The Historical Background of the Red Army

  • Norman Stone


In the months before war broke out in 1914, observers in all of the great powers of Europe had become convinced that the Russian Empire was on its way to becoming the dominant military power of the continent. Nicolson, at the Foreign Office in London, noted that it would soon become ‘very considerable’; Bethmann Hollweg, in Berlin, had nightmare visions of a future in which Russian armies occupied the line from Stettin to Trieste. This vision had much to do with the Germans’ decision, in July 1914, to risk, or even provoke, a European war; for the German military had become convinced that Russia had to be challenged before her army was so strong as to be quite unbeatable. The ‘great programme’ of Russian armament, which passed into law in 1914, provided for an increase in artillery, infantry divisions, and officer-numbers that would, by 1917, have secured the Russian army a comfortable superiority in most aspects of warfare by 1917.


Historical Background Direct Taxis General Staff Military Budget German Army 


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© Norman Stone 1979

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  • Norman Stone

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