Russian Civil War, 1918-1921

Roger Reese

in Military History

ISBN: 9780199791279
Published online February 2012 | | DOI:
Russian Civil War, 1918-1921

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The Russian civil war raged from 1918 to 1921, though some date its origins to the October Revolution in 1917 and others date its end in 1922 with the final crushing of peasant revolts and reconquest of the Caucasus; still others see its end as late as 1932 when Stalin finally consolidated his power. In general the civil war was characterized by the struggle between the Bolsheviks and the right-wing Whites, former nobles, the propertied, and military officers. The left, represented by the Socialist Revolutionary Party (SR) and anarchists (Greens) and the Mensheviks, also actively and often violently opposed the Bolshevik seizure and consolidation of power. The Bolsheviks were lucky to face a divided opposition because the anti-Bolshevik left would not unite with the anti-Bolshevik right. The intervention by the Western Allies in Russia and their minor role in the civil war has also generated controversy, probably much more than warranted. The Russian civil war has often been a contentious subject for historians, participants, and the reading public because of the ideological ramifications of its outcome that reverberated throughout the course of the Soviet Union’s brief seventy-four-year history. Cold War tensions seeped into the scholarship and popular writing that colored many an interpretation and clouded objective analysis. In the first decades after the end of the civil war, Western history mainly followed the line of the “White” anti-Bolshevik émigrés who lamented the failure of their movement and Allied intervention. The civil war continues to be a field of active research and has become more objective and more solidly based on archival sources since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Nearly a quarter of all entries in this bibliography have been written since the year 2000.

Article.  14500 words. 

Subjects: Military History ; Pre-20th Century Warfare ; First World War ; Second World War ; Post-WW2 Military History

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