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Encyclopedia > Denikin
Anton Denikin on the day of his resignation in 1920
Anton Denikin on the day of his resignation in 1920

Anton Ivanovich Denikin (Анто́н Ива́нович Дени́кин) (December 16, 1872 - August 8, 1947) was a Russian army officer before and during World War I. Following the Russian Revolution he was part of the counter-revolutionary White Russian forces in the civil war.

Born in Warsaw, he was the son of a low-ranking army officer. Skill and relentless ambition saw him tread a remarkable path away from his humble origins. He was educated at the Kiev Military School and the Academy of the General Staff. He first saw active service during the Russo-Japanese War.

In August 1914 Denikin was a Major-General and commander of the Kiev military district. He joined the Eighth Army, initially a Deputy Chief of Staff in September he was sent to Galicia to command the 4th Rifle Brigade.

In 1916 he was appointed to command VIII Corps and directed action in Romania during the last serious Russian assault of the war, the Brusilov offensive. Following the February Revolution he was Chief of Staff to Mikhail Alekseev, then Aleksei Brusilov and finally Lavr Georgevich Kornilov. Denikin supported the attempted coup of his commander, the Kornilov Affair, in September 1917 and was arrested and imprisoned with him. Alekseev was re-appointed commander-in-Chief

Following the October Revolution both Denikin and Kornilov escaped. They fled to Novocherkassk in southern Russia to meet up with other Tsarist officers and form the Volunteer Army, initially commanded by Alekseev.

Kornilov was killed in April 1918 near Ekaterinodar and the Volunteer Army came to be commanded by Denikin. There was some sentiment to place Grand Duke Nicholas in overall command, but Denikin was not interested in sharing power. In the face of a Communist counter-offensive he withdrew his forces back towards the Don area. He led one final assault of the southern White forces - an audacious attempt to capture Moscow in the summer of 1919. Over stretched his army was decisively defeated at Orel in October, some 400km south of Moscow. The White forces in southern Russia were in constant retreat from then, reaching the Crimea in March 1920.

Denikin resigned his post in April in favour of Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel and went into exile in France and from 1945 in the USA. He published two books The Career of a Tsarist Officer: Memoirs, 1872-1916 and The Russian Turmoil.

He died in Ann Arbor in 1947.

  Results from FactBites:
First World War.com - Who's Who - Anton Denikin (441 words)
Born to relative poverty Denikin nevertheless succeeded against the odds in attaining a name for himself in the Tsar Nicholas II's imperial army.
By the close of 1918 Denikin was appointed Commander of the Armed Forces of South Russia, in spite of diminishing Allied aid.
Denikin's attempt to seize control of Moscow in June 1919 proved a campaign too far: his force was comprehensively defeated at Orel in October; thereafter his force was in constant retreat, and was forced back to the Crimea by Spring 1920.
  More results at FactBites »



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