The Russian Civil War
Most of the fighting in this first period was sporadic, involving only small groups amid a fluid and rapidly shifting strategic situation. The second period of the war lasted from January to November At first the White armies' advances from the south under Denikin , the east under Kolchak and the northwest under Yudenich were successful, forcing the Red Army and its allies back on all three fronts. In July the Red Army suffered another reverse after a mass defection of units in the Crimea to the anarchist Black Army under Nestor Makhno , enabling anarchist forces to consolidate power in Ukraine.
Leon Trotsky soon reformed the Red Army, concluding the first of two military alliances with the anarchists. In June the Red Army first checked Kolchak's advance. After a series of engagements, assisted by a Black Army offensive against White supply lines, the Red Army defeated Denikin's and Yudenich's armies in October and November. The third period of the war was the extended siege of the last White forces in the Crimea.
General Wrangel had gathered the remnants of Denikin's armies, occupying much of the Crimea. An attempted invasion of southern Ukraine was rebuffed by the Black Army under Makhno's command.
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Pursued into the Crimea by Makhno's troops, Wrangel went over to the defensive in the Crimea. After an abortive move north against the Red Army, Wrangel's troops were forced south by Red Army and Black Army forces; Wrangel and the remains of his army were evacuated to Constantinople in November In the October Revolution the Bolshevik Party directed the Red Guard armed groups of workers and Imperial army deserters to seize control of Petrograd Saint Petersburg and immediately began the armed takeover of cities and villages throughout the former Russian Empire.
In January the Bolsheviks dissolved the Russian Constituent Assembly and proclaimed the Soviets workers' councils as the new government of Russia. The first attempt to regain power from the Bolsheviks was made by the Kerensky-Krasnov uprising in October The initial groups that fought against the Communists were local Cossack armies that had declared their loyalty to the Provisional Government.
The Great War, the Russian Civil War, and the invention of big science.
The leading Tsarist officers of the Imperial Russian Army also started to resist. Volunteers of this small army were mostly officers of the old Russian army, military cadets and students. In December Alekseev was joined by General Lavr Kornilov , Denikin and other Tsarist officers who had escaped from the jail, where they had been imprisoned following the abortive Kornilov affair just before the Revolution.
Having stated in the November " Declaration of Rights of Nations of Russia " that any nation under imperial Russian rule should be immediately given the power of self-determination, the Bolsheviks had begun to usurp the power of the Provisional Government in the territories of Central Asia soon after the establishment of the Turkestan Committee in Tashkent.
However, because the Committee lacked representation of the native population and poor Russian settlers, they had to release the Bolshevik prisoners almost immediately due to public outcry, and a successful takeover of this government body took place two months later in November. The Bolsheviks decided to immediately make peace with the German Empire and the Central Powers , as they had promised the Russian people before the Revolution.
That suspicion was bolstered by the German Foreign Ministry's sponsorship of Lenin's return to Petrograd. Western socialists had promptly arrived from France and from the UK to convince the Russians to continue the fight, but could not change the new pacifist mood of Russia. On 16 December an armistice was signed between Russia and the Central Powers in Brest-Litovsk and peace talks began.
Leon Trotsky, representing the Bolsheviks, refused at first to sign the treaty while continuing to observe a unilateral cease-fire, following the policy of "No war, no peace". In view of this, on 18 February the Germans began Operation Faustschlag on the Eastern Front, encountering virtually no resistance in a campaign that lasted 11 days. They also understood that the impending counterrevolutionary resistance was more dangerous than the concessions of the treaty, which Lenin viewed as temporary in the light of aspirations for a world revolution.
The Soviets acceded to a peace treaty, and the formal agreement, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk , was ratified on 6 March. The Soviets viewed the treaty as merely a necessary and expedient means to end the war. Therefore, they ceded large amounts of territory to the German Empire. Under Soviet pressure, the Volunteer Army embarked on the epic Ice March from Yekaterinodar to Kuban on 22 February , where they joined with the Kuban Cossacks to mount an abortive assault on Yekaterinodar. Fighting off its pursuers without respite, the army succeeded in breaking its way through back towards the Don, where the Cossack uprising against Bolsheviks had started.
The Baku Soviet Commune was established on 13 April. Germany landed its Caucasus Expedition troops in Poti on 8 June. Dunsterville , the commander of the British troops in Persia. The Bolsheviks and their Left SR allies were opposed to it, but on 25 July the majority of the Soviet voted to call in the British and the Bolsheviks resigned.
Yekaterinodar was encircled on 1 August and fell on the 3rd. In September—October, heavy fighting took place at Armavir and Stavropol. On 13 October Gen.
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Kazanovich's division took Armavir, and on 1 November Gen. Pyotr Wrangel secured Stavropol. This time Red forces had no escape, and by the beginning of the whole Northern Caucasus was controlled by the Volunteer Army. In October Gen. Alekseev, the leader of the White armies in southern Russia, died of a heart attack. An agreement was reached between Denikin, head of the Volunteer Army, and Pyotr Krasnov , Ataman of the Don Cossacks, which united their forces under the sole command of Denikin.
The Armed Forces of South Russia were thus created. The revolt of the Czechoslovak Legion broke out in May ,  and the legionaries took control of Chelyabinsk in June. Simultaneously Russian officers' organisations overthrew the Bolsheviks in Petropavlovsk in present-day Kazakhstan and in Omsk. During the summer Bolshevik power in Siberia was eliminated.
Triumph and Liquidation
By the end of July the Whites had extended their gains westwards, capturing Ekaterinburg on 26 July Shortly before the fall of Yekaterinburg on 17 July , the former Tsar and his family were murdered by the Ural Soviet to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Whites. The Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries supported peasants fighting against Soviet control of food supplies. By July the authority of the Komuch extended over much of the area controlled by the Czechoslovak Legion. The Komuch pursued an ambivalent social policy, combining democratic and socialist measures, such as the institution of an eight-hour working day , with "restorative" actions, such as returning both factories and land to their former owners.
After the fall of Kazan , Vladimir Lenin called for the dispatch of Petrograd workers to the Kazan Front: "We must send down the maximum number of Petrograd workers: 1 a few dozen 'leaders' like Kayurov ; 2 a few thousand militants 'from the ranks'". After a series of reverses at the front, the Bolsheviks' War Commissar, Trotsky, instituted increasingly harsh measures in order to prevent unauthorised withdrawals, desertions and mutinies in the Red Army.
In the field the Cheka special investigations forces, termed the Special Punitive Department of the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combat of Counter-Revolution and Sabotage or Special Punitive Brigades , followed the Red Army, conducting field tribunals and summary executions of soldiers and officers who deserted, retreated from their positions or failed to display sufficient offensive zeal.
Boldyrev, Commander-in-Chief, appointed by the Ufa Directorate. On the Volga, Col. Kappel 's White detachment captured Kazan on 7 August, but the Reds re-captured the city on 8 September following a counteroffensive. On the 11th Simbirsk fell, and on 8 October Samara.
Summary of the Russian Civil War
The Whites fell back eastwards to Ufa and Orenburg. By mid-December White armies had to leave Ufa , but they balanced this failure with a successful drive towards Perm , which they took on 24 December. Great Britain sent three prominent military leaders to the area. One was Lt. Bailey , who recorded a mission to Tashkent, from where the Bolsheviks forced him to flee. Another was Gen. Malleson , leading the Malleson Mission , who assisted the Mensheviks in Ashkhabad now the capital of Turkmenistan with a small Anglo-Indian force.
However, he failed to gain control of Tashkent, Bukhara and Khiva. The third was Maj. Dunsterville , who the Bolsheviks drove out of Central Asia only a month after his arrival in August The first regional congress of the Russian Communist Party convened in the city of Tashkent in June in order to build support for a local Bolshevik Party. Lenin personally apologized to the Germans for the assassination. Mass arrests of Socialist-Revolutionaries followed. Estonia cleared its territory of the Red Army by January This rendered possible another threat to the Red Army—one from Gen.
Yudenich , who had spent the summer organizing the Northwestern Army in Estonia with local and British support. In October he tried to capture Petrograd in a sudden assault with a force of around 20, men. The attack was well-executed, using night attacks and lightning cavalry maneuvers to turn the flanks of the defending Red Army.
Yudenich also had six British tanks, which caused panic whenever they appeared. The Allies gave large quantities of aid to Yudenich, who, however, complained that he was receiving insufficient support. By 19 October Yudenich's troops had reached the outskirts of the city. Some members of the Bolshevik central committee in Moscow were willing to give up Petrograd, but Trotsky refused to accept the loss of the city and personally organized its defenses.
Trotsky himself declared, "It is impossible for a little army of 15, ex-officers to master a working-class capital of , inhabitants. Trotsky armed all available workers, men and women, ordering the transfer of military forces from Moscow. Within a few weeks the Red Army defending Petrograd had tripled in size and outnumbered Yudenich three to one.