Russia’s Iron General: The Life of Aleksei A. Brusilov, 1853–1926

This study provides a comprehensive biography of Russian general Aleksei A. Brusilov (1853–1926), commonly considered Russia’s greatest general in World War I.Following in the footsteps of his military family, he entered the cavalry and quickly rose through ranksto the status of general by 1906. Brusilov’s great fame largely rests on his successful offensive in the summer of 1916, when he inflicted a stinging defeat on Austro-German forces. As commander of the Southwest Front, he initiated his “broad front tactics” and attacked on a 250-mile front, inflicting a million and a half casualties. His successes crippled Austria permanently, making it totally dependent on Germany for the remainder of the war, thus insuring no German victory in the east. When the Revolution began in March 1917, Brusilov readily gave his allegiance to the republican Provisional Government and cooperated with the socialist Petrograd Soviet and their commissars and soldiers’ committees. The government eventually made him commander-in-chief of all Russian forces. He died a hero to the Russian people and remains so to this day. In Russia’s Iron General, Jamie H. Cockfield extensively examines all facets of Brusilov’s life that led to his renowned reputation that continues decades after his death. This study analyzes Brusilov’s political positions over several wars and changing political powers, his military history, theories, and tactics, and his personal and familial life.