World War I lessons

World War I lessons

105 years ago, on August 1, 1914, the Russian Empire entered into World War I. Over the past century, its reasons, course and results have been given different assessments.

A senior researcher at the Research Institute (Military History) of the Military Academy of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Oleg Alpeyev, believes that Russia was preparing for World War I, based on the experience of the Russian-Japanese war: "Our opponents and allies did not have such experience. There was a local Anglo-Boer War in 1899-1902 in England. Germany's most recent war was the Franco-Prussian War in 1870-1871. But Russia had an experience of modern warfare. After a rather sensitive defeat, serious reforms were carried out in Russia in 1905, and they had made significant progress in increasing the country's defense potential. In 1910, seven new divisions were formed in Russia - an increase of about 10%. But when compared with Germany, then, of course, in some aspects Russia lagged far behind its future enemy. First of all, in the heavy ordnance equipment. Another significant drawback was Russia's small number of re-enlisted non-commissioned officers, that is, middle-ranking officers."

Oleg Alpeyev believes that Russia's western adversaries and allies did not prepare for a war of attrition, starvation, which demanded the mobilization of a huge amount of human and economic resources: "In both Germany and France, pre-war mobilization calculations for the amount of ammunition needed in case of war did not meet the requirements put by the war. In France and Germany, a light gun had a half thousand shells, in Russia - even less - about a thousand. All the warring countries were low on ammunition after three months of fighting and half a year later they run out of ammunition at all. Another this is that Russia, unlike Germany and France, could not restructure the military command system, as well as supply and control of the economy, which led to such unfortunate and bad things as the 1915 shell crisis, which Germany was able to avoid. Russia was not ready to undergo changes and respond to the challenges of the time, set before all the warring countries by the war. Its opponents and allies were able to better adapt to the new conditions."

Senior researcher at the Center for Military History at the Institute of Russian History of Russian Academy of Sciences Sergei Nelipovich said that during World War I tragedy of millions intertwined into the tragedy of several countries and several historical communities that had developed by the beginning of the 20th century: "This intra-civilization war resulted in the beginning of the erosion of the European world, in the multipolarity of world civilization. The war gave impetus to the development of national movements. The map of Europe has changed, and so far, we have witnessed the development of so-called small-scale nationalism, which blossomed from the ruins of Eastern European empires."

The Eastern Front of World War I has been little studied. "Many top-level German historians say that when people on the streets Europe are asked about World War I, everyone mentions Verdun, Somme, Flanders, that is, the western theater of military operations. It is rare that anyone remember the Dardanelles, and especially the Eastern Front. As for Poland, very considerable work has been done by historians and the local population in order to restore a huge number of military cemeteries on the territory of Poland. We see the same process in Belarus - old memorial complexes were reconstructed there, a modern memorial complex was built in the center of Minsk. The memory of the war lives on. I think that the study of this extremely complex process will be further developed. War is a great tragedy, and this tragic event has a very strong influence on the further development of the world's fate. We shouldn't forget it," Sergey Nelipovich believes.