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Russia-Entente Relations and the Preparation of the Allied Offensive in 1915-1916

Student: Sofya Anisimova

Supervisor: Liudmila Novikova

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities

Educational Programme: Historical Knowledge (Master)

Final Grade: 7

Year of Graduation: 2018

Despite growing interest in Russia’s role in the First World War its military strategy in 1914-1918 remains largely under-researched. Yet, Russia was an important member of the Entente and a better understanding of its strategic goals could considerably improve the general knowledge of the coalition as a whole. This paper explores Russian strategic planning in September 1915 – July 1916 and argues that the main strategic objective of Russian military command was the achievement of a coordinated Allied offensive as they understood the ineffectiveness of independent offensive action and were aware that Russian Army had no resources to fight the Germans on its own. Russians failed to lobby their own project of the Allied offensive in the Balkans due to the lack skillful representatives in Chantilly and the misconception about Russia’s reputation within the Entente. Nevertheless, the Allied conference in Chantilly in December 1915 reached a general agreement on the combined offensive action in 1916 and Russia’s primary strategic goal was satisfied, even though it assumed different time and direction of the attack. Russian high command unsuccessfully tried to dissuade the French and the British commanders about the attack against Germany in January-March 1916 and even suggested Turkey as an alternative place of the combined offensive. Eventually, Alekseyev had to undertake smaller local attacks to achieve his goals in Galicia, Poland, and Armenia whilst preparing for the grand offensive of the Allies scheduled in the late spring.

Full text (added November 25, 2018)

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