The Brusilov Offensive

The Brusilov Offensive

Timothy C. Dowling
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 06/18/2008
Format: Hardback 4 b&w photos, 5 maps
ISBN: 978-0-253-35130-2
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In the summer of 1915, the Central Powers launched an offensive on the Eastern Front that they hoped would decide the war. It did not, of course. In June 1916, an Allied army under the command of Aleksei A. Brusilov decimated the Central Powers' gains of 1915. Brusilov's success brought Romania into the war, extinguished the offensive ability of the Habsburg armies, and forced Austria-Hungary into military dependence on and political subservience to Germany. The results were astonishing in military terms, but the political consequences were perhaps even more significant. More than any other action, the Brusilov Offensive brought the Habsburg Empire to the brink of a separate peace, while creating conditions for revolution within the Russian Imperial Army. Timothy C. Dowling tells the story of this important but little-known battle in the military and political history of the Eastern Front.

Author Bio

Timothy C. Dowling taught at the Vienna International School in Austria before taking an appointment at the Virginia Military Institute in 2001. A specialist in modern German and Russian history, he is the editor of two volumes of personal perspectives on the world wars. He lives in Lexington, Virginia.


“The Brusilov Offensive brought the Habsburg Empire to the brink of a separate peace, while creating conditions for revolution within the Russian Imperial Army. Dowling tells the story of this important but little known battle in the military and political history of the Eastern Front. ”

“In an innovative examination of Russia's tactics on the Eastern Front, Dowling puts the 'Brusilov Enigma' into the context of the zeitgeist of World War I. A truly novel perspective on one of the most intriguing battles of World War I. —Ev”
 — Marie Stolberg, Institute of Russian History, University of Bonn

“. . . Dowling's work represents a significant contribution to a critical theater of the First World War that is only beginning to receive the attention it merits. March 2009”
 — Jeffrey R. Smith, Northwestern State University

“Dowling provides a superb day-by-day account of the offensive itself, which fills a clear gap that has existed until now for an English-language operational history of the Russian army's most successful offensive in the First World War. Vol. 16 no. 4 (2009)”
 — War in History

“. . . Timothy Dowling, a specialist in German and Russian history, provides a welcome new perspective on World War I and the fighting on the much-neglected Eastern Front. April 2009”
 — Military Heritage

“Dowling has produced a much needed examination of the Brusilov Offensive, restoring it to a place of importance alongside Verdun and the Somme, while reminding us that Brusilov deserves a position in the ranks with Foch, Petain, Ludendorff, and Haig.October 2009”
 — German Studies Review

“Dowling has written a fine and important book, one that forces us to reconsider our view of the Russian army in World War I, and one that any student of the war can rad with profit. Vol. 42, 2009”
 — Central European History

“Suprisingly little is written about the Eastern Front of the war. This book helps reduce the deficit in World War I literature by focusing on probably the worst combat crisis faced by Austria-Hungary and Germany on the front with Russia. Dowling's well-written book gives insight into Imperial Russia's most outstanding World War I commander, Alexsei Brusilov . . . He uses extensive sources and is objective in his handling of all involved parties . . . The book wholeheartedly deserves a place on the shelves of those interested in great commanders as well as all students of World War I and the Imperial Russian Army.January-February 2010”
 — Military Review

“Dowling . . . presents a balanced account of this offensive that is especially valuable because he uses materials from the Austrian State Archive to illuminate the actions of the Central Powers. The author's focus is squarely on the military aspects of this campaign. July 2009”
 — Choice

“This is a fine, detailed history of Russia's most spectacularly sucessful offensive of the Great War and a welcome addition to the short shelf of English Language treatments of the Eastern Front in WWI.August 2008”
 — The Journal fo the Western Front Association U.S. Branch

“Dowling offers a useful addition to the literature on the military history of the Eastern Front during the First World War that should prove of value not only to military historians but also to others interested in fleshing out an often overlooked military historical context for the revolutionary upheavals of 1917. Vol. 88.4, October 2010”
 — Slavonic and East European Review

“[T]his book is a welcome addition to the literature . . . .68.4 Winter 2009”

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Table of Contents

List of Maps
A Brief Biography of Aleksei A. Brusilov

1. Russia in the First World War
2. Making Preparations
3. The Offensive Begins
4. Stalemate and Renewal
5. A Tale of North and South
6. The Offensive Shatters
7. Consequences