from 'the War Budget', August 16th, 1917
'Why Brusiloff Must Return'

A Russian General


Why Brusiloff Must Return
An Appreciation of the Greatest of Russian Strategists

Our enemies continue, for the present, to hold the field in one department of modern war—the Science of Treachery. Fortunately the traitor's role is the mast risky part on the stage of battle; but while it lasts, it appears to pay only too well.

Russia's step backward has been traced to the clutching hand of Berlin working innumerable strings in every part of the Muscovite Army and Civil Service. Not the least potent effects of this nefarious and inglorious art of underhand warfare, has been the partial paralysis of the Russian Command. Brusiloff's resignation is but one of the many signs that the mighty Empire's "mental communications" have been seriously impaired for a season. Doubtless the great general will return, to his post, or to some equally important command, for he is one of the men who cannot be spared in the most momentous crisis of a nation's life and death struggle.


Narrow Escape from Hunland

When the war drew near, Brusiloff was in Germany, at a Bohemian health resort. Hearing of the assassination of the Austrian heir, Brusiloff returned to Russia, and within a few days' war was declared and the frontier closed. This narrowly did he escape from the enemy's country through his extraordinary foresight. He was on the alert for the event which he had been expecting for years. He had been serving at Warsaw under General Skalon, a year or two before the war; he had asked and obtained a transfer to Vinnitza, a little town close to the Austrian frontier, for the reason that he anticipated war—knowing that Germany planned and prepared it—and he wished, in the first place, to have an independent command, even if only of one corps, and in the second place to be on what he saw to be the direct line of attack.

A Masterly Stroke

It was one of Brusiloff's masterly strokes immediately to enrol the Czechs and Slovaks into regiments and divisions and to put them on the firing line.

When Brusiloff at the beginning of the war accepted the post of Corps Commander at Vinnitza, he was put in command of the army of the extreme left, with Russki at his right hand, for the first drive past Lemberg and Halicz. That drive carried the Russian armies up to the Carpathians and the gates of Hungary. There, through the fatal incompetence of the men at Petrograd, the shell supply failed, and Mackensen was for that reason able to carry through his spectacular drive eastward, forcing the bulk of the Russian armies out of Poland and Galicia and back on Russian soil. Only a part of the army, personally commanded by General Brusiloff, still held a footing on enemy territory, in the north-east corner of Galicia.

His Second Drive

From that point of vantage, he began, patiently and with endless perseverance, to prepare for a second drive last spring. The shaking of the Italian defences in the Trentino compelled him to launch it while it was still not quite prepared; there was the same deep-rooted evil of maladministration at the rear expressing itself most visibly in a shortage of shells. But, even so handicapped, Brusiloff swept in captives by the hundred thousand. He is said to have taken more than a million prisoners.

He is recorded as having said:

"When I make a third drive, I shall do so only when I have plenty of shells."

During the three perilous months immediately following the abdication of Nicholas II, when the work of German agents in Russia was, at times, seemingly triumphant, Brusiloff had given orders that not one of these propagandasts should be tolerated within speaking distance of any of his, troops—and had seen that his orders were carried out. Therefore, it happened that, while the German agents were drugging the Kronstadt-sailors and sowing discord at Petrograd, the morale of the Brusiloff armies on the south-west front was almost wholly unimpaired, their fine discipline was almost wholly unshaken.

Smashing the Mainspring

"Brusiloff intervened in another way, which has been indicated in the press cables, but which has not, in all likelihood, been clearly understood," writes Mr. Charles Johnston, in the "New York Times." It will be remembered that German agents, just about the time when Nicholas descended from the throne, scattered broadcast through Petrograd the famous 'Order No. 1,' apparently signed by the Executive Committee of Workmen's and Soldier's Delegates, and actually supported by a few of the extremists in that ill- balanced body; its effect was practically to smash the mainspring of discipline in the Russian Army. Kerensky hastened at once to the Executive Committee and procured' the publication of a modifying 'Order No. 2,' in an effort to neutralise the damage done. But Giutohkoff, then War Minister in the Provisional Government, seemingly daunted by the extremists, gave the official sanction of the War Ministry to some subversive provisions of the German proclamation.

''Immediately afterwards two events were chronicled by the cables, each in a space of three or four lines. The first of these was a hurried visit of certain famous Generals to Petrograd and the Provisional Government. Brusiloff was one of them. The second event was the resignation of Gutchkoff, whose place was taken by Kerensky.

It would appear that, for tike moment, German guile has been too widespread for even Brusiloff to arrest. With devilish cunning, the secret agents of Kultur have made the Russian enfranchisement a weapon of offence against all authority. But the Russian Premier's firm stand ushers in a new and more enlightened discipline, which promises to reunite the vast hosts of our unconquered Ally. Soon, Brusiloff's turn must come again.


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