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Category: History

Historical memory of World War I: features of formation in Russia and in the West



E.S. Senyavskaya1 Historical memory of World War I:

2 **

features of formation in Russia and on the West e

In article the reasons for which World War I did not leave in historical memory of Russians of steady heroic symbols are considered and itself it appeared on the periphery public consciousness. Influence of an ideological and political environment on interpretation of the past, a role of imperious elite in formation of purposes of retrospective promotion is shown. Features of coverage of military events of 1914-1918 in domestic and foreign fiction are compared.

World War I of 1914-1918 literally shook world public consciousness, was a psychological stress for all modern civilization, having shown that all scientific, technical, cultural and allegedly moral progress reached by people is not capable to prevent instant rolling mankind to a condition of bloody barbarity and wildness. 1914 opened the road to wars of a new era in which "the mass and sophisticated cruelty unprecedented until then and hecatombs of the victims" after "rather well-behaved" wars XVIII and XIX centuries when still kept the force of "tradition of knightly nobility and military generosity" was shown... "In massacre all laws of morals and morality, including military were from now on violated. People were poisoned with gases, having on the quiet crept, heated vessels and the ships from under water, heated also submarines, and their crews corked in compartments live failed in sea chasms, killed people from air and in

1. Elena Spartakovna Senyavskaya is a doctor of historical sciences, the leading researcher of Institute of the Russian history of RAS, the winner of the State award of the Russian Federation, the full member of Academy of military sciences.
2. Article is prepared with assistance of the Russian humanitarian scientific fund. Project No. 08-01-00496a

air, there were armored vehicles - tanks, and thousands of people were crushed by their steel caterpillars as if these people also were not people, and caterpillars. It moreover in mass scale, did not occur in any former wars, even most istrebitelnykh1".

As this really grandiose event of the beginning of the XX century was fixed in historical memory of the subsequent, not so numerous (to XX! century) generations? By what it was remembered in different countries, belonging in that war to the contradictory coalitions? In what feature his perception in Russia and in the West?

Huge influence on historical memory, on estimates of the past military events is rendered by the political elite which is during a certain period in power and focused in foreign policy on preservation or revision of results of last wars. The current geopolitical, political, economic and other interests, as a rule, are involved in this process. In mechanisms of interpretative changes of historical memory a special role is played by influence of the dominating semantic contexts of society, especially its ideological transformations as it and resulted at the beginning of the XX century from World War I and the followed revolutions in Russia, Germany, Austria-Hungary and some other countries. In this context especially strongly historical memory of the people was affected by retrospective promotion, and extent of impact of this tool on mass consciousness was so powerful that the promoted events pressed others, much more significant for world history, lighting and which assessment were seriously distorted.

1. S.N. Semanov. Preface//World War I. (Memoirs, reports, essays, documents). M, 1989. Page 8.

Thereby such phenomenon of social psychology as lack of direct, rigid link between scale, the objective importance for the country of an event and its fixation in historical memory was visually highlighted. In Russia a bright example of that - World War I which shook to the basis all Russian society, but memory of which was forced out by events of revolution and Civil war. For the Russian consciousness they objectively became the much bigger test which covered world war why it also appeared on the periphery of public consciousness of the time. However not the smaller role in this "replacement" of world war was played by the ideological policy of the Soviet state. Being called contemporaries Great, Domestic, National, at Bolsheviks World War I was considerably rethought and overestimated, received a label "imperialistic" and "aggressive" on both sides. The ideology of the new power rejected it as klassovo alien, parted participants on different sides of barricades, actively formed its negative image in historical memory of the people, forbade heroes to carry royal awards and heroes ceased to be considered as those.

And here it is necessary to talk especially about heroic symbols as a phenomenon of the mass, in many respects mythologized consciousness.

Any and furthermore large-scale war is the situation, extreme for society, breaking a habitual course of life putting tough trial the system of values existing in peace conditions, moral health of society, its psychological stability. Regulation of a moral and psychological condition of society is one of the most important factors of mobilization of its resources in extraordinary military conditions. And the most effective instrument of such regulation - formation of heroic symbols, that is the generalized social examples of individual, group, mass behavior on which society focuses the members in situations, similar, significant at this historical moment. Symbols get

value of independent social value, become an imitation subject in life and by the ideological tool of a wide profile - propagandas, promotion and education, strongly being fixed then and in historical memory of society.

World War I which provoked the internal revolutionary shocks which ended with disintegration of the Russian Empire and Civil war in Russia carries a label unsuccessful for the country and the "lost" war, unclear for the people, despite belonging to the coalition of winners till this moment. "A row behind a row went courageous,

sad, indifferent persons towards the West, to unknown fights for

neponyat1noye business", - such, for example, the American correspondent John Read saw the Russian troops going on the front in the summer of 1915. And for similar wars in historical memory as to a form of public consciousness usually there is very few place. Therefore not accidentally in national memory heroic symbols of World War I practically did not remain. But nevertheless the fact that the German war developed into revolution which swept away both old values, and symbols representing them was the main reason of similar historical "amnesia", having replaced new. It is natural that the Soviet people on the whole could tell many names "heroes Civil" (certainly, winners - "red"!), but in a decade did not remember none of war heroes previous, "imperialistic" which was called Domestic until recently. (Except, perhaps, A.A. Brusilov with his well-known "brusilovsky break", and that generally because this royal general passed to service to the Soviet power).

It does not mean that in World War I there was a lack of heroic symbols: widely famous were also Full Cavaliers of St. George,

1. Read John. Along the front//World War I. (Memoirs, reports, essays, documents). M, 1989. Page 384.

and representatives of a new type of military forces - pilots. For example, legless pilots Alexander Seversky and Yury Gilsher, Alexey's predecessors

Maresyeva. And the author of "loop", the founder of aerobatics Pyotr Nikolaevich Nesterov who for the first time in the history made on August 26, 1914 an air ram and brought down the double Austrian scout plane. Widely informed on its feat and tragic death newspapers. "... Somehow absolutely unexpectedly the newsprint scrap caught sight to me, - the officer L. Voytolovsky wrote down in the diary. - The feeling of fastidiousness struggled in me with the gushed curiosity; I did not see already the newspaper about three weeks and hesitated not for long. In this scrap of "Modern times" which I recognized by a font I read about the death of the shtabs-captain Nesterov. Its collision in air with the Austrian pilot which came to the end with death of both pilots was in detail described. The message was several times

it is re-read aloud, and all started talking about Nesterov2e".

The press was the main source of information on heroes symbols of World War I and also means of their promoting. But not only she was engaged in promotion of feats of the Russian soldiers and officers. For example, collected the information about gentlemen Of St. George founded even in the spring of 1911. "Commission on the description of fighting trophies of the Russian troops and old Russian banners". In the years of war the Voyennokhudozhestvenny group created at this commission where artists and photographers entered, imprinted for history of a picture of battles, did sketches of feats for which soldiers were awarded with distinctions Of St. George, created portrait gallery heroes. The commission published special literature,

extending among the population, including the "Heroes and Trophies National voyny3" series.

1. Polyanovsky Ad. Russian American//News. 1997. April 12; It. Yurochka//News. 1996. November 2.
2. L. Voytolovsky. In the wake of war//World War I. (Memoirs, reports,

essays, documents). M, 1989. Page 508-509.

Of St. George to gentlemen, who were perceived national

consciousness as truly Russian athletes, in heroic symbolics of pre-revolutionary Russia the special place belonged. The soldier's distinction of an award of St. Georgy was founded in 1807 and intended for rewarding of soldiers, sailors and corporals who "will really show the excellent bravery in fight against the enemy". It was possible to deserve a soldier's St George's Cross, having only made a fighting feat: having taken an enemy banner, having captivated the enemy officer or the general, the first having rushed during storm into the fortress of the opponent or aboard his ship and also for rescue in fight of a banner or life of the commander. Not accidental of the St George's Crosses given only for fighting feats and differences "in the field of battle at defense of fortresses and in fights sea", were proud more, than any other awards. In World War I (by 1917) the 1st degree of an award was received (that is became Full Cavaliers of St. George) - about 30 thousand people, and the 4th degree was

more than 1 million soldiers are awarded.

Which of them we know? And who from noted by the highest award of soldier's valor can be carried to heroic symbols of the era?

The Full Cavalier of St. George even before creation of the well-known "battalion of death" became the female volunteer of World War I of M.L. Bochkaryov, - the figure really symbolical, for as in 1920 was shot by Bolsheviks. It is known that future "red commanders" S.M. Budeny, V.I. Chapayev and some other had the Full bow, that is all four soldier's St George's Crosses, however in Soviet period this fact was tried not to be advertized. These people, undoubtedly, were symbols, but already other, Civil war to which "royal crosses" had no relation. To have awards of old Russian army at the Soviet power was

3. Homeland. 1993. No. 8-9. Page 156-157, 185, 191.
1. V. Durov. Awards of St. George//gentlemen Of St. George. The collection in 4 t. T. 1. M, 1993. Page 11-12.

it is unsafe: too many because of them appeared in basements of ChK, and by miracle survived in the 20th years disappeared later, in the 37th. Nevertheless, during the Great Patriotic War many soldiers - participants of World War I - rejoiced distinctions Of St. George: in both wars by the enemy there was Germany... So, the Full Cavalier of St. George Don Cossack K.I. Nedorubov in the Great Patriotic War was awarded ranks of the Hero of the Soviet Union, but at the same time did not become a symbol of any of two wars in which showed valor.

The heroine of World War I nurse Raisa Mikhaelovna Ivanova became famous not only the fact that helped wounded directly on a front line, under the enemy's fire. When the commander of a company and all officers were killed, she assumed command and led soldiers on storm of an enemy trench during which she was mortally wounded. Awarded with posthumously officer Order of Saint George of the 4th degree, Ivanova was the only woman (except for

Catherine II who founded an award), the awarded this high award, but also it did not turn into the symbol which remained in historical memory of the people.

At that time the Cossacks closer to

became the main national symbolical figures embodying national patriotism

national audience on social ob2liku. So, for example, Kuzma Kryuchkov is the real hero who killed in the cavalry attack of several Germans, turned in the character of basten promotion - almost mythical figure, a generalized character of the dashing Russian Cossack. In army and among the civilian population brochures and cards (analog of leaflets of later time) with the description of its feats which are strongly embellished and exaggerated extended.

1. In the same place. Page 8-9; SenyavskayaE. Page. "My soul was tired..."//Homeland. 1996. No. 3. Page 101.
2. From the review of the monograph by the German historian H. FYaan "Patriotic culture in Russia during World War I". See: National history. 1998. No. 4. Page 187.

Who such Kuzma Firsovich Kryuchkov and why he was one of the main contenders for a symbol role? Don Cossack (sort. apprx. 1890), the first gentleman Of St. George in war of 1914-1918, by its end he had two St George's Crosses and two medals, that is did not even become the gentleman of a full bow, though was the first, received a cross of the 4th degree. Served to a rank podhorunzhy. Cigarettes and the steamship were called by his name, portraits were printed on the first pages of magazines, the feat was imprinted on numerous posters and popular prints. It is indicative that on the front specially to get acquainted with the hero, there came capital ladies. In Civil Cossack K. Kryuchkov battled against Bolsheviks. For fighting differences in a revolt against them to Dona it was made in a rank of horunzhy.

He was killed in 1919 in battle under Lopukhovka Saratovskoy of provinces.

In Soviet period (and it is not accidental!) Cossacks were perceived as "the main support of a tsarism", "suppressors of revolution", "White Guards". The new power not only liquidated the Cossacks as special military estate, but also tried to etch the memory of it. Therefore also this symbol of World War I was not fixed in long-term memory of the people, having remained a sign figure only of the time. However such certificate is interesting. On December 14, 1941, in the middle of counterattack near Moscow, the Moscow journalist N.K. Verzhbitsky wrote down in the diary: "The fighter Ibragimov in one day from the automatic machine, a rifle, a bayonet and a grenade destroyed 70 soldiers and 3 officers. Received the Hero of the Soviet Union. A newspaper note flew about him, and in two days he is forgotten, as well as thousands of other heroes. And as at the tsar

v2ozilis with Kuzma Kryuchkov!" In consciousness of people educated, contemporaries and participants of World War I, this name after all remained. And here are interesting as the drawn analogies between heroes of two wars, and reproach to the Soviet promotion which is quickly forgetting soldier's feats.

1. Military Moscow. 1941-1945. Memoirs and archival documents. M, 1995. Page 728.
2. In the same place. Page 494-495.

But in general it is possible to note that World War I did not leave in historical memory of Russians of steady heroic symbols.

It was made a maximum of efforts "to etch" all positive patriotic estimates of war, examples of the heroism shown on fronts and this war from national memory. And, as the opposed example of the behavior brought to the level of heroism, means of promotion presented actions of Bolshevist propagandists for decomposition of the Russian army and even desertion. October revolution and Civil war were in Soviet period the main promoted events, and mass media, works of literary and art (especially cinema) heroic symbols samples of a new era took root into consciousness: red commanders, commissioners and guerrillas (Chapayev, Kotovsk, Budenny, Lazo, etc.).

By all this is explained the paradoxical fact that the largest shock of the beginning of the XX century - World War I - in domestic fiction, unlike foreign, remained mainly "in the shadow". Generally it was reflected in semi-art-semi-memoirs works by the little-known authors leaving in the years of the war and right after its termination which did not leave a noticeable mark in literature though in quality

a historical source are nemalu1yu of value. As for works by great Soviet writers, in them it, as a rule, - for

1. See: Ya. Okunev. Military harvest season. Pg., 1915; S. Fedorchenko. The people are at war. Front records. Kiev, 1917; N. Lugin [F.A. Stepun.] From letters of the ensign-gunner. V. Ropshin [B.V. Savinkov] From field army (summer of 1917). M, 1918; B. Timofeev. Mournful bowl. M, 1918; G.N. Chemodanov. Last days of old army. M.-L., 1926; D. Oskin. Soldier's notes. M, 1929; A. Aramilev. In war smoke. M, 1930; L. Voytolovsky. In the wake of war. Marching notes. L., 1931; Paduchev of the Vl. Notes of the lower rank. M, 1931; etc.

a rare exception - passed a minor background as their military

the prose was devoted mainly to revolution and civil voy1ne

Outside the Soviet Russia the subject of world war continued to concern the Russian writers emigrants, however among the works created by them on this subject it did not appear really large-scale and noticeable though some of them are interesting as a kind of art memoirs. At the same time in the West World War I generated the whole flow of the works created during the interwar period of the 1920th- the 1930th and become classical. In them two were shown

opposite to a trend. One of them, anti-militaristic which is closely connected with the term which received independent life

"rubbed yanny generation", warned and warned about danger 3 -

of unleashing of new world war, and the second, on the contrary, psychologically prepared war, romaticizing and singing of it and urging on (especially in

Germany) revanchist i4 militaristic moods. And it is characteristic that the pacifistic trend dominated in the winner countries whereas militaristic - in the countries which lost war. In many respects it is connected with objective results of World War I in which got beaten a lot of things lost, but won, especially taking into account the price paid for it, - little won. The senselessness of "a world slaughter" was most obvious from winners. This position - in fact mass for direct combatants - was expressed by writers who still

1. M. Sholokhov "Quiet Don"; A. Tolstoy "Purgatory"; Vs. Vishnevsky "War";

N. Tikhonov "War"; K. Fedin "Cities and years"; S. Sergeyev-Tsensky "Brusilovsky

break"; etc.

recently sat in trenches as "gun meat", and then became "voice" of the generation.

Widespread moods on the party of losers, first of all in Germany were others. The hopes for a close victory which failed as a result of the November revolution of 1918, injustice followed then the Treaty of Versailles, humiliation and ruin of the country, - all this was the frustrating factors of the German national consciousness. And not only the reflexing "esthetes and intellectuals" who left trenches (E. Yunger), but also new politicians became "singers of war". Let's not forget that "Mayne Kampf" of Adolf Hitler - a product of the same events and the same moods widespread in post-war Germany.

World War I revealed a wide range of the psychological effects connected with reflection of the same event in historical memory of the different countries, societies, people, social and other groups. It

2. Lost generation (English), verlorene Generation (German), génération perdue (fr.) - is translated and as "the lost generation", and as "the died generation". This expression which sounded in a casual conversation in relation to the youth which visited in the war, and became one of the most widespread literary labels of the XX century gained fame thanks to E. Hemingway who made his epigraph of the novel "Fiesta" ("And ascends the sun") which was published in 1926. The story about the episode connected with emergence of expression "the lost generation" see: E. Hemingway. "A holiday, which always with"//Hemingway E. Sobr. soch. in 4 vol. of M., 1968. T. 4. Page 395. However the brightest spokesman of outlook of "the lost generation" with its anti-war pathos other writer - Erich Maria Remarque is considered. Usually in this regard remember its novel "All Quiet on the Western Front" which opens the epigraph in which the word "generation" also sounds: "This book is not either charge, or a confession. It is only attempt to tell about generation which was ruined by war, about those who fell its victim even if escaped from shells". Remarque has also other novel - with the symbolical name "Return", about the "delayed" war consequences. Feeling like derelicts, Remarque's heroes desperately hold the friend the friend, ready to the conflict with the authorities, with all hostile world into which they cannot fit in any way, and accuse the hypocritical society which at first sent them to war, and then which tore away them. See: E. Remarque - M. All Quiet on the Western Front. Return. Novels. The lane with it. The m is Kharkiv, 1999.

revealed big dependence of "official" historical memory on ideology and policy, and at the same time a certain autonomy of the "spontaneous" memory of mass consciousness fed by first-hand experience of wide layers and individuals. At last, very significant role of "cultural fixing" of military experience in literary works, memoirs, etc. came to light. Rather short-term historical memory of World War I - in scales of generation of its participants and contemporaries - became an important factor of further development of world history, having affected motivation of revanchism in the got beaten countries, on the reaction of "avoiding" and indecision concerning a potential aggressor among elite of "the western democracies" on the eve of World War II which poured out in policy of "pacification" of Hitler and Myunkhensky conspiracy. Later, "delayed" memory of World War I, certainly, in mass consciousness was forced out by more large-scale, significant, bloody events of new world war, and in official historical memory - in policy, ideology, an education system, etc. - was fixed according to interpretation of imperious elite of the concrete countries including for ensuring their current interests and according to the international environment.

3. Henri Barbus "Fire" (1916); Yaroslav Hašek of "Adventure of the gallant soldier Shveyk" (1923); Ernest Hemingway "Presently" (1925), "Fiesta" (1926) and "A Farewell to Arms" (1929); Arnold Zweig "Dispute on an unter to Grisha" (1927); Erich Maria Remarque "All Quiet on the Western Front" (1929), "Return" (1931), etc.; Richard Aldington "Death of the hero" (1929); etc.
4. Ernst Yunger - an ideological antipode of Remarque, "the singer of war". In the autobiographical novel "In Steel Thunderstorms" created on the basis of diary entries he convinces readers that war - the most natural manifestation of human life that only it can bring to the people updating, and without it stagnation and degeneration begin to prevail. Yunger's creativity very popular in post-war Germany, psychologically trained the German nation for a military revenge. See: Junger E. In Stahlgewittern. Berlin, 1920; E. Yunger. In steel thunderstorms. The lane with it. SPb., 2000; Heroics and fear as modes of human existence. Early works E. Yunger//Philosophy of the person: Traditions and present. Issue 2. Sb. reviews. M, 1991. Page 196221; E. Yunger and "new nationalism"//O.Yu. Plenkov. Myths of the nation against myths of democracy: German political tradition and Nazism. SPb., 1997. Page 372-384.

Elena S. Senjavskaja Historical Memory of the First World War: Notes on its Shaping in

Russia and in the West

The article deals with the reasons, why the First World War did not leave stable heroic symbols in the historical memory of the Russians and occupied only marginal place. The influence of ideological and political background on the interpretation of the past, role of the power elite in shaping the aims of the retrospective propaganda. The picture of the military events of 1914 - 1918 in Russian and foreign fiction literature has been given on the comparative basis.

Thomas Porter
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