Nikolai Petrovich Mikhnevich

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mikhnevich, Nikolai Petrovich


Born Oct. 7 (19), 1849; died Feb. 8, 1927, in Leningrad. Russian military theorist and historian; general of the infantry (1910). Of the dvorian’e (nobility or gentry) of Tambov Province.

Mikhnevich graduated from a provincial surveying institute in 1867 and from the Alexander Military School in 1869. He served in the guard, participated in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, and graduated from the Academy of the General Staff in 1882. Mikhnevich became professor of the history of the Russian art of war at the Academy of the General Staff in 1892 and was chief of the Academy of the General Staff from 1904 to 1907. He was a division and corps commander from 1907 to 1910 and chief of Main Headquarters from 1911 to 1917. He retired in April 1917. In 1918, Mikhnevich began teaching in the Red Army, including courses at the Artillery Academy (1919–25).

In his works Mikhnevich conceived of war and the army as being above classes, but he considered military science a social science. He tried to discover the relationship of war and the art of war to the economic development and the political structure of the state. While idealistically viewing the principles of the art of war as eternal, he also recognized that the resources, means, and conditions of the struggle are objective and changing and have a decisive effect on the course and outcome of the war. He was thus an inconsistent materialist and an eclectic. Mikhnevich’s major work, Strategy (books 1–2, 1899–1901), which ran into three editions, had a great influence on official Russian military thought on the eve of World War I (1914–18).


Vliianie noveishikh tekhnicheskikh izobretenii na taktiku voisk. St. Petersburg, 1893.
Znachenie germano-frantsuzkoi voiny 1870–1871 v istorii voennogo iskusstva, vol. 1. St. Petersburg, 1892.
Istoriia voennogo iskusstva s drevneishikh vremen do nachala XIX st, 2nd ed. St. Petersburg, 1896.
Voina mezhdy Germaniei i Frantsiei 1870–71 gg., Kritiko-istoricheskoe issledovanie, part 1. St. Petersburg, 1897.
Osnovy russkogo voennogo iskusstva: Sravnitel’nyi ocherk sostoianiia voennogo iskusstva v Rossii i Zapadnoi Evrope v vazhneishie istoricheskie epokhi. St. Petersburg, 1898.
Voennaia nauka i stepen’ tochnosti ee vyvodov. St. Petersburg, 1899.


Strokov, A. A. Istoriia voennogo iskusstva, vol. 3. Moscow, 1967.
Russkaia voenno-teoreticheskaia mysl’ XIX i nachala XX vv. Moscow, 1960.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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