Press and propaganda from outside
Along with airplanes, tanks, suffocating gases and other wonders of military equipment, in the last world war a new powerful means of struggle appeared - propaganda. As a matter of fact, it is not entirely new, for as early as 1826, at the meeting of the English Chamber of Deputies, Minister Canning said: “If we ever have to participate in a war, we will gather under our banners all the rebellious, all thoroughly, or without reason unhappy, in every country that goes against us. "
But now this tool has reached an extraordinary development, tension and organization, striking the most painful and susceptible places of the people's psyche. The technically well-placed propaganda organs of England, France and America, especially England, waged a terrible fight with words, seals, films and ... currency, spreading this fight on the territory of the enemy, allied and neutral, contributing it to the military, political, moral and economic.
Especially since Germany, in particular, has enough reasons for propaganda to have abundant and irrefutably incriminating material. It is difficult to enumerate, even in general terms, that huge arsenal of ideas that, step by step, drop by drop, deepened social discord, undermined state power, undermined the spiritual forces of enemies and their faith in victory, separated their alliance, aroused neutral powers against them, finally, the falling mood of their own peoples was raised.
Nevertheless, to attach exceptional importance to this moral influence from the outside, as the leaders of the German people now do to justify their own, in no case follows: Germany suffered a political, economic, military and moral defeat. Only the interaction of all these factors predetermined the outcome of the struggle that was fatal for her, which finally turned into a long agony. One could only wonder at the vitality of the German people, who, by virtue of intellectual power and the stability of political thinking, lasted so long, until finally, in November 1918, "a double deadly blow both at the front and in the rear" did not slay him.
At the same time, history will undoubtedly mark a great analogy in the role played by the “revolutionary democracies” of Russia and Germany in the destinies of these peoples. The leader of the German independent social democrats, after the defeat, introduced the country to the great and systematic work they had been doing since the beginning of 1918 to destroy the German army and navy, in praise of the social revolution. In this work, the similarity of the techniques and methods with those practiced in Russia is striking.
Not being able to fight against the propaganda of English and French, the Germans used this tool with great success, in relation to their eastern adversary, especially since “Russia did its own misfortune,” said Ludendorff, “and the work that we did there was too difficult. ”
The results of the interaction of skillful German hands and currents, arising not so much from the fact of the revolution, as from the distinctive nature of the Russian rebellion, exceeded the wildest expectations of the Germans.
The work was conducted in three directions - in the political, military and social. In the first, it should be noted, quite clearly and definitely put forward, and consistently carried out by the German government, the idea of dismembering Russia. Its implementation resulted in the proclamation, on November 5, 1916, of the Polish kingdom, with a territory that was supposed to spread eastward "as far as possible"; in the creation of "independent", but being in union with Germany - Kurland and Lithuania; in the division of the Belarusian provinces between Lithuania and Poland, and finally in the long and very persistent preparation for the frontier of Little Russia, carried out later in 1918. Since the first facts were only of fundamental importance, referring to lands actually occupied by the Germans and predetermining the nature of future annexations , to the extent that the position taken by the central powers with regard to Little Russia, had a direct impact on the stability of our most important Southwestern front, causing political complications in the province and separate quest to the army. I will return to this issue later.
The German main apartment included a well-organized “press bureau”, which, in addition to the influence and direction of the national press, also led propaganda, which penetrated mainly into Russia and France. Miliukov cites a circular of the German Foreign Ministry to all his representatives in neutral countries: “It is reported to you that in the territory of the country in which you are accredited, special offices are established to organize propaganda in the states fighting with the German coalition. Propaganda will concern the excitement of the social movement and the recent strikes, revolutionary outbursts, separatism of the constituent parts of the state and civil war, as well as agitation, in favor of disarming and ending the bloody massacre. We offer you to provide all-round patronage - and to assist the leaders of the aforementioned propaganda offices. ”
We, in the government apparatus or in the Stavka, did not have a completely organ, at least to some extent resembling the mighty West European propaganda institutions. One of the divisions of the Quartermaster General, was in charge of technical issues of relations with the press, and had no value, no influence, nor any active tasks. The Russian army, whether it was bad or bad, fought with primitive means, without resorting to the “poisoning of the soul” of the enemy that was so widely practiced in the West. And paid for it with excess blood flow. But if there are two opinions on the moral side of destructive propaganda, then it is impossible not to note our complete inertia and inaction in another, completely pure field.
We did absolutely nothing to acquaint foreign public opinion with the exceptional role played by Russia and the Russian army in a world war; with those huge losses and sacrifices that the Russian people make, with those constant, and perhaps incomprehensible cold mind of our eadad friends and enemies, the majestic acts of self-sacrifice that the Russian army showed every time the front of the allies was in the balance from defeat ... I have met a lack of understanding of the role of Russia almost everywhere in wide public circles, even long after the conclusion of peace, wandering through Europe. A small episode serves as a caricature, but a very characteristic indicator of it: the banner - a banner, presented to Marshal Foch “from American friends”, depicts flags of all states, small lands and colonies, which somehow or other entered the orbit of the Entente in the great war; the flag of Russia is put on ... 46th place, after Haiti, Uruguay and directly behind San Marino ...
Ignorance or vulgarity?
We did not do anything to lay a solid moral foundation of national unity, during the occupation of Galicia, did not attract the public opinion of Romania occupied by the Russian troops, did not undertake anything to keep the Bulgarian people from betraying Slavic interests, finally did not use the Russian the territory of a huge mass of prisoners, in order, at least, to give them the correct picture of Russia.
The Imperial Headquarters, tightly shut up in the sphere of purely military issues of campaigning, did not make any attempts to gain influence on the general course of political events, which completely corresponds to the idea of the service life of the people's army. But at the same time, the Stavka decisively avoided influencing the public mood of the country in order to attract this powerful factor to moral assistance in the struggle. There was no connection with the large seal, which was represented at the Stavka by persons who had no influence or value.
When the revolution broke out, and the political whirlwind captured and swirled the army, the Stavka could not remain more inert. It was necessary to respond. Moreover, there was suddenly no source of moral strength in Russia protecting the army: the government, especially the military ministry, went uncontrollably along the path of opportunism; The Soviet and the socialist press destroyed the army; the bourgeois press then appealed to the consuls, "so that the empire would not suffer damage", then naively rejoiced at "democratization and emancipation" ... Even in competent, it would seem, circles of the Petrograd highest military bureaucracy, there was a complete confusion of thought that confused and confused the public opinion of the country .
Photos for the announcement of the material on the main page and for the lead: wikipedia.org