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Defenders of the MotherlandThe Tsarist Elite in Revolutionary Russia$
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Matthew Rendle

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199236251

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199236251.001.0001

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(p.115) 5 Officers
Defenders of the Motherland

Matthew Rendle (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses how the traditionally apolitical officer corps became increasingly politicized during 1917. This was evident in the creation of the Union of Republican Officers and the Soviet of Officers' Deputies to represent socialist and liberal officers respectively. But it is also seen in the formation of professional unions – the Union of Officers, Military League, and Union of George Cavaliers – by officers who felt that more attention should be paid to the declining position of officers within the military. Officers had supported the revolution in the hope that it would improve Russia's war effort, but instead it had caused the military to disintegrate under the pressure of soldiers' demands for greater rights. Yet professional unions were not as divorced from politics as their leaders argued: demands for stronger measures to combat the disintegration led naturally to demands for stronger government to save Russia by August.

Keywords:   Officers, First World War, Union of Republican Officers, Soviet of Officers' Deputies, Union of Officers, Military League, Union of George Cavaliers, professional unions, soldiers, politicization

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