Catalogue

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Drafting the Russian nation : military conscription, total war, and mass politics, 1905-1925 /
Joshua A. Sanborn.
imprint
DeKalb : Northern Illinois University Press, c2003.
description
x, 278 p.
ISBN
0875803067 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
DeKalb : Northern Illinois University Press, c2003.
isbn
0875803067 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
4745736
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Joshua A. Sanborn is Assistant Professor of History at Lafayette College.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2003-05-01:
Sanborn (Lafayette College) offers interesting information from the Soviet archives in a theoretical framework that sometimes interferes with his argument. The 1912 conscription reform only partially met the aims sought by reformers to remedy failures in the Russo-Japanese war. Traditionalists resisted efforts to include non-Russians (except for Jews) and to eliminate many of the special exemptions they favored. The reformers wanted to train and indoctrinate draftees, while traditionalists were suspicious of the "mobilization" of the masses. During the war, conscription riots became a measure of growing opposition to the war. Often, these protests condemned the unfair selection of draftees. The Bolsheviks, at first unsuccessful in their conscription, ultimately reduced the proportion of evaders by offering family allotments and social and material benefits to soldiers and their families. By the time the Bolsheviks established the principle of universal military conscription in 1925, the reformers had made military service the key obligation of citizens. For Sanborn, the process involved the formation of the "nation," which he sees as an ideological counter to individualism. Readers may disagree but can still learn much from the study. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. D. Balmuth emeritus, Skidmore College
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Lively and engaging.... This work should be read by anyone interested in or concerned by the enduring relationship between war and the modern nation-state."- Canadian Journal of History "Highly original.... A very important work."-Mark von Hagen, author of Soldiers in the Proletarian Dictatorship "An impressive, important, and thought-provoking book. No one else has brought together the themes of war, mobilization, and ethnicity so clearly and effectively."-Peter Gatrell, author of A Whole Empire Walking
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, May 2003
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Summaries
Main Description
How did Russia develop a modern national identity, and what role did the military play? Sanborn examines tsarist and Soviet armies of the early twentieth century to show how military conscription helped to bind citizens and soldiers into a modern political community. The experience of total war, he shows, provided the means by which this multiethnic and multiclass community was constructed and tested. Drafting the Russian Nation is the first archivally based study of the relationship between military conscription and nation-building in a European country. Stressing the importance of violence to national political consciousness, Sanborn shows how national identity was formed and maintained through the organized practice of violence. The cultural dimensions of the "military body" are explored as well, especially in relation to the nationalization of masculinity. The process of nation-building set in motion by military reformers culminated in World War I, when ethnically diverse conscripts fought together in total war to preserve their national territory. In the ensuing Civil War, the army's effort was directed mainly toward killing the political opposition within the "nation." While these complex conflicts enabled the Bolsheviks to rise to power, the massive violence of war even more fundamentally constituted national political life. Not all minorities were easily assimilated. The attempt to conscript natives of Central Asia for military service in 1916 proved disastrous, for example. Jews, also identified as non-nationals, were conscripted but suffered intense discrimination within the armed forces because they were deemed to be inherently unreliable and potentially disloyal. Drafting the Russian Nation is rich with insights into the relation of war to national life. Students of war and society in the twentieth century will find much of interest in this provocative study.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 3
Forming the National Compactp. 20
The Nation and the Dilemma of Differencep. 63
The Nation and the Challenge of Unityp. 96
The Nationalization of Masculinityp. 132
Violence and the Nationp. 165
Conclusionp. 201
Notesp. 209
Works Citedp. 257
Indexp. 271
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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