On Behalf of the Emperor, On Behalf of the Fatherland

Finnish Officers and Soldiers of the Russian Imperial Life-Guard on the Battlefields of Poland, 1831


Jussi Jalonen’s On Behalf of the Emperor, On Behalf of the Fatherland approaches the Russian suppression of the Polish Uprising in 1830-1831 from a new transnational perspective. The Russian mobilization involved people from the farthest reaches of the Empire, and one notable group was the Finnish Battalion of the Imperial Guard.
For the Finnish elites, the war was a demonstration of loyalty to the Tsar, and the service of young Finnish gentlemen in the Russian Guards produced a sense of militarized patriotism. Relying on a rich variety of original sources, this study places the campaign in Poland in the context of the development of Finnish national awareness, providing a unique portrayal of 19th century war experience and nationalism.

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EUR €143.00USD $188.00

Biographical Note

Jussi Jalonen, Ph.D. (2014), University of Tampere, is a researcher and a military historian. He has published monographs, popular books, edited works and several articles on Finnish soldiers and volunteers in various foreign wars in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Table of contents

Contents v
Acknowledgements x
List of Figures xi
List of Maps and Tables xii
Introduction 1
The Cultural History of Warfare and Finnish Military History 2
Modern War Experience and Finnish Soldiers in the Tsarist Russian
Army 6
Emotions and Mentality, Experience and Narratives 9
Nationalism and War in the 19th Century 12
The Polish November Rising and its Historiography 21
A Word on the Sources and Contents of this Book 25
1 The Battalion as a Society 30
The Russian Guards and ‘Inclusive Imperialism’ 31
Elites in Transition: Finnish Offfijicers, their Family Background and
Relations 36
The Rank and File: NCO s, Sharp-Shooters and Civilian Staff
Members 50
Integration and Indoctrination: Military Culture in the Battalion 59
Offfijicers of the Empire, Soldiers of the Nation, Men of the People 73
2 The Onset of War 77
Loyalty and Discontent, Subservience and Insurrection 78
Mobilization and the Expectations of Conflict 85
Journey to the Battlefijield 90
Patriotism, Camaraderie and Family Ties 95
The Emotions of Departure 101
3 The Battles in Mazovia, April–May 1831 103
The Overture: The Defense of the Bug Riverbanks, April 1831 105
The First Campaign on Cholera: The Finnish Guard in the Spring of
1831 115
The Baptism of Fire: The Clash at Przetycz 121
Capitulation and Defeat: The Encirclement at Długosiodło 126
The Signifijicance of the Battles 129
4 The Noble Enemy. The War as a Trans-National Experience 134
The November Rising as a Trans-Cultural War: Polish Recollections of
Foreign Soldiers 136
Finnish Soldiers on the Battlefijield and the Recollections of Polish
Offfijicers 141
Loyal Finnish Offfijicers and Uprooted Finnish Soldiers in Polish
Portrayals 150
Finnish Offfijicers and their Impressions of Polish Soldiers and
Civilians 158
Images of the ‘Other’ and Interaction with the Enemy 167
5 Combat, Glory and Captivity: Finnish Offfijicers and Soldiers in the
Summer of 1831 171
Faith, Honor and Responsibility: Lieutenant Colonel Lagerborg as the
Battalion’s Commander 173
Combat, Death and the Body: Lieutenant Adolf Aminofff in the Defense
of Tykocin 182
Dreams and Destitution: Ensign August Cronhjelm’s Troubles in the
Campaign 194
Captivity and Cooperation: Sven Jonas Stille and the Finnish Prisoners
of War 199
Discourses of Survival 209
6 Destitution and Triumph: The Closing Stages of the Campaign 214
Epidemics and Logistics: The Operations of the Finnish Guard from
June to August, 1831 215
The Last Battlefijield Casualties: The Storming of Rakowiec and
Szczęśliwice 224
The Finnish Battalion as Part of the Russian Occupation Forces in
Warsaw 235
The Journey Home 244
Shades of Misery, Shades of Victory 248
7 Home and Hearth: Finnish Society and the Polish Campaign 251
Controls and Censorship: The Public Atmosphere in Finland during the
Polish Uprising 252
Wartime News, Correspondence, and its Obstacles 259
Wartime Anxieties, Fears and Mourning as Collective Experiences 263
Duty, Honor and Pride: The Sense of Triumph and Glory at Home 271
Departed Men and Families Apart: Finnish Soldiers and their Families in
History’s Margins 278
The Reaction of the Intelligentsia: Wartime Opposition and Other
Sentiments 284
War of the Elites 292
8 After the War: The Legacy of the Polish Campaign 296
The Final Reckoning: Total Casualties and Journeys Home 297
Rewards of Peace, Leadership in War 301
War and Remembrance: The Polish Campaign in Literature, Art, Politics
and Culture 307
Politics of the Empire, Memories of the Nation 316
Conclusion: Loyalty, Fatherland and Forgotten Sacrifijices 319
Bibliography 325
Index 351
Contents vii
Acknowledgements x


All interested in the military history of Poland or Imperial Russia, history of nationalism, history of 19th century European dynastic empires, history of Eastern Central Europe, and history of Finland.

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