American invasion of Russia 1918
isomin at gmu.edu
Sun Jan 28 14:50:41 PST 2007
I wrote my undergrad thesis on Western intervention in the Russian Civil War (later turned into a book). So I might be able to shed a small amount of light on this:
Both the Siberian and Archangel interventions were meant to support those Russian forces (the PRovisional Government that the Bolsheviks overthrew, and various "White" forces) that wanted to keep Russia in the war against Germany. The Bolsheviks' agreement with Germany nearly cost the Allies the War in 1918, as it freed up some 100 German divisions for the fighting on the Western Front.
Archangel was occupied largely because it had been the principal port through which the Western Allies sent supplies to Russia during the war. Eastern Siberia was occupied in part because of the Czech Legion (whose movement out of Siberia was being impeded by Bolshevik forces), and in part because of the Trans-Siberian Railway (also a key supply route). There were also associated British, French, and Japanese interventions in various parts of Russia. The British forces (and to a lesser extent the French and Japanese) played a much more active role in supporting the Whites than the US troops (which saw very little combat) did.
To make a long story short, the intervention was poorly conceived and executed, and missed some excellent opportunities to remove the Bolshevik government (thus not only improving the allied position in WWI, but also saving the world from the many horrors associated with the rise of communism).
I did not study the legal basis for the intervention in detail. However, it seems clear that it was related to Russia's participation in WWI and the Bolshevik's efforts to take Russia out of the war (illegally, as the the Allies and the Bolsheviks' domestic opponents saw it).
Assistant Professor of Law
George Mason University School of Law
3301 Fairfax Dr.
Arlington, VA 22201
e-mail: isomin at gmu.edu
SSRN Page: http://ssrn.com/author=333339
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