Peter von Wrangel, the Black Baron (1878-1928)
A Baltic German, an imperial officer, a White Army leader, a Crimean administrator, an émigré, and one hell of an inspirational patriotic writer.
"[...] The moment that the Bolsheviks laid hands on the executive power, Russia, as a national entity, ceased to exist. Even the name which served to describe it disappeared. [...] Yet, in spite of it all, Russia still exists as a nation. Immediately after the Bolsheviks seized the reins of power, a few men, stirred by love for their country and jealous for its greatness and glory, raised the national flag that had fallen in the mud. They were men of every class and condition of life, of the most varied ages and political views. [...] They were all united by the same warm love of their country, and the same desire to sacrifice themselves for her.
Such, in November 1917, was the birth of the White Army. It was the incarnation of the national sentiment, of the revolt of Russian patriotism. United under the folds of the tricolor, they fought from that time for the national cause. [...] Its way of fighting has altered; the outward forms which properly belong to armies had gone; but the idea which directed its making has remained untouched.
What is this idea? It is life devoted to the fatherland, eagerness to save her at the expense of life itself, a passionate desire to tear the red flag down from the Kremlin and hoist in its place the National flag. [...]
Six years have passed since the day when we left our native soil. By painful work the Russian Army gains its bread, enduring affronts and humiliations. But in spite of all its privations and misfortunes it has not lost its faith in the approaching triumpth in the sacred cause. Slowly the eyes of Europe are being opened to the real meaning of Bolshevism. The nations of Europe are beginning to understand the danger of the Red madness, of the risk the world of civilization runs in the existence of an international hot-bed which uses the immense resources of our land to keep up its destructive work. The heart of our country has been quickened by the forces of sanity; they will grow and cannot be stopped. We are no longer alone in our struggle."
1927, Speech @ Brussels
In the very least, teaching undergrads about the Black Baron inspired me to play with my toy soldiers and a camera!