Some might think this is a post about the Cold War and the confrontation of the US and Soviet Union……but that would be a mistake….but one that would be logical if history is not known.
One hundred years ago today, 19 September 1918, the American Expeditionary Force in Russia was attacked by the Red Army.
That is correct the US sent troops to Russia to fight in their Civil War against the Red Army…..
Many Americans would be surprised to learn that the USA, along with Britain, France, and Japan, fought a campaign in Russia just after the Great War (World War I). The primary objective of this action was the re-establishment of an Eastern Front following the collapse of the Russian government during the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, but Allied fear of communist ambitions in other countries also played into the intervention as will be seen below. The overall campaign was named the Polar Bear Expedition, but was also known as the Northern Russian Expedition, the American North Russia Expeditionary Force – ANREF or the American Expeditionary Force North Russia – AEFNR.
These efforts are not mentioned in most history survey courses, and few texts even mention that US troops (or those of any other nation) fought against the Bolsheviks during this period. The presence of US Army units from Michigan in Vladivostok, Archangel, and other Russian locations is rarely noted although the University of Michigan maintains an archive of photographs and other primary evidence relating to the period.
For further reading on this bit of forgotten American history….
Have you ever heard the Russia is being paranoid?
This incident could be one of the reasons that Russia is leery of the intentions of the US….after all we sent an invading force to their country…..which is interesting since the US was considered an isolationist country in those days.
But why did we participate in a Russian Civil War? But first let’s look at the war……
In 1918 a variety of different groups opposed the Bolshevik government. This included landowners who had lost their estates, factory owners who had their property nationalized, devout members of the Russian Orthodox Church who objected to the government’s atheism and royalists who wanted to restore the monarchy. The closing down of the Constituent Assembly and the banning of all political parties united Socialist Revolutionaries, Mensheviks and Cadets. Others were unhappy with the acceptance of the harsh terms of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty which resulted in Russia being deprived of a third of her population, a third of her factories and three-quarters of her coal and iron producing areas. She also had to pay reparations totalling 3000 million roubles in gold.
Could this American intervention be the opening shot of the coming Cold War?
That concludes your history lesson for the day.