When The Red Storm Broke

To a Russia in revolution, America sent rival groups of amateur diplomats. The calamitous results of their indecision still afflict us

In the early days ot November, 1917, a wiry, abbreviated man bearing on his face the expression of a determined ferret and in his pocket an important commission from President Woodrow Wilson, stopped off in London at the Savoy Hotel, then noisy with officers on leave from the western front and a banjo band straight from Dixie. He soon heard disconcerting news. “Vague word of a strange new Russian disturbance called Bolshevik” (so he was to recall in his memoirs) had begun to permeate London. “Petrograd became silent.

Where Ignorant Armies Clashed By Night

In the summer of 1918, with Russia removed from World War I as a result of the Bolshevik Revolution, the United States sent troops into Russia at two points. It did so only after the greatest soul-searching on the part of President Wilson, who had said that “the treatment accorded Russia by her sister nations … will be the acid test of their good will …” Two factors influenced the decision. In the Far East, Japan had made a move to occupy Siberia, apparently threatening America’s “open door” policy for China. In North Russia, English and French leaders had hopes of reviving the eastern front against Germany. In addition, large stores of Allied war supplies had been left at the port of Archangel. The expedition to North Russia resulted in fierce combat between American and Soviet soldiers and throws significant light on the forty years of difficult relations between the United States and the Soviet Union that were to follow.