Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia

Pauwels, Jacques R.

Publisher:  CounterPunch
Date Written:  10/12/2018
Year Published:  2018  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23188

All over Europe, the First World War had brought about a potentially revolutionary situation as early as 1917. In countries where the authorities continued to represent the traditional elite, exactly as had been the case in 1914, they aimed to prevent the realization of this potential by means of repression, concessions, or both.




The Western elites turned out to be unable to overcome the Bolsheviks via an armed intervention. They therefore changed course and provided generous political and military support to the new states that emerged from the western territories of the former czarist empire, such as Poland and the Baltic countries. These new states were without exception the products of national revolutions, inspired by reactionary varieties of nationalism, all too often tainted by anti-Semitism; and they were dominated by the survivors of the old elites, including large landowners and generals of aristocratic background, the “national” Christian churches, and the industrialists. With rare exceptions such as Czechoslovakia, they were not democracies at all, but were ruled by authoritarian regimes, usually headed by a high-ranking military man of noble origin, for example Horthy in Hungary, Mannerheim in Finland, and Pilsudski in Poland. The outspoken anti-Bolshevism of these new states was matched only by their anti-Russian sentiment. However, the Bolsheviks managed to recuperate some territories on the periphery of the former czarist empire, for example Ukraine.

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