One of the world's leading scholars offers a fresh interpretation of the linked origins of World War I and the Russian Revolution World War I and the Russian Revolution together shaped the twentieth century in profound ways. In The End of Tsarist Russia, acclaimed scholar Dominic Lieven connects for the first time the two events, providing both a history of the First World War's origins from a Russian perspective and an international history of why the revolution happened. Based on exhaustive work in seven Russian archives as well as many non-Russian sources, Dominic Lieven's work is about far more than just Russia. By placing the crisis of empire at its core, Lieven links World War I to the sweep of twentieth-century global history. He shows how contemporary hot issues such as the struggle for Ukraine were already crucial elements in the run-up to 1914. By incorporating into his book new approaches and comparisons, Lieven tells the story of war and revolution in a way that is truly original and thought-provoking.
Russia’s involvement in World War I is often explained from the Western perspective, with very little, if any, consideration of the Russian viewpoint. The collapse of the Ottoman empire set the stage for a struggle for control over the Balkans and the adjoining sea routes between Russia and Germany, the two collossal powers of the day in Europe. Russia entered the war against the perceived German expansionism in a conflict that would, ironically, lead to the end of all empires on the continent.
Regardless of the outcome of the war, Dominic Lieven suggests that with the rapid pace of globalization, industrialization, and the spread of literacy, Russia’s ruling elite was already facing the insurmountable challenges of conflicting cultural identities and social upheavals.
Dominic Lieven is a senior research fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge, and a fellow of the British Academy. He previously taught Russian Studies at the London School of Economics for thirty-three years.
“Lieven presents Russia’s road to war and revolution as a classical tragedy—a fate driven by the character of both the country and its rulers . . . [he] recovers a world that has been lost.”
"[Lieven’s] intimate familiarity with the Russia he describes and his extensive study of the letters, diaries and books of the chief actors in Russia’s descent 'towards the flames'—many not hitherto accessible to historians—are what render this work so authoritative and readable.”
“Lieven’s insight into the mentalities of early twentieth century Russian statesmen is unrivalled. As a result, he presents the fullest and most nuanced picture we have of Russia's halting but in the end determined entry into the First World War. This book supersedes all previous ones on the subject.”