Learning from Foreign Wars examines how the Russian army interpreted and what lessons it learned from the wars in Europe between 1859 and 1871, and the American Civil War. This was a time marked by rapid change - political, social, economic and technological. By raising the question of learning from foreign wars the author attempts to fill a gap in the historiography of the Russian army. The army was one of the pillars on which the Russian regime built its power, and it was crucial for the survival of the regime both in domestic and foreign affairs. The reactions and thinking of the military at a time of rapid social, political, economic, and technological change, therefore, tell a lot about the regime's ability to adjust, develop, and ultimately survive. Furthermore, the influence of foreign wars on Russian strategic war planning is analysed with the use of the first Russian war plan of 1873 and the proceedings from the strategic conference, chaired by Alexander II, in 1873. The influence of foreign wars on the General Staff officer education is also investigated. This book is largely based on extensive research in Russian archives. Special attention is given to the military attachés and, thus, the author fills a gap in the historiography of the Russian army. It uncovers the development of the military attaché institution with the use of new archival material. The Russian military attaché reports from the European Great Powers 1859-71 and the observer reports from the different theatres of war are also examined. In addition, extensive use has been made of the military press and contemporary military literature with regard to the wars.
"In writing of Russian efforts to learn from others, the author shows an excellent command of her subject ... One of the major contributions of the work is its extensive bibliography, which will in itself remain a valuable guide to historians of nineteenth-century Russian military history ... An extremely valuable contribution to the field." Slavic Review
"Persson has provided a valuable study of the Russian military as a learning institution at a critical juncture in its history". The Russian Review
"...a useful new addition to the literature on the late Imperial Russian army." Canadian Slavonic Papers
" Apart from the work’s interest to those who study the Russian Army and its post-Crimean reforms, the book has a wider value to those researching the origins of operational art and modern military theory, as well as general warfare in the mid-19th Century, very much a hinge period in its development. The book has a very extensive bibliography with details of Russian archival material and this is not the least of its strengths.... an interesting work of far wider interest than one would assume from its title." Mars & Clio
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