Military Review

World: Geopolitical aspects

Regarding the events of the First World War, there is a popular stamp that is automatically mistaken for truth, and meanwhile, its truth is at least highly questionable. We are talking about the entry of Romania into the war on the side of the Entente. What only ironic comments do not honor Romania, and a common place, was the statement that neither the Entente nor Russia had any better from such an alliance.

The following simple arguments are put forward in favor of this thesis: Romania was quickly defeated, it had to be rescued hastily, the Russian army came to the rescue, because of which the Russian front was stretched.

However, it is absolutely clear that no matter how weak the Romanian army was, it caused certain damage to the enemy, and some of the forces distracted themselves. So, if we talk about whether Romania helped the Entente as a whole, of course, it helped, because the number of opponents of the Entente did not increase, and a new ally with its own forces (albeit weak ones) was added.

But maybe those who say that the entry of Romania into the war may be right, although it helped the Entente as a whole, but it was unprofitable for Russia? After all, the front, which after that was forced to hold the Russian army, really increased.

The increase has increased, but for some incredible reason, people who are calling on the “stretched front” manage to forget that the front of the enemy has also stretched. Austria-Hungary now had to fight with Russia not only in the East, but now also in the Southeast, where the defeated Romanian army was able to retreat. That is, this argument is untenable.

But much more important than the other. Concentrating on the purely military aspect of the events, geopolitical and diplomatic circumstances do not see the focus.

Look carefully at the map. (Romania is highlighted in yellow.)

What is the most important, world-wide nodal point located relatively close to Romania? Straits Bosphorus and Dardanelles! The long-standing goal of Russian politics in general and in World War I in particular. Historically, Russia rushed to the straits, Britain did everything possible so that Russia did not receive them. The war was still going on, and the powers wondered what the post-war world would be. The war will end, and the division of trophies between the winners will inevitably begin. From who in what condition the war ends, depends on what he can claim. Preliminary agreements will still have to be supported by their might.

Why did Russia need the straits so much? In addition to the obvious gain in the Mediterranean clearly existed and much more ambitious goal. There was a truly titanic struggle between Britain and Russia for India. Now it is hard to believe, and, by the way, enormous propaganda efforts are being made to make the Russians forget about this great page of theirs. stories. The struggle for India is strongly associated with Platov's caricature campaign. But in the West, they are well aware of how things really were, and what kind of psychosis in the spirit of “Russian go” reigned in England when Russia, step by step, moved to the treasury of the British Empire.

By the beginning of the 20th century, Russia had already reached the approaches to India in Asia, entrenched itself in Iran, and the exit to the straits created the prerequisites for the next cast - the Suez Canal. By closing the canal to the castle, Russia would have undermined the ability of the British to retain their vast Asian possessions, because then the message with the metropolis would have to be led through the path around Africa! Russia went to South Asia not only by land, but also through the Suez Canal. This grand script and implemented the Russian tsars. This is strongly opposed by the British.

So, back to the events of the First World War. The Romanian troops are defeated, the Russian army is located in the Romanian province of Moldova (not to be confused with the current Republic of Moldova, which was then part of the Bessarabian province of the Russian Empire). That is, Romania’s entry into the war allowed Russia to send troops into the country’s territory, which is essential for the subsequent struggle for the straits! And to send troops not as an occupier, but as an ally coming to the aid. Moreover, something similar was done by the British and the French, who landed already in 1915 in Greece, that is, again on the approaches to the straits. Thus, the struggle goes not only between the Entente and the Central Powers, but also within the Entente itself for more favorable conditions of the post-war world. While the British are consolidating in the Balkans from the south, Russia is doing the same, but in the north.

If Russia receives the straits, then it needs a reliable rear, which means Romania and Bulgaria need to be drawn into the orbit of their influence. Moreover, success in Romania creates excellent prerequisites for success in Bulgaria. For example, after the war, Romania could impose some kind of “friendship and cooperation” treaty, the easier it will be, given that Russian troops are already in Romania. In addition, Russia had a very powerful tool of pressure on Romania, in addition to the military.

What is Romania? How did she appear on the political map? Historically, there were three principalities in which there lived, in fact, one nation, speaking the same language and practicing the same religion. These are Moldova (Moldavia), Wallachia and Transylvania. Historically, they had periods of independence, but all three states, one way or another, became part of other countries. It is interesting that Moldova partially became part of Turkey, and partly entered the Russian Empire in the status of the Bessarabian province. Wallachia was also part of Turkey. Further, the two parts of Moldova began to develop separately from each other. After several transformations, the Bessarabian province is now known as the Republic of Moldova (the capital of Chisinau). And the other part of historical Moldova went its own way, united in 1859 with Wallachia, and after a while it received the name of the Kingdom of Romania.

I remind you that part of Moldova at that time continued to remain a part of the Russian Empire (Bessarabia). So, this was exactly the trump card of Russia. For example, Russia could put pressure on Bucharest with the threat of the “reunification of Moldova” on the terms of Russia. That is, the withdrawal from Romania of its eastern region (Moldova), where Russian troops stood in the First World War, and Bessarabia joined it. The resulting state would be completely controlled by Russia, so that Russia, formally losing Bessarabia, really took over the east of Romania. The prospect is quite real, so Russia had opportunities to force Bucharest to act as it should.

These are the prospects opened up for Russia, thanks to the fact that Romania entered the war on the side of the Entente. It was extremely beneficial to our country, but, of course, the defeat of Russia did not allow us to take advantage of the new prospects.

Again we turn to the map:

Gray painted over Germany. Next comes the "purple" Austro-Hungary, just south of Bulgaria pale yellow overgrown, with the brown Ottoman Empire, which at that time stretched all the way to the Persian Gulf. All this - the closest allies of Germany. Thus, Germany managed to create a colossal space to a large extent under the control of Berlin. Please note, Germany is bordered by Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, in turn, is bordered by the Ottoman Empire. Only a tiny piece of Serbian land between Bulgaria and Austria-Hungary interferes with the linking of these links into one grand chain, but even without this the picture will turn out amazing - a huge block with a huge population, significant economic potential, powerful armed forces was created.

For the union to be filled with real content, it is necessary to implement common projects. And one of such projects was the creation of the so-called Baghdad road. Here are its key points: Berlin - Vienna - Istanbul - Baghdad - Basra. We take into account that Berlin has already been connected with Hamburg by rail, therefore the term “Hamburg road” is sometimes used. The projected transport artery was supposed to connect the Atlantic and Indian oceans, and thus it was about creating a new route alternative to the Suez Canal, which, by the way, was controlled by Britain.

It is clear that the appearance of the “Hamburg Road” dramatically changed the strategic balance in the Middle East. In which case, Germany could almost instantly transfer its troops to the Persian Gulf, which was in the zone of influence of Britain. By the way, in 1908, the British found oil in this region, which, of course, immediately increased the already considerable importance of the Middle East.

The strengthening of Germany also did not meet the interests of France and Russia, so that Berlin had to negotiate with the three superpowers for a long time. In 1899, Berlin agreed to allow French capital to the project; in 1911, it was necessary to recognize the interests of Russia in Iran and choose the railway route away from the Russian borders. But with the British, the Germans found a "common language" only in June 1914. Berlin transferred to London the right to build a railway line south of Baghdad in the direction of the Persian Gulf.

If we consider that the First World War began in July 1914, then from the very beginning the Anglo-German agreement was not worth a penny. I can imagine how, during the negotiations, the Germans smirked in their minds: “and we will attack tomorrow, and you will not receive anything.” So the German concession was a fiction, which meant that Germany was not going to give up its truly ambitious plans. By the way, have you not forgotten about a small piece of Serbian land that divided Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria? I think that following the results of the war, while the Germans, of course, expected to win, the Serbs would have been taken away. In this case, the German mosaic would have developed completely. Such was the plan developed in Berlin.

But at the same time, Russia was leading its own, even more ambitious game, involving the seizure of Istanbul (Constantinople), and this was an important, but still an intermediate goal of St. Petersburg. As already mentioned, Russia developed a successful expansion in Iran, Central Asia, and came close to India. Let us recall how during the Crimean War the Anglo-French fleet calmly entered the Black Sea, and how it all ended for Russia. So it was extremely necessary to hang a Russian castle on the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles. And at the next stage, one could also think about a throw to the Suez Canal, in parallel building up forces in Asia as a springboard for a throw to India. And then what should the British do? Swim to India around Africa?

Many now find it difficult to believe that the Russian Empire could set such global tasks, and not only set, but have serious chances for success. But in London already in the 19th century everything was perfectly understood, and they did everything possible to slow down the movement of Russia to the Indian Ocean. The years of anti-Russian propaganda, of course, were not in vain, and many people still believe in a backward, impoverished and dark Russian empire. When they talk about the economic miracle of the pre-revolutionary era, they immediately declare that it has been achieved at the expense of exorbitant foreign loans, payments for which have torn the Russian economy. When they hear about Mendeleev’s forecast regarding the population of our country, they attribute him a grave mistake or even begin to scoff at his great compatriot. Well, and so on and so forth. I already wrote about the forecast of Mendeleev. In fact, he was not mistaken in his premises, and the population of the country by 1950 should have exceeded 280 million people.

Allegedly, the exorbitant payments on loans were a tiny part of the country's budget, and the rate of economic growth can be judged by the data of Professor Boris Nikolayevich Mironov. Gross national product in 1885 – 1913 increased by 3,3% annually, and this despite the war with Japan, the terrorist war unleashed by the so-called revolutionaries and the 1905 revolution of the year.

And now we come to the most important thing. It is not difficult to notice that the plan of Germany intersected with the plan of Russia at the central point called Istanbul (Constantinople). The Hamburg Road passes through this city. And as for sin, this same city controls the straits, and therefore is the goal of Russia. We take into account that from the British point of view, by no means can Constantinople be handed over to Russia. The situation quickly swept over to world war, because the interstate contradictions reached such a heat that it was hardly possible to untie this knot by peaceful means. Characteristically, in 1915, Russia secured from Britain and France recognition of its claims to Constantinople, as well as the Bosphorus and Dardanelles.

Yes, in the end, Britain beat both Russia and Germany. Both great plans collapsed, and both countries were losers. London was able to realize his great defensive scenario.

For Russia, the First World War is a “strange” war. "Strange" in everything. Almost all the war to fight in the block of winners, and sign the Brest capitulation. Give samples of courage, and then forget your heroes. Yes, and the war itself is with us a completely abstract name “First World War”, although for our country it was Great Patriotic.

Do not be ashamed to lose the biggest country of all times and peoples. It is not a shame to lose to a country with a highly educated elite, a colossal experience of colonial administration, outstanding science and economics, a very strong army. It's not a shame. It is a shame now, after 100 years, to mock and spit on heroes, in difficult conditions, until the last defended the interests of our country.

Those who like to throw mud at the Russian Empire, those who are interested in military history, often cite the "Great Retreat" as an argument proving the "rottenness, mediocrity and backwardness" of the Russian Empire. In response, they are asked to compare the Great Retreat of 1915 with the retreat of the Red Army to Moscow. It is clear in whose favor the comparison. But this argument is countered by the fact that the Soviet Union opposed Germany alone, and in the First World War from Germany from the very beginning, the Western allies of Russia seriously fought. In addition, the 1941 war belongs to the era of mechanized armies, that is, it became possible to carry out rapid tank breakthroughs. So to compare the two wars is incorrect. In general, there is a long persistent debate, without the obvious rightness of one side or another. But I suggest looking at the events of 1915 from a different angle.

Again we turn to the map that has become familiar to us:

Look carefully what exactly the territory left the Russian army. A significant part of them are Polish lands. This is commonplace, everyone knows that. Moreover, everyone knows how problematic the region was the Kingdom of Poland for Russia. In 1830 – 31 and 1863 – 64 there was a Polish uprising. And in both cases, the uprising hooked and some adjacent territories, traditionally located in the zone of centuries-old Polish influence. To defeat the rebels took large-scale hostilities. Needless to say, Polish revolutionaries played an important role in the 1905 revolution of the year.

It was such a troubled region that was in the rear of the Russian army, and not deep in the rear, but located literally next to the front. Pay attention to the geopolitical position of the Kingdom of Poland. It is difficult to defend, because from the north the Polish lands are supported by Germany, and from the south by Austria-Hungary. There is a serious risk of falling into ticks. The situation looks very similar to the Kursk Arc. Here is a look:

So, I push the next version of events. Given the above circumstances, the leadership of our country decided to specifically give these territories to the enemy. Poles, you do not like Russian power, get German, and the tsarist army leaves the problem region. Thus, the Germans - the representatives of the "enlightened Europe" for the Poles turn into OCCUPIERS, with all the ensuing consequences. That is, the purpose of the retreat is not so much military as political. They retreated not because, in principle, they were unable to hold back the German offensive, but because they decided that there were more advantages than a drawback in the retreat. And it was not an escape, but a systematic retreat, accompanied by strong counterattacks. In July, the 1915 city of the Prasnysh operation, on which the Germans had high hopes, failed, and it was not possible to surround the Russian army. In autumn, the front stabilized.

During the fighting industry of the Russian Empire successfully switched to military rails, and already in June, 1916, our country prepared its answer - the famous Brusilov breakthrough. Many people think that then Russia defeated only the troops of Austria-Hungary, but this is not true. German troops, who were also on this sector of the front, suffered very heavy losses. Russia confidently went to victory in the First World War.

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  1. Brother Sarych
    Brother Sarych 30 November 2012 08: 37
    And the author did not try to fantasize? Strategist, by golly ...
    And Romania inventions, and even more so with Poland! Specially give away such a developed region? And about the retreat of 1915, well, a lot has been written, and by those who lived at that time ...
  2. Alex65
    Alex65 30 November 2012 08: 45
    Thank you for the article ,,,, The Great and Forgotten War
  3. Bigriver
    Bigriver 30 November 2012 09: 30
    .... offer to compare the Great Retreat of 1915 with the retreat of the Red Army to Moscow ... the USSR opposed Germany alone, and in the First World War Germany from the very beginning seriously fought the Western allies of Russia. In addition, the 1941 war belongs to the era of mechanized armies, that is, it became possible to carry out fast tank breakthroughs. So to compare the two wars is incorrect.

    I will allow myself a remark.
    You can compare the quality of the tsarist / Soviet soldier. The Hitlerite generals, for the most part, having passed the 1st World War, put a soldier of the Red Army in combat qualities higher!

    Useful article, +
  4. Klibanophoros
    Klibanophoros 30 November 2012 10: 16
    You should not overestimate the capabilities of Russia in that war, the developed industry and the dense network of roads and railways in Germany nullified all the successes of the Russian army, achieved through the training and operational skills of some generals.
    The First World War was the last war, where artillery reigned supreme on the battlefields, but on it the Russian troops hopelessly lost to the German. Just compare the ratio of heavy guns among Russians and Germans in each operation of that war. And if only artillery, for all types of weapons, the picture was bleak. Due to the lack of a strategy for the development of the military-industrial complex and mobilization deployment, and this disorder was caused by the decomposition and incompetence of the bureaucracy, even the tips of the cavalry rush had to be ordered in England. And also armored cars, planes, rifles, cartridges for them ...
    1. Born in USSR
      Born in USSR 30 November 2012 10: 47
      A century has passed, and again the decomposition and incompetence of the bureaucratic apparatus threatens the security of our country!
      1. Bigriver
        Bigriver 30 November 2012 11: 11
        Born in USSR
        ... again the corruption and incompetence of the bureaucracy

        ... and corruption.
        Grand Duke Konstantin Romanov, lobbying for the interests of French artillery factories, heaped up Russia with three-inch and shrapnel.
        1. Klibanophoros
          Klibanophoros 1 December 2012 03: 21
          But for heavy guns with a caliber of 152 mm and above there was a monstrous shortage. And in general, the troops "overwhelmed" with weapons only in 1916, when a breakdown in society had already occurred and until the revolution of February 1917 there was nothing left.
          And in general, for these three-inch projectiles of yours, the industrialists each had 500%, or 1000% arrived, Nikolai was informed of this lawlessness, but he did nothing.
          Behind the rear of the Russian Empire was a complete mess.
  5. Nagaibak
    Nagaibak 30 November 2012 11: 12
    Nobody ever just gives the territory away! Moreover, during the war! She was left under the onslaught of German troops. I wonder how ours resisted then. "This spring of 1915 will remain in my memory forever. Heavy bloody battles, no cartridges, no shells. Battle of Przemysl in mid-May. Eleven days of the most brutal battle of the Iron Division ... Eleven days of the terrible rumble of German heavy artillery, literally tore off whole the ranks of trenches together with their defenders ... And the silence of my batteries ... We could not answer with anything. Even the most limited amount of cartridges for the rifles was issued. The regiments, exhausted to the last degree, repulsed one attack after another ... with bayonets or, in extreme cases, shooting at close range. I saw how the ranks of my riflemen were thinning, and felt despair and a consciousness of absurd helplessness. Two regiments were almost destroyed by one fire ... And when, after three days of silence, our six-inch battery was brought up FIFTY shells, this was reported on the phone to all regiments, all companies, and all the riflemen breathed a sigh of relief. " Denikin: The Way of the Russian Officer. Moscow. Prose and K 2012., p. 126. As you can see, they gave away the territory, but at the cost of a lot of blood. In general, for the information of the author, I can tell you that any successes and failures in the war are explained by the opposition of the enemy.

    I do not understand why the article map of the Battle of Kursk in 1943?
    1. Nuar
      Nuar 30 November 2012 14: 35
      Quote: Nagaibak
      I do not understand why the article map of the Battle of Kursk in 1943?
      But what about the crunch of French rolls? Along the way, the author is a lost Russia (but the colors on the cards are bright and beautiful)
    2. Bigriver
      Bigriver 30 November 2012 17: 01
      I do not understand why the article map of the Battle of Kursk in 1943?
      Well, it’s clear why fellow
      The author of the false thesis draws far-reaching conclusions.
      Type: protrusion is a strategically disadvantageous configuration.
      Well, not everyone can be general staff officers and strategists :))
      Anyway, the article is useful! To move the brain ...
      1. Nagaibak
        Nagaibak 30 November 2012 21: 15
        BigRiver "Well, not everyone can be officers of the general staff and strategists" = That's for sure !!!
  6. Setrac
    Setrac 30 November 2012 14: 41
    Bulgaria does not want to match the author’s analytics.
  7. sprut
    sprut 30 November 2012 15: 59
    Russia was not enough. If we had won, we would have been far away from the whole planet, and the Anglo-Saxons did not need this, therefore we found the traitor of Russian statehood, Lenin, who, for foreign money, had ruined what had been built for centuries !!! Do you think that Russia could not achieve the same heights as the USSR? Could, and even earlier and more. The Bolsheviks for a long time compared their economy with the achievements of the Russian Empire. And this Lenin, under some kind of stupid foreign-Marxist ideals, was powdering the brains of an untrained population. To some extent, this was the fault of the tsarist government at that time - it was necessary to crush this unread with fire and iron! .. Then the Russian people could not solve this problem, they themselves were digging a hole, and did not understand this. But, as Vladimir Putin said, our country has already worked out its resource for coups and revolutions, that's enough. We need peace and stability.
    1. The centurion
      The centurion 1 December 2012 07: 19
      Quote: sprut
      Russia was not enough. If we won

      The mind was not enough not to get involved in this alien war.
      But the real winner in this war was the United States of America. They profited unspeakably on military supplies, not only swept clean all the gold reserves and budgets of the Entente powers, but also imposed on them enslaving debts. Having entered the war at the final stage, the United States grabbed not only a substantial share of the laurels of victors, but also a bold piece of reparations and indemnities from the vanquished. It was America's finest hour. Only a century ago, US President Monroe proclaimed the doctrine of "America for the Americans" and the United States entered into a stubborn and merciless struggle to squeeze the European colonial powers from the American continent. But after the Versailles Peace, no single power could do anything in the Western Hemisphere without the permission of the United States. It was a triumph of visionary strategy and a decisive step towards world domination.
    2. xoma58
      xoma58 3 December 2012 08: 16
      The situation is difficult but stable. So what? The stability of railroad chaos?
  8. vladimirZ
    vladimirZ 30 November 2012 16: 45
    It is difficult now after 100 years to analyze the course of that war. But for a simple soldier from the people, it was a meaningless war, for some distant Dardanelles that he needed in FIGs to shed his blood for them.
    Therefore, basically, the Russian Soldier came out of that war, the simple people of the Dardanelles did not need them, in Russia there are many problems of their own, especially land ones, which, given the vast expanses of Russia, could not be solved in favor of the people.
    1. Bigriver
      Bigriver 30 November 2012 19: 26
      for a simple soldier from the people, it was a meaningless war, for some distant Dardanelles that he needed in FIGs to shed his blood for them.
      Therefore, basically, the Russian Soldier came out of that war, the simple people of the Dardanelles did not need them, in Russia there are many problems of their own, especially land ones, which, given the vast expanses of Russia, could not be solved in favor of the people.

      Aha ... Distant Crimea, Caspian Sea, Black Sea (called "Russian" 1000 years ago) Baltic, Ural, Far East, North - all this is not needed by the Russian people? :)
      In general, isolationism and "Sweden"? Concentration around the "Moscow ring", such as the principality of Monaco, for a couple of months.
      Well, keep up the thought!
      1. bart74
        bart74 2 December 2012 15: 37
        I agree with you! The example of Sweden shows what the nation comes to when adopting a policy of isolationism. Once the leading power of Europe, now there’s nothing to even compare with ...
  9. Charon
    Charon 30 November 2012 21: 10
    Not ready to give a deep analysis right now. For Friday.
    But I want to draw the attention of my colleagues: The support of the army group in Romania could well be an excessive strain of efforts for the following reasons:
    - the specified theater of operations and this logistic direction were not considered by our general staff at all. That is, I had to improvise with all possible mistakes and general unpreparedness.
    - diversion of resources to the Romanian front meant weakening the supply of key fronts. The same Brusilova.
    - the emergence of the Romanian theater of war means a direct clash with the Bulgarians in addition to the Thessaloniki Front and with the Turks in addition to the Caucasus. That is, without this front we would have fewer Bulgarians and fewer Turks. I make a reservation, this is an assumption. If a knowledgeable person reports that before the Busilov breakthrough, the Bulgarians and Turks had already used their potential to 100% and Romania’s entry into the war prevented them from using the potential in the optimal direction, I admit my mistake.
    - and, finally, I will be grateful to the researcher who will explain what was the percentage of diversion of forces to a new direction in the Axis and Russia. If Russia distracted more from the main theater of operations, then strategically this is a failure.
    Somewhere like that.
  10. Arsen
    Arsen 30 November 2012 23: 52
    I also heard that the capture of Romania helped the Germans to get out of the food disaster in which they had already failed because of the sea blockade
  11. knn54
    knn54 8 December 2012 19: 08
    If they kept neutrality we would be better off. The Russian General Staff calculated that the defeat of Romania (if it is an enemy) or help (if it is an ally) requires the same number of divisions. Unless in political terms.
    As for Poland. During the Second World War, voluntarily 500000 Poles fought in the Nazi army ...
  12. Alex
    Alex 5 December 2013 11: 19
    A vivid example of how to wishful thinking. Firstly, Romania is as much an ally as Italy: there is a lot of noise, little sense, huge costs, and in case of victory, then also provide ambitions.
    Secondly, the straits have always been the blue dream of the royal court (who argues, strategically attractive district ugly), but as unattainable as Rio de Janeiro for Ostap Bender.
    Thirdly, the author clearly overestimates the strength and role of Russia in the political arena of that time. A third of a century ago, Russia itself (by the way, with the "help" and participation of Romania) liberated the Balkans from the Turks, the advanced detachments of the Russian army were already on the outskirts of Istanbul, and that ... Quickly "all the neighboring kings ran away" and Alexander was clearly explained, who is the boss and who is the worker to do the dirty work. As a result: Bulgaria is a German protectorate, Romania in claims to Russian territory, Turkey partially returns its possessions, and Russia - as always, with its blue dreams ...
    What are the reasons to believe that England and France will allow Russia to change the situation this time? The promises of England are worth even less than the air, the vibrations of which they are (true to their policy of global lies, they do not even translate paper and ink into such promises). Moreover, the Anglophile encirclement of the tsar and the complete dependence on French loans (and during the war their number only increased, and not only in France) made all the claims of Russia to anything simply impossible. So the article is unambiguous "-" for historicism and "+" for the literary and fantastic aspect. Total - "0".