Northern Illinois University Press

Guns for the Tsar

American Technology and the Small Arms Industry in Nineteenth-Century Russia

Joseph Bradley

Defeat in the Crimean War created in nineteenth-century Russia a sense of urgency about military effectiveness. Virtually self-sufficient in the production of military arms prior to the Crimean War, Russia found that its domestic small arms industry had become technologically stagnant even while other world powers were fostering advances in weaponry. As Russia responded to the need for change in this age of rapid innovation, it faced the resistance to modernization that would keep the country underdeveloped in arms production for many decades.

In concentrating efforts on a massive program to modernize its small arms weaponry, Russia turned to the United States, the industrial leader in manufacturing small arms and the source of major advances in weapons design and production. In one of the most important transfers of arms technology in the nineteenth century, Samuel Colt and other American weapons manufacturers supplied Russia with modern machinery, machine tools, production techniques, and even skilled workers. Practical use of the technology by the Russian infantry, however, caused turmoil within the ranks as military leaders struggled to adapt tactics and personnel to meet the demands of the new weapons.

In this highly original study, Bradley investigates Russia's adoption of small arms technology in the context of labor-management relations, the culture of production, and the reorganization of work procedures in industry. In the process, he examines the influence of these weapons on late imperial Russia's military, industrial, and social development. His analysis of Russia's absorption gap in the nineteenth-century transfer of small arms technology draws interesting parallels with patterns of Imperial industry and society.

(1990) 285 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-87580-154-4
cloth $35.50

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
2 Firearms in the Industrial Age
3 Small Arms in Pre-Reform Russia
4 The Russian Small Arms Industry
5 America and the Russian Rifle
6 Labor, Management, and Technology Transfer
7 Conclusion

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ISBN: 978-0-87580-154-4
cloth $35.50