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A study of Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich as Supreme Commander of the Russian Army, 1914-1915.

THIS ARTICLE ANALYZES the leadership of Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich (1856-1929), who was Supreme Commander of the Russian Army from July 1914 to August 1915. His term as the leader of the largest army in the world was not a success and ended with the retreat of his armies in the face of a combined German-Austro-Hungarian offensive. Yet despite the Grand Duke's obvious importance, historians have paid very little attention to him. Except for a vicious polemic by his great enemy, General V.A. Sukhomlinov (1848-1926), published in 1925, (1) the only biography of him is that written by General Iu.N. Danilov (1866-1937) published in 1930. (2) This article thus constitutes the first attempt to thoroughly appraise Nikolai Nikolaevich's performance as Supreme Commander for over 80 years.

Opinions on the Grand Duke's character and abilities have tended to extremes, both at the time he was alive and later. Many contemporaries had a high opinion of his leadership skills. Admiral A.D. Bubnov (1883-1963), who worked under the Grand Duke on the naval staff at the Russian Supreme Headquarters, Stavka, during the First World War, wrote that Nikolai Nikolaevich "combined in himself all the characteristics of strong willed personalities, i.e., he was decisive, exacting, and insistent." (3) And Commandant Jacques Langlois, a French officer who made regular visits to Stavka, commented in June 1915 that:

   As always, the Grand Duke Nicholas displays an uncommon energy and
   inextinguishable morale. His offensive spirit has not yet been
   disavowed, not for a single instant; even if the circumstances
   force him to retreat, they do not crush him at all and he thinks
   only of the moment when the material conditions will permit him to
   advance again.... In a word, Grand Duke Nicholas very much gives
   the impression of a LEADER, in the most elevated sense of the word.
   (4)


Others, however, disagreed. General P.N. Shatilov (1881-1962), who observed the Grand Duke during his time as Viceroy of the Caucasus and later in exile, commented that he displayed "a definitive indecisiveness and the influence of others." (5) According to Shatilov, an old friend of the Grand Duke, V.V. Musin-Pushkin (1870-1923), told him:

   I have known Nikolai Nikolaevich since childhood, and we call each
   other "ty" [a familiar form of address, implying closeness]. His
   character, and, as you call it, his strong willed characteristics
   are well known to me. These strong willed qualities are nothing
   other than extensive use of Grand Ducal irresponsibility. All his
   life he has been under the influence of others. (6)


A number of historians have also criticized the Grand Duke's command performance. The Russian emigre historian A.A. Kersnovskii, for instance, accused him of indecisiveness, writing that the Grand Duke's strategic thinking "fluctuated like a weather vane." (7) The modern Russian historian O.R.

Airapetov concludes that, "The Supreme Commander's firmness and strong will were rather exaggerated." (8) And in his much-cited 1975 book The Eastern Front, Norman Stone described the Grand Duke as a mere "figurehead," who did little more than sign the papers his Chief of Staff, General N.N. Ianushkevich (1868-1918), gave him. (9) The overall impression is that the Grand Duke mattered little.

This article suggests that this impression is misleading. The popular image of the Grand Duke as a fearsome, iron-willed leader was indeed wide of the mark, but he was more than the figurehead Stone and others portray him as. Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich certainly did not exercise total control over all that happened on the Eastern Front in the First World War, but at key moments his personality and preferences made a crucial difference.

The Grand Duke had received an intensive military education from an early age, including studying at the Nicholas Engineering School and the General Staff Academy. He had subsequently held a number of important positions within the Russian Army and was probably as qualified as any other Russian officer for the post of Supreme Commander. He displayed all the strengths and weaknesses traditionally associated with military officers: a strong sense of patriotism, duty, service, and honor, and a directness of approach and expression, but at the same time a narrowness of vision and a lack of intellectual curiosity. According to Grand Duke Aleksandr Mikhailovich (1866-1933),

   Cousin Nicholasha [Nikolai Nikolaevich] was a superb army
   officer.... [But] like all army men accustomed to tackling clearly
   defined tasks, Nicholasha felt dizzy when confronted with a
   complicated political situation where his habit of raising his
   voice and threatening punishment failed to produce the desired
   result. (10)


An example of such behavior was Nikolai Nikolaevich's reaction to the supply shortage faced by the Russian Army in 1914 and 1915. This consisted of issuing stern orders denouncing incompetent supply officers and threatening to punish them. Most notable was an order of December 1914 in which he described the behavior of logistics officers as

   straightforwardly criminal [and demanded that] commanders take the
   most energetic and draconian measures to check the reasons for the
   delay of supplies which are at the fronts' disposal but have not
   reached the troops.... To restore order it is necessary to instill
   strict responsibility, put those guilty on trial, and not to limit
   oneself, as has been the case in the past, to transferring them to
   a new post or dismissing them from the service. (11)


This justified the Grand Duke's strong image, but it was not a very suitable response to the army's supply difficulties. These were not primarily a disciplinary problem. The example reveals one of the weaknesses in the Grand Duke's style of command--on occasion, it lacked sophistication.

Like other Russian army officers of his time, the Grand Duke had little comprehension of politics. On the one hand, this made him conservative, as he did not consider it his right to debate, let alone challenge, the existing order, but, on the other hand, when that order did come under challenge, he meant that he was willing to accept change. As one of his contemporaries who later defected to the Soviets put it, "his political opinions were of course reactionary, but he knew how to make concessions to the demands of the time and circumstances." (12) In 1915, this made him amenable to forging an alliance with elements of the liberal opposition. But while this flexibility proved advantageous in some respects, his narrow outlook was problematic in others. "I don't understand civilian questions at all," he told General G.O. von Raukh (1860-1936), who worked closely with him in the Petersburg Military District. (13) When he acquired large civil powers as Supreme Commander, this meant that he was ill prepared to carry out the responsibilities assigned to him by law.

Raukh commented that it was dangerous to brainstorm with the Grand Duke, as his impulsive character meant that he was liable to seize on half-considered ideas and demand that they be implemented. (14) By nature, Nikolai Nikolaevich was nervous and excitable, a feature of his character which made itself known through nervous gesticulations. (15) The head chaplain of the Russian Army, Georgii Shavel'skii (1871-1951), who was generally very sympathetic towards the Grand Duke, noted that, his "decisiveness collapsed when serious danger began to threaten him ... in the face of great misfortunes he either fell into a panic or swam with the tide." (16)

Another problem was, as General A.A. Brusilov (1853-1926) put it, that "As a member of the Imperial Family, his exalted position had disinclined him to hard work." (17) Georgii Shavel'skii remarked that he "was never capable of dirty, painstaking, prolonged work." (18) General A.F. Rediger (1853-1920), who knew the Grand Duke from the time that he joined his training battalion as a newly commissioned young officer, noted that Nikolai Nikolaevich "absolutely couldn't spend time reading things, as a result of which one had to report to him orally." (19) Overall, said Rediger, "the Grand Duke was a very strong personality: intelligent, dedicated entirely to affairs, a soldier in his soul, energetic, he just wasn't used to working, as a result of which he fell under the influence of those who were reporting to him." (20) Rediger concluded that the Grand Duke needed a strong chief of staff who could do his dirty work and who could also report honestly to him all sides of an issue so that he could make an objective decision. (21) In the presence of subordinates who merely gave him one alternative to consider, he fell under their control. Unfortunately, during the Grand Duke's tenure as Supreme Commander in the First World War, the strong Chief of Staff whom Rediger considered necessary was entirely absent.

A final feature of the Grand Duke's character which is worth noting is his sense of loyalty. He was, said Julia Cantacuzene (1876-1975), the wife of one of his adjutants, "loyalty personified," (22) perhaps on occasion excessively so. "The Grand Duke was firm in his sympathies and friendship," wrote Shavel'skii. "If somebody, who had served under his leadership or with him, won his trust ... then the Grand Duke would remain his defender and protector forever." (23) The problem with this was that "having attached himself to somebody, he remained faithful to him to the end, and in particular was afraid of changing his closest assistants, closing his eyes to their sometimes serious defects." (24) Thus, despite their failings, Nikolai Nikolaevich rejected all requests that he dismiss the two men who worked closest to him in the First World War, his Chief of Staff, General N.N. Ianushkevich, and his Quartermaster General, Iu.N. Danilov. "Replacing these people would bring nothing but harm," he wrote. (25)

The main focus of the Grand Duke's loyalty was Tsar Nicholas II. General Raukh commented that "Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich was the most loyal subject of all the subjects of the Sovereign Emperor Nicholas II.... Russia did not exist, he did not think about her--all his thought was concentrated on the Tsar alone." (26) Julia Cantacuzene wrote that her husband noted how, when the Tsar visited Stavka, the Grand Duke "stood aside on all occasions, even from his own place of supreme command, how he handed reports to the Emperor, putting the latter into his own place, while he remained merely in attendance." (27) Chaplain Shavel'skii similarly wrote:

   Other Grand Dukes ... during their conversations with the Emperor
   behaved familiarly, simply, standing at ease, addressing the
   Emperor as "ty." Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich never forgot that
   it was the Emperor standing before him; he stood at attention while
   he spoke with him. Although the Emperor always called him "ty" or
   "Nikolasha," I never once heard Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich call
   the Emperor "ty." His form of address was always, "Your Majesty;"
   his reply, "Yes, Your Majesty." And yet he was the Emperor's uncle,
   was 15 years older, and had been his commanding officer, of whom at
   that time the Emperor had been very afraid. (28)


"For me he is the Emperor," the Grand Duke told Shavelskii. "I was brought up to honor and love the Emperor ... [f]urthermore, I love him as a person." (29) Nikolai Nikolaevich did not consider that he had the right to challenge the Tsar's decisions. This in part explained his loyalty to Danilov and Ianushkevich: the Tsar had appointed them, the Grand Duke told the Agriculture Minister, A.V. Krivoshein (1857-1921), and thus only the Tsar could replace them. (30)

In addition to the character traits mentioned above, certain core beliefs shaped the Grand Duke's behavior during his tenure as Supreme Commander. One of these was his fervent Francophilia. Nikolai Nikolaevich spoke excellent French and generally spoke French with his wife, telling her in one letter: "I am so used to speaking to you in French that it feels uncomfortable to write in Russian." (31) The Grand Duke also often spoke French at Stavka; indeed, conversation at lunch at Stavka was more commonly in French than Russian. (32) As a youth, Nikolai Nikolaevich regularly visited France, and in both 1897 and 1912 he attended maneuvers of the French army.

After the latter visit, the Grand Duke brought back a French flag given to him by General Joseph Joffre. This was one of just two flags which he flew at Stavka, the other being the standard used by his father (Nikolai Nikolaevich the elder, 1831-91) when he was Supreme Commander during the Russo-Turkish War. Nikolai Nikolaevich then took the French flag with him when he went to the Caucasus in September 1915 to take up the post of Viceroy. (33) Loyalty to France would be a major feature of the Grand Duke's leadership during the First World War.

Also important were the Grand Duke's views on strategy and tactics. These were clearly laid out in exercise instructions and post-exercise reports the Grand Duke issued while Commander of the Petersburg Military District. In particular, Nikolai Nikolaevich was a firm believer in what modern militaries refer to as "mission command" or Auftragstaktik, a system in which commanders limit themselves to giving their subordinates a mission and then leave it to those subordinates to determine how to execute it. This implies delegating authority and allowing more junior officers the maximum possible initiative. "It is impossible to command large units, one can only manage them," the Grand Duke wrote in 1908. (34) "It is necessary to encourage every display of individual initiative, every attempt to take action in the spirit of the general objective," he said, "Mistakes are forgivable ... Only inaction and passivity should be mercilessly punished." (35)

The focus on action led to a preference, common in this period, for offensive operations. He wrote how

   Passivity in defense is the most dangerous tendency in military
   affairs .... In all situations our will prevails over that of our
   enemy when we undertake energetic actions .... [P]assive opposition
   is a prelude for retreat .... One must not forget that defense is a
   necessary, temporary evil, which one must strive to avoid by
   energetic and decisive actions. (36)


By August 1914, Nikolai Nikolaevich was 57 years old and had been a commissioned officer for 42 years. At Stavka, he was certainly conscientious--he read the documents he was given, made decisions, and issued orders--but his lifestyle was far from strenuous. He followed a strict daily routine, getting up around nine in the morning, stopping for formal lunches and dinners, and devoting time each evening to writing a letter to his wife. On Sundays and religious holidays, he attended church, sometimes for hours at a time. (37) As a result, the general impression Stavka gave was of order, but not of energy. (38)

In these circumstances, much of the hard work devolved upon Generals Ianushkevich and Danilov. The Commander of the Guards Corps, General V.M. Bezobrazov (1857-1932.), commented that "the Grand Duke avoids speaking about real business and sends one to Ianushkevich." (39) Bezobrazov was not the only person to observe this phenomenon. For somebody reputed to possess an iron will, the Grand Duke had an oddly detached style of command. Sometimes, for instance, he would travel by train with his senior staff officers to the headquarters of either the Northwest or Southwest Fronts for a conference with the Front commanders and their staffs. On these occasions, the Grand Duke, despite travelling a long distance, did not actually attend the conferences or participate in the discussions. Rather, he waited nearby until the conference was over, at which point Ianushkevich would brief him on what had been discussed. The Grand Duke would then make a decision based on Ianushkevich's report. (40) Normally, although there were some exceptions, this simply meant approving what the conference had decided. In this way, although he retained the final say, the Grand Duke largely took himself out of the decision-making process. (41)

This indirect method of management, working through Ianushkevich, ran the risk that the Grand Duke would end up seeing everything through Ianushkevich's eyes. The Commander of the Southwest Front, General N.I. Ivanov (1851-1919), thus complained:

   You would think that the Grand Duke would speak to us, listen to
   our reports, our thoughts and proposals, consult with us. Not a bit
   of it. This hasn't happened. He sends the Chief of Staff to us, and
   he himself sits in his wagon. We speak with General Ianushkevich.
   And how he then reports to the Grand Duke, what he passes on,
   whether he does pass it on, or perhaps adds something of his own,
   we do not know. (42)


Given this, the British military attache at Stavka, Major General John Hanbury Williams commented that, "The Grand Duke had no knowledge nor opinions other than those supplied by Yanouchkevitch." (43) "To be quite frank with you," the Briton wrote to Lord Kitchener, "he [the Grand Duke] don't 'run this show' much really." (44)

The Grand Duke devolved authority not only to his Chief of Staff but also to Front and Army commanders. In part this was an unavoidable consequence of Stavka's small size and limited capabilities. The Grand Duke had just a staff of just 60 men to help him run the six-million strong Russian Army. (45) Communications with front line commanders were very difficult and sometimes impossible. On occasion, Stavka knew nothing about what was happening at the front, and had almost no way of influencing it. On 6 (19) August 1914, for instance, Ianushkevich telegraphed the commander of the Russian First Army, General P.K. Rennenkampf (1854-1918), to complain about "the complete absence of news for two days from the army staff about your situation." (46) Similarly, in the middle of the battle of Lodz in November 1914, Ianushkevich confessed that "I cannot paint for myself even an approximate picture of the situation." (47) In these circumstances, delegating decision-making authority to lower echelons was unavoidable.

The Grand Duke's preference for mission command combined with the lack of communications to produce a situation in which the Supreme Commander allowed his subordinates very great latitude. As General Danilov noted, "the staff of the Supreme Commander carefully avoided interfering in the details of how operations were carried out and overloading lower-level staffs with superfluous orders." (48)

On the one hand, this tendency meant that the Grand Duke listened to his subordinates and was willing to be persuaded by them. In general, he was not an inflexible commander. This was a positive attribute. On the other hand, his willingness to bend sometimes veered into a lack of firmness or "grip." While allowing subordinates to use their initiative was in principle a good thing, Nikolai Nikolaevich sometimes took it to undesirable extremes.

Thus, his instructions to his commanders often resembled suggestions rather than orders. Grand Duke Andrei Vladimirovich (1879-1956), who worked on the staff of the Northwest Front, complained that instructions from Stavka took the form of "the Grand Duke suggests, but, however, and nevertheless it is desirable, but if it's possible, then perhaps." (49) This was something of an exaggeration, but Andrei Vladimirovich was not entirely wrong. On occasions, the Grand Duke even informed Front Commanders that he gave them complete freedom to decide for themselves what to do. Overall, this suggests that Hanbury Williams had some good grounds for describing Nikolai Nikolaevich to Kitchener as a mere "figurehead." (50)

This, however, is not the whole story. For Nikolai Nikolaevich could not in practice devolve all responsibility. In the realm of operational planning, for instance, his Front Commanders did not always agree on priorities. Nor did Quartermaster General Danilov always agree with the Front commanders. Faced with differing proposals from the Fronts, all claiming priority on the same limited set of resources, the Grand Duke had to adjudicate between them.

As far as operations were concerned, therefore, the Grand Duke's role in decision-making was generally limited but occasionally extremely important. Several examples serve to illustrate the manner in which his character and preferences affected the operations of the Russian army. These include the decision to invade East Prussia in August 1914, the handling of the Warsaw-Ivangorod operation, and the decision to hold onto the left (western) bank of the Vistula River following the Battle of Lodz and onwards through to summer 1915.

The invasion of East Prussia at the start of the war proved to be disastrous for the Russian Army, resulting in extremely heavy losses in both the First and Second Armies. To some extent the invasion was pre-ordained by military planning before the war. The mobilization plan, Plan 19A, was the result of a compromise between those generals who wished to focus on Austria-Hungary and those who wished to concentrate on Germany. The consequence was a plan which stated that, in the event of war, Austria-Hungary should be Russia's point of main effort, without, however, precluding the possibility of an offensive against East Prussia. (51)

Although Plan 19A did not preclude the option of attacking East Prussia, it also did not firmly commit the Russians to doing so. And while it was true that Russia had promised France that it would attack Germany within fifteen days of mobilization, the Grand Duke had the option of ignoring this promise. It would be wrong, therefore, to consider that Plan 19A firmly tied the Grand Duke's hands to an early offensive against Germany.

Three factors intervened, however, to ensure that he agreed to invade East Prussia at the earliest possible moment: strategic realities; the Grand Duke's Francophilia; and his powerful sense of loyalty.

These three were intertwined. Thus, in August 1914 it was essential from Russia's point of view that France be able to withstand the initial German assault against it. A Russian attack on Germany designed to pull German forces away from the Western Front in the crucial first few weeks of the war made a great deal of sense. Loyalty to France also played a role in the Grand Duke's decision. "The Supreme Commander of the Russian Army," wrote the French military attache General de Laguiche to the French Minister of War, "wanted to respond to France's desires and remain faithful to the undertakings he made to our Ambassador to not lose 'a quarter of a second'." "History will condemn me," the Grand Duke supposedly told Laguiche "but I have given the order to march." (52)

The instructions sent out by Stavka in the first few weeks of the war leave no doubt that a desire to help France was the single most important factor driving the Supreme Command. On 24 July (6 August), General Ianushkevich issued an order to General Ia.G. Zhilinskii (1853-1918), commanding the Northwest Front, to undertake "energetic reconnaissance" to clarify the strength of the German forces facing Russia, explaining that "It]he Grand Duke finds that we must prepare for an energetic onslaught at the first opportunity in order to relieve the position of the French." (53) On 28 July (10 August) Ianushkevich telegraphed Zhilinskii again, once more emphasizing the need to help France, and saying:

   Paying attention to the fact that Germany first declared war
   against us, and that France, as our ally, considered it its duty to
   immediately support us, we must, because of the same allied
   obligations, support the French, in light also of the fact that the
   Germans are preparing their main blow against them. This support
   should be expressed in the form of a most rapid offensive by us
   against the German forces left in East Prussia. (54)


Other telegrams expressed similar sentiments.

In the strategic context within which it was made, the decision to invade East Prussia was not necessarily a mistake. A Supreme Commander other than Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich might very well have given the same orders. That said, it would be wrong to conclude that any other commander would have done so. Indeed, Ianushkevich later told Commandant Langlois that the decision to invade East Prussia was indeed the Grand Duke's; pre-war planning had not required the invasion, Ianushkevich said, but Nikolai Nikolaevich "had refused to follow this plan, saying that he did not want anybody to be able to reproach Russia for working solely for its own profit without taking into account the needs of its allies." (55)

After the initial battles in East Prussia and Galicia, the next most important battle was the Warsaw-Ivangorod Operation (September-November 1914), in which the Russian Army repulsed a German invasion of Poland. The operation was one of the largest maneuvers of the war, involving the redeployment of four complete Russian armies. It ended with a Russian victory, but not a decisive one.

The battle provides a good example of the manner in which the Grand Duke's style of command affected the conduct of military operations. General F.F. Palitsyn (1851-1923), who spent this period as an officer at the Grand Duke's disposal at Stavka, considered that the Grand Duke deserved the credit for the operation's success, writing in his diary that when the Grand Duke decided to redeploy his armies and counter-attack the Germans on the left bank of the Vistula, "I saw great moral courage and greatness of soul." (56) "This decision of the Grand Duke," wrote Palitsyn, "was his decision, and nobody can take away from him the greatness of it." (57)

Indeed the Grand Duke deserves credit for the speed with which he reacted to the German threat and the ambition of his response. The manner in which he handled the operation once it began was rather weaker, however. Redeploying four armies is a logistically difficult task, and the staff of Stavka and of the Southwest Front, which had overall responsibility for the operation, proved not to be up to the task. As a result, the movement of the Russian armies was slower than desired.

An uncooperative attitude among Front and Army commanders compounded this problem. The Second Army, for instance, was slow to assemble in the region of Warsaw. General N.V. Ruzskii (1854-1918), commanding the Northwest Front, had originally promised that the Russian Second Corps would be ready to move to join the Second Army by 17 (30) September, but despite repeated promptings from the Grand Duke it did not board trains for Warsaw until 23 September (6 October), almost a week late. The Fourth Corps, due to be detached from First Army to join Second Army in Warsaw, was even slower and began to arrive in Warsaw only on 27 September (10 October). (58) On 5 (18) October, the Southwest Front, having told Stavka that it was ready to launch its counteroffensive, then suddenly announced that it was not ready after all! Consequently, although it was ultimately successful, the operation did not run very smoothly and an opportunity for a more decisive victory was possibly missed.

Throughout all this, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich proved remarkably tolerant of his subordinates' tardiness, limiting himself to two mild rebukes delivered not even in person but via General Ianushkevich. First, on 24 September (7 October), learning of the delay in the transfer of Fourth Corps, Ianushkevich relayed frustration that the First Army's commander, General Rennenkampf, could "decide on an instruction directly contrary to the orders of the Supreme Commander." (59) Second, following the Southwest Front's declaration on 5 (18) October that it was not after all ready to attack, Ianushkevich sent a telegram to the Front commander, General Ivanov, telling him: "The Supreme Commander greatly regrets that you did not manage to clarify the situation earlier." (60) Beyond this, Nikolai Nikolaevich made no complaints about his generals' actions.

Once the Russian counterattack began and the Germans withdrew from outside Warsaw, the Grand Duke failed once again to exercise strong control over his armies. The key objective at this point was to fix the enemy and not let him escape. On 9 (22) October 1914, Ianushkevich therefore informed Generals Ivanov and Ruzskii that the Grand Duke ordered them to "continue the most energetic offensive" and to take "energetic measures" to determine the enemy's line of retreat so as not to lose contact with him and to force him to stand and fight. (61) Yet on 13 (26) October, Ruzskii, mistakenly believing that the Germans might turn around and resume their attack on Warsaw, requested that Second and Fifth Armies be allowed to halt in their current positions. (62) Ianushkevich then replied, "The Grand Duke does not constrain you in any of your decisions, leaving you free to act according to circumstances." (63) The Northwest Front briefly halted its pursuit, and in due course the German army slipped away.

This example, on top of the others, indicates that the Grand Duke's preference for giving his commanders maximum latitude to decide matters for themselves was not always a productive method of command. It is hard to say to what extent this preference was a product of necessity, of the Grand Duke's work ethic, or of deliberate choice, based on a belief that local commanders knew best what to do. Quite possibly, it was a combination of all three. But while it may have had some advantages, on occasion it created problems. There was, one might say, a lack of "grip."

That said, on occasion the Grand Duke could issue very firm and categorical instructions. In particular, he was extremely insistent that the army hold onto the positions it had captured in western Poland during the Warsaw-Ivangorod operation and not withdraw behind the Vistula River. After the battle of Lodz in November 1914, Ruzskii repeatedly asked for permission to withdraw, and the Grand Duke repeatedly refused to give it. Thus on 25 December (7 January), Ianushkevich telegraphed Ruzskii that, "The Supreme Commander asks Your Excellency to instill in the armies subordinate to you ... the basic thought that the forces located on the left bank of the Vistula should not permit any possibility of a withdrawal." (64) "I have again instructed the Commander of the armies of the North West Front on the necessity of holding the positions occupied by us come what may," the Grand Duke told the Tsar the next day. (65) Two months later, he repeated the instruction. Ianushkevich informed Ruzskii on 2 (25) February 1915,

   The Grand Duke draws your attention to the fact that even if
   everything is not perfect with us, our opponent is in the same
   position, with his units significantly reduced in size and without
   officers, as is clear from the information provided by the staff of
   your front. In the Supreme Commander's opinion, all these facts
   bear witness to the fact that we can and should hold our positions
   on the left bank of the Vistula. (66)


Following the Russian defeats in East Prussia in the Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes (February 1915) and then in Galicia in the Battle of Gorlice-Tarnow (May 1915), the Russian position in western Poland arguably became untenable. Yet Nikolai Nikolaevich continued to try to hold onto it. Only in late July 1915 did he give Ruzskii's replacement as commander of the Northwest Front, General M.V. Alekseev (1857-1918), permission to withdraw to the right bank of the Vistula. (67) In this way, the Grand Duke's preferences certainly made themselves felt. Why he refused to withdraw is a matter of some dispute.

In his book The Eastern Front, Norman Stone linked the refusal to withdraw to the opposition of the Grand Duke and his supporters before the war to Sukhomlinov's plan to decommission the Russian fortresses in Poland. (68) Yet, the Grand Duke was far from being an unreserved proponent of fortresses. As Chairman of the Council of State Defense from 1905 to 1908, the Grand Duke had argued in favor of eliminating some of Russia's fortresses, and in December 1907 he had written to the Tsar that, given a choice of spending limited funds on fortresses or on the maneuver army, the latter should have priority. (69) Stone's portrayal of the fortress debate and its influence on strategy in the First World War does not stand up to close scrutiny. For an explanation of the Grand Duke's determination to hold onto the left bank of the Vistula we must look instead to other of his strategic preferences mentioned above.

In particular, the retention of the left bank reflected his preference for offensive action. Despite the setbacks his army suffered, the Grand Duke retained the hope that he would once again be able to go on the attack. After approving a withdrawal in May 1915, for instance, he wrote to the Tsar, "that I was forced to give it my approval [for] I have not lost hope that with the withdrawal to the line of the San and Vistula it will be possible not only to hold, but also, with God's help, to pass to the offensive." (70)

Shortly afterwards, on 10 (23) May, General Laguiche recorded that, "From the point of view of morale, there is nothing to fault; I have indicated the firmness and tenacity of Grand Duke Nicholas, who always thinks of renewing the offensive as soon as the supply of artillery munitions permits it." (71) The Grand Duke, wrote Laguiche on 30 July (11 August) 1915, was carrying out a regrouping of his armies which would result in the creation of a reserve which could be used to regain the initiative. "The offensive still remains the dominant idea," Laguiche concluded. (72)

From a strategic point of view, the left bank of the Vistula was the bridgehead from which any major offensive would begin. Abandoning it meant abandoning offensive possibilities. The Grand Duke's fighting character also did not incline him towards retreat. In one respect, his reputation for determination was justified, in that he was quite clearly determined to fight the Germans and Austro-Hungarians come what may and make them pay for every inch of ground. Despite his previous preference for maneuver, by the summer of 1915 the Grand Duke had come to the conclusion that attrition would decide the outcome of the war, a conclusion he reached perhaps rather earlier than many other generals. German victories were due to their advantage in terms of ammunition supply, he believed. He would make them exhaust this advantage by forcing them to expend their ammunition in battle. Thus he told the Tsar: "I consider it necessary to use all our strength, resources, and means not to allow the enemy to quickly develop operations on the south-west front, counting on exhausting his colossal reserves of ammunition due to his need to take every position by means of a significant expenditure of shells." (73) Eventually, the Germans would run out of supplies, he argued, and then the tide would turn in Russia's favor.

Military operations were not the only area in which the Grand Duke made his character felt. Stavka had important civil responsibilities in the theater of military operations. These involved it in policies to deport Jews, Germans, and other groups from areas immediately behind the front lines, as well as in policy decisions concerning the government of occupied Galicia. In addition, Stavka has been accused of fomenting a "spy mania" which helped to undermine the legitimacy of the Tsarist regime. Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich was intimately connected to all of these.

Historians have largely blamed people other than the Grand Duke for the Russian army's policies in these matters. Daniel Graf, for instance, argues that repressive measures in Galicia "took place despite the outspoken opposition of Grand Duke Nikolaj, who was checkmated in this instance by the front commander, General N. Ju. Ivanov, and the court circles, who favored the repressive policy." (74) Others see the main guilty party as having been General Ianushkevich. Peter Holquist, for instance, has recently argued that the policies in question were a direct product of Ianushkevich's personality and that a different Chief of Staff would not have acted in the same way. (75) While there may be some truth to this, it is not the whole picture. Ianushkevich has been, to some extent, the "fall guy" for the failings of Stavka as a whole and for those of Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich in particular. The traditional view of this matter somewhat resembles the popular myth of the "good Tsar" surrounded by "bad ministers," neatly excusing the Grand Duke of his share of the blame. In reality, Nikolai Nikolaevich was more intimately involved with the decisions in question than the traditional view allows.

As Eric Lohr has pointed out, while Ianushkevich was indeed a "major force in the campaigns against spying and enemy aliens," the Grand Duke "shared many of Ianushkevich's priorities." (76) Spy mania is a case in point, as shown by three examples: those of Lieutenant Colonel S.N. Miasoedov (1865-1915), Ambassador S.A. Poklevskii-Kozell (1868-1939), and General G. I. Nostitz.

Miasoedov was an officer in the Gendarmes Corps who was arrested on 18 February (3 March) 1915 on charges of spying for Germany, and subsequently tried by a field court martial and executed. He was probably innocent. Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich played a direct role in determining his fate. Field courts martial were designed for situations in which the guilt of the person charged was so obvious as to preclude the need for normal legal process. In principle, this meant situations where the accused was caught in flagrante delicto. On hearing of the arrest, the Grand Duke ordered Miasoedov to be tried by field court martial. Military lawyers informed him, however, that this was not possible, as Miasoedov was not guilty beyond all doubt. Nevertheless, Nikolai Nikolaevich found a way to get around this. As he told Grand Duke Andrei Vladimirovich:

   I began to think and then asked my lawyers the following question:
   You say that you can only send to a field court martial somebody
   who has been caught while committing the crime: so! Will there be a
   moment in the investigation process at which the suspected crime
   becomes an established fact? Yes, there will be such a moment. That
   means, I said, that at that moment he will no longer be under
   arrest in a state of suspicion but in the state of completion of
   the crime. Yes! That means that when the investigation process is
   finished and the accusation of espionage is proven, we can hand him
   over to the court. And so, I ordered them to tell me immediately
   when the fact of espionage was established. As soon as they told me
   this, I gave the order to hand him over to a field court martial.
   (77)


This was not the end of the Grand Duke's involvement in this case. As William Fuller has pointed out, Nikolai Nikolaevich also ordered the arrest and trial of several of Miasoedov's business associates, and when some of them were acquitted ordered them to be arrested again and retried, despite the fact that they were, according to Fuller, all "completely without guilt." (78)

All in all, the Miasoedov case was probably the most shameful episode in Nikolai Nikolaevich's career, not merely because of the manner in which he so brazenly distorted due legal process, but also because of the pride which he took in doing so. It revealed a harsh and cruel aspect of his personality.

Another victim of the Grand Duke's persecution was Russia's ambassador to Romania, S. A. Poklevskii-Kozell, who had been accused of treason in the form of deliberately undermining diplomatic efforts to persuade Romania to join the war on Russia's side. On learning that the Tsar had dismissed the accusations against Poklevskii-Kozell, on 8 (21) February 1915, the Grand Duke wrote to Nicholas II that, "I have in my hands other facts which confirm the crime ... [a]s long as Kozel-Poklevskii [sic] remains in Bucharest, Romania will not enter the war." (79) In fact, the accusations were based on extremely unreliable evidence, and the Ambassador was almost certainly innocent. (80) Unfortunately, Nikolai Nikolaevich proved rather gullible when given alleged evidence of espionage and treason.

The third case involved the former Chief of Staff of the Guards Corps, General Nostitz, whose American-born wife had previously been married to a German, a connection which meant that she was now suspected of being a German spy. Arriving at Stavka on 19 April (2 May) 1915, the commander of the Guards Corps, General Bezobrazov, spoke to Nikolai Nikolaevich about Nostitz, hoping to get him a position as a divisional commander. But, as Bezobrazov recorded in his diary, "The Grand Duke and Ianushkevich categorically stated that Count Nostitz will not receive any responsible assignment because of his wife." (81)

In sum, the Grand Duke did more than merely passively permit spy mania to spread. As his persecution of Miasoedov, Poklevskii-Kozell, and Nostitz shows, he was an active instigator of it.

The same may be said about the Grand Duke's role in Stavka's policy of deporting Jews and Russians of German descent from areas under the army's control, as well as the policy of expropriating foreign-owned property. Nikolai Nikolaevich was undoubtedly anti-Semitic, although maybe not as rabidly so as some of his comrades. In 1907 he had opposed a proposal to prohibit Jews from joining the army, while simultaneously saying that, "Jews are undoubtedly an undesirable element in our armed forces; as well as their unattractive moral cast of mind, they are weak, cowardly, and completely void of a sense of duty." (82)

The Grand Duke continued to display this anti-Semitism while Supreme Commander. In October 1914, for instance, he endorsed a report concerning the government of occupied Galicia, which called for action against Galicia's Jewish population. The Jews must be given a "warning," the Grand Duke wrote in the margin of the report. (83) On a number of occasions he then intervened to put this warning into effect, ordering, for instance, the dismissal of Jews who were working in the Galician courts. (84) The blame for the persecution of Jews cannot be laid exclusively on the shoulders of General Ianushkevich.

The Grand Duke took a particular interest in the fate of Germans living in Russia as well as Russians of German origin. On 3 (16) October 1914, for instance, he telegraphed the Prime Minister, I.L. Goremykin (1839-1917), asking him "to urgently take the most decisive and severe measures across the whole extent of Russia regarding the subjects of the states who are fighting against us, without regard to their social position, putting them on the same footing as prisoners of war." (85) A little while later, Ianushkevich declared that the Grand Duke had been following stories in the press regarding suspicious behavior by Russian subjects of German origin. "HIS IMPERIAL HIGHNESS," wrote Ianushkevich, "is of the opinion that the facts communicated in the newspapers require immediate investigation, and in the event that they are confirmed, decisive measures must be taken to stop them." (86)

Measures which the Grand Duke subsequently ordered included deporting all enemy citizens who were living along the coast of the Gulf of Finland, and deporting from the area around the Vistula river the descendants of German colonists who had come to Russian a hundred and fifty years previously. (87) Although Ianushkevich rather than the Grand Duke signed the orders in question, the messages made it clear that the instructions came from the Supreme Commander himself, and it would be stretching the imagination to believe that the Grand Duke was unaware of the messages' contents or did not approve of them (and if he was unaware, then he was guilty of gross negligence). The principle of command responsibility applies in this case. As Supreme Commander, Nikolai Nikolaevich was responsible for all that his subordinates did in his name. Casting all the blame on Ianushkevich lets the Grand Duke off the hook far too easily.

The only area in which the Grand Duke tried to soften policy towards the civilian population was with respect to the Uniate Church in Galicia. The Russian Orthodox Church had long regarded Uniates as a threat, and once the conquest of Galicia brought large numbers of them under Russian control, some Orthodox leaders wished to exploit the opportunity to unify the Uniate and Orthodox Churches. In practice, this meant removing Uniate priests, especially the most senior among them, and converting Uniates to Orthodoxy.

These activities caused considerable concern at Stavka, where the Grand Duke felt that more tact was needed in dealing with religious questions so as to avoid alienating the local population in Galicia. The Grand Duke was especially perturbed by newspaper reports of Orthodox priests forcibly converting Uniate believers to Orthodoxy. On 13 (26) September, he told Ianushkevich that the army should protect the religious rights and interests of the Galician population and avoid persecuting Uniates. "Political disloyalty should not be identified with religious differences," the Grand Duke said. (88) The next day, on 14 (27) September, he consulted Ianushkevich and Chaplain Shavel'skii, and again spoke out strongly against the use of force in religious matters. He then telegraphed the Tsar asking him to stop all activities to unify the Uniate and Orthodox Churches in Galicia. (89) These activities, the Grand Duke told the Tsar, "could result in strong disturbances among the population in the rear of the army." (90)

The Grand Duke's request brought a quick response from the Tsar in the form of a telegram to the Governor General of Galicia, Count G.A. Bobrinskii (1863-1928), insisting that he should only approve Uniate requests to join the Orthodox Church if they were entirely voluntary and came from the Uniates themselves. (91) Bobrinskii in turn then telegraphed Ianushkevich to inform him that he had ordered his officials not to permit any attempts to forcibly convert Uniates or any propaganda for Orthodoxy within Galicia. (92)

The Tsar's intervention constituted a victory for the Grand Duke, but it was to be short-lived. Before long, efforts to convert Uniates recommenced at an even faster pace. In February 1915, after visiting Galicia, Shavel'skii briefed the Grand Duke about these efforts and urged him to do something about it. According to Shavel'skii, Nikolai Nikolaevich "helplessly shrugged his shoulders." (93) Referring to his earlier appeal to the Tsar to intervene to prevent the conversion of Uniates, the Grand Duke replied,

   What can I do? You know that I asked the Sovereign. The Sovereign
   promised. I fully understand that nothing but harm comes from these
   reunification attempts. Let us wait a while more. (94)


The Grand Duke's loyalty to the Tsar meant that when faced by the Tsar's opposition or indifference, he was not the kind of man to press the point.

In a recent analysis of the 1915 battle of Gorlice-Tarnow, Richard DiNardo commented on a widespread tendency of historians of the German army to view commanding officers as mere "front men" for their chiefs of staff: thus Hindenburg is seen as "an empty vessel, totally dominated by Ludendorff"; and the commander of the German Eleventh Army, General August von Mackensen, "has been portrayed more as [his chief of staff Hans von] Seeckt's assistant than as his superior." (95) These portrayals, DiNardo argues, "do a disservice" to such senior commanders, who had had "long careers in the army" in positions "which required extensive use of their brains." (96) They did not suddenly receive a lobotomy when they became generals.

This was as true of the Russian army as it was of the German. Certainly, the Grand Duke's detached style of command provides some basis for the "figurehead" accusation. But having considerably more military experience than his Chief of Staff, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich was not merely Ianushkevich's "front man," any more than Hindenburg was Ludendorff's or Mackensen was Seeckt's. Notwithstanding his preference for delegation, the Grand Duke did more than just sign the papers which Ianushkevich put in front of him.

Airapetov is correct to conclude that Nikolai Nikolaevich was not quite the strong-willed leader which Russians imagined him to be. As he himself admitted to the Tsar following the defeat in East Prussia in August 1914, "I completely recognize that I have been unable to insist on the execution of my demands." (97) Nevertheless, on occasion he did succeed in imposing his will on events, as in his determination to help France in August 1914 and his later desire to hold onto the left bank of the Vistula and force the Germans to fight for every inch of Russian soil. He also played an intimate role in the propagation of spy mania and in the repression of civilians in the areas under military control. In short, his personality mattered. During the year in which he was Supreme Commander of the Russian Army, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich helped to shape the fate of Russia and thereby shaped the fate of Europe and the wider world as well.

(1.) V. Sukhomlinov, Velikii Kniaz' Nikolai Nikolaevich (mladshii), Berlin: Izdanie Avtora, 1925.

(2.) Iu. N. Danilov, Velikii Kniaz' Nikolai Nikolaevich, Paris: Imprimerie de Navarre, 1930.

(3.) A. Bubnov, V Tsarskoi stavke: vospominaniia admiral Bubnova, New York: Izdatel'stvo imeni Chekhova, 1955, 35.

(4.) Rapport du Commandant Langlois sur sa Troisieme Mission en Russie, 20 June 1915, fascicule III, 1, Service Historique de la Defense, Cheteau de Vincennes (hereafter SHD), 7 N 1547.

(5.) Memoirs, Box 9, Folder 12, p. 483, P.N. Shatilov papers, Bakhrneteff Archive, Columbia University (hereafter BA).

(6.) Memoirs, Box 12, Folder 15, pp. 1364-65, P. N. Shatilov papers, BA.

(7.) A. A. Kersnovskii, Istoriia russkoi armii, Belgrade: Izdanie Tsarskogo Vesmika, 1935, part III, 671.

(8.) O. R. Airapetov, Generaly, liberaly, i predprinimateli: rabota na front i na revolutsiiu (1907-1917), Moscow: Tri Kvadrata, 2003, 49.

(9.) Norman Stone, The Eastern Front 1914-1917, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1975, 52.

(10.) Alexander, Grand Duke of Russia, Once a Grand Duke, New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, 1932, 143-44.

(11.) Order no. 203, 5 December 1914, Rossiiskii Gosudarstvennyi Voenno-Istoricheskii Arkhiv (hereafter RGVIA), fond 2003, opis' 1, delo 1, listy 353-4 (hereafter 2003/1/1, 11. 353-4).

(12.) A.A. Samoilo, Dve Zhizni, Moscow: Voennoe Izdatel'stvo Ministerstvo Oborony Soiuza SSSR, 1958, 155.

(13.) G.O. von Raukh, "Epokha nashei pervoi revolutsii 1905-1907," tetrad' no. 1, GARF, R-6249/1/1, 1. 14.

(14.) G.O. von Raukh, "Epokha nashei pervoi revolutsii 1905-1907," tetrad' no. 3, GARF, R-624911/3, 1. 9.

(15.) For comments on these see: Danilov, Velikii Kniaz', 8 & 365, & Letters of the Tsaritsa to the Tsar 1914-1916, London: Duckworth, 1923, 100.

(16.) Georgii Shavel'skii, Vospominaniia poslednego protopresvitera russkoi armii i flota, vol. 1, New York: Izdatel'stvo imeni Chekhova, 1954, 137-38.

(17.) A.A. Brusilov, A Soldier's Notebook 1914-1918, London: Macmillan, 1930, 26.

(18.) Shavel'skii, Vosporninaniia, vol. 1, 136.

(19.) A.F. Rediger, Istoriia moei zhizni: vospominaniia voennogo ministra, 2 vols, Moscow: Kanon-Press-Ts, 1999, 529.

(20.) Rediger, Istoriia, 531.

(21.) Rediger, Istoriia, 530.

(22.) Princess Cantacuzene, Countess Speransky, nee Grant, Revolutionary Days: Recollections of Romanoffs and Bolsheviki 1914-1917, Boston: Small, Maynard & Company, 1919, 410.

(23.) Shavel'skii, Vospominaniia, vol. 1, 131.

(24.) Shavel'skii, Vospominaniia, vol. 1, 136.

(25.) Transcript of message from Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich to Krivoshein, 1 August 1915, Rossiiskii Gosudarstvennyi Istoricheskii Arkhiv (hereafter RGIA), 1571/1/310, 1.4.

(26.) G.O. von Raukh, "Epokha nashei pervoi revolutsii 1905-1907," tetrad' no. 1, GARF, R-6249/1/1, 1. 13.

(27.) Cantacuzene, Revolutionary Days, 399.

(28.) Shavei'skii, Vuspominaniia, vol. 1, 134.

(29.) Ibid.

(30.) Transcript of message from Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich to Krivoshein, 1 August 1915, RGIA, 1571/1/310, I. 4.

(31.) Letter, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich to Grand Duchess Anastasiia Nikolaevna, 6 December 1908, GARF, 671/1/24, l. 3.

(32.) Shavel'skii, Vospominaniia, vol. 1, 135.

(33.) Telegram, Laguiche, 10 August 1916, Ministere des affaires erangeres, archives diplomatiques, La Corneuve, Correspondence, politique etrangere, Avant Guerre 1914-18, vol. 754.

(34.) "Prikaz po voiskam gvardii i peterburgskogo voennogo okruga," no. 64, 29 October 1908, National Archives of Finland (hereafter NAF), Russian Military Documents (Venalasiet Sotilasasiakirjat--hereafter VESA), folder 4696.

(35.) "Prikaz po voiskam gvardii i peterburgskogo voennogo okruga," no. 16, 3 April 1908, NAF, VESA, folder 4696, 1-2.

(36.) "Prikaz po voiskam gvardii i peterburgskogo voennogo okruga," no. 16, 3 April 1908, NAF, VESA, folder 4696, 2-3.

(37.) For a description of his routine, see Shavel'skii, Vospominaniia, vol. 1, 120-1.

(38.) For a comment on this, see Despatch no. Ji, Hanbury Williams to Buchanan, 17 January 1915, National Archives, United Kingdom (hereafter NAUK), FO 371/2446, 2-8.

(39.) V.M. Bezobrazov, Diary of the Commander of the Russian Imperial Guard 1914-1917, Boynton Beach: Dramco, 1994, D46.

(40.) For instance, despite traveling to Sedlets for a conference on 30 November (13 December) 1914, as the minutes of the meeting make clear, the Grand Duke did not actually attend the conference: "Zhurnal soveshchaniia sostoiavshevegosia v Breste 30 noiabria 1914 goda," Hoover Institution Archives (hereafter HIA), Russia, Shtab Verkhognogo Glawmkomanduiushchego, Box 1.

(41.) For instance, a conference of the Front commanders at Sedlets on 4 (17) February 1915 revealed sharp differences between the two Fronts, and failed to reach a decision. The Grand Duke, therefore, had to decide for himself after the meeting was over: Soveshchanie na Sedletse 4-go fevralia 1915 g., HIA, Russia, Shtab Verkhognogo Glavnokomanduiushchego, Box 1.

(42.) Shavel'skii, Vospominaniia, vol. 1,250.

(43.) Report, General Sir J. Hanbury Williams, 5 October 1915, NAUK, PRO 30/57/67, 197.

(44.) Letter, Hanbury Williams to Kitchener, 13 June 1915, NAUK, PRO 30/57/67, 111.

(45.) Bubnov, V tsarskoi stavke, 28.

(46.) General'nyi Shtab RKKA, Manevrennyi period 1914 goda: Vostochno-Prusskaia operatsiia, Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe voennoe izdatel'srvo, 1939, 182.

(47.) Telegram, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich to Nicholas I1, 8 November 1914, GARF, 601/1/592, l. 126.

(48.) lu. N. Danilov, Rossiia v mirovoi voine 1914-1915 gg., Berlin: Slovo, 1924, 126 & also 139, 140, & 208.

(49.) Voennyi dnevnik velikogo kniazia kndrei Vladimirovicha Romanova (1914-1917), Moscow: Izdatel'stvo ira. Sabashnikovykh, 2008, 120.

(50.) Report, General Sir J. Hanbury Williams, 5 October 1915, NAUK, PRO 30/57/67, 196-98.

(51.) Bruce W. Menning, "War Planning and Initial Operations in the Russian Context," in War Planning 1914, eds Richard F. Hamilton and Holger H. Herwig, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010, 80-142: 120-22.

(52.) Letter, Laguiche to Minister of War, no. 253, 13/26 October 1914, SHD, 7 N 757.

(53.) Telegram, Ianushkevich to Zhilinskii, 24 July 1914, HIA, Russia, Shtab Verkhognogo Glavnokomanduiushchego, Box 1.

(54.) Telegram, Ianushkevich to Zhilinskii, no. 345, 28 July 1914, HIA, Russia, Shtab Verkhognogo Glavnokomanduiushchego, Box 1.

(55.) Rapport du Commandant Langlois sur sa Seconde Mission en Russie, 10 April 1915, Fascicule III, 1, SHD, 7 N 1547.

(56.) Zapiski, vol. 1, p. 22, HIA, F.F. Palitsyn Collection, Box 1.

(57.) Zapiski, vol. 1, p. 64, HIA, F.F. Palitsyn Collection, Box 1.

(58.) I. I. Rostunov, Russkii front pervoi mirovoi voiny, Moscow: Nauka, 1976, 166-67.

(59.) Rostunov, Russkii front, 166-67.

(60.) Telegram, Ianushkevich to Ivanov, 4 October 1914, HIA, Russia, Shtab Verkhognogo Glavnokomanduiushchego, Box 1.

(61.) Telegram, Ianushkevich to Ivanov and Ruzskii, 9 October 1914, HIA, Russia, Shtab Verkhognogo Glavnokomanduiushchego, Box 1.

(62.) General'nyi Shtab RKKA, Lodzinskaia operatsiia, Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe Voennoe Izdatel'stvo Narodnogo Komissariata Oborony Soiuza SSR, 1936, 31-32.

(63.) General'nyi Shtab RKKA, Lodzinskaia operatsiia, 32.

(64.) Telegram, Ianushkevich to Ruzskii, 25 December 1914, HIA, Russia, Shtab Verkhognogo Glavnokomanduiushchego, Box 1.

(65.) Telegram, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich to Nicholas II, 26 December 1914, GARF, 601/1/592, l. 208.

(66.) Telegram, lanushkevich to Ruzskii, 2 February 1915, HIA, Russia, Shtab Verkhognogo Glavnokomanuiushchego, Box 1.

(67.) Ruzskii went on sick leave in March 1915 and was replaced by Alekseev.

(68.) Stone, The Eastern Front, 174.

(69.) Memo, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich to Nicholas II, 25 December 1907, GARF, 601/ 1/548, l.5.

(70.) Telegram, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich to Nicholas II, 28 April 1915, GARF, 601/1/ 592, l. 414.

(71.) Telegram, Laguiche to Minister of War, no. 88, 23 May 1915, SHD, 5 N 74.

(72.) Telegram, Laguiche, no. 174, 11 August 1915, SHD, 7 N 1545.

(73.) Telegram, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich to Nicholas II, 25 May 1915, GARF, 601/1/ 592, ll. 44445.

(74.) Daniel W. Graf, "Military Rule Behind the Russian Front, 1914-1917: The Political Ramifications," Jahrbucher fur Geschichte Osteuropa 22, 1974, 390-411: 397.

(75.) Peter Holquist, "The Role of Personality in the First (1914-1915) Russian Occupation of Galicia and Bukovina," in Anti-Jewish Violence: Rethinking the Pogrom in East European History, Jonathan Dekel-Chen et al., eds, Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 2011, 52-73.

(76.) Eric Lohr, Nationalizing the Russian Empire: The Campaign Against Enemy Aliens during World War I, Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2003, 20.

(77.) Voennyi dnevnik velikogo kniazia Andreia Vladimirovicha, 128.

(78.) William C. Fuller, The Foe Within: Fantasies of Treason and the End of Imperial Russia, Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 2006, 147-8.

(79.) Letter, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich to Nicholas II, 8 February 1915, GARF, 601/1/ 1311, ll. 25-26.

(80.) M.K. Lemke, 250 dnei v tsarskoi stavke (25 sent. 1915-2 iiulia 1916), Petrograd: Gosudarstvennoe Izdatel'stvo, 1920, 340-41.

(81.) Bezobrazov, Diary, D46.

(82.) "Zhurnal soveta gosudarstvennoi oborony," 24 & 29 January, & 2 & 7 April 1907, RGVIA, 830/1/173, l. 8.

(83.) Alexander Victor Prusin, Nationalizing a Borderland: War, Ethnicity, and Anti-Jewish Violence in East Galicia, 1914-1920, Tuscaloosa, AL: U. of Alabama P., 2005, 38

(84.) Letter, Ianushkevich to Gesse, 16 April 1915, RGVIA, 2005/1/13, l. 438.

(85.) Telegram, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich to Goremykin, 3 October 1914, RGVIA, 2005/1/24, l. 3.

(86.) Letter, Ianushkevich to Vladimir Fedorovich, no. 71, 8 October 1914, RGVIA, 2005/1/24, 1.5.

(87.) Letter, Ianushkevich to van der Flit, no. 1085, 20 December 1914, RGVIA, 2005/1/24, l. 133; Telegram, Ianushkevich to Oranovskii, 26 December 1914, RGVIA, 2005/1/28, l. 78.

(88.) A.Iu. Bakhturina, Politika Rossiiskoi imperii v, vostochnoi Galitsii v gody pervoi mirovoi voiny, Moscow: AIRO-XX, 2000, 160.

(89.) "Stavka i ministerstvo inostrannykh del," Krasnyi Arkhiv 26, 1928, 1-50: 10-11; Shavel'skii, Vospominaniia, vol. 1, 167.

(90.) Bakhturina, Politika, 160.

(91.) Telegram, Nicholas II to Bobrinskii, no. 128, 15 September 1914, RGVIA, 2005/1/13, l. 475.

(92.) Telegram, Bobrinskii to Ianushkevich, 17 September 1914, RGVIA, 2005/1/13, l. 481.

(93.) Shavel'skii, Vospominaniia, vol. 1, 175.

(94.) Ibid.

(95.) Richard L. DiNardo, Breakthrough: The Gorlice-Tarnow Campaign, 1915, Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2010, 40-11.

(96.) Ibid.

(97.) Telegram, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich to Nicholas II, 31 August 1914, GARF, 601/ 1/592, 1.49.

Paul Robinson is a professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. He is the author of numerous works on Russian and military history, and has recently completed a biography of Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich which is to be published by Northern Illinois University Press.
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