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Remembered Today:

What is your thought on Brusilov's memoirs?


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Have anyone read Brusilov's memoirs in original; or in English and French translations?


I focus particularly on his pious judgment of general Radko-Dimitriev and his condemnation of general Ivanov. He said that Radko-Dimitriev reported promptly to Ivanov, asking persistently for reinforcement as he was well aware that significant German activities in front of him meant a vehement attack was under way. He said the defeat of the third army could not be blamed squarely on Dimitriev, but on Ivanov for his disregard for past reports on a possible German attack on this direction. His criticism of Radko-Dimitriev is general, a little confusing.

He does not provide quotes to any of these assertions though.


I find his memoir a bit suspicious. As usual, all memoirs of officers, no matter how brilliant they are, have a tendency to be self-serving anyway.



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The book was written post WW I under communism. I have also read that parts of it may have been rewritten by his widow after his death. So we are not 100% sure what was in this book was what he really thought.

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Well, as with all post war memoirs, its writer has a strong tendency to promote himself while wash away all sorts of mistake. The version I read is in Russian, but a known translation in English is available at a nearby college library.


He stated that general Radko Dimitriev had started to report about the considerable Austro-German troop and heavy artillery movements occurring in front of his army since "the second half of February". The starting date of the Gorlice-Tarnow Offensive is on May 2. These reports were obtained, according to Brusilov, by spies and air reconnaissance. He repeatedly stated that Dimitriev promptly warned the Supreme Commander of the Southwestern Front, General Ivanov, to no avail. When seeing that all his warnings could not produce any fruitful result, Dimitriev asked for Brusilov's intervention on his behalf. Brusilov wrote back, saying that any intervention on his part would just "ruin everything" and urged the Bulgarian general to write to Yuri Danilov, the General-Quartermaster. He also stated it was NOT Dimitriev who bore the major responsibility for the thorough destruction of the 3rd Army, but Ivanov. He did say Dimitriev could not escape completely the blame since he was himself disorganized when the attack occurred. 


To me, it seems that he had some personal conflict with Ivanov, while letting Dimitriev off the hook.

Edited by Brusilov
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