Military Review

Information War of the First World War. 1914 – 1918

Information War of the First World War. 1914 – 1918With the increasing role of the media and their impact on the consciousness of a post-industrial society on the one hand, and the growth of international tension on the other, the importance of information wars is growing. Systematic impact on the population of another state through the dissemination of certain information, in order to destructurize not only public relations, but also government regulation processes, become the norm of the modern world. And in the context of the prospect of the resumption of the second round of the “cold” war, about which many political scientists and political figures of our time are actively talking, the potential threat of information wars today is becoming a matter of national security. The relevance of the stated theme is also conditioned by the fact that various ways of waging modern warfare, from the use of various types weapons, until the use of certain tactics is limited to a number of norms of international law. However, until now no provision of international law deals with questions of agitation and propaganda in peacetime or wartime [1]. In fact, we are dealing with a situation where information aggression, as the most important means of warfare, is not regulated by legal norms or even specified in any paragraph of international conventions. The devastating consequences of the use of such information weapons can be enormous, both for those against whom it is used and for those who use it. Sometimes the image created and promoted by the enemy can not only be preserved in the minds of the people, but can be reproduced autonomously for many years after the end of the conflict and cause significant damage to international relations. The qualitative application of a set of measures of informational impact on society can lead not only to an approaching victory in an armed conflict, but also to provoke large-scale social unrest and even the collapse of statehood. A vivid example of this may be the First World War, when all the leading European powers fully realized the role and importance of the information war and began to actively hone its methods.

Scientific and technical progress of the late XIX - early XX centuries. allowed the warring states to actively use a variety of techniques for the purpose of informational impact on all parties to the conflict. The development of journalism, radio and cinema, photography and telegraph, aeronautics and typographic technologies - everything was the basis for creating the necessary information space. In fact, the time of the First World War can be considered the starting point of information wars, when all types of information, from acoustic to graphic, were thrown to achieve victory.

By the beginning of the First World War, the leading European powers were in varying degrees of readiness for confrontation in the field of information space. The greatest successes in the first years of the war in this area were achieved by the Western allies in the Entente, and first of all, the British. This was expressed both in the numerical indicators of information disseminated against Germany and Austria, and in the fine work of psychologists involved in the information war. Even on the eve of the beginning of the war, the British managed to calculate the psychological mood of the enemy soldiers and the weaknesses of the German counter-propaganda. Summing up the results of the war and analyzing the mechanisms of military propaganda, the distinguished German intelligence officer, head of the Intelligence Directorate of the German High Command, Walter Nikolai noted that “all propaganda must be accessible to the masses; its level must proceed from the measure of understanding inherent in the most backward individuals from among those whom it wants to influence. The more propaganda appeals to more people, the more elementary should be its ideological level. And since it is about propaganda during a war in which all the people are literally involved, it is clear that propaganda should be as simple as possible ... The art of military propaganda is to correctly understand the sensual world of the broad masses; only this makes it possible to psychologically make this or that idea accessible to the masses ... The susceptibility of the mass is very limited, the range of its understanding is narrow, but the forgetfulness is very large. Already for this alone, any propaganda, if it wants to be successful, should be limited to only a few points and state these points briefly, clearly, clearly, in the form of easily remembered slogans, repeating all this until there can be no doubt As the most backward of the listeners must have learned what we wanted. As soon as we abandon this principle and try to make our propaganda multifaceted, its influence will immediately begin to dissipate, for the broad masses will not be able to either digest or remember all the material. Thus, the result will be weakened, and maybe even completely lost. ” Further, the author quite objectively assesses the blunders and weaknesses of the agitation work. “It was completely wrong that the German and Austrian military propaganda in the comic sheets all the time tried to present the enemy in a ridiculous way. It was wrong because at the first meeting with a real enemy, our soldier got a completely different idea of ​​him than it was drawn in the press. The result was tremendous harm. Our soldier felt deceived, he ceased to believe in everything else of our press. It began to seem to him that the seal was deceiving him in everything. Of course, this could not strengthen the will to fight and temper our soldier. On the contrary, our soldier fell into despair. The military propaganda of the British and Americans, on the contrary, was absolutely correct from a psychological point of view. The British and Americans painted the Germans in the form of barbarians and Huns; by this they prepared their soldier for any horrors of war. The English soldier, thanks to this, never felt deceived by his press. In our case the situation was just the opposite. In the end, our soldier began to believe that all our press was a “complete deception”. This was the result of the fact that the cause of propaganda was handed over to donkeys or simply “capable small ones”, without realizing that the most brilliant experts in human psychology had to be put to such work ”[2].

It should be noted that similar manifestations of lack of professionalism in the field of misunderstanding of the psychology of soldiers were also characteristic of the Russian command. The popular prints of the victorious Russian army depicting the Cossack Kuzma Kryuchkov or other heroes who bravely beat the enemy were relevant only in the first months of the war, when the offensive of our army was developing. During the years of the great retreat of 1915 and the trench warfare of 1916 – 1917. Such pictures not only did not fulfill the stated goal, but were also perceived by many soldiers as mockery and a manifestation of cynicism. The Russian military department completely missed this fact of a change in the psychological disposition of the soldiers' masses.

The distortion of information and the depiction of the high level of patriotism of the soldiers and the civilian population in the context of a protracted war and a worsening economic situation was characteristic of both the Russian and the German side. M. Erzberger, appointed shortly before the start of the war as the head of German propaganda abroad, noted that “Daily military reports were filled with reports solely about German victories. Such essentially false reports were equally dangerous both inside and outside the country. The German public rightly asked why there is no peace, when every day they win victories? Censorship did not allow writing about the sufferings of the German people from malnutrition and hunger. German doctors and scientists had to write and wrote that for a German it is very useful and healthy if he eats less than before the war. Were compiled extensive statistical tables of the minimum of what people can live. By this they wanted to prove abroad that the reserves of vital and essential supplies in Germany are so great that she can never die because of their lack. But supporters of this method of propaganda did not think that it was easy to learn the German menu, German rations abroad, that many Germans who spoke in hotels traveled to neutral countries: “finally you can eat properly!” [3]. Such propaganda, intended for foreign powers, had practically no significance, while, voiced within the country, it caused an ever-increasing wave of popular discontent. Sometimes the calm recognition of the existence of a difficult situation by the leaders of a country can not only take the ground out from under the ideological opponents, but also to some extent rally the nation around a common problem. Otherwise, the psychological factor of disappointment of the masses can lead to irreversible consequences. And the revolutionary events in Russia and Germany are a vivid example.

The next important problem faced by many military departments of the warring countries is the lack of readiness, unwillingness and inability to communicate with journalists, both domestic and foreign. The situation was aggravated by the fact that, especially in the early years of the war, spying, which at times became feverish, became widespread. There were indeed grounds for concern, since the intelligence of Germany was brought to the highest level of professionalism. So, already in September, 1914, the General Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Empire, noted that “spies of the belligerent states report information abroad by means of conditional content (newspaper — author) announcements” [4]. Fearing similar intelligence activities from the Allies on the Entente, the German military authorities were very weakly aware of the need to inform foreign countries and, citing the possibility of espionage, stubbornly opposed Erzberger’s attempts to arrange a trip for neutral journalists on the German front. When, in the end, it was possible to get permission for such a trip for Italian journalists, the military met them extremely coldly, and the German officer who accompanied them publicly called journalists spies, and declared that “a glorious German sword costs more than all this pealing” . German generals denied an interview with Italian journalists. Spy mania took such deep roots in German military circles that they were afraid to even allow 1914 to visit their main apartment in September by American President Roosevelt [3].

The fact that Germany did not understand the full significance of the information wars at the beginning of the conflict is evidenced by the fact that the German information service officers were strictly forbidden to “engage in politics”. And when violations of this order became more frequent, the following order appeared in 1917 in August: “Since the officers of the information department can deal with political issues in an official manner, they should be limited only to the execution of the orders given to them. Independent political activities of officers should be immediately stopped by their superiors, which should be reported each time to the head of the information department. ” This event was quite consistent with the traditions of the German officer corps to keep away from any political issues, but in essence it was the reason that the officers later became completely ignorant and could not correctly assess the impact of political events on the course of the war [5]. A similar situation of political indifference was characteristic of Russian officers, who were completely unprepared for the information confrontation of the growing revolutionary propaganda of 1916 – 1917. The actual lack of political education in military schools had a very negative effect on the future officers of the Russian army. A prominent figure in the White movement, General A.I. Denikin in his book “The Way of the Russian Officer” noted: “Russian life was boiling then, but all the so-called“ damn questions ”, the whole“ politics ”- a concept that brought the whole area of ​​public science and social knowledge passed by us ... The military school saved its pets from spiritual mist and from immature politicking. But she did not help them understand the assembly of questions that stirred up Russian life. This defect was supposed to fill self-education. Many made up, but most did not bother ... Insufficient awareness in the field of political trends, and especially social issues, of the Russian officers was already evident in the days of the first revolution. And in the years of the second revolution most of the officers turned out to be unarmed and helpless before the unrestrained revolutionary propaganda, rescuing even before the soldier semi-intelligentsia, dragged under the revolutionary underground ”[6, c. 99 – 101]. Most of the countries that entered the First World War still had to make a review of their positions on the information war and develop new methods of using it.

Speaking of the emerging mechanisms of the information war in 1914 – 1918. You can spend a clear gradation of fixed assets of information exposure. All the work of the propaganda machine can be divided into two main areas: the information impact on the public of foreign countries and the work to create an information field within their country. Each of these directions in turn can be divided into a number of vectors. The first is connected with the creation of the necessary information space in neutral countries and allied countries and the work on informational influence on the consciousness of the enemy. Work within one’s own state was aimed at informing the rear territories and working with the front. The indicated directions of information impact were provided by the use of various methods and technical means. We will try in this article to consider the most common of them.

The undoubted leader of agitation and propaganda during the First World War remained printed materials, and one of its most popular products was leaflets and brief brochures produced in huge editions. Considering the technical ease of creating leaflets and their comparative cheapness, all countries actively used this method of disseminating information, simply filling up the enemy's army with them. So, for example, only in June 1918 was one of the German armies surrendered 300 to thousands of enemy sheets, and the number of non-data could be about the same. As R. Sulzman notes, German leaflets dropped from airplanes at the end of the war were very small and literally sank in the huge mass of leaflets distributed by the enemy [5].

In second place in terms of their importance and number of information weapons of the First World War were newspapers. This powerful lever of influence on the consciousness of the reader was well known in Europe from the XIX and none of the belligerent countries [7] spared money for its functioning. Since the press of the First World War received quite a lot of attention in the scientific literature [8], let us turn to the little-known attempts of the Russian military department to influence the press of neutral countries and form the necessary information space there. Thus, 1915 g The General Headquarters of the Russian Army, jointly with the General Headquarters, created telegraph agencies called Nordjud in Bucharest, Stockholm and Copenhagen. These agencies were to supply the neutral press with information benevolent to Russia and, hiding behind this innocent name, gather information about Germany and Austria and report them to the General Staff under the guise of agency telegrams. Here, these data were processed, edited and transferred to the Bet. Danish Nordjud in early February 1916 denounced that his business was going well, that with the exception of two newspapers, clearly Germanophile, everyone else received and printed his newsletters, and that was 140 Danish newspapers and magazines, of which 15 metropolitan and 125 provincial. The Swedish Nordjud announced that its activities are developing, already 30 – 40 of the provincial newspapers use its bulletins, that relations with the news agency Press Tsentralet are established, etc. These "Nordjudas" were spending an average of 5 000 rubles. per month each. The results of their work, despite the allegedly “successful” activity, did not justify these expenses, according to their leaders. In May, the 1916 Bid insisted on their liquidation. The GHQ correspondents in neutral countries were put in a special position. This group of reporters was paid by the Stake under various plausible pretexts up to 20 000 rubles. a year. Having seen the opportunity to receive money in this way, these correspondents of newspapers from neutral countries demanded another 50 000 rub. on strengthening the composition of correspondents and other expenses. In response, Stanka made it clear to them that it was not money, but how they would write about Russia; they were also given 30 000 rubles. However, there were newspapers that did not value their services in respect of Tsarist Russia so dearly. For example, one Bucharest newspaper asked for a lump sum 3 000 francs to it and, having received them, began to write in favor of Russia and the Russian military agent who had previously scolded [9]. The German military department, in a similar way, sought to control the informational content of the press of neutral countries, but attempts were made to bribe newspapers published in the enemy’s territory. So, once, the leaders of the German “civilian” propaganda decided to bribe a French newspaper. Through nominees 10 million francs were paid. However, this newspaper did not change its attitude towards Germany. Having suffered several failures of this kind, the Erzberger Central Propaganda Bureau abandoned these attempts and focused its attention on the treatment of Catholics in neutral countries. The English ambassador in Paris, Lord Bertley, noted that in Germany German propaganda and agitation was carried out through appropriate brochures and bribing Swedish newspapers. A whole newspaper was bought with all its employees. Such a universal "purchase" guaranteed the direction of the newspaper, beneficial to the Germans. In Denmark, on the contrary, the Germans used only a system of subsidizing some newspapers, for which the latter had to occasionally place information beneficial to the Germans in their editorials, or post messages of the German headquarters in the windows of the editorial, even if the newspaper didn’t wear Germanophilic character [3].

To influence in the right direction on the consciousness of the soldiers in the Russian army, each front headquarters and the headquarters of some armies published their "Messengers". The latter were purely state-owned publications with all their inherent negative aspects. The soldiers, of course, did not believe their messages, and the Messengers did not reach the goal. On the contrary, the talkativeness of these "Messengers" often crossed all bounds and gave the enemy a magnificent indicative material. With 1915, the Russian Stake sought to create its own "Press Bureau", which would have to inform both the Russian and the neutral and friendly press accordingly. Mikhail Lemke, a staff officer and censor, gave a curious “admonition” to the head of this “Bureau” - about what and how they should write newspapers:

The operation that we have begun and which has not ended, should, if possible, pass over in silence so as not to discover our plan.
The enemy's operation that we have unraveled must not be clarified to him in order to deceive the enemy with his ignorance about his plan.
All our failure to repel a strike is only in general obscure terms.
All our success must be fully communicated.
Our losses and failed operations and maneuvers are completely silenced.
When we beat the Germans - to write "the Germans", and when the Austrians - the "enemy".
The names of our commanding staff and the names of the units are not to be mentioned.
We take the captured prisoners more often, on different dates, in order to create the illusion of greater success.
The results of enemy airplanes are passed over in silence ”[10. with. 65.].
This peculiar code of instructions shows the level of reliability of military information, which then went to press, the complexity of the work of a bona fide journalist in the conditions created by military leaders. At the end of 1915, at the headquarters of the Stavka, the Bureau of the press was formed, which was to establish more fruitful contacts between the military command and the press, its military correspondents. It expanded the number of military correspondents in the army, but in fact did not make any changes in the nature of military information supplied in the periodicals [11, p. 82].

An important role in the information war was also assigned to oral propaganda, primarily in neutral countries. For example, on the German side, two former professors can be distinguished: Vilhelm Ostwald, a professor at Riga Polytechnic, and Karl Ettingen, a professor at Yurievsky University. These people traveled around Sweden and read public lectures against Russia. With the same lectures, a student of Petrograd University and the son of a full Russian state councilor, Axel Ripke, traveled through Swedish cities. A military agent in Denmark at the end of 1915 reported to the Russian General Staff that a special society, Free Ukraine, headed by a retired German general [3], was formed to propaganda among Ukrainians in Germany.

It should be noted that the German command attached great importance to the national question and sought in its leaflets and brochures to provoke the enmity of the peoples in the enemy's rear in order to destabilize the situation. At the very beginning of the war, Germany had high hopes for an uprising in Ireland. A number of appeals and proclamations were addressed to the Irish people calling for national liberation from England. When Germany became evident to Turkey on her side, she set about organizing appropriate propaganda from Turkey in the Asian theaters of war, she organized a large amount of propaganda in the Caucasus, in Persia, and also through Afghanistan. She was helped by the call to the “holy war,” proclaimed by the Turkish Sultan as caliph [13]. Appeals to the peoples in their native language, as one of the common methods of informational influence, were used by all the parties to the conflict. The Russian command, for example, repeatedly issued appeals and proclamations to the Bulgarians, although, as noted by General Alekseev, "did not count on rich results."

The most important method of propaganda work in the enemy's rear became letters from captivity, which contained bright pictures and undermined the morale of the soldiers fighting on the front. Thus, in the winter of 1915, the voluntary surrender intensified in the Russian army. On this occasion, various headquarters issued a fair amount of orders and clarifications, but the surrender of Russian soldiers continued. Then the Russian command decided to resort to agitation. A certain Navoev wrote a brochure titled “How are our prisoners living in Germany and Austria-Hungary.” The bid issued this pamphlet in the number of 200 000 copies for distribution among the troops, in the hope that it would help convince the soldiers not to surrender. However, this did not help. At the beginning of 1916, the Headquarters received information that the natives of the Saratov province, who were in German captivity, wrote letters to their homeland that they lived very well in German captivity. The Chief of Staff of Glavkoverha ordered: “Report this to Senator Krivtsov with a request to begin distributing the relevant brochures among the people; appeal to the press with a request to help reveal the truth to the people and fight against provocation; to ask the chairman of the State Duma to help, by using Duma speeches, to destroy the cunningly woven web of lies to catch our fools and write to the Chief Prosecutor of the Holy Synod. The case of the clergy with hot sermons to speak to the people about the disgrace and sin of captivity, about the lies spread by the Germans ”[9].

Favorite method of information wars is to promote a variety of "horrors", which are a blatant lie and colorful fiction of the worst content. The worse and bloodier will be news about the enemy, launched in the media, the greater the emotional effect can be expected from the reader. One of the most striking examples of such a lie can be English reports that the Germans are processing the corpses of soldiers, their own and others, to stearin and to feed for pigs. This message caused a storm of indignation all over the world and caused China to enter the war on the side of the Entente. 30 April 1917 asked the British Prime Minister in the House of Commons whether he intends to take steps to make it known in Egypt, India and the whole East that the Germans are processing the corpses of their own soldiers and soldiers of the enemy for pigs. It was only in 1925 that this lie was finally exposed in an article that appeared in the American newspaper The Times Dispatch, which wrote about it: “Of all the terrible weapons of modern war, propaganda is an important part of military cars of any nation. Famous история with corpses, which during the war brought the peoples' hatred of Germany to the limit, is now declared by the English House of Commons a lie. A few months ago, the world learned that these lies were fabricated and distributed by one of the clever British intelligence officers [5]. Similar colorful examples of the deliberately false "horrors" of information warfare are presented in one of the books of V.S. Pikul: “The army resented the behavior of the Germans, fleeing from them, as if from a plague. The soldiers did not understand what was the matter. Are they so scary? Everything was explained very simply ... in order to shift the sins from a sick head to a healthy one, William II ordered to saturate Europe with dirty rumors about an invasion of Asians who were doing incredible atrocities in Prussia. The Berlin newspapers were scattered all over the world, as if the squat-eyed hordes of savages invaded the borders of the Immaculate Prussia, who do not need to tear the stomachs of the venerable burgher or break the skull of a baby with the butt ...

Propaganda of the fear of the Russians was entrusted to the pastors. On the walls of houses, churches or stations hung colorful oleographies depicting monsters in the red zhupanah and bloomers. Long locks of hair ran down the back to the tailbone, fangs protruded from open mouths, like daggers, and eyes like two red saucers. Under the pictures it was written: “Russian Cossack. It feeds on raw meat of babies ”... Pastors in their sermons warned that in the dark forests of Siberia, where a cultured person had not yet set foot, there was a special breed of animals - the Cossacks, and the Russian Tsar specially bred them for the extermination of the Germans ...

Once on the street of Omulefofen I saw Cossacks struggling to lift a young German woman with a baby in her arms from her knees. Cossacks raised her, and she fell again. I had to intervene.

“What does she want?” - asked the contractor. - We are fighting with her, we are fighting ... exactly epileptic, but we do not understand a damn thing, what does this fool need of us?

“She asks,” I explained, translating the speech of a stupid woman, “so that you don’t eat her child, even willing to be eaten by you ...”

But gradually, as the army moved deeper into Prussia, these rumors ceased, the inhabitants began to return to their abandoned dwellings. They were no longer afraid of us, but when they saw the horse rides, they hid fearfully, saying, “Oh, Kosaken, Kosaken ...” [12, p. 358].

Equally with the spread of so-called "horrors" about the enemy, the opposing sides actively used misinformation and distributed materials on the most acute and vicious topics. The Germans have manifested themselves to the greatest extent in this direction. They, with their inherent scrupulous punctuality, followed every, sometimes the smallest explanation and change in the life of the enemy, trying to use these facts deftly and skillfully to their advantage. For example, at the beginning of 1915, when the conflict between Nicholas II and his wife, supported by G. Rasputin, was outlined in St. Petersburg, the following proclamations began to spread on the Russian front: “Soldiers! In the most difficult moments of your life, your king addresses you, the soldiers. This unfortunate war arose against my will: it was caused by the intrigues of Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich and his supporters, who wanted to eliminate me in order for him to occupy the throne. By no means would I agree to a declaration of war, knowing in advance its sad outcome for Mother Russia: but the insidious "my relative and treacherous generals prevent me from using the power given to me by God, and fearing for my life, I am forced to do everything what they require from me. Soldiers! Refuse to obey your treacherous generals, pay weapons to all who threaten your king’s life and freedom, security and strength of your dear homeland. Unhappy your Tsar Nicholas "[14, p. 281]. The psychological significance of this leaflet is important in that it was signed on behalf of the emperor himself - a person who has the greatest popularity among the soldiers. And as you know, the more authoritative the subject of suggestion, the lower the resistance of the object. The given example of a leaflet on behalf of Nicholas II was a significant success on the front, causing not only unrest soldiers, but also an increase in the number of surrendered.

The very fact of the stay of the scandalous elder Grigory Rasputin at the court of the emperor gave tremendous grounds for the fantasies of the German propaganda machine. So, in March 1916, the German zeppelins scattered over the Russian trenches a caricature depicting Wilhelm, who relied on the German people, and Nikolay Romanov, who relied on the sexual organ of Rasputin. Needless to say, these and similar caricatures made a big impression on the Russian soldiers [15]. According to the memoirs of A. A. Golovin, during the First World War, rumors that the empress was Rasputin's mistress, were distributed among the officers of the Russian army by members of the opposition Zemsko-urban union. The newspapers and proclamations of German propaganda raised and sorted out questions about which a Russian soldier could only think secretly. They openly spoke about the violence of gendarmes and police over the family of a soldier, about the betrayal of officers, about the rods, about bribery, bribing and stealing intendants, about the insignificance of the Russian tsar and his court, about the lack of ammunition and shells. In posters from German trenches, political news from the rear was reported, and the successes of the German armies were swelling and swelling. It is clear that all this left a definite imprint on the mood of the enemy soldiers and inclined them to the appropriate conclusions [3]. Gradually, step by step, the Russian army was subjected to ideological treatment by the enemy. Initially, funny caricatures grew into misinformation and outright lies associated with exaggerating the real problems at the front. A Russian soldier (in the past, an illiterate peasant), tired of the war, more and more deeply agreed with the rational and intelligible arguments of enemy agitation. The Russian officer corps and the military department could not offer anything in terms of information confrontation.

The apotheosis of the German information war on the Eastern Front was the mass fraternization of the soldiers of the end of 1916 – 1917. The German fraternists each had their own specific functions: some were supposed to be engaged in espionage during the fraternization in the broad sense of the word; others - to agitate for the end of the war; third, to promote the peacefulness and invincibility of Germany; the fourth - to demonstrate the splendor of the economic situation in Germany through the distribution of chocolate, cigars, etc .; fifth, to talk about the dark affairs of the Russian authorities, etc. Military documents 1917 g. Are full of references to fraternization of soldiers. So, in the report on a trip to the 11 – 19 front of April 1917 by members of the State Duma Maslennikov and P.М. Shmakov noted that “Germans often leave the trenches. Mention should be made of the characteristic case. German officers offer our officers to take pictures (the Germans seem to use to take pictures of our battle lines). Ours agree. In response to the request to withdraw, the German officers are in postures, turning their backs. They say that in our trenches, remote from the German steps on 30, machine guns in the covers. Apparently, the Germans did everything to lull our vigilance and give ourselves the character of a peaceful mood ”[16, p. 138]. Corporal team reconnaissance Ya.I. Kalnitsky later recalled: “After fraternizing, our soldiers had chocolate mixed with Austrian coffee, rum, biscuits, and sometimes yellow heavy boots or gray windings. Photographs appeared as a rarity, where Russian and Austrian soldiers were depicted together ”[17, p. 27 – 29]. Even from the above examples, it is clearly seen how systematically, without sparing means, the German command sought to demoralize the Russian army, passing in the process of fraternization not just gifts, but symbols of a full and rich life, thus demonstrating its strength and material well-being. Handing out memorabilia in the form of shoes, photographs and postcards served as a visual reinforcement of the information impact on the consciousness of the soldiers' masses.

Analyzing the experience and colossal successes of German propaganda not only in the field of demoralization of the front, but also in the process of destruction of the Russian statehood, Professor of Moscow University R.I. Wenglowski drew up a plan for organizing revolutionary propaganda in Germany, presented to the commanders of the Moscow military district in March 1917. The essence of this plan was as follows. Venglovsky, according to him, from the very beginning of the war, monitored the mood of German and Austrian prisoners in Moscow. As a result, after the February Revolution, these observations led him to the conclusion that prisoners of war "would very much like to see such a coup as soon as possible for them, so that it would lead to a long-desired world." This brought the professor to the idea of ​​"the need immediately and on a large scale to resort to the grand propaganda of the revolutionary ideas of overthrowing governments, not only in the enemy troops standing at the front, but also in the rear." On this propaganda R.I. Venglovsky had high hopes, believing that she "would help us more than the biggest strategic victory." To conduct this propaganda “on a grand scale” R.I. Wenglovsky proposed to create a committee composed of “people of relevant specialties”. This committee, first of all, was supposed to issue a number of appeals, organize their delivery "in enormous numbers to all corners of our front." Further, a “secret department” should be created in the committee, which would organize the sending of self-sacrificing persons to Austria, Bulgaria and Germany in order to propagandize revolutionary ideas in the enemy's rear. The committee had to pay “exceptional attention to the disabled people who were sent home and propagandize them so that they would light the fire of the revolution in their homes”. Also, R.I. Venglovsky asked him to entrust him with organizing this committee. The commander of the troops urgently sent a plan to the Minister of War with a request to allow the Moscow professor to organize this committee. The Minister of War approved this plan and summoned R. I. Wenglovsky to Petrograd for personal talks. However, we don’t know how these negotiations ended, as there is absolutely no data about it [18, p. 93]. Most likely, in the conditions of the growing revolutionary situation in the country, this project remained to exist only on paper.

Despite the various attempts to use agitation and propaganda, the Russian military command failed to organize systematic work in the field of information confrontation. The lack of experience in campaigning under the war conditions, the archaic thinking of some politicians and the military, based on hope in the infinite patience of the Russian soldier and disregard for newspapers and leaflets, unwillingness to understand the psychology of the masses are just a few reasons that led to the pre-revolutionary moment in Russia was skipped, and the 1914 – 1918 information war. was actually lost by us.


[1] An exception is the ban on propaganda that incites interethnic and interfaith conflicts. Although these norms are valid only in peacetime and have been repeatedly violated in places of armed tension.

[2] Nikolai V. Secret Forces. International espionage and the fight against it during the World War and at the present time. M., 1925.

[3] Zvonarev K. K. German agitation and propaganda in the First World War // German intelligence agency before and during the 1914 – 1918 war. K., 2005.

[4] State Archive of the Pskov Region (GAPO). F. 20. Op. 1. D. 3128. L. 34.

[5] Zultsman R. Propaganda as a weapon // Results of the Second World War. Conclusions of the vanquished. SPb., 1998.

[6] Denikin A. I. The Path of the Russian Officer. M., 2006.

[7] One of the first documented manifestations of the information war was recorded during the Crimean War (1853 – 1856), when right after the Battle of Sinop, English newspapers wrote in the battle reports that the Russians were shooting at the wounded Turks who were swimming in the sea.

[8] Berezhnoy A.F. The Russian legal press during the First World War. L., 1975; Surzhik D.V. The Anglo-German Information War in the United States during the First World War // Space and Time. 2013. No. 1. C. 88 – 93; Ivanov AI. The First World War and the Russian artistic intelligentsia: modern problems of study // TSTU Bulletin. 2004. Tom 10. No. 3. C. 861 – 869; Shmakova N. N. Orenburg press about mercy and charity during the First World War // Bulletin of the Orenburg State Pedagogical University. 2014. No. 1. C.118 – 124; Russian press during the First World War [Electronic resource]. Access mode: (appeal date: 17.05.2015 g .) Russian right periodical press during the First World War [Electronic resource]. Access mode: (access date: 17.05.2015).

[9] Zvonarev K. K. Russian agitation and propaganda in the First World War // German intelligence agency before and during the war 1914 – 1918. K., 2005.

[10] Lemke M.K. 250 days in the royal rate. 1914 – 1915. Minsk, 2003.

[11] Zhirkov G.V. From the “People's” War to the People's Tragedy: The History of Russian Journalism 1914 – 1917's. SPb., 2012.

[12] Pikul V.S. Honor. M., 1996.

[13] Erich von Falkengain High Command 1914-1916 in his most important decisions. M., 1923.

[14] Krysko V. G. Secrets of psychological warfare (goals, objectives, methods, forms, experience). Plural 1999

[15] Simanovich A. S. Rasputin and the Jews. Memories of private secretary Grigory Rasputin. M., 1991.

[16] 1917. Decomposition of the army. Collection of documents / Under. ed. V.L. Goncharova. M., 2010.

[17] Ya. I. Kalnitsky From February to October: Memoirs of a War Veteran. Kharkov, 1964.

[18] Kunzharov E. M. Russian state propaganda of the First World War in Russian historiography // Problems of the socio-economic development of Siberia. 2013. No. 3. C. 90 – 93.
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  1. kalibr
    kalibr 20 September 2015 08: 46 New
    Very good article!
  2. Basil50
    Basil50 20 September 2015 09: 53 New
    The reasons for the loss in propaganda are not exactly indicated. In Russia, such a rabid lie is impossible as in Europe. And during WWII, too, they lost, in the frenzy and naked lies of the Germans. By the way, the apparatus of propaganda for the Nazis was built by American media moguls, Goebels was called into a ready-made structure, and he lived up to expectations, down to the common * Goebels propaganda *.
  3. Volga Cossack
    Volga Cossack 20 September 2015 10: 24 New
    Thank you for the article! It's nice to be a Cossack - a special breed - Wild That Cossack - specially bred in order to exterminate different adversaries)))) well, it’s clear to eat babies)))))) one word Cossacks! Germans in a hurry took .......... and so far so! Thank God - WE ARE COSSACKS!
  4. Sergey-8848
    Sergey-8848 20 September 2015 11: 38 New
    Volumetric, meaningfully filed material. Thanks to the author! Students will steal text for essays, that's for sure.
  5. Aleksander
    Aleksander 20 September 2015 14: 23 New
    The German propaganda of the 1914-1918 g model was used by the Nazis and in the 1941-1945 gg - Cossacks, barbarians eating children - all for the inhumanization of the enemy and the justification of their atrocities ....
  6. kotev19
    kotev19 20 September 2015 17: 59 New
    Also good propaganda! laughing
  7. andrew42
    andrew42 21 September 2015 18: 57 New
    Useful article. Propaganda should be paid, you can’t get anywhere. Worse than stupid propaganda is just the lack of propaganda :)