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The Brusilov Offensive

Timothy C. Dowling

Publication Year: 2008

In the summer of 1915, the Central Powers launched an offensive on the Eastern Front that they hoped would decide the war. It did not, of course. In June 1916, an Allied army under the command of Aleksei A. Brusilov decimated the Central Powers' gains of 1915. Brusilov's success brought Romania into the war, extinguished the offensive ability of the Habsburg armies, and forced Austria-Hungary into military dependence on and political subservience to Germany. The results were astonishing in military terms, but the political consequences were perhaps even more significant. More than any other action, the Brusilov Offensive brought the Habsburg Empire to the brink of a separate peace, while creating conditions for revolution within the Russian Imperial Army. Timothy C. Dowling tells the story of this important but little-known battle in the military and political history of the Eastern Front.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: Twentieth-Century Battles


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pp. vii

List of Maps

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pp. ix

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pp. xi-xxii

There is a society devoted solely to the study of the Western Front during the First World War. Created in 1980, it has more than 6,500 members around the world who form a network for the discussion of topics related to the Western Front. ...

Chronology of Aleksei A. Brusilov’s Life

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pp. xxiii-xxv

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One Russia in the First World War

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pp. 1-34

The High Command of the Russian Imperial Army met at its headquarters (Stavka) in Mogilev on 14 April 1916 to discuss plans for the coming spring. In attendance were three commanders: General Aleksei N. Kuropatkin, commanding the Northern Front; General Aleksei Evert, in charge of the Northwestern Front; ...

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Two Making Preparations

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pp. 35-61

Given the circumstances of early 1916, it is easy to see how Brusilov’s offer to go on the offensive might have seemed suicidal. Over the course of the Gorlice-Tarnow campaign in the summer of 1915 and the subsequent “Yellow-Black Offensive,” the Russians had suffered between 300,000 and 400,000 casualties per month. ...

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Three The Offensive Begins

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pp. 62-87

General Brusilov issued the order for the offensive to begin at 1 AM on 4 June 1916. “It is time to drive out the dishonorable enemy,” he wrote. “All armies on our front are attacking at the same time. I am convinced that our iron armies will win the victory.”1 The basic plan remained intact: ...

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Four Stalemate and Renewal

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pp. 88-112

By mid-June 1916, it appeared as if the Brusilov Offensive might provide the dramatic breakthrough to decide the war that generals on both sides and both fronts had been seeking for nearly two years. On the northern end of the front, the Russians appeared poised to overwhelm the combined forces of the Central Powers. ...

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Five A Tale of North and South

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pp. 113-134

On 9 July 1916, the army commanders of the Central Powers believed that the Brusilov Offensive had to be regarded as a failure. Though they had faced “seemingly [ . . . ] the greatest crisis of the world war” less than a month earlier, they were now convinced that the Russians’ moment had passed.1 ...

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Six The Offensive Shatters

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pp. 135-159

Like so many of the Central Powers’ plans in the summer of 1916, the Carpathian Offensive turned out to be a chimera. The attack, set for 3 August, was to be carried out in three parts. In the center of the line Korda’s Carpathian Corps would strike north and then east from Kuty along the Czeremosz River valley, ...

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Seven Consequences

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pp. 160-176

The Romanian debacle marked, in many ways, the beginning of the end for Russia. Whatever slight hopes Brusilov might have had for the renewal of his offensive in September and October of 1916 were dashed as the reserves of the Southwestern Front—twenty-seven divisions in all—were drawn off to prevent a complete collapse in Romania. ...


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pp. 177-196


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pp. 197-204


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pp. 205-208

E-ISBN-13: 9780253003522
E-ISBN-10: 0253003520
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253351302

Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 4 b&w photos, 5 maps
Publication Year: 2008

Series Title: Twentieth-Century Battles