Allied Intervention in Russia

Claiming the Far North

the Arctic 1918.0821

Allied Intervention in Russia

Arctic exploration, colonization of Greenland and Northern Canada, Erik the Red's Land (21 August 1918)

Historical Map of the Arctic & the Far North

The US entry into the War could not save Russia, which was largely cut off from the other Allies and unable to handle the strain of the War. In late 1917, the communist Bolsheviks seized power, forming a soviet republic and making peace with Germany the next year. Threatened by these events, the Allies landed troops along the Russian coastline and supported the rival "White" factions in an attempt to overthrow the new Soviet regime.

Main Events

October Revolution

On October 25 (Old Style), Bolshevik Red Guards, led by Leon Trotsky, mounted an armed insurrection in Petrograd, capital of the Russian Republic, capturing several government buildings. The following day, they seized the Winter Palace, the seat of Alexander Kerensky's Provisional Government. The Bolsheviks declared a new government, the Council of People's Commissars, with Vladimir Lenin as its head. Simultaneously and over the following days, other Bolshevik uprisings took place in towns and cities across Russia.

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

Soviet Russia signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire at Brest-Litovsk, Russia. The treaty ended Russia's participation in World War I and forced it to cede the Baltic States to Germany, to cede Kars to the Ottoman Empire, and to recognize the independence of Ukraine and Finland. Russia was also obliged to pay six billion German gold marks in reparations.

Murmansk landing

To prevent German forces in Finland from moving into northern Russia, the British North Russia Squadron landed troops in the strategic year round ice-free port of Murmansk. The intervention met no resistance from the Soviet garrison.

Revolt of the Czechoslovak Legion

Forces of the Czechoslovak Legion, a volunteer force of Czechs and Slovaks fighting on the Allied side, clashed with the Bolsheviks at several points along the Trans-Siberian Railway after attempts to evacuate the Legion from now-neutral Soviet Russia stalled. By June, the Czechoslovaks had seized much of the railway between Penza and Krasnoyarsk, gaining control of the entire length of the railway by September. The revolt signaled the start of the Russian Civil War, as the Czechoslovaks brought anti-Bolshevik factions to power across Siberia.

Archangel landing

British troops landed in Archangel (Arkhangelsk), northern Russia, with the intention of recovering Allied war materiel (which had been supplied to the Russians while they were still involved in the war) and resurrecting the Eastern Front by linking up with the Czechoslovak Legion and supporting anti-Bolshevik forces. Upon arrival they discovered that the war materiel had already been moved up the Dvina River by the retreating Bolsheviks. Over the following month, the British were joined in Archangel by French and American forces.

Vladivostok landing

As the first move of the Allied Siberian Intervention, 3000 troops of the American Expeditionary Force Siberia arrived in Vladivostok. The troops helped relieve the Czechoslovak Legion, which had already seized control of the town, as well as guard part of the railway north to Nikolsk-Ussuriski. The US forces in Vladivostok were joined by the Japanese, British and Canadians, Italians, and French.

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