Military History Commissions

Military History Commissions

 

established in Russia to compile official histories of wars.

(1) The Military History Commission for the Description of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 (under the General Staff; from 1905, under the Central Directorate of the General Staff) was created in 1879. In 1886 the compilation of the description of the war in the Caucasus theater was transferred to the military history section of the staff of the Caucasus Military District. Three volumes were prepared for publication in 1897, but Minister of War P. S. Vannovskii rejected the manuscript because of the critique of the Russian command that it contained. The commission finished its work in 1911 and was liquidated. In all, the following were published from 1898 to 1913: Description of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 on the Balkan Peninsula (1901-16, in nine volumes, 14 books; size, about 400 printer’s sheets), with an atlas; and the Special Supplement, which was not to be made public (issues 1-6, 1899—1911; diplomatic documents, correspondence of the tsar with Commander in Chief and General E. I. Totleben, secret materials relevant to the war plan, intelligence reports of military agents).

(2) The Military History Commission for the Description of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, under the Central Directorate of the General Staff, was created in 1906. Its work was completed by early 1910, and in the course of the year nine volumes (16 books) were published of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 and an album of maps. The total volume of publication amounted to 600 printer’s sheets. The publications of the commission contain a wealth of factual material but require a critical attitude.

(3) The Historical Commission for the Description of the Operations of the Fleet in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 was created under the naval General Staff in 1908. The commission’s publications included The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05: Work of the Historical Commission under the Naval General Staff for the Description of the Operations of the Fleet in the War of 1904-05 (introduction, part 1, 1918; books 1-4, 6, 7, 1912-18) and the collection of documents The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05: Operations of the Fleet: Documents Published by the Historical Commission … (sections 1-4, 1907-14).

(4) The Military History Commission for the Description of World War I of 1914-18, under the military history unit (later, part of the military history section) of the All-Russian General Staff, was created on Aug. 13, 1918. (After Nov. 15, 1918, it was called the Commission for the Study and Application of the Experience of the War of 1914—18, and later the Military History Commission.) It was disbanded on May 29, 1921. The chairmen of the commission were V. N. Klembovskii (August-October 1918) and A. A. Svechin (from November 1918). The commission prepared 39 works on the war of 1914—18 and 13 on the Civil War; 44 works were published. On the basis of these works A Strategic Outline of the War of 1914-18 (vols. 1-7, 1920-23) was published; it cites many operations documents and provides a factual description of the war on the Russian front. It lacks, however, a scientific analysis and evaluation of military operations, as well as a description of the course of the war in other theaters and seas.

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