“Saratov Key” to the 1918 Campaign

 
PIIS013038640025912-1-1
DOI10.31857/S013038640025912-1
Publication type Article
Status Published
Authors
Affiliation: Volga Region Institute of Management – branch of the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration
Address: Russian Federation, Saratov
Affiliation: Institute of World History, RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameNovaia i noveishaia istoriia
EditionIssue 3
Pages84-100
Abstract

In the article, the authors examine the role of Saratov in the 1918 campaign of the Great War. The significance of this Russian rear city in the events of the war only became apparent after the conclusion of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk between the German Empire and Soviet Russia. The Treaty of 3 March 1918 created a vast field of new opportunities for the Central Powers, which had supposedly triumphed on the Eastern Front. The fragmentation of the Russian Empire, lack of resources and aspirations for a future radical colonial redistribution forced the German Empire to think on a Eurasian scale. The numerous descendants of German colonists in the Russian governorates of Saratov and Samara became an important point of diplomatic and military effort for both Germany and the parties of the Russian Civil War. From spring to autumn 1918, German military and political projects in the East would invariably include Saratov as a crucial location on the road to Turkestan and India.For the various anti-Bolshevik forces in the East and South, which managed to form independently by the summer of 1918, there was the possibility of uniting in the obvious Volga operational direction. In their hypothetical unification, wealthy Volga Germans could constitute a substantial reinforcement, although any interaction with them required an unambiguous pro-German orientation. In the article, the authors examine and assess the capabilities and actions of the main military and political actors – the German Empire, the RSFSR, the anti-Bolshevik governments – in the Brest system of international relations and in the context of the Russian Civil War in March – November 1918. They substantiate the hypothesis of the role, including the potential role, of the Saratov direction, in which both Germany and the White Movement missed the opportunity to achieve decisive results.

KeywordsWhite Movement, Russian Civil War, foreign intervention, German Empire, Saratov, Volga Germans
Received17.02.2023
Publication date26.06.2023
Number of characters51753
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