August 1914
August 1914 is a novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

 by Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

ist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was aRussian and Soviet novelist, dramatist, and historian. Through his often-suppressed writings, he helped to raise global awareness of the Gulag, the Soviet Union's forced labor camp system – particularly in The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of...

 about Imperial Russia's defeat at the Battle of Tannenberg
Battle of Tannenberg (1914)
The Battle of Tannenberg was an engagement between the Russian Empire and the German Empire in the first days of World War I. It was fought by the Russian First and Second Armies against the German Eighth Army between 23 August and 30 August 1914. The battle resulted in the almost complete...

 in East Prussia
East Prussia
East Prussia is the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast from the 13th century to the end of World War II in May 1945. From 1772–1829 and 1878–1945, the Province of East Prussia was part of the German state of Prussia. The capital city was Königsberg.East Prussia...

. The novel was completed in 1970, first published in 1971, and an English translation was first published in 1972. The novel is an unusual blend of fiction narrative and historiography
Historiography refers either to the study of the history and methodology of history as a discipline, or to a body of historical work on a specialized topic...

, and has given rise to extensive and often bitter controversy, both from the literary as well as from the historical point of view.


The plot primarily follows Colonel Vorotyntsev, a General Staff officer sent by the Grand Duke's (supreme commander, Russian Army) headquarters to the Russian Second Army invading East Prussia under command of General Alexander Samsonov
Alexander Samsonov
Aleksandr Vassilievich Samsonov was a career officer in the cavalry of the Imperial Russian Army and a general served during the Russo-Japanese War and World War I.-Biography:...

. Vorotyntsev has been sent to find out exactly what is happening with the Second Army; a second General Staff colonel has been sent to the First Army with the same mission. Distances were so great, communications so poor, and the Russian Army so badly prepared for war, Voroyntsev was sent to find out all he could about conditions at the front and then report back to the Grand Duke. By August 26, the opening day of the 4-day Battle of Tannenberg, Vorotyntsev comes to realize that he cannot return to his headquarters in time to make any difference in the outcome of the battle, and stays with the Second Army to help out where he is able to. Numerous side plots involving other characters, both on the battlefield and elswehwere, fill out this grat histrocal novel' The unprepared army's failures mirror those of the Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

ist regime. A famous episode in the earlier version of the novel narrates the state of mind and suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

 of General Samsonov, the Russian commander.

Later editions

In 1984 a new version of the novel, much expanded, was published in an English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

Translation is the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text. Whereas interpreting undoubtedly antedates writing, translation began only after the appearance of written literature; there exist partial translations of the Sumerian Epic of...

 by H.T. Willetts. By this time Solzhenitsyn had been a resident of the USA for some years and was therefore able to publish chapters hitherto suppressed
thumb|[[Book burning]] following the [[1973 Chilean coup d'état|1973 coup]] that installed the [[Military government of Chile |Pinochet regime]] in Chile...

, as well as new parts written after extensive research at the library of the Hoover Institution
Hoover Institution
The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace is a public policy think tank and library founded in 1919 by then future U.S. president, Herbert Hoover, an early alumnus of Stanford....

. These included chapters on Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

 which were published separately as Lenin in Zurich; several chapters dealing with Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Russia
The Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation The use of the term "Prime Minister" is strictly informal and is not allowed for by the Russian Constitution and other laws....

 Pyotr Stolypin
Pyotr Stolypin
Pyotr Arkadyevich Stolypin served as the leader of the 3rd DUMA—from 1906 to 1911. His tenure was marked by efforts to repress revolutionary groups, as well as for the institution of noteworthy agrarian reforms. Stolypin hoped, through his reforms, to stem peasant unrest by creating a class of...

, as well as with the background and personality of Stolypin's murderer, Dmitri Bogrov, and the suspected involvement of the Tsarist Secret Police
The Department for Protecting the Public Security and Order , usually called "guard department" and commonly abbreviated in modern sources as Okhrana or Okhranka in Russia, was a secret police force of the Russian Empire and part of the police department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in...

 in Stolypin's assassination
To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...



At well over 800 pages, the novel constitutes the beginning of the Red Wheel
The Red Wheel
The Red Wheel is a cycle of novels by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, retelling and exploring the passing of Imperial Russia and the birth-pangs of the Soviet Union...

series, continued ten years later with November 1916
November 1916
November 1916 is a novel by famed Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. It is the sequel to August 1914, which concerned Russia's role in World War I. The novel picks up on the brink of the Russian Revolution, depicting characters from all walks of life — from soldiers and peasants to Tsar...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.