World War One – Episode 1. Documentary Film. Historical Reenactment. StarMedia. English Subtitles
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World War One – Episode 1. Documentary Film. Historical Reenactment. StarMedia. English Subtitles

Autumn of 1914.
A troop train was on its way from Odessa Overcrowded coaches were filled with
soldiers and bursting from loud chatter, letting a young 15 year old boy
go completely unnoticed as he hid underneath the bunks. With nothing but a bundle of dried
bread and a change of clothes, the boy was in pursuit of his dream
to become a real hero, whatever it took. An new kind of war had come to Russia Unlike any war humankind had seen before. A war of machines and airplanes… The first war of armored battleships
and gigantic zeppelins… The first war of tanks and poison gas… This young boy had no idea
what fate had in store for him. He was simply going to fight
for his Homeland. He was simply on his way to war… First World War Hurry up! Move it! Careful with that! Henrich, what’s taking so long? in June 1914 a small German town of Bad-Kissingen
was busy preparing for a local celebration. Among the visitors in town on holiday was a Russian army general
Alexei Alexeivich Brusilov with his wife Brusilov Alexei Alexeivich Cavalry General,
Corps Commander. Awarded three
military decorations for outstanding service
in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 Known throughout Europe as an expert
on cavalry and horseback riding. Nadezhda Vladimirovna, have you seen the
posters around the city? What do they say? Something about a celebration this evening
on the city square. You want to go? Will there be many russians? No idea.
But they are everywhere. There’s almost as many Russians
in Kissingen as there are Germans. Just listen to that!
the orchestra is very nice, no? The fireworks set ablaze
a Kremlin-like piece of scenery accompanied by cheering of the locals and terrified cries
coming from the Russians Just watch it burn! That’s that!
So this is what they want. Damned Germans! Already forgot our Kossaks?
You’ll remember soon enough! Never will Alexei Brusilov forget the events that took place
in this quiet German town… The next day everything seemed
to go back to normal: the clean Kissingen square and the town full of
russian tourists, recovering their health
with local mineral waters. In this peaceful
tranquility of life, noone could imagine the
mortal threat drawing near. As neither could millions
of other Europeans. Europe hasn’t seen a war in fourty years. It was thriving in
its “Belle Époque” — a flourishing time of
technology, science and arts. Electricity, radio, cinematography,
X-ray, automobiles, football… London opened the first
underground railway. The French were outraged by the “useless
and grotesque” Eiffel Tower in Paris. Last remaining “blank spots”
dissappeared from the world’s map. Humanity conquered the “fifth ocean” — Sky. Outgoing aviators were idols of the epoch. One of the most popular books
at that time was “The Great Illusion”, written by
an english publicist Norman Angell. In this book, the author argued
that a large-scale war was impossible. It was futile and pointless because the conquering power would
suffer as much as the losing side. And no government would do
such a rudiculous thing. Some believed that eternal peace was guaranteed by a new
weapon — the machine gun. Casualties from its withering
fire were so numerous, that no madman would ever start a war between civilized nations. Science and technology
were developing in gigantic leaps. The human mind, raised on the
morals and ethics of the 19th century, had difficulty catching up with
the ongoing progress at times… Europe 1913. Parliamentary meetings and
international conferences were dazzling with golden
splendour of uniforms and sparkle of
diamond-clad medals. While a German-based
ammunition company Krupp made a cannon with a firing
distance of 14 kilometers what could fire a shell weighing 1 tonn. Hussars and cuirassiers were
showing off at war parades wearing fancy hackles and fourragères
from the times of Napoleonic Wars. While shipyards were building
armored battleships that could destroy entire european cities
with a single round of fire. Glamorous ballrooms were filled with
cheerful waltz music and public engaged in careless discussion
of latest novels and socialist ideas. While poison gases were already
discovered by scientist: chlorine, phosgene and mustard gas,
later known as iprit. In just two years they will be used
as first weapons of mass destruction. In 1903 Ernest Rutherfor discovered the universal law of radioactive decay In just forty years
the atomic bomb will be made. In fifty years first book
will be written on nuclear weapons, that allegedly were supposed
to prevent world wars. No one will remember later, that back in 1913 everyone
thought the machine gun to be such a preventive measure. The world wasn’t yet fully aware
of what the XX century had in store for it. Forty years of peace —
that was just too long! In 1913 these words were
a motto of those, eager to solve political
conflicts with weapons. Rodion! Asleep, lazy-bones?
Have you been up reading all night again? 50 feet and 5 yards of English cloth…
20 feet of velvet… Put the calico separately! And be careful with that. You, imbecile. hey Rodik, go to the market
to madame Filimonova, get some beer and sausages. Ok, as good as done. Of all the European
empires, the Russian Empire was the least eager
to engage in a war. They were having an economic boost,
with rapidly developing industry. In terms of industrial
production growth rate Russia was a worldwide leader. Export of russian goods doubled in just
13 years, considerably exceeding import. An unqualified worker in Russia was paid 25-35 roubles on average. While a qualified machinist,
locksmith or electrician could earn as much as 75-125 roubles. In comparison, an officer
at the start of his career was making only
about 70 roubles, while a pound of wheat flour
cost 8 kopeeks (0,08 roubles), and meat — just over 20 kopeeks
a pound. A pickled cucumber — 3 kopeeks
A bottle of vodka — 40 kopeeks. Electric trams were taking the place of
omnibuses and horsecars. The fare was 5 kopeeks. Russia didn’t have war on its mind. But the news coming from Europe
were alarming. Twenty years have passed since 1871, when France lost the Franco-Prussian War. As a result, small german principalities united into one powerful state —
the German Empire. Two french provinces — Elsass and
Lothringen — became a part of Germany, which made the French furious
with hatred towards the usurpers. In just a few years Germany became one
of the most powerful European countries. Soon after, german warships
and merchant vessels set sail to conquer new lands
for their Empire. Before Europe knew it, Germany already had colonies
in Eastern and South-West Africa. Rwanda, Cameroon, Togo,
as well as islands in Asia and Oceania. French and english merchants were
making fortunes on account of colonies. Colonies generated funds
for building palaces and equipping armies. And now the German Empire had become a serious colonial rival
for England and France. A rival that was quickly turning
into a dangerously vicious enemy. the Austro-Hungarian Empire
allied with Germany, the latter having serious
tension with Russia. Austria took over Bosnia and Herzegovina, which almost started a war with Serbia, who considered Bosia to be part
of its Slavic territory. Russian Emperor
Nicholas II made it clear that he won’t hesitate
to mobilize the army be it necessary to protect the Serbs
or any other orthodox peoples. Tensions began to rise
between Russia and Germany. German Emperor Wilhelm II said: “I hate
the Slavs. I know it is a sin to do so. We ought not to hate anyone.
But I can’t help hating them.” Wilhelm was first cousin
to the British king George and a distant unkle of,
the Russian Emperor. the Russian and British monarchs
were cousins as well, and looked very much alike. Members of all royal European families were on rather friendly terms
often paying each other visits. But family ties lost their influence overshadowed by political
and economic concerns when interests of armed forces
and military contracts were at stake. There was only one rule:
“If you don’t conquer, others will”. In this war, Germany and Austria-Hungary
formed a coalition that would later be joined by Italy. France and Russia created an alliance
known as Entente (derived from french l’Entente cordiale —
“cordial agreement”). Soon they were joined by Great Britain. At this point interstate conflicts
arose far from the capitals. In Asia and Africa disputes
were settled with either money or gunfire. or resolved during peace conferences, where sides shook hands
and signed treaties only to… break them the very next day. Latest news from the embassies
are hardly optimistic. Notes, letters of protest
and ultimatums from every side. French hate the Germans.
Germans hate the French and the Russians. And we, Russians,
hate the Austrians. Even our allies fear us for our ambition
to gain access to the Mediterranean. Everything just got mixed up, and now
no one can untie this bundle of threads. But someone has to give way. Sergey Dmitrievich, my dear,
there are six empires. Six. And empires never back down. No one will ever give in or stand back. It was 1913. Russia celebrated the 300th anniversary
of the Romanov dynasty, Diaghilev founded “The Russian Ballet” and
Kazimir Malevich painted his Black Square. The very same year another painter
moved from Munich to Vienna, where he failed the entrance exam
to the Academy of Fine Arts. His name was Adolf Hitler. French movie director Louis Feuillade, filmed his first episode of
the Fantômas series. While in Sweden, a Bengali Indian
novelist Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Russians were still visiting
German holiday resorts, and Germans kept coming to
the French Riviera. But behind the curtain of Europe’s
peaceful and serene life one could already see the bayonets,
cannons and warships. Germany, Britain and France
were prepared to start a war for new territories at any moment… Austria-Hungary was on the verge
of a conflict with the Russian Empire over Bosnia and Serbia… The Russian fleet was ready
to attack Turkey, to gain access to the Mediterranean
once and for all. Europe was a like a powder keg
with a fuse sticking out. One only had to light it. Back in the 19th century,
German chancellor Otto von Bismarck described the situation in Europe
as “The Nightmare of Coalitions”. And the key monster in this nightmare
was Germany. Its army was considered
best in Europe. German aviation was undergoing
rapid development. It was taking the lead
in airship manufacture. In 1900 Germany passed the Naval Law, and by 1914 Germany had
already built up a Navy ranking as second best
fleet in the world. By 1914 Germany had 1688 units
of heavy field artillery, whereas France only had 84,
and Great Britain 126. Austria-Hungary, a German ally,
had an army of 1,5 million soldiers. Germany felt constrained
by its borders, and the German High Command
activated a plan to defeat both the French and the Russians. “Paris for lunch,
St. Petersburg for dinner” proclaimed Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany. The plan called for a major offensive
to capture Paris in 39 days. Austria-Hungary prepared
a war plan of its own. Soon the plan was uncovered
by the russian intelligence. Russia was preparing for war. What are we having for lunch? Shchi (cabbage soup), your Honour. Good, let’s have a taste. Baron Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel, captain, commander of the
third cavalry squadron of the Life Guards
Cavalry Regiment. Studied to be a mining engineer. Volunteered to the army during
the Russo-Japanese War. Awarded with military
decorations. It needs more salt. Pyotr Nikolayevich, an urgent report!
Kindly take a look. The Russian army was prepared
and equipped rather well. Quick-firing guns created by Vladimir
Baranovsky were among world’s best. First radio stations established
by Popov and captain Troitsky, were implemented by the army
back in 1900. Telephone and telegraph
were gaining popularity. Military and naval aviation were
in active use. In 1914, at the Russo-Baltic
Carriage Factory Igor Sikorsky constructed the heavy military bomber “Ilya Muromets”,
unique and first of its kind. Fyodorov, Tokarev and Roschepey created
first prototypes of their automatic rifles. World’s first naval mortar
was built back in 1904 by midshipman Vlas’ev
and captain Gobyato. First prototypes of light machine guns
came out at the time, called “anti-aircraft devices”. Aleksandr Porokhovschikov built
the first all-terrain tank “Vezdekhod”. Although many of these weapons
were still under development, no other army had them in use
at the time the war broke out. But things didn’t alway go as planned. In 1914, military engineer Lebedenko
developed the Tsar Tank, which was and still remains
the largest armored vehicle in history. The Tsar Tank had
two gigantic front wheels almost 9 meters (27 feet) in diameter. The upper cannon turret
reached nearly 8 metres high. The hull was 12 metres wide
with two more cannons in the sponsons. The Tsar Tank project
was finished by August 1915. But the initial tests deemed the vehicle
to be a complete fiasco. The tank simply got stuck in a ditch,
where it remained until 1923, when it was finally taken apart for scrap. Troooooops! Ready, on your guard! But the rearmament of russian troops
was still under way. The reforms were scheduled
to be finished by 1916. France on the other hand
was rather slack, with its war preparations
resembling a picnic. It didn’t have the power
to overcome Germany. With 480 000 soldiers
in the French Army against 830 000 Germans, France was widely relying
on Russia’s support. The French put all their hopes in
“elan vital”, or “vital force”. The power of the so-called “French spirit” was expected to destroy
the much hated Germans. Officers and soldiers were trained
to take the offensive — whatever the cost. They were not allowed to use entrenchment, and had only a fortnight a year
for rehearsing war maneuvers. French military commanders
didn’t care much for innovations, reluctant to use military novelties. General Joffre, Chief of
the French General Staff, said: “Aviation is purely a sport.
It has no use in the army”. Telephones were regarded as
a perilous novelty. Machine guns and heavy artillery
were looked upon with indifference. But most ironic of all was the fate
that befell the french military uniforms. When the French Minister of War,
Adolphe Messimy, proposed a modern, khaki-coloured uniform instead of the usual
blue coats and red trousers, there was a genuine uproar
at the parliamentary hearing. “Abolish red trousers? Never!
France is red trousers!” And so red trousers stayed, making the
French easy targets for German snipers. Another one of Russia’s
allies, Great Britain, put all its power and efforts
into strengthening the Royal Navy. Although highly competent,
the British Army was very small in number. Just like France, Britain
was hoping Russia would handle the ground combat. British Foreign Secretary,
Sir Edward Grey said: “Russia’s resources are so great that, in the long run, Germany would be
exhausted without our helping Russia”. Here’s good news for you, Peter. According to the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs, Poincare, President of
the French Republic, shall pay a visit to the
Russian capital in July. Damned allies… And here’s something about Britain… Kolya, the newspapers,
Entente, all of it — nonsense! Trust me, our allies will shift
the responsibility on Russia. And the Germans are looking for an excuse.
Any excuse. Even the slightest one… And the excuse was found… June 1914 to Bosnia and Herzegovina,
then under Austro-Hungarian rule, arrived the heir to the Austro-Hungarian
Empire, Archduke Franz Ferdinand. On June 28 he was touring
the city of Sarajevo in an open car, when someone from the crowd threw a bomb. The explosion wounded a few bystanders,
but the heir was left unharmed, and the terrorist was captured. Later that day, Franz Ferdinand
and his wife went to the hospital to pay a visit to the people
injured in the explosion. Archduke’s car turned off the
Appel Quay and onto Franz Joseph Street when the driver realised that
he had taken a wrong turn. He put on the brakes and
slowly began to back up, while a young man came out of a nearby cafe
holding a Browning pistol in his hand… Murder at Sarajevo! Murder at Sarajevo! Austria-Hungary delivers Serbia
an ultimatum! Get your newspaper!
Murder at Sarajevo! Give me a newspaper. Thank you. And what do you want? Who was murdered, Mister? The Austrian heir. And what will come of this? What’s your name? Rodion… I’m Rodion Malinovsky. Literate, are you? Yeah, so what? I read everything… About the war,
about the heroes… So what now, mister? Nothing, Rodion Malinovsky. You see, Kings get murdered, Grand Dukes
get murdered — nothing happens. Everyone will forget all about this soon. Keep it. Headquarters of the General Staff
of the Russian Army. A cyphered telegram from a russian
military attache in Austria-Hungary, Colonel Baron Vineken: “The heir and his wife were killed
in Sarajevo this morning by a gunshot wound.
The assassin is believed to be a Serb”. Franz Ferdinand indeed was killed by a serbian terrorist
Gavrilo Princip. Princip was a member
of a terrorist organisation, that fought for Bosnia’s
independence from Austrian rule. Just like all terrorist organisations
throughout history, they gave little thought to
consequences, believing bombs and guns to be the solution
for their country’s problem. Naturally, among the top
enemies on their list was the heir to the Austrian throne. There were six conspirators
in the assassination attempt. Interestingly enough, it was planned to
murder the Archduke with a bomb, leaving Princip with a
minor, supporting part. But Franz Ferdinand was
unhurt in the explosion, and Princip thought at the time
that their attempt was sheer failure. The scrawny 19-year old boy,
terminally ill with tuberculosis, was already on his way home,
and by pure chance went into a cafe to buy a sandwich. The murderer was seized. Princip attempted suicide with cyanide
but failed the attempt — he was beaten and tortured so badly
that his arm had to be amputated in prison. Under Austrian law he was underaged
and too young to receive the death penalty. Later, Princip would get a sentence
of twenty years in prison, where he would die from tuberculosis
just three years after the assassination. All of the assassins
were eventually caught. And that could have been
the end of this tragic event. The heir to the throne was
dead, another crown prince took his place, and the
killers were arrested. At the interrogation, however,
one of the conspirators gave out all the details
of the assassination, among other things,
stating that the weapon was given to them by the
Serbian government… Alexei Alexeievich, where are you off to? Have you seen the papers? War is coming, Duke, and I have to
make it to my troops in time. I have no desire to become
a prisoner of war. Is it all because of…
what’s his name?.. Princip? For goodness’ sake! There will be no war.
I would have been informed otherwise. I rented a villa for the Grand
Duke George Mikhailovich. He’ll be coming
to visit us soon. Suit yourself. I’m going. Prince Felix Yusupov. Know in the capital for
his extravagant behaviour and homosexual ties. Was on his honeymoon after getting married to
the niece of Tsar Nicholas II. With great difficulty managed to return to
Russia only after the beginning of the war. Best known for plotting and participating
in the assassination of Grigori Rasputin. Few believed the murder at Sarajevo
capable of triggering a serious conflict. The death of the heir caused
no patriotic dismay in Austria-Hungary Only the newspapers were dramatizing
and over exaggerating. Austria-Hungary was preparing a note to
Serbia, accusing it of terrorist support. But everyone was sure
that the incident would go into history as yet
another loud assassination. But then the Germans came to advise
their Austrian allies. Wilhelm II, the German Emperor,
saw the murder as a good excuse to start a war.
An excuse he was waiting for. 1688 German heavy artillery units
against France’s 84… An army of over a million
versus 430 000 French soldiers… Taking all this into account, Wilhelm II
decided that the time had come. In his marginal comments on
the assassination report he appended the words
“Now or never!” Germany prompted Austria-Hungary to issue a harsh ultimatum to Belgrade. Austrian politicians
were against this, understanding that Russians
would back Serbia. but the Germans persisted, insisting
that Russia was unprepared for war and won’t dare to take up arms. On July 23, the
Austro-Hungarian Ambassador finally delivered an ultimatum
to the Serbian government. demanding an answer within 48 hours. Serbs were surprised,
to say the very least. The text of the note was
composed in a manner that excluded the possibility
of Serbia complying. Austria demanded that its gendarmes
be accepted on Serbia’s territory. That‘s the same as if German police were
to come and carry out arrests in Moscow. It means the end of national independence,
and Serbia would never concede. The Serbian government virtually
agreed to all demands except the clause about admittance
of Austrian Police. Five days later,
at 11:00 a.m. on July 28, with pressure from Germany,
Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. The Danube river was the
only thing separating the Serbian capital
from Austria. Austrians set up their river monitors and
started bombarding Belgrade in cold blood. No one could believe at first,
that in 20th century Europe the murder of a single man
could be reason enough for bombing entire residential districts
of a European capital. And then it all began… Russia was first to declare
it’s support for Serbia. From Saint-Petersburg
to Berlin, Berlin to Vienna, from Vienna to Saint-Petersburg,
Saint-Petersburg to Paris, from Paris to London
Telegrams were flying. Ambassadors were meeting with
prime ministers and monarchs. Every country was focused only
on solving its own problems. And only Nicholas II was doing everything
in his power to avoid the war. He immediately sent a telegram
to the German Emperor: “…It would be right to give over
the Austro-Serbian problem to the Hague conference.
Trust in your wisdom and friendship”. It was a proposal one couldn’t refuse, but Wilhelm II did not address this
in his subsequent telegram. This could mean only one
thing — Germany wanted war. The same day German army began
its mobilization. Britain was desperately
trying to elude the obligations to its allies, still hoping to avoid
participation in the conflict. British foreign secretary,
Sir Edward Grey, told the Germans that Britain would
stay neutral in Germany’s war with Russia, on condition that Germany
did not attack France. But there was more. Out of 18 members of
the British Parliament 12 voted against fulfillment of
obligations to the French allies. France was outraged. Just a few years ago
Britain persuaded France to concentrate its fleet
in the Mediterranean Sea, pledging to protect its north coast. And now the French coast
ended up defenseless and vulnerable to German battleships. When this became apparent, France’s Ambassador to Britain
Jules Cambon declared: “Is it not time to cross out the word
“honour” from the English vocabulary?” It was becoming evident, that Russia
had only itself to rely on. On July 31st, Russia gave the order
for general mobilization. Appointed to the post of Supreme
Commander-in-Chief of all Russian armies was Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich. Grand Duke Nikolay
Nikolayevich the younger. A grandson of the Russian
Emperor Nicholas I. Distinguished himself during
the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. Inspector-General of Cavalry. He was respected by his troops, however for his great ambition,
lust for power and sharp temper he was nicknamed “Cunning”. Berlin delivered
Saint-Petersburg an ultimatum: “We demand that Russia rescind
its mobilization within twelve hours”. At the same time an ultimatum
was delivered to France. His Excellency, the German Ambassador. Let him in. I am here on behalf of my government
to ask whether the Russian government is prepared
to give an affirmative answer to the note dated July 31st of this year. The order of general mobilization
cannot be revoked, but Russia is however willing to
keep up the negotiations. Is Russia prepared to
arrest its mobilization? No. I shall repeat the question again… Our answer remains unchanged. Then I must deliver to
the Foreign Minister the following document. The German Ambassador accidentally
delivered two versions of the note. One was in case of consent
to arrest the mobilization, the other — if Russia were to refuse. But regardless of the decision,
according to both notes Germany declared war on Russia… The family of the Russian Emperor
had already left Saint-Petersburg a few years ago and was residing
in Tsarskoye Selo (“Tsar’s Village”) On August 1st,
Emperor Nicholas II returned home from the evening mass
at the Feodorovsky Cathedral and received the news about
Germany’s declaration of war. The sovereign sent another telegram
to the German Emperor at once. It was left without answer as well. The Russian Empress, Alexandra
Feodorovna was the first to utter the fateful words:
“This war will be terrifying… Mankind shall face
great hardships…” Wilhelm, the German Emperor
was her cousin… The empress and her daughters
spent the entire evening in tears… On the evening of August 1st
german troops entered Luxembourg, and in a fortnight the country was
under full occupation. on August 3rd, Germany officially
declares war on France. on August 4th, german army
crossed the border of Belgium. As a result, Britain declared
war on the German Empire. On August 6th, Austria-Hungary
declared war on Russia. And so the war began. In Russia they called it the
Second Great War at first, then — imperialist war, and only much later was it
called the First World War. This war could have been easily avoided, but instead, forever changed
the face of Europe and the entire world, turning into one of the most
terrifying wars in history and taking lives of
tens of millions of people… The war was already in full swing, when two German chancellors met in Berlin: Bernhard von Bülow —
resigned former chancellor and Bethmann Hollweg — his successor. Bülow said: “How did all this happen?”
(he was asking about the war, of course), the reply was: “Oh, if only I knew!” “Salve” cigarettes!
six kopeeks a dozen! Give me two packs. Hey son, what does it say here, huh?.. What…what’s going on? Son, can you read?
Read what it says. Imperial manifesto of declaration of war
between Russia and Germany. In Saint-Petersburg people
saw that manifesto the same day. Thousands gathered before
the Winter Palace, crowds filled the entire square
and all nearby streets. Emperor Nicholas II
came out onto the balcony. Chairman of the State Duma,
Nikolaj Rodzianko recollects that day: “When the crowds saw their Tsar,
they became as though electrified, and a loud “hoorah” thundered
through the air. Their flags and posters saying:
“Long live Russia and Slavdom!” bent to the ground, and the whole crowd fell on its knees
in unison before the Tsar. The sovereign wished to speak
and raised his hand, so the front rows went quiet.
But the rest of the crowd kept roaring “hoorah”,
not letting him speak…”. None of the people gathered
at the Palace Square could imagine the hardships
that awaited Russia, and the difficulties in
store for all of them. The country was swept with
an unseen patriotic uplift. There were ongoing
demonstrations in all the cities. People were welcoming the Tsar’s
decision to declare war, actively manifesting their support
for Serbia and hatred for the Germans. In the wake of anti-German attitudes
it was decided to change the name of
Saint-Petersburg to Petrograd. Some of the country’s most prominent
people volunteered to join the army. Age? Eighteen. writer Alexander Kuprin and poet
Nikolai Gumilev were among them, even Vladimir Mayakovsky
volunteered. However, for his involvement in
the revolutionary movement he was rejected as
politically unreliable In one year the poet will be called to
arms, this time as part of mobilization. Not eager to go to war anymore, he used his connections to go and
serve as a draftsman in the capital. In the meantime he took to writing
patriotic poems mocking Russia’s enemies: “Silly Wilhelm lost his bayonet and his mustache, when the cunning brute heard of battle in East Prussia”. First combats took place on the
Russian-German border. In one of the battles, cossacks of
Ermak Timofeevich 3rd Don Regiment were fighting with the German dragoons. Eight enemy horseman attacked
cossack Kuzma Kryuchkov, knocked out the sabre from his hand
and tried to take him prisoner. But he grabbed a German’s pike, Knocked the enemies out of their saddles
and killed an officer. The dragoons fled. With sixteen puncture wounds
on his body, Kuzma became the first soldier in World War I
to be awarded the Cross of St George. He made headlines
in the newspapers, his face was on postcards,
broadsheets and cigarette packs. Kolesnikov Confectionery factory
in Petrograd made new chocolates
called “Hero”, with a picture of the brave cossack Kuzma Kryuchkov
on the wrapper. Among the war’s first heroes
was also a young volunteer of the Kargopolsky 5th Dragoon Regiment. He infiltrated a german-occupied village
and returned with important information. Next morning the
enemy were defeated and the brave young man awarded
St George Cross 4th Class. His name was Konstantin Rokossovsky. And so began the military
career of a future Marshal and hero of the Great
Patriotic War. Your Honour! Commander ordered to stay undercover.
The regiment attacks Kauschen. What? Say that again! The orders were to stay undercover. You can go! Hey, Petya. Are they
holding you in the rear? As you can see… There’s our General. Just arrived.
Go and talk to him. Squaaadron! On your horses! Draw your swords! Bugler! Signal to attack, Take your positions! Get a move on!
Quickly pass the grenades! Give me a horse! Congratulations, Pyotr Nikolaevich!
A glorious victory! Thank you. For his attack on the Prussian
village of Kauschen Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel was awarded
a very honorary decoration — Order of St. George 4th Class. For a while, Wrangel was making
headlines in the Russian press, and British newspapers published
a few articles about him as well. Cavalry. First records of armed horsemen
taking part in battles are dates as far back as 9th century BC. In 1914, despite the use of automobiles,
aircrafts and other technology, all European armies still maintained
substantial cavalry forces. On the outbreak of World War I cavalry comprised 8-10% of the total
manpower in the combatant coalitions. Russian cavalry forces were
the most substantial in numbers: Dragoon, Uhlan, Hussar
and Cossack regiments estimated almost 200 000 horsemen. However, the active use
of artillery fire, machine guns and military aviation made horses
vulnerable, resulting in heavy casualties. This reduced cavalry’s utility
in the battlefield, making it ineffective. In August of 1914 six German cavalry regiments
were driven off from Antwerp by the Belgian infantry. Practically the only successful
combat episode during World War I which involved the Cavalry Guards was that of Pyotr Wrangel
during the battle of Kauschen. After World War I with the development of motorized units,
the number of mounted troops was reduced, and by the end of 1930s
many large countries eliminated cavalry
as a military unit altogether. Nice…Can’t wait to get to those germans.
We will show them! Yes… Go on through! The more the merrier! Hey, look here, we have a guest!
Come out of there… Spill it out. Who are you?
Where are you heading? Hey fellow, don’t be scared,
we’re not going to eat you. We’ll just take your
pants off and give you a good spanking for
getting on a troop train. Why spanking? I’m going to war!
I’m serious. Allright. Sit here for now. But at the next station you’re
getting off and going back home… but Malinovsky persuaded
Elisavetgradsky Hussars not to send him back to Odessa. The soldiers reported the foundling right
before their arrival at the battlefield. The young man stayed
in the regiment as ammunition carrier in
the machine gun division. And just like that began
the story of a future Marshal and one of the most prominent Soviet
military commanders.


  • Tom Price

    I hope you continue to make historical documentaries especially a fan of this period and enjoyed the Romanovs series keep it up, hope to see this series in English soon thanks StarMedia.


    Superb explanation of pre-war scientific and industrial developments, the antagonisms between imperial powers in Europe and the unavoidable downfall into a massive military showdown of unforeseen, far-reaching consequences.
    Outstanding the technic of combining old footages and highly suggestive dramatizations.
    Undoubtedly, docu-series to be proud of. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Roland Wieffering

    It's subtitled in English, people.
    Amazing tank the Russians build, I wonder who came up with the idea for the Tsar-tank. I mean, just by using your common sense you can predict its failure.

  • abc64pan

    I had just seen this up to 6:00 before I paused and I'm already excited about this series. It looks like it's the same top notch quality as "The Romanovs" which was an outstanding documentary. I've already seen several other Russian made documentaries, recent ones and others which were produced many years ago and I have to say, Russians know how to make documentaries.

  • Jovo Sedlar

    Russia went through hell trying to protect her little sister Serbia. if it wasn't for Russia and Crna Gora, we would've been erased from the face of the earth by Germany, Austro-Hungary and Bulgaria combined. thank you Russia for your help or I wouldn't have been typing this comment now.

  • Ronald Strange

    A most interesting and certainly different perspective of WW1. Very biased, understandably towards Russia and contains many inaccuracies. For example, Italy entered the war on the side which suited her territorial ambitions and did not at any time side with Germany/Austria Hungary. My compliments to the producers and thanks to whoever made this programme available.

  • Jianna Rey

    not a bad documentary. minus the minor tweaks to the actual facts such as that of Russia's Army being in top condition by the time the "great War" (later known as WWI) . it's well known that after the Russian-Japanese war Russia still in the process of recovering from its wounds. it was only after the Tsar was advised (wisely too) about how important was for Russia to aid Serbia that he finally agreed to give the order.

  • Johnny Vaught

    Another well done film. Also impressed with the history content from the Russian point of view. Mine has been from the USA side, I must say they are very close.

  • Richard Jacobs

    you bosnian muslims caused ww1 and the destruction of Yugoslavia! death to SHITslam! long live serbia! kosovo is still serbia!

  • cheezy crackers

    Are Russians literally incapable of making a documentary that is not total propaganda? It is like this with every topic that even remotely involves them.

  • Eric Gardner

    The subtitles are white letters on a slightly less white background box. Come on, for crying out loud. Get it fixed so the we do not have to pause it with each new subtitle. Man, that gets real old in a hurry and detracts from concentrating on the movie and story line.

  • Cuatu Catalin

    Bravo…excelent history film….spasiba … have all mine consideration…only history…no nationalism…no bolsevich intrusion….only pure history….

  • Liliya Anisimov

    I just couldn't believe that germany paid the equivalent 100 million tons of gold and they finished paying on October 3 2010

  • Loud Strat

    This is pretty much fiction. Russia never invented tanks or bombers before ww1. Never built any for the war. Sound like Russia was paranoid about Germany anyway

  • Valentin Rybin

    My theory is that the major powers of the time agreed on this war to bring Russia down as she was the sole superpower at the time. Seeing as how her "allies" dodged and ignored their responsibilities to the point of forcing Russia to fend for herself it all makes sense.

  • Tom C

    Good quality cinematography, but lot of errors in how the war started. Read a book, relying on a movie documentary is a co-pout, not real history/

  • Fedor Hub

    Тут про Радиона Малиновского упоминули. Я в школе прочел его "Солдаты России". Помню многое, например, что он получал 5-6 рублей будучи неквалифицированным рабочих, а его враг приказчик получал 15 рубликов. Потом война и где-то рядом был ингерманландский полк, почему- то запомнил. Потом Радион стал третьим номером в пулеметном расчета, потом Брусиловский прорыв, где однополчанин Малиновского прыгнув через окоп скатился вниз, и многие такую плохую примету посчитали предзнаменованием, оно так и случилось, в те же времена целый состав с чистым спиртом оказался без присмотра (мечта мечт), и тогда командирам пришлось идти на чрезвычайные меры, чтобы отвратить солдат от отвратительного упития и убития, они просто поставили на рельсы пулеметы. Затем в романе описывается война в экспедиционном корпусе во Франции. Прошло сорок лет, а события романа помню, как свою жизнь.

  • AvgerinouAna99

    Δεν θέλω να ζήσω μεγάλο πόλεμο στη διάρκεια της ζωής μου. Αλλά το βλέπω χλωμό

  • Its All Good Games

    2 versions of the declaration of war on russia? i looked and looked online but i cannot find any evidence of this second note!!!!

  • murgul morgul

    а где “soviet storm” никак не найду на вашем канале? убрали что ли?

  • Johan Drexler

    I am sick from the western propaganda point of view toward the facts of all these important and historical events in the world. I would love to know the Russian point of the view but unfortunately I do not speak/Understand Russian.this is the reason why I made abonnement the EN version of your documentary movie archive, though very surprised that it is also in Russian and it is hard to follow the English subtitles (miss a lot of points and always stop click back & too old to start to learn a new language etc. so just inform me please how can I get the English documentary movies if available. spasiba Bolshoi. Thank you.

  • Rosolino Lo Sciuto

    La questione Israelo-Palestinese e' iniziata con l'antagonismo tra le Nazioni e' finita depistata con il crollo dell Unione Sovietica

  • мармелад

    people came up with better weapons, but people did not come out of diapers to use them and as a small child, in fact, Europe was one big testing ground for new weapons of the first world war

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