because of they operate escalation of violence were unpopular. These special units felt themselves to be perpetrators in an emphatic sense. "It is therefore no coincidence that here, in addition to the German shock troops, also with the Italian elite units, the ' Arditi ', a direct line of continuity can be drawn to the fascist aestheticization of violence in the interwar period" and was also justified from the point of view of depth psychology and cultural studies .

The Russian Revolution

The Russian Revolution

Author: Sean McMeekin

Publisher: Basic Books

Number of Views: 1798

From an award-winning scholar comes this definitive, single-volume history that illuminates the tensions and transformations of the Russian Revolution. ​ In The Russian Revolution, acclaimed historian Sean McMeekin traces the events which ended Romanov rule, ushered the Bolsheviks into power, and introduced Communism to the world. Between 1917 and 1922, Russia underwent a complete and irreversible transformation. Taking advantage of the collapse of the Tsarist regime in the middle of World War I, the Bolsheviks staged a hostile takeover of the Russian Imperial Army, promoting mutinies and mass desertions of men in order to fulfill Lenin's program of turning the "imperialist war" into civil war. By the time the Bolsheviks had snuffed out the last resistance five years later, over 20 million people had died, and the Russian economy had collapsed so completely that Communism had to be temporarily abandoned. Still, Bolshevik rule was secure, owing to the new regime's monopoly on force, enabled by illicit arms deals signed with capitalist neighbors such as Germany and Sweden who sought to benefit-politically and economically-from the revolutionary chaos in Russia. Drawing on scores of previously untapped files from Russian archives and a range of other repositories in Europe, Turkey, and the United States, McMeekin delivers exciting, groundbreaking research about this turbulent era. The first comprehensive history of these momentous events in two decades, The Russian Revolution combines cutting-edge scholarship and a fast-paced narrative to shed new light on one of the most significant turning points of the twentieth century.

Images of War: The Russian Revolution, World War to Civil War 1917-1921, Nik Cornish - History

The third volume in Nik Cornish&rsquos photographic history of the Second World War on the Eastern Front records in vivid visual detail the sequence of Red Army offensives that pushed the Wehrmacht back across Russia after the failure of Operation Citadel, the German attack at Kursk. Previously unpublished images show the epic scale of the build-up to the Kursk battle and the enormous cost in terms of lives and material of the battle itself. They also show that the military initiative was now firmly in Soviet hands, for the balance of power on the Eastern Front had shifted and the Germans were on the defensive and in retreat.

Subsequent chapters chronicle the hard-fought and bloody German withdrawal across western Russia and the Ukraine, recording the Red Army&rsquos liberation of occupied Soviet territory, the recovery of key cities like Orel, Kharkov and Kiev, the raising of the siege of Leningrad and the advance to the borders of the Baltic states.

Not only do the photographs track the sequence of events on the ground, they also show the equipment and weapons used by both sides, the living conditions experienced by the troops, the actions of the Soviet partisans, the fight against the Finns in the north, the massive logistical organization behind the front lines, and the devastation the war left in its wake.

About The Author

Nik Cornish is a former head teacher whose passionate interest in the world wars on the Eastern Front and in Russias military history in particular has led to a series of important books on the subject including Images of Kursk, Stalingrad: Victory on the Volga, Berlin: Victory in Europe, Partisan Warfare on the Eastern Front 1941-1944, The Russian Revolution: World War to Civil War 1917-1921, Hitler versus Stalin: The Eastern Front 1941-1942 Barbarossa to Moscow, Hitler versus Stalin: The Eastern Front 1942-1943 Stalingrad to Kharkov and Hitler versus Stalin: The Eastern Front 1943-1944 Kursk to Bagration.

Images of War: The Russian Revolution, World War to Civil War 1917-1921, Nik Cornish - History

The second year of the Second World War on the Eastern Front was dominated by Stalingrad, the protracted battle for the city on the Volga, and this is the major episode in this volume of Nik Cornish&rsquos four-volume photographic history of the conflict.

Stalingrad was a turning point in the war, the moment when the Red Army seized the initiative and threw back the German invaders. But the struggle at Stalingrad was far from the only focus of the fighting during 1942 and 1943. German forces conquered the Crimea, besieged Leningrad and advanced deep into the Caucasus. The Red Army took the offensive, not only at Stalingrad but at Rzhev, Kharkov and Kursk.

So this phase of the war between Germany and the Soviet Union saw dramatic changes of fortune, offensives and counteroffensives on a massive scale, and these events are also illustrated in these rare photographs. These vivid images show the front-line fighting, the troops and the conditions on both sides, but they also document the consequences of war for the civilians under German occupation and the devastation of the Russian towns and cities.

About The Author

Nik Cornish is a former head teacher whose passionate interest in the world wars on the Eastern Front and in Russias military history in particular has led to a series of important books on the subject including Images of Kursk, Stalingrad: Victory on the Volga, Berlin: Victory in Europe, Partisan Warfare on the Eastern Front 1941-1944, The Russian Revolution: World War to Civil War 1917-1921, Hitler versus Stalin: The Eastern Front 1941-1942 Barbarossa to Moscow, Hitler versus Stalin: The Eastern Front 1942-1943 Stalingrad to Kharkov and Hitler versus Stalin: The Eastern Front 1943-1944 Kursk to Bagration.


"The pictures are very sharp and clear. The book will be of great interest to military historians and modelers alike. Lots of diorama ideas come to mind looking at the pictures."

- AMPS Indianapolis

&ldquoHighly Recommended for those interested in the Eastern Front battles in 1942, and those with a focus on infantry actions.&rdquo


Images of War: The Russian Revolution, World War to Civil War 1917-1921, Nik Cornish - History

The Russian Army in the First World War (ePub)

Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives

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For 100 years little attention has been paid to the Russian army that fought the Germans and the Austro-Hungarians in the First World War on the Eastern Front. Yet the Tsar's army played a critical part in the global conflict and was engaged in a sequence of shattering campaigns that were waged on a massive scale on several fronts across eastern Europe.

Nik Cornish, in this heavily illustrated account, seeks to set the record straight. In a selection of almost 200 archive photographs he gives a graphic impression of the Russian army of the time, of the soldiers and commanders, and of the conditions in which they fought. He describes the key stages in the struggle - the battles of Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes, the Przemysl siege, the Gorlice-Tarnow and Brusilov offensives and the Romanian and Turkish campaigns.

His book is a fascinating photographic record of the army under the Tsar Nicholas II, then under the Provisional Government and the Bolshevik rule that succeeded him. The impact of the Russian revolution is also revealed in the photographs which take the story through from the initial outbreaks of discontent and the abdication of the Tsar to Lenin's take-over and the end of Russia's war - and of the imperial army &ndash in 1917.

The Russian Army in the First World War aims to present the military history of the First World War from a Russian perspective in a way that is
captivating and straightforward, alive with several illustrations. It seeks to uncover the mystery surrounds WWI operations, including a thorough study of events surrounding the Battle of Tannenberg, the Russian Revolutions of
1917, and the Russian Civil War. The images provided in this text are drawn from Russian archives and the states of the former USSR.


Easily one of the best books on the Russian Army in the Great War, its photographs give it a liveliness and edge few text-only books could have. Highly recommended, and hopefully we’ll see more books relating to this subject in the coming years.

The announcement earlier this year that Russia will recognise the sacrifice of ordinary soldiers in the Great War as part of the centenary has put the often forgotten role of the Imperial Russian Army back into the headlines. Russia was Germany’s great fear before the conflict and there are few books in English. This excellent account from a well known expert on the subject brings together much useful and fascinating information as well as a host of photographs, many of them not seen before. A superb book on what is a little known subject but deserves to be – and this account fills a massive gap in our popular knowledge. Highly recommended.

WW1 Centenary

Nik Cornish is a former head teacher whose passionate interest in the world wars on the Eastern Front and in Russia’s military history in particular has led to a series of important books on the subject including Images of Kursk, Stalingrad: Victory on the Volga, Berlin: Victory in Europe, Partisan Warfare on the Eastern Front 1941-1944 and The Russian Revolution: World War to Civil War 1917-1921.

Watch the video: Ten Minute History - The Russian Revolution Short Documentary (July 2022).


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