Austro-Hungarian POWs in Russian captivity during the pre-revolutionary period (August 1914 – February 1917) Cover Image

Jeńcy austro-węgierscy w niewoli rosyjskiej w okresie przedrewolucyjnym (sierpień 1914 – luty 1917)
Austro-Hungarian POWs in Russian captivity during the pre-revolutionary period (August 1914 – February 1917)

Author(s): Adam Miodowski
Subject(s): History, Pre-WW I & WW I (1900 -1919)
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu w Białymstoku
Keywords: The Great War; the Austro Hungarian prisoners of war; captivity in Russia; POW camps

Summary/Abstract: During the Great War between 2.2 and 2.3 million POWs from the Central Powers were taken to Russian captivity. Most of them were citizens of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. They became POWs mostly during the years 1914–1916. Apart from those captured during fighting or wounded, the captivity was the final destination for deserters and those who voluntarily decided to surrender themselves to the enemy on the battlefield. The motives of the latter ones were varied. Irrespective of the circumstances, however, in which the Austro-Hungarian solders found themselves in Russian captivity, their further fates as POWs were equally harsh. The hardships of captivity were felt more by the officers and Austrian and Hungarian soldiers, and to a lesser degree by those from the so-called “friendly nations”. POWs of Slavic ethnicity had been treated, prior to February 1917, relatively favourably and had much more freedom in, for instance, everyday contacts with the Russian civilian population. The period of captivity lasting several years put many Austro-Hungarian POWs (mainly Slavs) onto the path of enculturation with Russianness. That process and a parallel socialisation of this particular group of military men forced to learn to live among Russians both remain the most intriguing and still un-researched social phenomena caused by the Great War. That process gained new dynamics and another direction due to the outbreak of both Russian revolutions in 1917. Especially the latter one brought about by bolsheviks resulted in grave consequences not only in terms of individual dimension affecting individual POWs, but also in a wider social dimension, the consequences of which were to become apparent on a wider spectrum and after a longer time, i.e. in the home countries of the POWs upon their return from captivity.

  • Issue Year: 2016
  • Issue No: 14
  • Page Range: 111-130
  • Page Count: 20
  • Language: Polish
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