In November 1917, the Russian Civil War broke out as several factions vied for the power to determine the country’s political future.
The Bolshevik Socialist Party, led by Vladimir Lenin, had overthrown the provisional government as different groups fought for control.
The two largest groups involved in the fighting were the Communist Red Army and the White Army, which favored capitalism and monarchism.
The White Army was a union of anti-Bolshevik groups, including peasant militias, the Black Army (Ukrainian anarchists) and other groups fighting for their state’s independence from the Russian Empire. , led by Tsarist officers.
The war continued until June 1923 with 13 foreign nations joining the fight against the Red Army.
Britain, France, and the United States supported the White Russian Army in their bloody war against Lenin’s Bolshevik Red Army between 1918 and 1920.
100,000 Allied troops were present in Siberia in March 1919, with British forces representing around 1,800 men – two infantry battalions.
Soldiers and sailors from several countries march past the Allied headquarters building in Vladivostok in September 1918 (archive image)
In total, Britain provided 30,000 men to the Arctic ports of Murmansk and Archangel while another force of similar size was stationed in the Caucasus in the south – but these were mostly made up of unfit soldiers. to serve in Germany.
In addition, Winston Churchill, eager to see the Russian Tsar maintain his grip on Russia, provided large amounts of war material and infrastructure to keep the Trans-Siberian Railway running smoothly, amounting to around $ 100. million pounds sterling.
Churchill, the campaign’s most prominent supporter, told the British parliament: “I think a day will come when he will be recognized without a doubt, not only on one side of the house, but throughout the civilized world, that the strangulation of Bolshevism at its birth would have been an unspeakable blessing to the human race.
The British engaged in a series of small, brutal battles with the enemy before evacuating.
The Allied effort in Russia was mixed at best, with British political leaders initially intervening only to stabilize the country and encourage them to join WWI.
All Allied forces withdrew from Russia in 1920 after Germnay’s defeat when a decision was made at the Paris Peace Conference for all Allied forces to leave Russian territory. This led to the eventual defeat of the White Russians and the overthrow of the ruling Tsar.
A year after entering the fight, the French withdrew their troops in March and April 1919, closely followed by British soldiers leaving the regions of Arkhangelsk and Murmansk in the fall of the same year, and Russia from the South in 1920.