ISBN-10:
0674911113
ISBN-13:
9780674911116
Pub. Date:
04/20/1999
Publisher:
Harvard
The Tsar's Colonels: Professionalism, Strategy, and Subversion in Late Imperial Russia / Edition 674

The Tsar's Colonels: Professionalism, Strategy, and Subversion in Late Imperial Russia / Edition 674

by David Alan RichDavid Alan Rich

Hardcover

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Overview

In this impressive study, David Rich demonstrates how the modernization of Russia's general staff during the second half of the nineteenth century reshaped its intellectual and strategic outlook and equipped the staff to play a strong, and at times dominant, role in shaping Russian foreign policy.

Rich weaves together several levels of narrative to show how the increasingly sophisticated, scientific, and positivistic work attitudes and habits of the general staff acculturated younger officers, redefining their relationship with, and responsibilities to, the state. In time, this new generation of officers projected their characteristic notions onto the state and onto autocracy itself; professional concern for the security of the state eclipsed traditional unquestioning loyalty to the regime. Rich goes on to show how divergence between diplomatic and military aims among those responsible for making strategy cost the state dearly in terms of economic stability and international standing.

The author supports his findings with original research in Russian foreign policy and military archives and wide reading in published sources. The Tsar's Colonels contributes to a number of debates in Russian military and social history and offers new insights on the structural roots of the Great War, and on the theoretical problems of modernization and professionalization.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674911116
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 04/20/1999
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 570
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

David Alan Rich is an independent scholar and a researcher at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Table of Contents

Preface

Note on Translation and Transliteration

Introduction

The Emergence of General Staff Professionalism

Expert Knowledge and the Problem of Higher Military Staffs

Science and Military Statistics in Nicholas's Army

Main Staff Reform between Sevastopol and Sedan

Mortal Danger as Strategic Rebirth

The Main Staff Plans a War

Professionalism's Fruits

Experts versus Amateurs

Progress and Stalemate

Conclusion

Supplemental Data

Notes

Bibliography

Index

What People are Saying About This

The Tsar's Colonels is an impressive contribution to military history, diplomatic history, history of the professions and intellectual history, and will be read with great profit by scholars in all these fields. Within the small but very significant constellation of military professionals Rich focuses on, the real hero of the story is Nikolai Obruchev, who is revealed here in marvelously revisionist ways. The story, as Rich tells it, will have importance for debates over professionalization in the late Russian empire and its successor Soviet state, and even for current post-Soviet Russian debates about military doctrine.

Mark von Hagen

The Tsar's Colonels is an impressive contribution to military history, diplomatic history, history of the professions and intellectual history, and will be read with great profit by scholars in all these fields. Within the small but very significant constellation of military professionals Rich focuses on, the real hero of the story is Nikolai Obruchev, who is revealed here in marvelously revisionist ways. The story, as Rich tells it, will have importance for debates over professionalization in the late Russian empire and its successor Soviet state, and even for current post-Soviet Russian debates about military doctrine.
Mark von Hagen, Director, Harriman Institute, Columbia University

David McDonald

David Rich questions a venerable myth in Russian historiography: the centrality of the tensions between an autocratic state and a nascent 'civil society' to understanding the career of autocracy before 1914. In so doing, The Tsar's Colonels deepens and broadens our understanding of the social, intellectual, and political factors that led to the emergence of a professional and technical elite within the Russian military establishment.

William C. Fuller

David Rich's outstanding The Tsar's Colonels is a highly original examination of the rise of the professional general staff in Russia in the period from the end of the Crimean war to the conclusion of the Franco-Russian alliance. Based on extensive archival research, informed by an impressive knowledge of the theoretical literature, and distinguished by its comparative perspective, the book casts light on the uneasy coexistence of 'premodern' and 'modern' elements within the Russian state, as well as the constraints that Russian reality placed on the empire's implementation of positivist agendas for military reform and strategic planning. An important contribution to international, strategic, social, and cultural history, fluidly written and trenchantly argued, The Tsar's Colonels is a superb, sophisticated study by a talented young historian.
William C. Fuller, Jr., U.S. Naval War College

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