What is the Russian word for wear and tear

Eastern Front 1917 - Russia without the Tsar, the war without Russia

Revolution was the word for the Eastern Front in 1917. First the February Revolution, which ended 300 years of rule by the Romanovs, then the October Revolution, which ended the war in the East and replaced the Tsar with Lenin. However, there was no peace in the East for a long time.

In retrospect, the Eastern Front of 1917 was overshadowed by the epochal political upheavals in Russia. But both the February Revolution and the October Revolution were reactions to the war, that is, to the military events at the front.

In the bitterly cold January 1917, the Russian army attempted a limited advance in the battle on the Aa River on the Bay of Riga. At -35 ° C even a local break-in in the positions of the completely surprised German defenders was possible, but there were no reserves to extend this success. Then the inevitable German counterattack set in, which regained a large part of the lost area until all fighting froze at -38 ° C. This battle was not one of the major and particularly bloody fighting on the Eastern Front, but its ineffectiveness contributed to the demoralization of the Russian soldiers - and morale in the Tsar's army was poor. Estimates put up to 1.5 million Russian deserters in 1916.

What also contributed to the decline in morale in Russia in the winter of 1916/17 were, on the one hand, the lack of strong and energetic leadership by the Tsar and, on the other hand, the steadily worsening supply crisis in the country. The tsar and tsarina mourned their murdered friend, spiritual mentor and healer of the tsarevich, Grigory Jefimowitsch Rasputin. The tsar increasingly lost touch with the mood of the people and the country. The aristocracy and Russia's elites saw the assassination of Rasputin as an appeal to the ruler to face his responsibility towards empire and people, but this appeal went unheard. Many peasants judged the unpunished death of the Siberian wandering preacher and spiritual healer from their ranks by nobles in exactly the opposite way. For many, the tsar was no longer the father of the Russian peasants, but simply partisan of the nobility. Nicholas II lost a massive amount of authority on both sides of the social spectrum of the population.

But it was the consequences of the economic problems caused by the war and the equally war-related crisis of the distribution of goods in the vast empire that affected the people of Russia all and much more directly. The steadily increasing demand for the army had triggered galloping inflation. The price of cloth rose by 300 percent between 1914 and 1917, and that of hardware by as much as 1,000 percent. Russia's external debt had risen from $ 4 billion in 1914 to over $ 16 billion in 1917. In agriculture, almost all large estates had failed as producers. The reason for this was the enormous increase in the cost of labor, triggered by the steadily increasing need for workers in the armaments industry and the war, which mainly devoured the peasantry, from which the agricultural workers came. The land was increasingly leased to smallholders who kept production at pre-war levels. Most of the farmers needed middlemen for sales in the cities, which reduced their profits considerably and thus led to a drop in supply. The farmers began to hoard and wait for even higher prices. At the same time, the army's need for food and horse feed and the increased food needs of the big cities had to be met. Most of the refugees found shelter and perhaps work in the cities. There was the arms industry, which needed more and more workers, so the number of hungry people in major Russian cities increased. But it was not until the distribution crisis that a “critical mass” was reached. The most important means of transport within the tsarist empire was the railroad. The war now brought massive additional burdens for the Russian railways, as in other warring countries. For example, the relocation of a complete infantry division required between 50 and 70 freight trains.

To cope with this increased need for transport, more was driven and less stood. Thus, the transport performance was temporarily increased, but in the long term the routes, especially the locomotives and wagons, are subject to enormous wear and tear. Maintenance and repair work did not take place at the necessary intervals and to the extent required. War losses intensified the trend, and the constantly growing gap in rolling stock could not be closed either through in-house production or imports. In 1914 Russia's stock of locomotives was over 20,000; in 1917 it had dropped to just under 9,000. Much of what was produced or imported simply no longer arrived where it was needed. Legendary, for example, were the huge, steadily growing mountains of armaments and supplies from Great Britain, France and the United States, which waited and waited in the distant Pacific port of Vladivostok for their onward transport with the Trans-Siberian Railway and rotted away in the process.

On International Women's Day, February 23rd July / 8th aggreg. March 1917 (in the following: two dates separated by a slash - Julian calendar / Gregorian calendar. One date - Gregorian calendar) the February Revolution arose from a bread demonstration by workers at the Putilov works in Petrograd. There had been several demonstrations and strikes in the winter of 1916/17, but on this day and the next, more and more factories stopped working. On February 25th / 10th On March 25th, soldiers of the Volhyn Guards regiment shot dead over 60 demonstrators and strikers, other units of the Petrograd garrison refused to give orders to fire or even switched sides. The demonstrations and strikes had turned into an uprising that spread across the country. On February 27th / 12th On March 1st, most of the city garrisons switched to the revolution side, because now it was a revolution.

Tsar Nikolaus thanked on 2./15. March, first in favor of the Tsarevich, but after a few hours he changed his mind and appointed Grand Duke Mikhail, his brother, as his successor. But he abdicated the next day and 300 years of Romanov rule came to an end. The tsar was on the 8th / 21st Arrested on March 8th and exiled to Siberia with his family for the time being.

The new provisional government of Russia had serious competitors in the struggle for power in the state through the Soviets, workers 'and soldiers' councils that had emerged from the revolution and were elected locally by the insurgents. The provisional government assured France and Great Britain of their inviolable loyalty to the alliance and from the point of view of Paris and London one was actually not so unhappy to be rid of the tsars. Before the war he was the ruler who was by far the most violently attacked for his despotism by democratic and progressive forces all over the world. The new government promised democracy for Russia and in Alexander Fjodorowitsch Kerensky it had a man who, from May 1917, as the new Minister of War, knew how to reorganize the army and motivate it to continue the war. Desertion and fraternization with the enemy were still a serious threat to the combat effectiveness of the Russian army, but they had not yet reached the epidemic proportions that ultimately helped the Bolsheviks succeed.

This small left-wing extremist splinter group had on 3/16. April 1917 with the arrival of their leader Vladimir Ilyich Lenin in Petrograd - the German Reich government had made his return from exile in Switzerland possible - received a great political boost. In the April theses Lenin pleaded for an end to the war, a very popular demand, but also for “All power to the Soviets”, which in his view meant “All power to the Bolsheviks”.

At the end of June Kerensky believed that he had strengthened the army enough to order an offensive - he could no longer have been wrong. The aim of the offensive from July 1 to 19, 1917, which went down in history as the Kerensky Offensive, was to strengthen the Russian position for future negotiations and to prevent an annexation peace at Russia's expense. As so often in the First World War, initial successes did not bring the hoped-for breakthrough. The losses on the Russian side increased rapidly and the soldiers completely lost the confidence they had just gained in the new government. Discipline in the army finally fell apart. Over the next few weeks, insubordination and desertion became the norm and the frontline began to break apart. First in groups, then by company, and finally whole regiments simply made their way home. Only the Czechoslovak Legion, composed of prisoners of war Czechs and Slovaks of the k. u. k. Army, which could volunteer from 1916, proved their worth in the Battle of Zborów. But this partial success did not change the outcome of the offensive. The Czechoslovak Legion was to play a special role in the future Russian civil war. Another consequence of the failed offensive was the capture of Eastern Galicia by the Central Powers in the second half of July 1917.

The failure of this last Russian offensive brought about another revolution. The French army had been able to prevent the mutiny from turning into a revolution, there had already been a revolution in Russia and the renewed defeat led directly to the second, the October Revolution.

A few days after the offensive had begun, the Bolsheviks had attempted to overthrow Petrograd, but this was unsuccessful, otherwise the July Revolution would now be in the history books. Lenin fled to Finland, but Lev Trotsky, who had been arrested temporarily, stayed in Leningrad and, after the failure of the Kerensky offensive, was able to stabilize and even expand the power of the Bolsheviks in the Soviets. The next attempt would be better planned, and the growing weakness of the Provisional Government worked into the hands of the Bolsheviks. Kerensky himself did not leave the government after the defeat; on the contrary, he became its new chairman.

The last major military operation of 1917 took place in the Baltic States from September 29 to October 20, 1917. In an amphibious operation, Germany captured the strategically important islands of Ösel, Dago and Moon. With that, German control of the Baltic Sea was complete.

On October 25th / 7th November 1917 saw the second attempt to seize power by Lenin. The coup d'état, which was planned militarily and carried out like a commando operation, went down in history as the October Revolution. The election for the constituent assembly on 12./25. November took place under the new rule, but after the result was bad for the Bolsheviks, the meeting was held on the 5th / 18th. In January 1918, after a few hours, the Red Guards simply sent them home.

The seizure of power by the Bolsheviks meant Russia's withdrawal from the First World War. What was now still available in armed Russian power either went over to the Red Guards, did the opposite and formed the first white troops or formed one of dozens of peasant militias. However, the bulk of the soldiers simply set off for their home villages. As a result of this development, Romania had to sign an armistice with the Central Powers on December 9th. Already on October 26th / 8th Lenin published a decree on peace on November 15th, and on December 15th, negotiations in Brest Litovsk between representatives of the Central Powers and the Bolsheviks concluded an armistice for the entire Eastern Front. The peace negotiations began immediately afterwards, but there would be no peace in this part of the world for years.

Chronology of events

The year 1917

Sixtus of Bourbon Parma (1886-1934)

Sixtus of Bourbon Parma (1886-1934)

Belgian officer during the First World War.

In: The memoirs of Count Tamás von Erdödy. Habsburg's way from Wilhelm to Briand. From the courier of Sixtus letters to the royal coup driver. By Paul Szemere and Erich Czech. Zurich, Leipzig, Vienna, after p. 64.

Source: Rainer Hubert Collection

"Sixtus Affair":
Emperor Charles I, through the mediation of his brother-in-law Sixtus Prince of Bourbon-Parma and without the knowledge of the allies, leads secret peace negotiations with France. He offers France that Serbia's sovereignty be restored and that Serbia get access to the Mediterranean Sea. Germany should return Alsace-Lorraine to France and evacuate Belgium. The French President Raymond Poincaré offers Austria-Hungary a separate peace on the condition that territories are ceded to Italy (South Tyrol) and Romania. Charles I rejects this, but the negotiations are continuing.

February 9th - March 20th

Company Alberich - withdrawal of the German western front on the Hindenburg line. By shortening and straightening the course of the front, 14 German infantry divisions are free. The evacuated area is systematically destroyed - scorched earth tactic.

19th of February

In order to save gas, the street lighting in Vienna will be severely restricted.

27th of February

Emperor Karl I removes Field Marshal Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf from his post as Chief of Staff and hands him supreme command of the Army Group in South Tyrol. His successor as Chief of Staff is General Arthur Arz von Straussenburg. Karl I. takes over the supreme command of the k. u. k. Army.

March 12th

First (bourgeois) revolution in Russia. Tsar Nicholas II is overthrown and a bourgeois-democratic government under Prince Georgij J. Lwow is proclaimed.


Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen (in Albatros D.III) and comrades from Jasta 11 on April 23, 1917.

The recording was used as a template for Led Zeppelin's second album.


Federal Archives, picture 183-2004-0430-501 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

April 1917 went down in history as "Bloody April" for the Royal Flying Corps, the British Air Force in World War I. Mainly in the area of ​​the Battle of Arras the British lost 275 aircraft against 66 German machines. The massive British aerial reconnaissance offers the newly created German Jasta's (hunting squadrons) rich prey over their own territory.

April 6

Declaration of war by the United States of America on the German Reich. This was preceded by the declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare by the German Reich in February. The USA then break off diplomatic relations with the German Reich.

April 9th ​​- May 16th

The Battle of Arras is the main British strike for the Entente spring offensive. At the beginning of the battle, Canadian troops successfully attack the ridge near the city of Vimy, at the northernmost end of the Arras battlefield. Despite initial successes, the real breakthrough in the front again failed. Given the relatively short duration of the battle, it is one of the bloodiest for the British Army in World War I. Losses of 150,000 men on the British side contrasted with 100,000 to 120,000 men on the German side.

April 16 - May 9

The Nivelle offensive, named after the French commander-in-chief, General Robert Nivelle, in no way fulfills the high expectations placed on it. On the contrary, the losses are much higher than expected and the German defense remains unshaken, despite high losses. The morale of the French fighters at the front is at an end and mutinies in almost all French divisions are the result.

Late April - June

The mutiny in the French army after the failure of the Nivelle offensive. Despite the fact that most of the French divisions were affected, neither the British allies nor the German army learned of the mutiny. This was fought three times. Pétain became the new commander-in-chief on the Western Front, trusted by the soldiers, draconian punishments were imposed on rather indiscriminately selected "rebels" and there were real reforms in the army. In addition, General Pétain was smart enough to forego major offensives for the rest of the year.