The end of intervention

For the Allies as well as the Russians, the civil war grew out of the final events of World War One. First, the Allies had to reconstitute an Eastern Front against the Central Powers. Alter the Armistice, the Allies had to frustrate post-war German ambitions, deal with the new nation states that had emerged on the periphery of Russia and prevent the spread of a virulent new revolutionary doctrine, Bolshevism. In practical terms, halting Bolshevism also meant supporting the White Russians.

Most of the Allied troops looked forward to going home and returning to their natural lives. A few embraced the new adventures and became ardent supporters of the Whites. For Western home governments, however, intervention came too soon after World War One to be enticing and the potential threat of communism seemed to distant to be of immediate concern. Most political constituents wanted to bring the troops home and pressured their governments to do so.

Then again, the events of the civil war moved too quickly. Lacking broad popular support, at each juncture, the cumbersome diplomatic and political engines of the Allies proved unable to catch up to unfolding events, still less to anticipate or control them. Each new challenge brought fresh haggling and positioning as each nation strove to succeed in its own national interests. Unwilling to commit the necessary number of troops to be decisive, the Allies pinned their hopes first on the Czech Legion, next on Kolchak, then Uenlkln, and finally the newly emergent national states in Eastern Europe. Lack of agreed vision, clarity of purpose and want of sustained determination doomed each enterprise in turn.

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