The American Invasion of Russia in 1918

President Woodrow Wilson dispatched 5000 American troops to northern Russia and 8000 troops to Siberia without seeking approval from the US Congress. The Allies wanted to overthrow the new communist government in Russia to restore a monarchy that would renew war with Germany. Moreover, they wanted to crush the idea that workers can oust monarchs and take control of governments.

25 thoughts on “The American Invasion of Russia in 1918”

  1. Since the Bolsheviks were largely financed by New York bankers like Jacob Schiff from the start it was unlikely that the Americans would put much effort into preventing Lenin and his murderous thugs from taking over a prostrate Russia. It was American wheat which prevented total collapse later after the disastrous effects of the Bolshevik agricultural policies in 1921-23. Again, in the 1940s it was American industrial might which helped Stalin survive and go on to capture and enslave half of Europe. The troops sent to Russia were just a sop to the Allies. There was never any intention to prevent communism from taking hold. The so called ‘Cold War’ was also a fraud. A gigantic boon to American arms producers. When the Soviet Union collapsed the Americans went into Russia again and robbed it blind until Putin put an end to their dirty games.

    1. The enslaved and the poor rising up in a revolution. We’ve never seen that since, oh, the earliest recorded history.

      Workers, of course, weren’t in charge. Lenin was in charge. And life was hellish under communism throughout Eastern Europe. It was no workers paradise anywhere. It was tyranny, exactly as we read about with the Greeks and Romans. They came to power very much like how classical tyrants came to power.

      Yet our fake academia pretends its new.

      1. I place some of the blame for what happened in Russia in 1917 and soon thereafter on the Russian aristocracy, especially their land owners. [1] They had failed miserably to carry out the agricultural revolution which had completely changed agriculture in Europe and N. America during the 19th century.
        When you have a lot of hands you do not need machines.
        Eventually Stalin was forced to carry out that revolution. He did so ruthlessly and murderously.
        [1] Hence the Czar who owned all Russian land.

        1. German farmers were invited to develop the agricultural industry. They were having success. Unfortunately, too many Russians chose to live like Slavic hillbillies. When the communists took over, they killed the productive Germans and kulaks and put the lazy to work.

          1. And under Bismarck a ‘returner’ law was passed by which the descendants of these ‘Volga’ Germans could return to Germany.

    1. The west was a geopolitical rival with Russia prior to communism. Even with the monarchs being related. Imperialism was the order of the day.

        1. “Out of nowhere”…not exactly…in 1853 US admiral Perry sailed into a defenseless Tokyo Bay, forcing the Japanese to end their “Japan First, heh) system, and open up “free markets…of course under threat of naval bombardment.
          Simply, the Japanese recognized this affront was only the beginning of western imperialism into the Pacific rim, they were right about that. Industrialization soon followed, battleships on the way.
          Interesting that folks pretend there was a time when the US was not a militant imperialist power. The gap between the culmination of manifest destiny, and overseas imperialism was just the time it took for the US to build a navy to make imperialism happen, which, wasn’t very long.

  2. When I was in high school, circa 1983, I was on the staff of a “cultural journalism” magazine and accompanied another writer on an interesting interview. The subject’s name was Russell Harper. He was 95 years old at the time, and was the treasurer of Camden County, Missouri.

    The interview was about the several years he spent under “house arrest” on a train car in Vladivostok. He was (IIRC) a “wireless” operator in the US Army, and was there as part of a US/Russia liaison team when Russia was still in World War One. After the revolution and the US invasion this article mentions, their equipment was confiscated and they were held (in the train car they had worked out of) until things settled down.

    Interesting guy.

    1. And then there was the Czechoslovakian Legion which fought with the “Whites” against the “Reds” in Siberia. The legion was eventually evacuated through Vladivostok. That fighting was completely unnecessary because Czechoslovakia and Hungary became independent anyway without the help of Russia.

  3. Good cause, but not our fight and he went about it the wrong way. The Czar should have stayed out of WWI. Then he would have had the forces to crush the Reds.

    1. I get the impression that Russia didn’t know how to adapt. I’m sure the Czar would have changed to a Republic of some sort if he thought the Bolshevik monster was the alternative.

      If they hadn’t killed so many people, Russia probably wouldn’t be so empty today.

      1. Mmmm, they couldn’t adapt like say, granting citizenship to serfs/slaves without the need of civil war ? That civil war is bloodier in older societies has nothing to do with political ideology. It is a function of long term grudges in that society, and interference from foreigners.
        The same ideology which rejected the overthrow of the czar, rejected any government type which would replace them, and, and refused to bring reforms which might have avoided the revolution entirely.

        1. People were open to reform. No one knew what reforms to make. Russia reacted by embracing absolute monarchy. Confusion marks that time period.

          And it’s not only a matter of “long term grudges.” It’s also a matter of opportunists, propaganda, and stirring up the oppressed against their oppressors, driving them to go beyond where they otherwise would.

          And it’s also a matter of mass ideologies promising the impossible, in a very religious-like manner. Many at this site seem to still believe some sort of “non-state” society is possible. Promising the impossible to people is dangerous. Radicals do all sorts of things to achieve what can never be; sometimes they go to extremes.

          It wasn’t only the Communists killing everyone, going far beyond classical political moves of removing reasonable potential threats in order to make radical reform. You also had anarchists who reveled in the anarchy, didn’t seem to even want a government established.

          Classically, if wanting to entirely remake a society, you could do as the Bible says: enrich the poor, make the rich go away empty. What this means is you create a new elite that is beholden to the new society. You destroy every trace of the previous society to build a new one. However, the communists took this far beyond classical limits. They wanted to destroy absolutely *everything.* And they portrayed the destruction differently from how it was. It’s wrong to manipulate the masses as was done.

          (Another example probably of classical reform is the Aryan conquest of India. They purified the land with fire, which I suspect means they just destroyed *everything* to create their own society there. But they were expanding into new lands, not reforming their own society.)

          If you look at *who* was in the Communist elite, then it becomes clear *why* they wanted to destroy *everything.* The sort of reform they pursued really looks like the enslavement of Russia. If you had Russian peasants of Orthodox faith leading the reform, then you’d expect much to be preserved of the old culture.

          This is why conservatives then rise up to say that no matter how bad the old regime, it’s better than the new.

          And such reform is not the only vehicle. You can still have reform of substance while preserving some of the past components. Machiavelli gave the example of Rome preserving a king position for a ritual even though the monarchy had been disbanded. People generally like the idea of continuity. In the US, we pretend we’re the same society, even though our Founders were racist slave-holders who wanted a very different society. The US is perhaps a bad example, because eventually a new Constitution will be adopted, and nearly every tie to the old US will be severed.

          Aristotle also writes of wealth redistributions. It didn’t seem like a big deal. And he wrote of societies changing from one form to another. It didn’t need such extreme actions.

          You seem to be of the opinion that people just acted democratically. That’s not how politics works. We choose what we’re told to choose. That’s why the mass media, mass academia, mass culture, etc. are so important.

          Anyway, Burnham noted that WWII US, WWII Germany, WWII Russia, etc. were all “managerial states.” We all have pretty much the same type of society, today, though there are important differences. Many “capitalists” today have embraced the welfare state. And there’s little market competition in areas of US “capitalism.” The US still has areas that aren’t controlled by an elite, but we could see a hard left (via the CIA or some similar group) rise that aims to just kill everyone associated with wikileaks and other areas of real resistance (like antiwar).

          To be clear, any reference to killing I mentioned here I’m against. I’m also against mass control and mass society, with decentralisation as part of the alternative.

          1. “mankind is more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable…
            This is why revolution is always the responsibility of the existing power structure…they have always had plenty of time, resources, and warnings that people were near revolt. I am afraid the folks “stirring up the oppressed against their oppressors”, as you mention, are simply the foodless mothers urging their husbands to make the change that is needed before they starve, or succumb to other effects of enforced poverty.
            Since you mention the Bible, you must be aware that greed is the prime motivator for power and its resultant misery. You are not quite grasping the meaning of libertarianism, or anarchy. Despotism, and anarchy are opposites on a scale. The shared power Constitutions slid that scale away from despotism, towards anarchy. Anywhere social systems attempt to slide that scale towards anarchy, away from despotism, empowers local people further. This, is how I interpret most libertarian thought here, stateless society is a dream only.

          2. Sliding power towards one pole sounds more like prudent conservative reform.

            Don’t forget the distributists who warned that socialism and capitalism had much in common. I believe there’s a third element not represented in anarchy vs despotism. Your scale oversimplifies the divide, respectfully.

          3. I would like to see “more prudent conservative reform” myself. Unfortunately our conservative party, the gop, abandoned conservatism beginning with Reagan, and adopted oligarchy as their favored model.
            Yes, the “despotism/anarchy system is simplified. (I credit Sid Meier for this scale, from his game, “Civilization”)..
            When socialism is defined, it is with “common”, and “inclusive”, this leaves fascists like Stalin and Hitler, outside the definition. Fascism, oligarchy, corporatism, insurance, country clubs are all exclusive systems, and, operate with “socialist” structures, yet fail the socialist definition in their exclusivity.

          4. “Inclusivity” (your word) isn’t a merit if it leads to something horrible.
            If including x-religious group leads to more war, or open borders that allows x-religious group to take over which leads to more war, or if insisting everything must be “democratic” as Neocons insist (though they’re hypocrites);
            then “inclusivity” can be bad.
            Lenin killed a lot of people. Trotsky would have been more extreme than even Stalin. So, the details matter.
            A polity should desire good governance. What system is implemented is less important than having justice, order, stability, happiness, rights etc.

      2. Nobody saw that coming. The Czar was ousted and family killed a year before the Bolsheviks emerged as the successor. The Czarists had little support among around 20 political parties opting to fill the void. It was the provincial government that failed. The Bolsheviks didn’t even have the numbers among the educated but they were the most boisterous in rising up against it while others sought compromise.

  4. Everyone remembers reading about this in their “government-approved” history textbooks…..right?? He who controls the past, controls both the present and the future.

  5. If Russia and China had not modernized and became militarily powerful, no matter what you call their forms of government, they would probably now be paying for a US occupation and protection plan of their countries and pledging allegiance to Uncle Sam

  6. The Bolsheviks NEVER won an election or had a mandate from the people. They relied on illiterate miscreants of the worst sort to be their shock troops. After the dust settled, they were worse off.

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