Volume 5: Military Affairs in Russia's Great War and Revolution, 1914-22 Book 1: Military Experiences
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.