The Alarm is Sounded (June 1918–March 1919)

  • Robert Service


The Civil War greatly outstripped the Eastern front in sheer savagery and brutality, if not in the number of casualties and fatalities. It began almost accidentally. Czechoslovak units of former prisoners-of-war who were being sent back to their native country via the Trans-Siberian railway suddenly came to blows with the Bolsheviks of Novonikolaevsk in May 1918. The Red Guards were no match for them. Within a few days it was reported that most cities to the west of the Urals had fallen to the Czechoslovaks. By mid-June they had reached the Volga and occupied Samara and Kazan. It could not have happened at a worse time for Sovnarkom. British expeditionary troops, who had first set foot on Russian soil in April, were steadily reinforced by contingents dispatched to the northern ports of Archangel and Murmansk in the summer. French warships had docked in Odessa; American forces were already ashore in Vladivostok. Germany had still not been brought to her knees in the First World War and her armies still enforced her dominion over the Baltic States and the Ukraine. Not that the Bolshevik government lacked domestic opponents. An administration of Socialist-Revolutionaries who had been elected to the Constituent Assembly was installed in Samara in the wake of the Czechoslovak advance.


Central Committee Central Party Party Committee October Revolution Party Official 
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Notes and References

  1. 56.
    E. D. Stasova, Vospominaniya, (Moscow, 1969), pp. 175–6.Google Scholar

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© Robert Service 1979

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  • Robert Service

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