ADVANTAGES

By 1917, the Russian Army's officer corps was increasingly demoralized by the poor progress of the fighting. Though grossly outnumbered, the Germans had proven to be dangerous and cunning opponents, and the Russian royal family's unfortunate intervention in affairs did not improve anything. The repeated catastrophes suffered by Russian field armies squelched what patriotism had existed three years earlier, slowly allowing the entire governing system to fall apart. By March of that year, some Army units began ignoring their orders, a situation made worse as growing Communist rebel groups exaggerated reports of minor events such as the revolt of a Russian Guard depot formation at Petrograd (this famous mutiny was carried out by trainees and depot troops, not by fully trained Imperial Guardsmen). After the Tsar abdicated his throne that same month, a provisional government was formed with Alexander Kerensky at its head. He made a short-lived attempt to uphold Allied obligations by putting General Brusilov in command of another offensive against the German Southern Army in Galicia. But despite his best efforts, Brusilov's 1917 offensive only cleared a few mutinous Austrian formations out of the way before running into the brick wall of German general's Hoffman and Hutier, who first held off, then counter-attacked the hesitant Russian troops. This was the last straw for the Imperial Russian Army, which virtually disintegrated as open civil war swept like a wave across Russia.

As the Communist revolt accelerated, both sides of the civil war continued sporadic negotiations with Germany. The Germans, who continued making territorial gains (marked 2), eventually began aiding the pro-Tsarist White Russian forces, attempting to stem the very revolt they had helped to foster. However the damage to the Russian infrastructure was too great, and the "White" Russians were eventually forced from power by the "Red" Communists. The treaty of Brest-Litovsk was finally concluded with the new Bolshevik government on March 3, 1918, stripping their country of all provinces west of the Ukraine. That treaty was annulled by the Armistice of November 11, and the new government in Moscow eventually re-established its presence in all of the previously held lands. Ironically, one of the lasting actions by the Bolsheviks was the attempted indoctrination of German prisoners-of-war. Many of these troops were eventually transferred to the Western Front which was still raging in 1918, but some of them were virtually useless as soldiers. When the war ended, they returned to Germany, where many threw themselves into the post-war revolution then tearing at Germany's social fabric. The opposing fascists eventually gained control of the country and added further tragic chapters to the history of Russia and Eastern Europe.

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