The Russian Civil War (Russian: Гражданская война в России) was a war in parts of the former Russian Empire between the Red Army and counter-revolutionary White Army. Imperialists from 14 foreign countries including the United States also intervened in the war to help the Whites. During the war, Stalin served as the President of the Southern War Front Council and Trotsky served as the People's Commissar for War. Both received the Order of the Red Banner for their military service.
See main article: October Revolution
On 7 November [O.S. 25 October], the Bolsheviks overthrew the Russian Republic led by Alexander Kerensky, and Kerensky fled from the Winter Palace in Petrograd to Pskov. The Menshevik Voitinsky had proposed sending troops to aid the provisional government in Petrograd but was removed in a no-confidence vote. Nikolai Kishkin from the Constitutional Democratic Party was then appointed as dictator and refrained from sending troops to Petrograd.
War by region
Krasnov threatened to capture the North Caucasus in June 1918, but Stalin successfully defended Tsaritsyn. Stalin opposed the former Tsarist officials Sytin and Vācietis, who had been appointed by Trotsky.
White General Alexander Kolchak in Omsk was declared Supreme Ruler of Russia. He advanced towards the Volga in the spring of 1919 but was defeated in April by the Red Army and retreated into Siberia. The Bolsheviks captured and executed Kolchak at the end of 1919 with the help of 2,000 Bashkir soldiers who had defected from the White Army.
Britain and France
In the first half of 1918, British and French forces invaded northwest Russia and occupied Arkhangelsk and Murmansk, overthrew the Soviets in the area, and established the counterrevolutionary Government of North Russia. The British and French also supported White generals Kornilov, Alexeyev, and Denikin in the North Caucasus. In the Volga region and Siberia, they organized a revolt of Czechoslovak prisoners of war who had recently been released by the Soviet government.
In January 1918, Japanese forces on the cruiser Iwami invaded Vladivostok. They were followed by a British vessel, a Statesian cruiser, and another Japanese cruiser. Japanese intervention in the Far East continued until 1922.
See main article: Polish–Soviet War
In April 1920, Poland under the right-wing nationalist Józef Piłsudski invaded Soviet Ukraine and occupied Kiev. Mikhail Tukhachevsky counterattacked, and Lenin formed a temporary Soviet Polish government as the Red Army approached Warsaw. The Polish later counterattacked and forced the Bolsheviks to retreat.
In December 1917, the United States authorized aid to anti-communist forces in southern Russia and the Caucasus. At the end of the First World War, Woodrow Wilson sent 15,000 troops to western and eastern Russia to fight the Bolsheviks and limit the power of Japan. The USA occupied Vladivostok from August 1918 to April 1920.
- Ludo Martens (1996). Another View of Stalin: 'The young Stalin forges his arms' (pp. 19–20). Editions EPO.
- E. Yaroslavsky, et al. (1946). The History of the Civil War in the U.S.S.R: 'The Suppression of the Anti-Soviet Mutiny'.
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- Albert Szymanski (1984). Human Rights in the Soviet Union: 'The Asian Nationalities in the USSR' (p. 35). London: Zed Books Ltd..
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- David S. Foglesong (1995). America's Secret War against Bolshevism: 'The British Connection' (p. 76). University of North Carolina Press.
- David Vine (2020). The United States of War: 'The Military Opens Doors' (p. 218). Oakland: University of California Press.