Learning from Foreign Wars

Russian Military Thinking 1859-73

Gudrun Persson

Date Published :
May 2013
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781906033613
Pages : 208
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Available
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781908916983
Pages : 184
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Available
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Learning from Foreign Wars examines how the Russian army interpreted and what lessons it learned from the wars in Europe between 1859 and 1871 and the American Civil War. This was a time marked by rapid change - political, social, economic and technological. By raising the question of learning from foreign wars, the author attempts to fill a gap in the historiography of the Russian army. The army was one of the pillars on which the Russian regime built its power, and it was crucial for the survival of the regime in both domestic and foreign affairs. The reactions and thinking of the military at a time of rapid social, political, economic, and technological change, therefore, tell a lot about the regime's ability to adjust, develop, and ultimately survive. Furthermore, the influence of foreign wars on Russian strategic war planning is analyzed with the use of the first Russian war plan of 1873 and the proceedings from the strategic conference, chaired by Alexander II, in 1873. The influence of foreign wars on the General Staff officer education is also investigated. This book is largely based on extensive research in Russian archives. Special attention is given to the military attachés and, thus, the author fills a gap in the historiography of the Russian army. It uncovers the development of the military attaché institution with the use of new archival material. The Russian military attaché reports from the European Great Powers 1859-71 and the observer reports from the different theatres of war are also examined. In addition, extensive use has been made of the military press and contemporary military literature with regard to the wars.


"Apart from the work's interest to those who study the Russian Army and its post-Crimean reforms, the book has a wider value to those researching the origins of operational art and modern military theory, as well as general warfare in the mid-19th Century, very much a hinge period in its development. The book has a very extensive bibliography with details of Russian archival material and this is not the least of its strengths.... an interesting work of far wider interest than one would assume from its title." Mars & Clio

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