Cover Osteuropa 2-4/2014

In Osteuropa 2-4/2014

The Beginning of the End
The Tsarist Empire in the First World War

Jörg Baberowski

Deutsche Fassung


Russia was not ready for a great war. The war led to the rise of nationalism in the multi-ethnic empire. It put an end to autocracy’s pragmatic nationalities policy and unleashed an orgy of violence on a grand scale. The war plunged the tsarist empire into chaos and anarchy, uprooted millions of people, and marked the dawn of ethnic cleansing. The refugee became the emissary of the new age. The Great War had begun in 1914. It came to an end only in 1924. Everything that had been painstakingly built over three centuries collapsed within a few years. Russia was the birthplace of the totalitarian temptation, which sought to impose order on anything that refused to be subjugated. To this extent, the Eastern Front was no peripheral theatre of operations in the great European war.

(Osteuropa 2-4/2014, pp. 7–20)