Golikova S. V. Soldiers' memoirs: corporal Pavel Zhakov on World War I (.pdf)


War ego-documents and demonstrate informational possibilities of letters, diaries, and memoirs. The memoirs of soldiers are especially important (and infrequent) in this context. The memoirs of Pavel Zhakov who was a native of Perm province are presented. The published fragment refers to the beginning of the battle of Galicia in August 1914. Three stories in Zhakov’s memoirs are of particular interest. The first one is devoted to his stay in a training team and demonstrates how training of soldiers for the war took place. The second story tells how Zhakov was wounded and evacuated to the rear, and how he received medical care. The third one is a description of some practices (including the illegitimate ones) which allowed him to avoid being re-sent to the front. Zhakov began writing an autobiographical text a year before his death – in 1964, 50 years after the First World War. In the 1960s, many participants and witnesses of military conflicts of the first half of the 20th century wrote their memoirs. Zhakov’s memoirs are of particular interest because though he served as an ordinary soldier, he could tell about the events better that soldiers usually did, as he got a good elementary education. He skillfully combined personal details and “big” history, demonstrated the understanding of cause-and-effect relationship and a good writing style.


Key words: ego-documents, memoirs of the soldiers, World War I, front, rear, medical aid to the wounded.


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