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The civil war

Who were the Whites?

  • The Czech Legion were a group of Czech prisoners-of-war who escaped and travelled up and down the Trans-Siberian railway attacking the Bolsheviks.
  • Britain, France and America sent some troops, and lots of money and supplies.
  • General Miller, with help from the Americans and British, captured Archangel in late 1918 and set up a tsarist government there.
  • Admiral Kolchak had 100,000 men, the entire treasury of Nicholas II, and military supplies from America, Britain and France. In early 1919, he advanced, but his officers were more interested in cocaine and vodka than battle, and his armies collapsed when the Bolsheviks counter-attacked. Kolchak was captured by the Czechs, and handed over to the Bolsheviks, who executed him.
  • General Yudenich had 16,000 men, tanks and the offer of 100,000 Finnish troops. The Finns went home when Kolchak refused to promise Finland independence. Yudenich attacked in October 1918 he got so close to Petrograd that his men could see the trains pulling out of the station. But then Trotsky turned up and inspired the people - 100,000 Red Guards and ordinary workers armed themselves with rifles and fought off the tanks. Yudenich resigned and went into exile.
  • General Denikin. In July 1919, White armies, numbering 150,000 soldiers and led by General Denikin and General Wrangel, attacked northwards from the Black Sea and got to within 250 miles of Moscow. But then they ran out of money. Denikin quarrelled with Wrangel. Ukrainians refused to fight with Russians. The White Terror was so terrible that the peasants flocked to join the Reds. In October 1919, the Reds counter-attacked and drove them back. The Whites defeated and penniless - became a poor mass of naked humanity fleeing for its life'. Denikin escaped to France.
  • General Wrangel made a last stand in the Crimea, but was defeated in 1920.

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