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Churchill's Secret War with Lenin

British and Commonwealth Military Intervention in the Russian Civil War 1918-20

Author : Damien Wright

Churchill's Secret War with Lenin : British and Commonwealth Military Intervention in the Russian Civil War 1918-20


General - Pages : 576 | Images : 203 b/w photos, 8 maps, 7 tabulated lists (in appendices)

Hardback - Date of Publication : June 2017 | Size : 245mm x 170mm | ISBN : 9781911512103 | Helion Book Code : HEL0751

After three years of great loss and suffering on the Eastern Front, Imperial Russia was in crisis and on the verge of revolution. In November 1917, Lenin's Bolsheviks (later known as 'Soviets') seized power, signed a peace treaty with the Central Powers and brutally murdered Tsar Nicholas (British King George's first cousin) and his children so there could be no return to the old order. As Russia fractured into loyalist 'White' and revolutionary 'Red' factions, the British government became increasingly drawn into the escalating Russian Civil War after hundreds of thousands of German troops transferred from the Eastern Front to France were used in the 1918 'Spring Offensive' which threatened Paris. What began with the landing of a small number of Royal Marines at Murmansk in March 1918 to protect Allied-donated war stores quickly escalated with the British government actively pursuing an undeclared war against the Bolsheviks on a number of fronts in support of British trained and equipped 'White Russian' Allies. At the height of British military intervention in mid-1919, British troops were fighting the Soviets far into the Russian interior in the Baltic, North Russia, Siberia, Caspian and Crimea simultaneously. The full range of weapons in the British arsenal were deployed including the most modern aircraft, tanks and even poison gas. British forces were also drawn into peripheral conflicts against 'White' Finnish troops in North Russia and the German 'Iron Division' in the Baltic. It remains a little known fact that the last British troops killed by the German Army in the First World War were killed in the Baltic in late 1919, nor that the last Canadian and Australian soldiers to die in the First World War suffered their fate in North Russia in 1919 many months after the Armistice. Despite the award of five Victoria Crosses (including one posthumous) and the loss of hundreds of British and Commonwealth soldiers, sailors and airmen, most of whom remain buried in Russia, the campaign remains virtually unknown in Britain today. After withdrawal of all British forces in mid-1920, the British government attempted to cover up its military involvement in Russia by classifying all official documents. By the time files relating to the campaign were quietly released decades later there was little public interest. Few people in Britain today know that their nation ever fought a war against the Soviet Union. The culmination of more than 15 years of painstaking and exhaustive research with access to many previously classified official documents, unpublished diaries, manuscripts and personal accounts, author Damien Wright has written the first comprehensive campaign history of British and Commonwealth military intervention in the Russian Civil War 1918-20.

“Superb account of the little-known involvement of Royal Marines as they engaged the new Bolsheviks (Soviets) immediately after the Russian Revolution.” Books Monthly

“An extraordinarily detailed account of the actions by British and Commonwealth troops as part of the multi-national involvement in northern and southers Russia from 1918 to 1920.” Miniature Wargames

“ … This book is an invaluable resource to anyone interested in the conflict.” Army Rumour Service

“ … Overall the book is a useful addition to the Churchill literature. It explores yet another aspect of military development in Britain that Winston Churchill was part of.” Aerospace

“ … Every so often a book comes along that you know adds significantly to the historiography of a subject … I have waited a fair while for this book and have not been disappointed. I strongly recommend [it].” Journal of the Orders and Medals Research Society

“The result of fifteen years of research, this impressive book sets the record straight and puts this conflict in the public domin where it belongs. It is a scholarly and yet far from dry publication. It fills an important gap and is very highly commended.” Britain at War

“ … Every so often a book comes along that you know adds significantly to a subject’s historiography. Damien Wright has achieved this with his first attempt… I strongly recommend this title.”  RAF News

“Churchill’s Secret War with Lenin engagingly illuminates the history of a small war that served as both part of the Great War and the dawn of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the West. Wright masterfully presents the history of a failed campaign in compelling human and strategic terms through his use of primary sources, synthesis of other works, and his own analysis. Strategists, planners, and tacticians will all take something away from the work.” thestrategybridge.org

“This book should be required reading for politicians before committing troops to any further conflict...I really can’t recommend this book highly enough if you are interested in military history in general, or Britain's smaller and forgotten conflicts. The author spent 15 years researching the book and this shines through into an incredibly detailed account of the actions in Russia during this period. Highly recommended.” Britmodeller

“ a hugely impressive and groundbreaking work…” Sabretache, Journal of the Military Historical Society of Australia

“The research is extensive and strong, including picture research; the narrative is very readable……….This is a strength of the book; it pulls together land, sea and air operations across the whole operational theatre” SOFNAM

“..…Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War remains forgotten. Wright’s book addresses that oversight, interspersing the broader story with personal accounts of participants.” Military History Magazine

“One of the merits of Wright’s book is his emphasis on the role that Commonwealth forces, such as the Canadian Malamute Company. played in the intervention. With their involvement typically noted only in passing in most British-centric accounts of the intervention, this has the effect of underscoring not just the multinational composition of Britain’s effort, but the challenge Britain faced in cobbling together a force of sufficient size…..his book serves well as an account of British military activities in the Russian Civil War.” Canadian Military History 

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