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Period of conflict


Civil war in Union Societ
Civil war in Union Societ

Bolshevik political, economic, and social policies led to civil war and intervention by foreign powers. The motivations of the anti-Bolshevik forces were diverse and often muddled. In Siberia the Czechoslovak Legion—former World War I prisoners from the Austro-Hungarian army who were marching westward to join the Allied fight against Germany—came into armed conflict with local Bolshevik authorities. Allied forces, seeking initially to secure arms caches, occupied Murmansk and Arkhangel’sk, the principal cities of Russia’s far north. Japanese troops and an American expeditionary force landed in Vladivostok. Meanwhile, the Germans occupied Belorussia, Ukraine, and much of northern Caucasia. In addition, counterrevolutionary and therefore anti-Bolshevik forces known as the Whites occupied peripheral Russian lands. In the autumn of 1918 Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak, at the head of a large White army in the east, proclaimed himself Russia’s “supreme ruler” and established his capital at Omsk in Siberia. Early in 1919 the Whites launched a three-pronged offensive with the aim of marching on Moscow.

One White army under General Anton Denikin attacked from the south, another under General Nikolay Yudenich attacked from the west, and Kolchak’s army attacked from the east. Despite initial reverses, the Red Army, under Commissar of War Leon Trotsky, succeeded in repelling these campaigns by early 1920. In April of that year there was a new assault by the Polish army, with some help from White forces led by Baron Petr Wrangel. The Red Army counterattacked and fought the Poles to a standstill. The war officially ended in March 1921 with the Treaty of R?ga, by which Russia ceded western areas of Ukraine and Belorussia to Poland. With the evacuation of Japanese forces from Vladivostok in October 1922, civil war and foreign intervention were at an end, and the Soviet regime was no longer in immediate danger.

The Bolsheviks’ control over the state apparatus and over the geographic heartland of the country helps explain their triumph. They outdid all their adversaries in the use of violence, applied by the VeCheka (political police), the Red Army, and squads of party supporters in the countryside. The White armies were disunited and poorly led, and the governments of the intervening countries were tired of fighting and unwilling to incur the losses that would have been needed to suffocate the new regime. "USSR" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.

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