Russian soldiers captured by the Germans during the ill-fated Kerensky Offensive (Photo © IWM Q 86646)

Russia's last Great War offensive - July 1917

Posted on on 10 July 2017
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The Kerensky Offensive, Russia's last major operation of the First World War, was fought on the Eastern Front 100 years ago.

It was ordered by Alexander Kerensky, War Minister in the Provisional Government, the administration that had taken over after Tsar Nicholas II's abdication in the February Revolution.

After some initial successes, the attack in Galicia (present-day Ukraine), was halted by German and Austro-Hungarian troops.

A lack of willingness to fight and poor morale in the Russian Army significantly contributed to the failure of the offensive.

At the same time, fresh disorder broke out on the streets of the Russian capital, Petrograd, in what became known as 'The July Days.'

The wider context:

The Russian population was war weary and large parts of the country were suffering food shortages.

Two authorities had emerged in Russia after the February Revolution ending centuries of Tsarist rule: the Provisional Government and the Petrograd Soviet.

These two bodies competed with one another for power and often contradicted one another.

For instance, the Petrograd Soviet's 'Order No. 1' made it expressly clear that the armed forces were only to follow orders from the Provisional Government, if they did not contravene orders issued by the Soviet.

This substantially weakened the Provisional Government's ability to wage an effective war and secure itself domestically.

Within months, the Bolsheviks would seize power in the October Revolution, taking Russia out of the First World War altogether.

Source: Wikipedia/various

Images courtesy of Imperial War Museums © IWM (Q 86646)

Posted by: CN Editorial Team