The War of Intervention

CHAPTER VI from The Great Conspiracy: the secret war against soviet Russia
None of the incidents or dialogue in The Great Conspiracy has been invented by the authors. The material has been drawn from various documentary sources which are indicated in the text or listed in the Bibliographical Notes.

1. Prelude

By the summer of 1919, without declaration of war, the armed forces of fourteen states had invaded the territory of Soviet Russia. The countries involved were: -

Great Britain    Serbia
France China
Germany Greece
Italy Poland
United StatesRumania

Fighting side by side with the anti-Soviet invaders were the counterrevolutionary White armies(1) led by former Czarist generals striving to restore the feudal aristocracy which the Russian people had overthrown.

The strategy of the attackers was ambitious. The armies of the White generals, moving in conjunction with the interventionist troops, were to converge on Moscow from the north, south, east and west.

In the north and northwest, at Archangel, Murmansk and in the Baltic States, the forces of the British stood poised alongside the White Russian troops of General Nicholas Yudentich.

In the south, at bases in the Caucasus and along the Black Sea, were the White armies of General Anton Denikin, amply supplied and reinforced by the French.

In the east, Admiral Alexander Kolchak's forces, operating under British military advisors, were encamped along the Ural Mountains.

In the west, under the leadership of French officers, were General Pilsudski's newly organized Polish armies.

Allied statesmen advanced various reasons for the presence of their troops in Russia. When their soldiers first landed in Murmansk and Archangel in the spring and summer of 1918, the Allied Governments declared the troops had come to prevent supplies from falling into the hands of the Germans. Later they explained their troops were in Siberia to help the Czechoslovakian forces withdraw from Russia. Another reason given for the presence of Allied detachments was that they were helping the Russians to "restore order" in their troubled land.

Repeatedly. Allied statesmen denied any intention of armed intervention against the Soviets, or of interfering with Russia's internal affairs. "We do not propose to interfere with the internal arrangements of Russia," declared Arthur Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary, in August 1918. "She must manage her own affairs."

The ironic and invariably blunt Winston Churchill, who himself supervised the Allied campaign against Soviet Russia, later wrote in his book, The World Crisis: the Aftermath:

Were they [the Allies] at war with Russia? Certainly not; but they shot Soviet Russians at sight. They stood as invaders on Russian soil. They armed the enemies of the Soviet Government. They blockaded the ports and sunk its battleships. They earnestly desired and schemed its downfall. But war - shocking! Interference - shame! It was, they repeated, a matter of indifference to them how Russians settled their own affairs. They were impartial - bang!

The young Soviet Government struggled for its life in the face of desperate odds. The country had been laid waste and exhausted by the World War. Millions were destitute and starving. The factories were empty, the land unplowed, transport at a standstill. It seemed impossible that such a country could survive the fierce onslaught of an enemy with large, well equipped armies, vast financial reserves, ample food and other supplies.

Besieged on all sides by foreign invaders, imperiled by endless conspiracies at home, the Red Army retreated slowly across the countryside, fighting grimly as it went. The territory controlled by Moscow dwindled to one sixteenth of Russia's total area. It was a Soviet island in an anti-Soviet sea.

2. Northern Campaign

In the early summer of 1918 special agents of the British Secret Service had arrived in Archangel. Their orders were to prepare an armed uprising against the local Soviet administration in that highly strategic port. Working under the supervision of Captain George Ermolaevich Chaplin, an ex-Czarist officer who had been given a commission in the British Army, and aided by counterrevolutionary White Russian conspirators, the British Intelligence agents made the necessary preparations for the rebellion.

The revolt broke out on August 2. The following day Major General Frederick C. Poole, the British Commander-in-Chief of the Allied forces in North Russia, occupied Archangel with a landing force supported by British and French warships. Simultaneously, Serbian and White Russian troops led by Colonel Thornhill of the British Secret Service began an overland march from Onega to cut the Archangel-Vologda line and attack the retreating Bolsheviks from the rear.

Having overthrown the Archangel Soviet, General Poole organized a puppet government called the Supreme Administration of Northern Russia and headed by the elderly politician, Nikolai Tchaikovsky.

Before long, however, even this anti-Soviet administration seemed too liberal to suit the taste of General Poole and his Czarist allies. They decided to dispense with the formality of a government and to set up a military dictatorship.

By September 6, General Poole and his White Russian allies had carried out their plan. On that day Ambassador David R. Francis, who was visiting Archangel, was invited to review a battalion of American troops. As the last ranks of the soldiers marched by, General Poole turned to the American Ambassador and casually remarked, "There was a revolution here last night."

"The hell you say!" exclaimed Ambassador Francis. "Who pulled it off?"

"Chaplin," said General Poole, pointing to the Czarist naval officer, who had engineered the original coup against the Archangel Soviet.

Francis beckoned to Captain Chaplin to come over.

"Chaplin, who pulled off this revolution last night." asked the American Ambassador.

"I did," Chaplin laconically replied.

The coup d'état had taken place on the previous evening. Captain Chaplin and some British officers, in the dead of night, had kidnapped President Tchaikovsky and the other members of the Supreme Administration of the Northern Region and spirited them away by boat to a lonely monastery on a near-by island. There Captain Chaplin had left the Russian politicians under armed guard.

Such high-handed measures were a little too crude even for Ambassador Francis, who, moreover, had been kept completely unaware of the plot. Francis told General Poole that the American Government would not stand for the coup d'état.

Within twenty-four hours the puppet Ministers were brought back to Archangel and their "Supreme Administration" reestablished. Francis cabled the U. S. State Department that, as a result of his efforts, democracy had been restored.

By the early part of 1919 the British forces in Archangel and Murmansk numbered 18,400. Fighting side by side with them were 5100 Americans, 1800 Frenchmen, 1200 Italians, 1000 Serbs and approximately 20,000 White Russians.

Describing Archangel during this period, Captain John Cudahy(2) of the American Expeditionary Force later wrote in his book, Archangel: The American War with Russia, that "everyone was an officer." There were, Cudahy records, countless Czarist officers "weighed down with their glittering, ponderous medals"; Cossack officers with their high gray hats, gaudy tunics and rattling sabers; English officers from Eton and Harrow; French soldiers with their magnificent peaked caps and shining boots; Serbian, Italian and French officers. . . .

"And, of course," noted Cudahy, "there were large numbers of batmen to shine the boots and burnish the spurs and keep all in fine order, and other batmen to look after the appointments of the officers' club, and serve the whiskey and soda."

The gentlemanly manner in which these officers lived contrasted sharply with the way in which they fought.

"We used gas shells on the Bolsheviki," Ralph Albertson, a Y.M.C.A. official who was in North Russia in 1919, wrote in his book, Fighting Without a War. "We fixed all the booby traps we could think of when we evacuated villages. Once we shot more than thirty prisoners. . . . And when we caught the Commissar of Borok, a sergeant tells me he left his body in the street, stripped, with sixteen bayonet wounds. We surprised Borok, and the Commissar, a civilian, did not have time to arm himself. . . . I have heard an officer tell his men repeatedly to take no prisoners, to kill them even if they came in unarmed. . . . I saw a disarmed Bolshevik prisoner, who was making no trouble of any kind, shot down in cold blood. . . . Night after night the firing squad took out its batches of victims."

The rank-and-file Allied soldiers had no heart for the anti-Soviet campaign. They wondered why they should be fighting in Russia when the war was supposedly over. It was difficult for the Allied Commands to give an explanation. "At first this was not thought necessary," Cudahy recorded. "Then the High Command, remembering the importance of morale . . . issued proclamations that puzzled and confused the soldier more than if a course of silence had been followed."

One of the proclamations from British General Headquarters in northern Russia, which was read to British and American troops, opened with these words:

There seems to be among the troops a very indistinct idea of what we are fighting for here in Northern Russia. This can be explained in a few words. We are up against Bolshevism, which means anarchy pure and simple. Look at Russia at the present moment. The power is in the hands of a few men, mostly Jews. . . .

The temper of the troops became increasingly strained. Quarrels between the British, French and White Russian soldiers grew more and more frequent. Mutinies began to break out. When the American 339th Infantry refused to obey orders, Colonel Stewart, who was in command, assembled his men and read them the Articles of War specifying death as the penalty for mutiny. After a moment of impressive silence, the Colonel asked if there were any questions. A voice from the ranks spoke up:

"Sir, what are we here for, and what are the intentions of the United States Government?"

The Colonel could not answer the question. . . .

The British Chief of Staff, Sir Henry Wilson, made this report, in the official British Blue Book, regarding the situation in northern Russia in the summer of 1919:

On 7th July a determined mutiny took place in the 3rd Company of the 1st 13n. [Battalion] Slavo-British Legion and the Machine-Gun Company of the 4th Northern Rifle Regiment, who were in reserve on the right bank of the Dvina. Three British officers and four Russian officers were murdered, and two British officers and two Russian officers were wounded.

On July 22 news was received that the Russian regiment in the Onega district had mutinied, and had handed over the whole Onega front to the Bolsheviks.

In the United States there was a rising popular demand that American soldiers be withdrawn from Russia. The incessant stream of propaganda against the "Bolsheviks" failed to still the voices of wives and parents who could not understand why, with the war over, their husbands and sons should be waging a lonely, indecisive and mysterious campaign in the wilds of Siberia and in the grim, bitter cold of Murmansk and Archangel. Throughout the summer and fall of 1919, delegations from all parts of the United States traveled to Washington to see their representatives and demand that American soldiers in Russia be brought home. Their demand was echoed in Congress.

On September 5, 1919, Senator Borah arose in the Senate and declared:

Mr. President, we are not at war with Russia; Congress has not declared war against the Russian government or the Russian people. The people of the United States do not desire to be at war with Russia. . . . Yet, while we are not at war with Russia, while Congress has not declared war, we are carrying on war with the Russian people. We have an army in Russia; we are furnishing munitions and supplies to other armed forces in that country, and we are just as thoroughly engaged in conflict as though constitutional authority had been invoked, a declaration of war had been made, and the nation had been called to arms for that purpose. . . . There is neither legal nor moral justification for sacrificing these lives. It is in violation of the plain principles of free government.

The people of England and France shared the American people's disapproval of the war against Soviet Russia. Nevertheless, the undeclared war against Russia went on.

3. Northwestern Campaign

The Armistice of November 1918 between the Allied and Central Powers contained in Article 12 a little-publicized clause stipulating that German troops should remain as long as the Allies considered it expedient in whatever Russian territory they then occupied. It was understood these troops were to be used against the Bolsheviks. In the Baltic provinces, however, the Kaiser's army swiftly disintegrated. The war-weary and mutinous German soldiers deserted in droves.

Faced with a rapidly growing Soviet movement in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, the British High Command decided to concentrate its support upon White Guard bands operating in the Baltic area. The man selected to head these bands and weld them into a single military unit was General Count Radiger von tier Goltz of the German High Command.

General von tier Goltz had led a German expeditionary corps against the Finnish Republic in the spring of 1918, shortly after that country had acquired its independence as a result of the Russian Revolution. Von tier Goltz had undertaken the Finnish campaign at the express request of Baron Karl Gustav von Mannerheim, a Swedish aristocrat and former officer in the Czar's Imperial Horse Guard, who headed the White forces in Finland.(3)

As commander of the White Guard Army in the Baltic area, von tier Goltz now launched a campaign of terror to stamp out the Soviet movement in Latvia and Lithuania. His troops pillaged large sections of the land and carried out wholesale executions of civilians. The Latvian and Lithuanian people had little military equipment or organization with which to resist this savage onslaught. Before long, von tier Goltz was virtual dictator of the two nations.

The American Relief Administration under the direction of Herbert Hoover placed large food supplies at the disposal of the German General von tier Goltz. These supplies were withheld from the starving Baltic peoples until their territory had been occupied by von tier Goltz's White troops. The food was then distributed under the General's supervision.

The Allies were soon confronted with something of a dilemma. With their aid, von tier Goltz dominated the Baltic area; but he was still a German general, and consequently there was the danger that, through his influence, Germany would seek to control the Baltic States.

In June 1919, the British decided to replace von tier Goltz with a general more directly under their control.

Sidney Reilly's friend, the fifty-eight-year-old ex-Czarist General Nicholas Yudenitch, was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the reorganized White forces. The British agreed to furnish the necessary military supplies to General Yudenitch for a march on Petrograd. The first shipment of supplies pledged was complete equipment for 10,000 men, 15,000,000 cartridges, 3000 automatic rifles, and a number of tanks and airplanes.(4)

Representatives of Herbert Hoover's American Relief Administration promised to make food available to areas occupied by General Yudenitch's troops. Major It. R. Powers, Chief of the Estonian Section of the Baltic Mission of the American Relief Administration, began making a careful survey to estimate the amount of food necessary to guarantee the seizure of Petrograd by General Yudenitch's White Russian Army. On June 15, 1919, the Relief Administration's first shipment arrived, when the U. S. Lake Charlottesville anchored in the harbor at Reval, carrying 2400 tons of flour and towing a barge containing 147 tons of bacon.

Under Yudenitch's command an all-out offensive was launched against Petrograd. By the third week in October 1919, Yudenitch's cavalry was in the suburbs of the city. The Allied Governments were convinced that the fall of Petrograd was only a matter of days, perhaps hours. The headlines of the New York Times pictured the victory as won:




But at the very gates of Petrograd Yudenitch was stopped. Massing its forces, the revolutionary city struck back. Yudenitch's forces reeled before the fierce onslaught.

On February 29, 1920, the New York Times reported: "Yudenitch Quits Army; Starts for Paris with His Fortune of 100,000,000 Marks."

Fleeing southward from Estonia in a car flying a British flag, Yudenitch left behind him the total wreckage of his once proud army. Scattered bands of his soldiers wandered across the snow-blanketed countryside, (lying by the thousands of starvation, disease and exposure. . . .

4. Southern Campaign

While the forces of Yudenitch drove on Petrograd in the north, the attack from the south was being led by General Anton Denikin, a distinguished-looking, forty-five-year-old former Czarist officer with a grizzled beard and gray mustaches. General Denikin subsequently described his White Army as having "one sacred innermost thought, one vivid hope and desire . . . that of saving Russia." But among the Russian people, Denikin's army in southern Russia was better known for its sadistic methods of warfare.

From the beginning of the Russian Revolution, the Ukraine with its rich wheatlands and the Don Region with its immense coal and iron deposits had been the scene of savage conflict. Following the establishment of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic in December 1917, the Ukrainian anti-Soviet leader, General Simon Petlura, had urged the German High Command to send troops into the Ukraine and help him overthrow the Soviet regime. The Germans, with hungry eyes on the Ukraine's vast food resources, needed no second invitation.

Under the command of Field Marshal Hermann von Eichhorn, German troops swept into the Ukraine. Von Eichhorn himself had a considerable personal interest in the campaign: his wife was the Countess Durnovo, a wealthy Russian noblewoman who had been one of the largest landowners in the Ukraine. The Soviet forces were driven from Kiev and Kharkov, and a puppet "Independent Ukraine," controlled by the German Army of Occupation, was formed with General Petlura at its head. Declaring his aim to be the establishment of "National Socialism," Petlura instigated a series of bloody, anti-Semitic pogroms throughout the Ukraine. Ruthless punitive measures were employed to suppress the revolutionary Ukrainian workers and peasants.

The revolutionary movement, however, continued to grow. Von Eichhorn, deciding that Petlura was incapable of handling the situation, replaced his government with a military dictatorship. The new puppet regime was headed by von Eichhorn's brother-in-law, General Pavel Petrovich Skoropadski, a hitherto unrenowned Russian cavalryman, who could not speak a word of Ukrainian. Skoropadski assumed the title of Hetman (Head Man) of the Ukraine.

Hetman Skoropadski fared little better than Petlura. Before the end of 1918, disguised as a German private, he fled from the Ukraine with the German Army of Occupation, which had been decimated by the Red Army and by the Ukrainian partisans.

The departure of the Germans by no means ended the problems of the Bolsheviks in the Ukraine. The Allies also had been supporting anti-Soviet White Russian movements in southern Russia. Allied aid had gone chiefly to the counterrevolutionary forces which had been organized into the "Volunteer Army" in the Don Cossack region under the leadership of Kaledin, Kornilov, Denikin and other former Czarist generals who had fled south after the Bolshevik Revolution.

At first the campaign of the Volunteer Army met with serious reverses. General Kaledin, its original commander-in-chief, committed suicide. His successor, General Kornilov, was driven from the Don Region by the Soviet forces and finally killed in a battle on April 13, 1918. Command of the retreating, desperately harassed Volunteer Army was assumed by General Denikin.

At this very moment, when the fortunes of the White Russians appeared to be at their lowest ebb, the first British and French troops landed in Murmansk and Archangel, and substantial Allied supplies began pouring across the Russian frontiers to aid the White Armies. Denikin's hard-pressed army was saved from destruction. Replenished and reinforced, the Denikin army was ready, by the fall of 1918, to assume the offensive against the Soviets. . . .

On November 22, 1918, exactly eleven days after the Armistice which ended the First World War was signed, a radiogram reached Denikin's southern headquarters with the message that an Allied fleet was on its way to Novorossisk. The following day Allied vessels anchored in the Black Sea port, and French and British emissaries came ashore to inform Denikin that ample war supplies from France and Great Britain would be coming to his assistance in the immediate future.

During the last weeks of 1918 French troops occupied Odessa and Sevastopol. An English flotilla steamed into the Black Sea and landed detachments at Batum. A British commander was as named Governor General of the region.(5)

Under the supervision of the French High Command, and supplied with great quantities of military equipment by the British, Denikin launched a major offensive against Moscow. Denikin's chief aide in this offensive was General Baron von Wrangel, a tall, lean military man with thinning hair and chill, slate-blue eyes, who was notorious for his savage cruelty. Periodically

Wrangel would execute groups of unarmed prisoners in front of their comrades and then give the prisoners who had witnessed the execution the choice of joining his army or else being shot. When the troops of Denikin and Wrangel stormed into the captured city of Stavropol, one of their first acts was to break into a hospital and massacre seventy wounded Red Army soldiers. Pillage was an official practice in Denikin's army. Wrangel himself issued orders to his troops that loot from their campaign should be "equally divided" among them.

Driving north the forces of Denikin and Wrangel occupied Tsaritsyn (now Stalingrad) in June 1919, and by October were approaching Tula, 120 miles from Moscow. "The entire Bolshevik structure in Russia appears to be collapsing," reported the New York Times. "The evacuation of Moscow, the head center of Bolshevism, has begun." The Times described Denikin as "sweeping all before him," and the Red Army as retreating in "wild panic."

But, using a plan of attack drawn up by Stalin as a member of the Revolutionary Military Committee, the Red Army initiated a sudden counteroffensive.

Denikin's forces were taken completely by surprise. Within a few weeks the Southern White Russian Army was in headlong retreat toward the Black Sea. Morale broke down, and Denikin's troops fled in panic and disorder. Sick and dying clogged the roads. Hospital trains were frequently without medical supplies, doctors or nurses. The army disintegrated into bands of robbers, streaming toward the south.

On December 9, 1919, General Wrangel sent a panic-stricken dispatch to General Denikin, declaring:

This is the bitter truth. The Army has ceased to exist as a fighting force.

In the early weeks of 1920 the remnants of Denikin's army reached the port of Novorossisk on the Black Sea. White soldiers, deserters and civilian refugees poured into the city.

On March 27, 1920, while the British warship Emperor of India and the French cruiser Waldeck-Rousseau stood by and hurled shells inland at the advancing Red columns, Denikin set sail from Novorossisk on a French war vessel. Tens of thousands of soldiers from Denikin's army crowded onto the docks and watched helplessly while their commander and officers steamed away.

5. Eastern Campaign

According to the master plan of the interventionists, while Denikin drove on Moscow from the south, Admiral Kolchak was to besiege the city from the east. Events, however, did not proceed according to plan. . . .

During the spring and early summer of 1919, newspapers in Paris, London and New York carried frequent, detailed reports of devastating Red Army defeats at the hands of Admiral Kolchak. These were some of the headlines which appeared in the New York Times:





But on August 11 the Times carried a dispatch from Washington stating:

The time has come, a high official of the government stated tonight, to prepare the people of the anti-Bolshevik world for a possible disaster to the Kolchak regime in Western Siberia.

By midsummer Admiral Kolchak was fleeing desperately be fore the smashing attacks of the Red Army. At the same time his troops were being ceaselessly harassed behind their lines by a widespread, rapidly growing guerilla movement. In November, Kolchak evacuated his capital at Omsk. In tattered uniforms and worn-out boots, Kolchak's troops trudged along the roads leading from Omsk. Thousands dropped from the endless, miserable parade and died in the snow alongside the roads. The railroad lines from Omsk were clogged with broken-down locomotives. "The dead," an observer noted, "were thrown along the trucks to rot."

Kolchak reached Irkutsk in a train flying the Union Jack, the Stars and Stripes, the French and Italian tricolors, and the Rising Sun of Japan.

The people of Irkutsk revolted on December 24, 1919, establishing a Soviet, and arrested Kolchak. Seized with him was a vast treasure he had been transporting in a special train: 5143 boxes and 1680 bags of gold bricks, bullion, securities and valuables, with an estimated total value of 1,150,500,000 rubles.

Admiral Kolchak was placed on trial by the Soviet regime and charged with treason. "If a ship sinks, it sinks with all hands," Kolchak told the court, regretting he had not remained at sea. Bitterly he asserted that he had been betrayed by "foreign elements" which had deserted him in the crisis. . . .

The court sentenced Kolchak to be shot. He was executed by a firing squad on February 7, 1920. A number of Kolchak's aides escaped to the Japanese. One of them, General Bakich, sent this final message to the White Russian Consul at Urga, Mongolia: "Pursued by the Jews and Communists, I have crossed the frontier!"

6. The Poles and Wrangel

In spite of the catastrophic reversals they had suffered, the Anglo-French interventionists launched two more offensives against western Soviet Russia.

In April 1920, demanding all the territory of the western Ukraine and the occupation of the Russian town of Smolensk, the Poles attacked from the west. Generously equipped by the French and British with war materials and a $50,000,000 loan from the United States,(6) the Poles drove into the Ukraine and occupied Kiev. Here they were halted and hurled back by the Red Army.

With the Russian troops hot on their heels, the Poles retreated frantically. By August, the Red Army stood at the gates of Warsaw and Lvov.

The Allied Governments rushed fresh loans and supplies to the Poles. Marshal Foch hurriedly sent his chief of staff, General Maxime Weygand, to direct Polish operations. British tanks and planes were rushed to Warsaw. The Red troops, commanded by General Tukachevsky and War Commissar Leon Trotsky, had dangerously overextended their lines of communications. Now they suffered the consequences, as the Polish counteroffensive drove them back along the entire front. The Soviet Government, by the Peace of Riga, was forced to turn over to the Poles the western portions of Byelorussia and the Ukraine. . . .

The peace with Poland left the Red Army free to deal with Baron Wrangel, who, replacing General Denikin as commander-in-chief in the south and supported by the French, had driven northward from the Crimea into the Ukraine. By the late fall of 1920, Wrangel was driven into the Crimea and bottled up by the Red forces. In November the Red Army stormed Perekop and swept into the Crimea, driving Wrangel's army into the sea.

7. The Last Survivor

With the smashing of Wrangel's army and the end of intervention in the west, the only foreign army remaining on Russian soil was that of Imperial Japan. It seemed that Siberia with all its riches was destined to fall completely into the hands of the Japanese. General Baron Tanaka, the Minister of War and Chief of the Japanese Military Intelligence, exulted: "Russian patriotism was extinguished with the revolution. So much the better for us! Henceforth the Soviet can be conquered only by foreign troops in sufficient strength."

Japan still had more than 70,000 troops in Siberia and hundreds of secret agents, spies, saboteurs and terrorists. White Guard armies in the Russian Far East continued to operate under the supervision of the Japanese High Command. Chief among these anti-Soviet forces was the bandit army of Japan's Cossack puppet, Ataman Semyonov.

American pressure forced Japan to move cautiously; but on June 8, 1921, the Japanese signed a secret treaty at Vladivostok with Ataman Semyonov, calling for a new, all-out offensive against the Soviets. The treaty stipulated that, after the Soviets were liquidated, Semyonov should assume full civil power. This secret agreement added:

When a stable governmental authority is established in the Far East, Japanese subjects shall receive preferential rights for obtaining hunting, fishing and forestry concessions . . . and for the development of mining resources and gold mines.

One of Semyonov's chief aides, Baron Ungern-Sternberg, was assigned a major role in the projected military campaign.

It was to be the last White campaign of the war of intervention.

Lieutenant General Baron Roman von Ungern-Sternberg, a pale, effeminate-looking Baltic aristocrat with blond hair and a long, reddish mustache, had entered the Czar's army as a youth, fought against the Japanese in 1905, and subsequently joined a Cossack police regiment in Siberia. During the First World War, he served under Baron Wrangel and was decorated with the Cross of St. George for valor in combat on the southern front. Among his fellow officers he was notorious for his wild daring, ferocious cruelty and fits of uncontrollable rage.

After the Revolution, Baron Ungern had made his way back to Siberia, and assumed command of a Cossack regiment that pillaged the countryside and carried on sporadic warfare against the local Soviets. He was finally contacted by Japanese agents, who persuaded him to enter Mongolia. They placed at his disposal a motley army of White Russian officers, anti-Soviet Chinese troops, Mongolian bandits and Japanese secret service agents.

Living in an atmosphere of feudal banditry and absolutism at his headquarters in Urga, Ungern began to conceive of himself as a man of destiny. He married a Mongolian princess, abandoned Western dress for a yellow silk Mongolian robe, and pronounced himself the reincarnation of Genghis Khan. Incited by the Japanese agents who always surrounded him, he dreamed of himself as Emperor of a New World Order emanating from the East, which was to descend on Soviet Russia and Europe, destroying with fire and sword and cannon the last traces of "decadent democracy and Jewish Communism." Sadistic and half-insane, he indulged in countless acts of barbaric savagery. On one occasion he saw a pretty Jewish woman in a small Siberian town and offered a thousand rubles to the man who would bring him her head; the head was brought and duly paid for.

"I will make an avenue with gallows that will stretch from Asia across Europe," Baron Ungern declared.

At the outset of the 1921 campaign, Baron Ungern issued a proclamation to his men, from his headquarters at Urga, stating:

Mongolia has become the natural starting-point for a campaign against the Red Army in Soviet Siberia. . . .

Commissars, Communists and Jews, together with their families, must be exterminated. Their property must be confiscated. . . . Sentences on guilty parties may either be disciplinary o: take the form of different degrees of the death penalty.

"Truth and mercy" are no longer admissible. Henceforth there can be only "truth and merciless cruelty." The evil which has fallen upon the land, with the object of destroying the divine principle in the human soul, must be extirpated root and branch.

In the wild and desolate Russian border country, Ungern's warfare developed as a series of plundering bandit sorties, leaving in their wake smoking villages and the mutilated bodies of men women and children. Towns taken by Ungern's troops were given up to rape and pillage. Jews, Communists and all suspected of the mildest democratic sympathies were shot, tortured to death and burned alive.

In July 1921, the Red Army launched a drive to exterminate Ungern's army. After a series of sharp, fluctuating engagements, the Red Army and Soviet guerillas won a decisive victory. Ungern's hordes fled, abandoning most of their guns, their supply trains and their wounded.

In August, Ungern was surrounded. His own Mongolian bodyguard mutinied and handed hire over to the Soviet troops. The Baron was brought in his silk Mongolian robe to Novo-Nikolayovsk (now Novo-Sibirsk) and put on public trial before the Siberian Soviet Supreme Court as an enemy of the people.

It was an extraordinary trial. . . .

Hundreds of workers, peasants, soldiers -Russians, Siberians, Mongolians and Chinese - jammed the courtroom. Thousands more stood outside in the street. Many of these people had lived through Ungern's reign of terror; their brothers, children, wives and husbands had been shot, tortured, hurled into the boilers of locomotives.

The Baron took his place and the indictment was read:

In accordance with the decision of the Revolutionarv Committee of Siberia, dated September 12, 1921, LieutenantGeneral Baron Ungern yon Sternberg, formerly commander of the Asiatic cavalry division, is indicted before the Siberian Revolutionary Court on the charges:

1. Of having lent himself to the annexationist aims of Japan through his attempts to create an Asiatic State and to overthrow the government of Transbaikalia;

2. Of having planned to overthrow the Soviet authority with the object of restoring the monarchy in Siberia and the ultimate intention of putting Michael Romanov on the throne;

3. Of having brutally murdered great numbers of Russian peasants and workers and Chinese revolutionaries.

Ungern did not attempt to deny his atrocities. Executions, tortures and massacres - yes, these were all true. The explanation was a simple one: "It was war!" But a puppet of Japan? ",My idea," Baron Ungern explained, "was to make use of Japan." Ungern denied that he had any treasonable or intimate relations with the Japanese.

"The accused is lying," said Soviet Prosecutor Yaroslavsky, "if he claims that he never had any relations with Japan. We hold proof to the contrary!"

"I did communicate with the Japanese," admitted the Baron, "just as I communicated with Chang Tso-lin.(7) . . . Genghis Khan, too, paid court to Van-Khan before conquering his kingdom!"

"We are not in the twelfth century," said the Soviet Prosecutor, "and we are not here to judge Genghis Khan!"

"For a thousand years," cried the Baron, "Ungerns have given other people orders! They have never taken orders from anybody!"

He stared haughtily at the upturned faces of the soldiers, peasants and workers in the courtroom.

"I refuse to admit working-class authority! How can a man who doesn't even keep a general servant talk about governing? He is incapable of giving orders!"

Prosecutor Yaroslavsky enumerated the long list of Ungern's crimes - the punitive expeditions against Jews and pro-Soviet peasants, the cutting-off of arms and legs, the night rides across the steppe with flaming corpses for torches, the annihilation of villages, the ruthless massacres of children. . . .

"They were," coldly explained Ungern, "too Red for my liking."

"Why did you leave Urga?" asked the Prosecutor.

"I decided to invade Transbaikalia and persuade the peasants to revolt. But I was taken prisoner."

"By whom?"

"Some Mongols betrayed me."

"Have you ever asked yourself why those men acted as they did?"

"I was betrayed!"

"Do you admit that the end of your campaign was the same as that of all the attempts which have recently been made upon the workers' authority? Don't you agree that, of all these attempts to attain the objects you had in view, your attempt was the last?"

"Yes," said Baron Ungern. "Mine was the last attempt. I suppose I am the last survivor!"

In the month of September 1921, the verdict of the Soviet court was carried out. Baron Roman von Ungern-Sternberg, "the last survivor" of the White war lords, was shot by a Red Army firing squad.

Ataman Semyonov and the remnants of the Japanese puppet army fled across the Soviet border into Mongolia and China.

Not for more than another year was Soviet soil to be finally rid of the Japanese. On October 19, 1922, the Red Army closed in on Vladivostok. The Japanese in occupation of the city surrendered and handed over all their military stores. Japanese transports, carrying the last soldiers of Japan, left Vladivostok the next day. The Red flag was raised over the city.

"The decision to evacuate," announced the Japanese Foreign Office, "is intended to place Japan on record as a non-aggressive nation, striving to maintain the peace of the world."


1. The "Whites," so-called because of their opposition to the revolutionaries whose symbol was the Red Flag, included, according to George Stewart's authoritative account of their struggle in The White Armies of Russia, all those for whom "Czarism represented the assurance of their status in society, their livelihood, honors, Holy Russia, a social order built upon privilege and force, pleasant in its rewards to the fortunate, comfortable to parasitic groups which found their life in serving it, an ancient system which had its sanction in long centuries when Russia was building." The term "White Russians" is used in this book to describe those who fought to retain or restore this ancient order in Russia. It must not be confused with the name given to inhabitants of the Soviet Republic of Byelorussia, who are also called White Russians because of their original native costume: white smock, bast shoes with white leggings and white homespun coat.

2. In 1937 the late John Cudahy, a member of the wealthy Chicago meatpacking family, was appointed American Minister to Eire and later, Ambassador to Belgium. An outspoken enemy of Soviet Russia, he afterwards became a leading member of the isolationist America First Committee, which in 1940-41 opposed Lend-Lease aid to nations fighting the Axis.

3. With the aid of von tier Goltz's well-armed troops, Baron Mannerheim overthrew the Finnish Government and invited Prince Friedrich von Hessen, Kaiser Wilhelm's son-in-law, to occupy the Finnish throne. To suppress the opposition of the Finnish people, von tier Goltz and Mannerheim instituted a reign of terror. Within a few weeks Mannerheim's White Guards executed some 20,000 men, women and children; tens of thousands more were thrown in concentration camps and prisons, where many of them died from torture, starvation and exposure.

4. One of the most active British Secret Service agents in the northern campaign was Paul Dukes, a close colleague of Captain Sidney Reilly. Dukes succeeded in getting himself a commission in the Red Army, and served as an anti-Soviet spy and saboteur within the Red forces opposing Yudenitch. When the White Army was attacking Petrograd, Dukes arranged for the blowing up of bridges vital to the retreat of the Red Army, and he countermanded orders for the destruction of communications facilitating the advance of Yudenitch. Dukes kept Yudenitch informed of every move of the Red forces. He was also in close touch with the armed terrorists, remnants of Reilly's organization, inside Petrograd, who were waiting to aid the Whites the moment they entered the city. After he returned to London, Dukes was knighted for his exploits. Later, he wrote a book, Red Dusk and the Morrow, describing his adventures as a spy in Russia. In collaboration with Sidney Reilly he translated for propagandist purposes Boris Savinkov's The Pale Norse and various other White Russian or anti-Soviet writings.

5. British troops had been active in the southernmost portion of Russia since July 1918, when the British High Command had sent soldiers from Persia into Turkestan to aid in an anti-Soviet uprising led by Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries. The "Transcaspian Executive Committee," headed by the counterrevolutionary Noi Jordania, had established a puppet government dominated by the British. An agreement was drawn up by which the British received special rights in the export of cotton and petroleum from this area, in exchange for their aid to the counterrevolutionary forces.

6. Herbert Hoover placed millions of dollars worth of American Relief Administration supplies at the disposal of the Polish Army. On January 4, 1921, Senator James Reed of Missouri charged on the floor of the Senate that $40,000,000 of the Congressional relief funds "was spent to keep the Polish army in the field." In addition, some $23,000,000 raised by Hoover by popular subscription for aiding children in Central Europe was spent largely in Poland, although the fund appeals published in the United States stated the money was to be equally divided among destitute Austrians, Armenians, and Poles.

The great bulk of the money raised in the United States allegedly for European relief was used to support intervention against the Soviets. Hoover himself made this clear in his report to Congress in January 1921. The Congress had originally appropriated funds for reef primarily in "Central Europe"; but Hoover's report showed that almost all of the $94,938,417 accounted for was spent in territory immediately adjoining Russia or in those sections of Russia which were under the control of the White Russian armies and the Allied interventionists.

7. Ungern's "communication" with Chang Tso-lin, the notorious Chinese war lord, included a deal whereby the Baron, for staging a "retreat" before Chang's forces, was to get 10 per cent of $10,000,000 (Mex.) which Chang extorted from the Pekin Government.

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