|Jaroslav Hejduk, the standard bearer of Družina.|
Initially their headcount was a mere 750, split across three companies. The creation of the unit was formally approved on 20 August 1914, and it became operative during October. They were sent to the Carpathians, mainly to carry out reconnaissance, propaganda and infiltration activities. In the beginning officers were Russians, with Czechs gradually entering amongst the lower ranks. Still as late as 1917 all regimental commanders were Russians.
At the end of 1914 prisoners of war were allowed to joine, provided that the applied immediately after the capture. There was initially concern about allowing them into the Russian army as this was regulated by the Geneva convention. In the first group of 300 prisoners that enlisted in December 1914, there was a very prominent person. Bohdan Pavlů was a young Slovak intellectual and from 1915 he became editor of Czechoslovák in Petrograd, and take up an important role in the Czechoslovak movement in Russia. After the war he held positions in the diplomatic service.
Družina was on 2 February 1916 formally renamed the Czechoslovak Rifle Regiment and on 17 April the Czecholovak Rifle Brigade and was split into two regiments. In June 1916 the number of volunteers was still only 1500, but in August 1916 a new influx of volunteers from the prisoners ranks were added, and the regiments now counted 8 companies each. The unit was later to form the core of the Czechoslovak Army Corps (after the war generally known as the Czechoslovak Legion).
CZECH/SLOVAK POLITICAL ORGANISATION
The term " Čechoslovák " itself is worth study in its own right. It was used already early in the war, although almost all the leaders and members of these organisations were Czechs. The Czechs made up more than 95 per cent of the total headcount. Of the original 750 members of Družina, only 7 were Slovaks. In the Slovak language the word "Čechoslovák" is generally hyphenated, giving the impression that the Slovaks were more on equal terms than they really were. Politics and language will forever remain inseparable...
|Josef Dürich: betting on the|
The council, based in Paris, was headed by Tomáš Masaryk, the architect and undisputed leader of the Czec/Slovak independence movement. Masaryk had gone into exile in 1914 and immediately started to organize the Czech and Slovak resistance abroad. He was himself of mixed origin, a Czechoslovak in the true meaning of the word. He had until 1914 not advocated the break-up of Austria-Hungary, advocating a federal solution giving the Slavs parity with Austro-Germans and Hungarians, but the new situation made him change his mind.
THE BRUSILOV OFFENSIVE
|The result of Russian "human wave" tactics|
THE END OF THE ROMANOV DYNASTY
|Petrograd in turmoil, March 1917|
*) Called the February Revolution, as it started on 23 February according to the Julian calendar.