Events in the Ukraine and other occupied districts at the start of the German revolution. The German revolution, its strategical and political significance. The evolution of the various White guard governments, their characteristics, objects of foreign and domestic policies, and methods of conduct. Conditions behind the lines of the White forces; function of the Communist party behind these. The political situation at the beginning of 1919. Internal situation of the R.S.F.S.R. Military communism. Conditions behind the Red lines. Status of the Red army and navy at the beginning of 1919; armament and supply, administrative measures. Situation of the armed forces of the counter-revolutionaries.
The occupation of the Ukraine by the Austro-German forces, completed in the early part of May, 1918, further sharpened the revolutionary class struggle. In the beginning of April, at the city of Kiev, in spite of the protests of the government of the "Central Rada" there was convened a conference of "grain dealers" (large land owners and wealthy peasants) upon the initiative and with the approval of the German high command. This conference, at the very start assumed a hostile attitude toward the petit bourgeois government of the Central Rada and later, relying on them instructions and cooperation of the German command, declared the Ukraine a monarchy, headed by a Hetman, and a German protectorate. General Skoropadsky (former general in the Czarist army) was elected Hetman, who was at once recognized by the German government, and then by the Austrian government. The government representatives of the "Central Rada"
- Petlura, Vinichenko, Prof. Grushetsky and others, were arrested. The months of May and June, 1918 in the Ukraine were marked by an intensive growth of the reactionary forces, with the simultaneous seizure by the Germans of all industrial resources of the country, and intensified export to Germany of cattle, raw material and food supplies.
At the heads of all governments and districts were installed so-called "elders," made up almost entirely of colonels and generals from the former Ukrainian land owners. These "elders" enjoyed almost unlimited administrative and judicial power; the actions of the "elders" were supervised, controlled and regulated by representatives of the German army - by commanders of German units situated as garrisons in all administrative (government and district) centers of the Ukraine. The so-called "committees for the liquidation of Bolshevism" that had been established throughout the Ukraine occupied themselves with the restoration of the ownership of the land to the landowners, the establishment of the extent of damages suffered by these at the hands of the revolutionaries, and compensation for these losses by money and in kind imposed on villages and entire volosts. The collectors of the indemnities, made up of punitive detachments of officers and former police, were executing persons without trial and investigation simply on suspicion of belonging to or sympathizing with the Communist party. By the end of May the number of persons imprisoned were ten times the capacity of the available prisons. In order to handle the huge number of prisoners, a special concentration camp was established at Brest-Litovsk and guarded by German and Austrian field gendarmes.
The agrarian and industrial policy of the Skoropadsky government served to accelerate the process of revolutionizing the peasantry, and the end of May, 1918, marked the development in the Ukraine of a strong partisan revolutionary movement.
Even he acquiescent trade unions that had been organized immediately upon the departure of the Soviet forces from the Ukraine were disbanded. The railroad strike declared in the latter part of June was cruelly put down. The self-governing bodies formed in the cities with a view to gaining popular support and which included social-revolutionaries and social democrats (without, however, exercising any power of their own), issued decrees and rulings in conformity with the instructions of the "elders" and their advisers, the German officers. Outwardly assuming a policy of total non-interference in the affairs of the R.S.F.S.R., Skoropadsky and his government at the same time did everything within their power toward fostering the growth of the Volunteer forces in the Don and Kuban territories. In the month of June, at the "court" of Skohopadsky, there was established recruiting bureaus which operated under the slogans of the restoration of Russia as "one inseparable" nation and registered officers who had settled in Ukrainian territory and bourgeois youths for service in the Volunteer Army. Early in August in the city of Yekaterhinoslav (now Dniepropetrovsk) was being organized the headquarters of the Volunteer VI Corps along with its formations.
The policy of the landowner and officer government of Skoropadsky together with the German economic pressure and arbitrary methods could not satisfy the requirements of the Ukraine industrial bourgeoisie or that of the chauvinistic city and rural intellectuals. The rebel congress (held at Belaya Tserkov in the latter part of July) of the liberal political and national chauvinistic bourgeoisie and reformist organizations laid the foundation for the so-called "Ukrainian National Alliance," the mission of which was the unification of all elements that were dissatisfied with the German regime and German occupation, and the exploitation of the growing revolutionary class-consciousness of the peasantry and proletariat. Subsequently, this "Alliance" set up an administrative executive "directorate" which included the representatives of the various political groups along with that of the already mentioned Petliura and Vinichenko groups.
July and August of 15918 were marked in the Ukraine by the mass uprisings of the peasants by an intensification of the revolutionary struggle in the cities and the growth of underground organizations. At the same time, it should be added that whereas in the south-western Ukraine (governments of Kiev, Volhynia, and northern parts of the Kherson government) the peasant movement was exploited also by the "Ukrainian National Alliance," the north-eastern Ukraine was receiving the primary attention of the Bolsheviks and partly also of the leftist parties. Early in September the German-Hetman government extended actually only to the administrative centers, to the cities in which martial-law had been declared, in as much as the assassination in Kiev of the German commander-in-chief, Field Marshal Eichhorn and attacks on the German headquarters in other cities had compelled the German command and the Hetman government to heed the potential revolutionary uprisings. Meanwhile the peasantry was passing through an acute period of class division, with sanguinary struggle between the seredniak* and bedniak peasants against the kulaks which continued to adhere to the Hetman orientation.
* Seredniak: peasant of moderate means; bedniak: indigent peasant; kulak: wealthy peasant. - Tr.
The German government (primarily their officers) which converted the Ukraine into a base of supplies and raw material for themselves, had been endeavoring to crush and to dispel the revolutionary movement not alone in the Ukraine, but throughout the entire R.S.F.S.R., utilizing for the purpose Krasnov's government in the Don territory and endeavoring to come to an understanding with the Volunteer Army commander, General Denikin, and the counter-revolutionary parties within territories of the R.S.F.S.R. General Ludendorff, who at the time was chief of staff at the German G.H.Q., depicts the military and political situation brought about by the German occupation of the Ukraine, as follows: "By occupying the Ukraine we had considerably weakened the military policy of the Soviet Government. We also established connection with many representatives of nationalistic tendencies of Great Russia, with the Don Cossacks, whom we could have made use of to combat Bolshevism."* "G.H.Q. had occupied the Ukraine in February in agreement with the Government, the latter being then fully convinced of the absolute necessity for the step, not merely to avert the danger of Bolshevism, but also to secure the food situation of the Quadruple Alliance. In the summer, Austria- Hungary had only been kept alive with the help of the Ukraine. We in Germany had obtained from the country cattle and horses and much raw material. Without this aid, there would be a severe crisis in the early summer of 1919."**
"The Army was also able to get horses in great numbers; without them warfare would have been altogether impossible."***
*** Id., p. 625.
The calculations of the German government and high command with respect to the political and economic advantages to be gained from the occupation of the Ukraine, the Baltic states, parts of the R.S.F.S.R. and Finland turned out very much in error. The influence of the revolutionary class struggle that was developing in the occupied territory of the Ukraine and R.S.F.S.R. was beginning to awaken the class-consciousness of the German and Austrian soldiers. The Austro-German divisions that had been transferred from the east to the Western Front, to Italy and the Balkans in August, 1918, were unsuitable for battle. "Divisions recently removed from East to West had not done well under their new conditions and I had had very unfavorable reports of them. In spite of this shortage of men, drafts from the East were received with the greatest reluctance. They brought a bad moral and had an unfavorable effect on their fellows. According to the explanations of General Hoffman, the temptations to which the me were exposed from the corruption of traders in the East and from Bolshevik propaganda, as indeed, from propaganda from home, had broken their fighting spirit."* This is the manner in which Ludendorff characterizes his occupational forces after a short stay of these within the territories that had been consumed by the revolutionary class struggle.
* Id., p. 749.
In November, 1918, first Austria and then Germany (November 9)
entered on the road to revolution. Exhausted by the World conflict, Germany was
compelled to accept the Draconian condition imposed by the victorious Allies.
Among the first results of the German revolution and of the Versailles peace
treaty was the militant foreign policy of encirclement against the R.S.F.S.R.
adopted the imperialistic Allied powers.
All governmental organizations that had been formed with the aid of the Germans promptly altered their orientation and in their struggle against the R.S.F.S.R. launched campaigns with the assistance of the Allied powers. The Polish government of Pilsudski, which had come into being with German aid, now incorporated into its political program the restoration of the Polish frontiers of 1772, and the formation of a bloc of all border states hostile to the Soviet Union "from Helsingfors to Tiflis," under Polish leadership. These foreign policy objectives of the Polish government inevitably put it at odds first of all with the Soviet government and next with those counter-revolutionaries within the territory of Northern Caucasia which had been mustering counter-revolutionary forces under the watchword of the restoration of Russia as "one inseparable" nation. The bourgeoisie governments of Latvia, Esthonia and Lithuania that were organized under German sponsorship, having changed their orientation after this and established contact with the Allied powers, were pursuing more moderate aims in their foreign policy with respect to the R.S.F.S.R.
After the November revolution in Germany, the process in the development of the revolutionary struggle in the Ukraine proceeded at a particularly rapid pace. The blustering petit bourgeois "Directorate" endeavored to utilize the revolutionary uprising for the purpose of consolidating its own power. It proclaimed an irreconcilable war against the Hetman rule, declared the Ukraine a "Peoples Republic" and announced the immediate convocation of a labor congress (Executive Assembly without the participation of the non-Ukraine political organizations, Volunteer-officer organizations of Denikin tendencies that had gained wide scope throughout the Ukrainian provincial centers). Early in December of 1918, taking advantage of the betrayal of Skoropadsky's Ukrainian organizations (Dnieper Cossacks), the Directorate seized Kiev and proclaimed itself as the All-Ukrainian government. In the early part of December an uprising was staged in the cities of Kharkov, Yekaterinoslav, and Poltava (it is of interest in this connection that at Kharkov the revolt was headed by the former Hetman Colonel Balobochan who had joined the Directorate, and at Yekaterinoslav by Captain Gorobets). With the collapse of the Hetman rule the Hetman officers, wealthy peasants, and urban bourgeoisie hastened to join the pro-revolutionary peasant army.
The government of the Directorate, under the influence of the
revolutionarily inclined peasants and proletariats, was compelled to
incorporate into its program, before the beginning of the revolt, those slogans
demanded by the revolutionary masses, and immediately after the seizure of the
administrative centers, began removing the "bolshevik elements" from
its program, supporting the interests of the Kulaks (wealthy peasants), the
petite and middle class city bourgeoisie.
The rapid disintegration of the army of the Directorate, as well as the collapse of the Directorate itself, had been brought about, furthermore, by the fact that most of the territory of the Ukraine was engulfed by the revolution, led by the bolsheviks or by groups that had adopted the Soviet platform. The uprising that began in the early part of November in the north-eastern parts, from Kharkov to Poltava, Chernigov, and northern part of the Kherson and Odessa governments, as well as in the eastern and south-eastern parts of Yekaterinoslav government had been supervised by underground bolshevik ad pro- bolshevik leftist social-revolutionary district revolutionary committees; the armed struggle of the insurgents was directed against the power of the Directorate and the German, Volunteer Hetman military organizations, as well as against the landed French and Greek forces which had effected their landing early in January of 1919 on the Black Sea coast (in December, 1918, after the opening of the gulf streams the Allied fleet appeared in the waters of the Black Sea).
The strength of the revolutionary forces grew with execeptional rapidity. The areas embraced by the revolution were extended in all directions. Under the blows of the insurgents the government of the Directorate fell in the middle of December at Kharkov, and by the end of December the Red revolutionaries had seized Poltava and Yekaterinoslav* (the latter was occupied after a sanguinary four-day battle in which the forces of the Directorate had been supported by two German regiments, by units of the Volunteer VI Corps of the Whites, by the rightist social-revolutionaries, by Menshevik and other volunteer forces). By the end of December the power of the Directorate which, by the way, had already adopted a pro-Allied policy, still maintained itself only in the city of Kiev and in the north-western part of the Ukraine. The advance of the Red Army developed with exceptional speed. On the 5th of February, practically without fighting, the city of Kiev was occupied. By the end of April and beginning of May the Red Army reached the Odessa, Nikolayev and Kherson areas, which had meanwhile been cleared by the insurgent forces of the occupational French and Greek forces, Volunteer and Ukrainian nationalist troops. By mid-April units of the Red Army occupied Sevastopol. The Directorate, expelled from Kiev, fled to Galicia, where it degenerated into a minor adventurous group headed by Petlura and came under the complete domination of the Poles and was exploited in the interests of the latter in action against the Soviet Ukraine. A more detailed account of the fighting between the Red Army and Directorate is presented in the next chapter.
* In the Kharkov government area were operating the Sakharov - Sablin forces with a strength of about 6,000 men; in the Poltava area - the Serdiuk forces, numbering about 2,000 men; in the Yekaterinoslav government area and in Northern Tver - the forces under Kotov and Makhno, with an aggregate strength of about 15,000 men; in the northern part of Kherson and in the Odessa government were the Grigoryev forces with the strength of about 8,000 men.
Events developed somewhat differently in other counter- revolutionary areas situated outside the territory occupied by the German troops. The events in the Don and Kuban territories are particularly characteristic in this respect.
As soon as the Don counter-revolutionaries, with the indirect aid of the German occupational forces, once more succeeded in gaining a foothold on some of their territory, they established in power the Don government of Ataman Krasnov. In the spring of 1918, in the situation that had developed there, as already shown, Krasnov adopted a pro-German policy, considering the restoration of Russia as "one inseparable" nation an object to be gained at some distant future date. For the time being, Krasnov considered the district of the Don forces as an entirely independent government, in whose behalf he established diplomatic relations with Kiev, Yekaterinodar and Berlin. The Germans enthusiastically supported Krasnov as power the importance that could in no way prove dangerous to them, and on the other hand, might well be exploited later in fighting the Soviet government, and if necessary also against the Volunteer Army, which was persisting in its pro-Allied orientation. This latter orientation was one of the reasons for the shifting of the center of gravity in the application of the pressure of the Volunteer Army (which was then already headed by General Denikin) to the Kuban territory, in order to avoid contact with the Germans, in spite of the views of General Alexeyev concerning the need for a development of action against the upper Volga, and numerous suggestions concerning this by Ataman Krasnov.
The German revolution and the opening of the Black Sea to the Allied naval forces in anticipation of extensive intervention on the part of the Allies in the South of Russia aided in a rapid change in Krasnov's pro-German policy in favor of the Allies. This, however, did not save him from being swallowed up by a new political organization, represented by the Volunteer Army. Under Allied pressure, threatening to deprive Krasnov of all sources of supply, the latter in the early part of 1919, found himself compelled to submit to this new power militarily and politically, maintaining only certain autonomous powers in the control of the Don district. In the matter of internal control Ataman Krasnov's authority consisted of the introduction of reactionary policies, which yielded him no support whatever from the Cossack masses.
The internal political situation in the Kuban territory was more complicated. The Kuban legislative rada controlling current legislative matters and maintaining governmental control, was noted for its irreconcilability toward the leading circles of the Volunteer Army and the policies of the latter. At the same time there was present also another current of a more conciliatory nature which gained the ascendancy while the Kuban government, deprived of its territory, was compelled to wander about with the Volunteer Army. But as soon as the Kuban government gained an opportunity to establish itself on its own territory it immediately resumed its struggle for independence.
The Cossack government saw in the establishment of a South- Eastern Alliance a means for ridding themselves of the tutelage of the Volunteer Army. On August 10, 1918, the people of the Kuban territory again put forth the plan of the establishment of an alliance between the Don, Kuban and Terek territories which was to include also the mountaineers of the North Caucasus. This resulted in further friction with the Volunteer Army command, in as much as the latter insisted that this alliance be provisional in nature and that it include representation of the Volunteer Army. The question of the formation of this alliance, in view of the objections of the Volunteer Army, was pondered throughout the entire year of 1918 and in 1919 the Volunteer Army, having been reinforced and given the support of the Allied powers, suppressed all independent efforts of the Kuban government and Rada. This trend of affairs was to give rise once more, in different forms and under different circumstances, to the opposition of the Volunteer Army, when in the latter part of 1919 this army was subjected to a defeat at the front and the Cossacks gained an opportunity once more to raise their heads. On the 5th of January, 1920, a conference was convoked at Yekaterinodar of the "Supreme Cossack Circle," which undertook the drafting of a constitution for the Allied Cossack Government, though this was not destined to be accomplished, in view of the collapse of the entire southern counter-revolutionary movements shortly thereafter. As regards the government of the Astrakhan and Terek Cossack forces, these, possessing no actual power and being foreign to the separatist aims, had no independent political aspirations of their own and were more submissive to the Volunteer Army.
The efforts toward gaining independence on the part of the
conservative bourgeois government of the Don, and of the more democratic Kuban
government, were due to the internal weakness of that military-political
organization which in the early part of 1919 had been established in South
Russia, known as the "Armed forces of South Russia." The government
of South Russia was formed from among the caste-ridden professional Volunteer
Army. This determined the actual nature of the government, which was
essentially a military dictatorship. Entire control was maintained in the hands
of the commander of the Volunteer Army, who subsequently assumed the title of
the commander of the "Armed forces of South Russia." He maintained,
in the nature of a consultative body, a "Special Council," which
formulated the various laws and maintained administrative control over the
occupied territories, over foreign relations and relations with social
The foreign policy of the government of South Russia, or more properly, of General Denikin (since the latter, depending upon the support of the bayonets of the Volunteer Army, was the actual head of the foreign and internal policies)I, was defined by the slogan of restoring Russia as "one inseparable" nation. This slogan determined its attitude toward all new governmental formations within the territory of the former empire, as well as the mutual hostility among the latter. The same slogan was adopted also by the other White armies of the "Volunteer" type, such as the "North-Western" and "Northern" armies, etc.
The military-political dictatorship of General Denikin endeavored to
introduce a similar rigid, irreconcilable policy toward the Cossack
governments, and this prepared the ground for conflict with the somewhat
parliamentary type of government of the Kuban Cossacks. The "Special
Council" derived its concepts and its executives from among the
counter-revolutionaries surrounding it. Among these adherents the
"National Center" group was the most influential, coming from the
rightist cadets. Of even greater rightist tendencies was the "Council of
Unified Government," while among the leftists were the social reformist
groups that had been organized around the "Renaissance Alliance."
The primary mission of the government of South Russia was that of unifying the military power there with the international spokesmen, in which it proved quite successful. But the restoration of normal relations with the "outlying formations," meaning the Cossack elements, was something in which it failed until the very time of its collapse.
The Denikin government revealed its actual views in connection with agrarian and labor matters only by its declaration of March 24th, 1919, in which it had been influenced by the Allied representatives, who were frightened by the rather reactionary course of Denikin's policies. This declaration promised, in rather vague terms, the convocation of a national assembly it promised district autonomy, civil liberties and reforms affecting agrarian and labor matters. But in view of the action of one of the leaders at Denikin's G.H.Q., professor Sololov, all of these promises amounted to nothing more than fruitless agrarian discussions. Moreover, before long the rightist reactionary wing gained in strength at the Denikin stavka (G.H.Q.), which further caused a change in the internal policy to the right. This led to a situation wherein, according to the same professor Sokolov, "The Special Council was grasping for breath; it depended on no one and received no real support anywhere."
Least of all could the policy of General Denikin satisfy the working class, which had adopted a definitely hostile policy toward it. Nor was the peasantry satisfied with the agrarian plans of General Denikin, which contemplated that the owners (landlords) of the land should maintain their ownership of the land on a definite scale and that what was left was then to be distributed among the people with little land, and this always after due compensation for the same. The execution of this policy on the spot further agitated the peasantry, particularly so in view of General Denikin's orders to turn over the crop on the landowners estates, cultivated by the peasants, to their owners, i.e., to the landowners. Furthermore, the general corruption of the agents of the local government completely alienated the entire local population. "The endless systematic plundering of the local inhabitants," according to professor Sokolov, had laid the foundation for mass peasant agitation which, in the latter part of 1919, during the greatest military victories scored by General Denikin (who had seized the Ukraine and advanced toward Kursk, Orel and Moscow) began increasingly to shake the foundation of the "Armed forces of South Russia."
This agitation was especially widespread in the Ukraine. Thus nearly the entire territory of the Yekaterinoslav government and the northern part of the Kherson government had been seized by Makhno's forces with a total strength of about 12,000 cavalry and infantry (according to some sources, the strength of Makhno's forces in the fall of 1919 reached about 50,000 men, organized into four corps); the Poltava government, exclusive of the administrative centers, had been under the control of Comrade Matyashin's forces, numbering about 20,000 men; the entire northern and eastern parts of the Kharkov government had been taken by the insurgents operating under Comrade Kotov, with a total strength of 1,000 to 1,200 cavalry and infantry. All these insurgent elements diverted from the anti-Soviet front large numbers of Volunteer Army forces. And during the withdrawal in December, 1919, these forces played a decisive role in the fate of the entire Volunteer Army, preventing it from establishing itself on a single line, beginning with Kursk and ending with the narrow strips of land in the Crimea and Don territory. Failures at the front, and the complete aloofness of the Denikin government, which depended solely on the support of the bayonets of the Volunteer Army whose disintegration had already set in, caused it once more to seek means of conciliation with the Cossacks. But this was already too late, since the catastrophe at the front was soon to follow.
The government of General Denikin was the most typical of the
counter-revolutionary governments that had adopted the "one inseparable
Russia" platform. All of the negative aspects of this platform stood out
most clearly because of the fact that, having been established on the basis of
military power, it had at once assumed the aspect of a military dictatorship,
maintaining it as long as the power on which it had been based lasted, i.e., as
long the Volunteer Army existed. Relying on this power, it found it possible to
extend its temporary rule over wide territories, but as might have been
expected, it was incapable of maintaining it, preserving its domain for any
period of time only over the Crimean territory.
We shall now take up consideration of the history of the equally important Siberian White guard government, which aspired to control all Russia, which had been recognized as such by the Allied powers, and which also became a military dictatorship, though by more complicated means.
We have already pointed out that our Far Eastern outlying areas, or more accurately, the territory of China, had already in the latter part of 1917 become the home of small self- appointed White governments created by the Japanese and the Allies as a cloak for their imperialism plans. These governments played no part in the history of the civil war and, as soon as their usefulness ended, were liquidated by the Allied powers themselves. A more notable role, and one of greater duration among these governments was enjoyed by those which had been created as a result of the formation of the counter- revolutionary Eastern Front. The centers of the newly formed governments were the cities of Samara and Omsk. At Samara the Czecho-Slovakian forces, upon the capture of this city by them on June 8, 1918, formed the government of the "Committee of the Constituent Assembly" (C.C.A.). Relying upon the support of the Czech forces the "C.C.A." proceeded to the organization of its own "Army of the Constituent Assembly," which lasted about five months, until its liquidation by Admiral Koltchak, the dictator of Siberia, who had come into power with the assistance of the bayonets of the Allied powers and military conspirators. the committee was of a clearly rightist social-revolutionary aspect. It attempted the convocation of the Constituent Assembly and the restoration of the front against Germany, which clearly indicated its pro-Allied policies. Formally recognizing the nationalization of the land, the committee actually failed to carry to the end this announced policy, leaving unnationalized land in the hands of its owners. Finally, as regards social and financial policies, the committee devoted much attention to the interests of the bourgeoisie, which was to be noted in the full compensation, at prices favoring the owners, for products that were needed by the army, in restrictions on the activity of the labor unions, etc.
The guiding principles of the foreign and domestic policies of the Kolchak government brought about the opposition to the Samara government of the majority of workers and peasants. Indications of the attitude of these were the unsuccessful mobilization of forces for the army of the Constituent Assembly and the subsequent collapse of the army itself. The internal policy of the "Committee" had failed also in satisfying the bourgeoisie which, in the latter part of June, 1918, raised the question of a military dictatorship. Thus the sole social foundation of the committee was to be found in the city and rural intelligentsia and small groups of social-revolutionaries and Mensheviks. The Committee found it impossible to maintain its influence in the army, where the revolutionary and black- hundred elements gained the upper hand. These elements later on helped in bringing about the fall of the Committee. Claim to voice in the Committee was laid by the local governments that sprang up within the territory of the reformist or bourgeois type, such as the "District Government of the Bashkir State," the Kirghiz "Alash-Orda" and the "National Government of the Turco-Tartar Tribe," which came into being back in the summer of 1917 in Kazan.
The main rival of the "Committee," however, was the "Siberian District Government," formed at Omsk in the same manner as the "Committee" had been formed at Samara. This government, backed by the Siberian Cossacks and officer counter- revolutionary organizations, was openly opposed to the revolutionaries by nature, and from the very start engaged in a struggle against the Siberian District Duma, which had gathered at Tomsk and adopted a bourgeois democratic platform. Under the powerful pressure of the Czechs, all of these governmental formations finally, in October, 1918, merged into a single "Ufa Directorate," made up of five members. However, the coalition Directorate with its counter-revolutionary tendencies inspired little confidence of the Allied powers and the latter, represented primarily by Great Britain, advanced the candidacy of Admiral Kolchak as head of the Directorate who had been Minister of War of the same Directorate. As soon as the Directorate, owing to failures at the front, had been moved to Omsk, a military revolt was staged there on the night of the 17/18 of November, 1918, which placed Admiral Kolchak in power. The members of the Directorate were expelled from the country. The Czecho-Slovak forces limited their action to a formal protest, but the social-revolutionary party went underground, whence it began its struggle against the new dictatorship.
The very arrival in power of Admiral Kolchak inaugurated and defined
the reactionary form of his government, notwithstanding his declarations that
he did not wish to follow "either reactionary policies or those of the
ruinous party tendencies." With the very first days of his advent to power
Admiral Kolchak demonstrated his complete intolerance of the labor movement,
relentlessly crushing all undertakings of the workers. He introduced special
laws, death sentences, and martial law behind the lines. The arbitrary action
of the military authorities alienated from Kolchak even those extremely
moderate democratic elements which at first supported him. The peasantry very
strongly felt the oppression of the Kolchak regime.
The appearance of White forces, according to one of the former ministers of the Kolchak government, Hins, signified for the peasants the advent of a period of endless requisitions, of all sorts of duties and services and the thorough arbitrariness of the military authorities. "the peasants were plundered, abused, ruined," according to this same source. In turn, the peasantry fought against it by staging repeated uprisings and revolts. This brought forth sanguinary punitive expeditions sent out by Admiral Kolchak, which not only failed to put down the uprisings, but further intensified and spread the rebellion. At the same time, in Eastern Siberia, the local counter- revolutionary forces headed by Ataman Semenov and Ataman Kalmakov were against Admiral Kolchak and practically came out in the open against him.
In his proclamations Kolchak adhered to the same tactics employed by
General Denikin. He made practically the same general promises as General
Denikin we shall therefore not repeat them here. And his methods of liquidating
the resultant unrests only served to add fuel to the fire.
The moment there were considerable failures at the front, disintegration set in within the Kolchak regime. Kolchak's council of ministers abandoned him in December of 1919 and went to Irkutsk where it endeavored to carry on some activity, after having reorganized along more democratic lines, while Kolchak was meanwhile endeavoring to maintain his own military dictatorship. The revolutionary movement became general almost throughout Siberia.
In the government of Irkutsk there was organized the so- called "Political Center," which united the central committee of the party of social-revolutionaries, the committee of the bureau of Zemstvos, labor unions and Mensheviks. The Allied representatives endeavored to gain the favor of this "Center," hoping to find support here against the Bolsheviks. On the 24th of December, 1919, the "Political Center" backed by a part of the military forces that had joined it, staged a revolt in Irkutsk. The French General Janin, who was in command of all the Allied forces in Siberia, supported this action, endeavoring to gain free passage for the Czech forces to Vladivostok. The Allies, deciding to place their last hopes on the social- revolutionaries, in whom they saw the "leaders of the government representatives that had nothing in common with the Bolsheviks," exerted pressure on the remnants of the Siberian government to curtail any further resistance, and they turned Kolchak himself over to the "Political Center." The "Political Center," formed by the intermediate reformist parties, served as a transitionary means to the real power of the working masses, organized at Irkutsk January 21, 1920 as the local Soviet of workers and peasants deputies.
The separation of the Siberian government by the vast areas from the other White guard governments resulted in its being All-Russian in name only. Officially recognizing its sovereignty, all White governments in their internal and partly also in their foreign policies paid little heed to its instructions. General Denikin maintained special independence, and while already enjoying considerable freedom in the sphere of foreign relationships, also demanded complete independence in matters affecting agrarian and financial policies.
We shall now devote a few words to the secondary White guard governments that came into power solely as a result of the Allied intervention. One of these was the originally social- reformist government, later reorganized on the pattern of a military dictatorship, the government of the Northern district on the White Sea coast, organized in August, 1918, and then, after establishing official relations with Admiral Kolchak, reorganized by the latter into a governor-generalship, with the ministers of the former government forming a special Kolchak council.
The government of northern Russia was formed at Archangel in August, 1918 immediately after the landing there of an Allied force. The government was made up of a coalition of social- reformists and leaders of the bourgeosis parties. A month later, however, in September, 1918, even this compromise government failed to satisfy the interallied commanders. A military revolt was instigated and the socialist ministers headed by Chaikovsky were removed to Solovka. Shortly thereafter Chaikovsky was released and placed at the head of a new, fictitious government of a purely bourgeois trend with a slight admixture of "national socialists." General Miller, who was the governor general, was appointed as Chaikovsky's alternate. Early in 1919 the Allies found it possible to get rid of Chaikovsky on the plausible excuse of needing him in Paris at the Allied conference as representative of the Russian White guard governments. General Miller was the actual head of the government. Thus the Kolchak government merely placed its stamp of approval on the order of things that had already been established in the Northern district.
The north-western government under Lianozov established by the British on August 10, 1919, at Reval was apprehensive even of appearing within its own territory. Both of these governments were nothing more than a fiction, depending wholly on the Allied powers. The army of the north- western government, served as a refuge for adventurers and condottieri - Bulak-Balakhovich, who later gained much notoriety, belonged to this military establishment. Similar in type was also the government of the Transcaspian district formed by the social-revolutionaries on July 12, 1918, which at once appealed for the assistance of the British forces in Persia; subsequently, this government transferred its authority to the government of South Russia.
During the summer of 1918, with the support of the British bayonets, there was formed at Baku the chauvinistic nationalist Azerbaijan government of bourgeois tendencies, which called for an independent Azerbaijan and opposition to the Volunteer Army.
In Turkestan, with the beginning of the October revolution, there was formed the independent Ferghana District government, supported by the local wealthy peasants, both native and colonist inhabitants. This government fought the Soviet government at Tashkent and finally collapsed, to be superseded by brigands that subsequently became known as the "brigand movement."
All of these governments, with the exception of the Azerbaijan government, had very much in common both in the manner of their formation and in their political aspects and methods of the conduct of their internal policies. The principal unifying objective of all governments was that of restoring Russia as "one inseparable" nation.
The development of the compromise type of the White guard governments demonstrates the inconsistencies of the petit bourgeois democratic governments in the face of the world revolutionary movement. The petite bourgeoisie found themselves powerless in the conduct of their individual policies when it came to the powerful clash of the two classes - that of the bourgeoisie and the proletariat - and the petit bourgeois government, utilizing leftist slogans and phrases, either inevitably found itself stumbling into the camp of the counter- revolutionaries, or toward paving the way toward the latter. After the experience of the Ufa and Ukrainian directorates there was no way out for the more active and revolutionary element of the petit bourgeoisie democratic tendencies other than the adoption of the formula of political domination of the proletariat.
As we have already repeatedly pointed out, behind the line of White military forces were continuous uprisings staged by the proletariat and peasants which often assumed the nature of elemental upheavals in which related elements frequently joined and extended the scope of the revolts. The uprisings behind the lines of the White forces assumed the nature of a real revolutionary movement the proportions of which mounted by leaps and bounds. This movement became particularly strong in the Ukraine in the latter part of 1918 and in Siberia before the fall of Kolchak's government at the close of 1919. The latter was actually swept from the historical stage by the wave of the Siberian red partisan movement. The wave of the red partisan movement undermined all vital threads of the Kolchak military forces. The militant population took to the forests where it engaged in the formation of military units with improvised artillery weapons, - staging bold raids against isolated garrisons, supply stations, communications. The flow of replacements within the White armies was curtailed, the number of these falling abruptly, since the mobilized peasantry went over to the partisan en masse.
The revolutionary movement became particularly strong in the Ukraine after Denikin had ordered the delivery of the harvests from the landowner estates to the landowners. Along the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus and in the Crimea the uprisings also assumed great proportions and the peasantry, evading Denikin's compulsory military service, eagerly enrolled in the "green" army. The action of the latter greatly complicated later the withdrawal of the remnants of the Volunteer Army to Novorosaysk.
On the whole, the uprisings in rear of the White armies played their revolutionary part in the destruction of these armies and should be regarded as one of the active forces of the revolution. "Cells" of the communist party, remaining behind the lines of the White armies, and going underground, continued their organizational work and activity both among the hostile forces and civilian population. The part assumed by them in the disruption of the White bases of operation was considerable. In Siberia the anti-Kolchak work of the social-revolutionaries has affected only the upper strata of the urban intelligentsia and the "kulak" elements* in the rural districts, but the large- scale peasant uprisings and in general the entire peasant mass movement had been conducted with the guidance of the communist party and under its supervision. In south Ukraine the Ukrainian communist party, during the Franco-Greek occupation of the city of Odessa and some of the other Black Seaports, in the winter of 1918/19, conducted successful work toward the internal disintegration of the Allied military forces there and in the supervision of the labor movement in the area occupied by the Allied troops. One of the results of the underground activity of the Bolsheviks was the political revolt of the crew on the French naval "Mirabo" early in February, 1919.
* Wealthy peasants. - Tr.
Work of a similar nature, on a greater or lesser scale, and with
more or less results, was conducted by underground Bolshevik organizations also
in other areas occupied by the counter-revolutionaries. This work, in view of
the savage terrorism of the Whites, demanded of those engaged in it great
unselfish efforts and loyalty to the party. In expanding the events taking
place in the outlying districts of the R.S.F.S.R. at the outbreak of the
revolution in Germany and Austria and in foiling the course of the development
of the counter-revolutionary formations, we shall further analyze the situation
within the R.S.F.S.R. early in 1919 and as it developed throughout that year.
With the collapse of the German occupation, the R.S.F.S.R. was confronted by the task of liberating the occupational districts and of organizing Soviet control there.
In accomplishing this mission the Soviet strategy was confronted with the need of directing its activity against the Baltic states, Lithuania, White Russia and the Ukraine. The entire problem hinged on the question as to just what forces would be first to establish themselves within these districts, i.e., whether the revolutionary forces, the forces of Allied imperialism, or the domestic counter-revolutionary forces would be the first to gain a foothold therein.
Along with these urgent problems and the immediate task confronting Soviet policy and strategy immediately after the German revolution, other problems, more complicated and extensive, became apparent. The treacherous policies of the social-reformist parties during the World War had alienated from them the wide proletarian masses. The complete economic collapse, and the sharpened class contradictions that it entailed, which as a result of the World War overtook the victor and vanquished nations alike, had created throughout Europe and extremely acute revolutionary situation. Germany and Austria were the hardest hit by this revolutionary activity. The revolutionary situation in all of Western Europe served to place before the Soviet policy and strategy yet another problem. This was the matter of coordinating the efforts of the revolutionary front in Eastern and Western Europe.
Direct military action against the interventionists was possible
only in cooperation with the revolutionary forces of the West. Actually, an
attack against the Baltic states was an assault against the chain of buffer
states which Clemenceau (see Chapter) wanted to establish to separate Soviet
Russia from the West. An advance through the Ukraine and Bessarabia against
Bukovina served to stretch out a helping hand to the fraternal Hungarian Soviet
Republic. These were the missions imposed by history upon Soviet strategy,
demanding full exertion of every possible effort.
V. I. Lenin in a speech referring to this period, thus appraised the tremendous effort which the Soviet Union was called upon to make at the time: "We decide to have an army of one million men by spring; we need now a military force of three million. We can, and shall have it."*
* Lenin, Collective Works, 1923. Vol. XV, p. 421
The difficult economic straits of the country owing to the civil war had brought about a considerable rise in epidemics. The crowded condition of the people, the shortage of fuel and foodstuffs, insanitary conditions, etc., greatly tended to spread epidemics with unusual rapidity. A typhus epidemic became widespread. In October, 1917, according to incomplete figures, there were in the country 20,370 typhus cases; and by January, 1918 the number of these increased to 55,831 cases. Thus the internal conditions of the country were actually in a state of "desperate ruin," as Lenin stated in one of his speeches. Meanwhile the political situation demanded a continuation of the civil war with every possible energy. Before the Soviet government, on the economic front, were the problems of conserving and maintaining the efficiency of the army, of feeding the people of the country, and of sustaining what still remained of the Russian industry.
The first of these was the most important.
Directly related to this was also another problem equally important not only from the political standpoint but from the military standpoint as well, namely, that of preventing a dispersion of forces of the proletariat under the stress of the economic and industrial collapse. Dispersion of the proletariat served to weaken the entire organizational structure of the Red Army. Actually, the following figures testify to the fact that the apprehensions involved were by no means groundless. For example, at the Kolomensk factory at the close of 1918, in place of the 18,000 workers that at the close of the preceding year, there remained only 7,203 men.* In the Government of Tver, owing to the food shortage, there were eleven strikes in that year.** And aside from this, the closing down of factories because of a lack of raw materials also served to scatter the workers. Thus in October of 1918 the Central Textile Trust was compelled to close down 161 factories.*** The efforts exerted by the Soviet government and its strategy in this connection depended mainly on the general state of affairs within the R.S.F.S.R. during 1919.
The potentialities of the strategy adopted by the Soviets with respect to administrative and strategic matters had been contingent upon the economic conditions of the country; hence we shall begin our survey with a consideration of economic matters.
At the close of 1918 the R.S.F.S.R., because of the economic blockade and military encirclement, found itself in a situation where it had to rely solely on its own economic means. Actually, if the normal imports of 1913 into Russia were expressed by the figure of 936,000,000 poods* and its exports by 1,472,100,000 poods, in 1918 imports had fallen off to 11,500,000 poods, ad exports to 1,800,000 poods. A direct result of the situation was a shortage in those imported materials that were necessary for the maintenance on a proper level of the transport system, which of course greatly affected the strategy, industry and rural economy of the Soviet Union.
* 1 pood equals about 36 lbs.
Owing to the spread of the civil war throughout the territory of the R.S.F.S.R., by the end of 1918 the results of the precarious economic situation became quite apparent. Various areas were still in the hands of foreign occupational forces, interventionalists and counterrevolutionists. At the disposal of the Soviet government were the economically weak and thickly populated regions. The practical results of this situation were apparent from the fact that the entire Soviet Union had a surplus of only 87,000,000 poods of grain in place of the 775,000,000 poods in the pre-war period. The extent to which this surplus failed to meet requirements may be seen from the fact that to feed the country and army in the period from August 1, 1918 to August 1st, 1919, it had been necessary to gather 220,000,000 poods of bread. The same situation was also true with respect to all other kinds of reserves. Thus, the R.S.F.S.R. could count on an annual yield of coal of only 24,000,000 poods, whereas the city of Petrograd alone normally required 168 million poods of coal annually. The curve of production of the more vital branches of the national economy fell sharply. Thus, in 1918 the production of pig iron amounted to only 12.3% and the production of textile fabrics to 75% of the pre-war output.*
* The last two figures are taken from the book by N. Anishev, Notes on the History of the Civil War of 1917- 1920, State Publishing House, 1926, p. 181.
This condition of affairs rendered a number of crises inevitable in the matter of the supply of various branches of the national industries, the more important of which from the military standpoint were those affecting bread and transport. The latter had been due to a series of other crises such as fuel, machinery and others, and dislocations and collapse which the railway transport system had under;gone during the civil war. V. I. Lenin concentrated most of the attention of the country and of the party on the struggle with these particular two crises. Actually the very continuation of the civil war depended on the matter of food and provisions and on the transport system.
As regards the transport system, the Soviet government inherited a disrupted system from the World War. Throughout the civil war our transport continued to deteriorate mainly owing to the wear and tear of the rolling stock, which was deteriorating faster than it could be restored. As regards the speed with which it was breaking down, the following figures are quite to the point. In 1916 our railways had 20,290 locomotives, of which 3,404 were in need of repair, while by the end of 1918 the number of locomotives was reduced to 8,910 with 4,231 of them requiring repairs, i.e., about 50% were in disrepair. At the close of 1916 the general number of railway cars were about 563,000, of which 20,000 were in need of repairs, while at the close of 1918 there were only 258,000 cars, 43,000 of which were in need of repairs. As regards fuel shortage on the railways, the following data are pertinent: the total requirement of the railways of the Petrograd railway center in fuel from May 1, 1918 to May 1, 1919, amounted to 1,124,000 cubic sajens* of wood. Of this quantity, from May 1, 1918 to November 4, of the same year, there was actually consumed only about 10%. The remaining railways were similarly situated.
* A sajen equals about 7 feet. - Tr.
At the same time, as a result of the war, the requirements imposed
on the railways were tremendous. For this reason, the Soviet government was
called upon, in the entire course of the civil war, to devote special attention
to matters affecting the railway system, and particularly to that of fuel. Up
to January, 1919, there had been prepared only 24.1% of the total requirements
of the country in fuel and 10.3% had been shipped out. In the subsequent six
months there had already been prepared 75.9% while 89.7% had been shipped out.
Support of the railway system demanded the adoption at various periods of such vigorous measures as the requisitioning for the railroads of 50% of all available wood along the railways irrespective of the particular ownership of the wood. The difficult state of the railway transport system had made it necessary to attach special importance to all railway traffic. At times when it was necessary to rush food supplies in a certain direction, passenger service was temporarily suspended, excepting the transfer of important military detachments, and all available rolling stock was utilized for the purpose.
In the existing situation, the peasantry was the source of supply of the main food products in accordance with the following formula adopted by V.I. Lenin: "The peasant received from the workers government the entire land, and protection against the landowner and kulak*; the workers received from the peasants foodstuffs and loans pending the restoration of the large industries." The dictatorship of the Peoples Commissariat for Supplies, by the exercise of a state monopoly over the principal provisional supplies and by a decree adopted on the 13th of January, 1919, governing food distributions, succeeded in solving the more difficult food supply questions in a more or less satisfactory manner. This is indicated by the following figures: from August 1, 1918 to August 1, 1919 there had been gathered 110,000,000 poods of bread; in the next year - 220,000,000 poods, and the year following it - over 285,000,000 poods.
* Kulak - wealthy peasant. - Tr.
The sacrifices of the population in the interest of the civil war were not limited to the compulsory supply of foodstuffs alone. The war demanded of the wide masses of the people also a supply of manpower for the government. This consisted of the mobilization of labor for work of general importance to the government.
The military aspect of the national economy during the civil war served to determine also the characteristic features of the system of economic agencies involving strict centralization, all of which came under the control of the Supreme Economic Council. The closer one or another of the Supreme Economic Council agencies was related to the functions involving military undertakings of the Red army the greater was the military influence upon it. The agencies of the Peoples Commissar for Communications were especially affected by this military influence. Centralization served to insure concentrated effort in the functions of the natural economic agencies; this was made imperative by the need for the development of the strength of the military forces. This urgency extended throughout the entire supply system during the entire civil war. In conformity with the importance which a particular front assumed, special importance and urgency were attached to it, and the attention of the party, of the country and economic agencies was concentrated upon it, and reinforcements, supplies and provisions began flowing toward the same in a wide stream, while this was temporarily relaxed in connection with other fronts.
During the more strained periods involving food supplies V.I. Lenin personally followed the work of the railways in the handling of provisions. Early in 1919 he telegraphed Zinovieff in Petrograd: "I have issued orders for the transfer of rolling stock to Petrograd from Moscow and Nizhnenovgorod by passenger trains. Verify the same. If you neglected a month ago to provide for the necessary rolling stock and failed to submit timely reports concerning the same, you may also blame yourself for the fact that after our telephonic conversation on Friday you took no steps to verify the speed of traffic of dispatched railway cars." Lenin maintained careful control over the railways by shifting individual units sent at decisive periods to vital sectors of the front. The transfer of the Bashkir brigade in the fall of 1919 to Petrograd; the transfer of the 21st Division in August of the same year against Mamontov's forces; the transfer of the Latvian division in the fall of 1919 from the West front to the South front, etc., were undertaken under Lenin's direct supervision.
missing page 156
cells. The work of the Communists sent there from the Red centers brought about a complete reorganization of the frontal regions. There were everywhere organized committees of the poor, and the correspondence of the time indicated that here, i.e., in the Volga and Ural districts "the local toiling inhabitants only now, it is to be remarked, awakened to the revolution and took up the revolutionary life."
Moscow and Petrograd especially contributed greatly to the front, but Comrade Zinovieff who had returned on November 1st, 1918 from a visit to the Eastern Front (Third Army) reported to the Petrograd Soviet that "all this is insignificant compared to what is being undertaken at the front itself." At the Lysa works only 3,000 workers were left from a total of 15,000, the rest going to the front. And he continued: "After this, when listening to praise of Petrograd, you painfully realize that we do not deserve it. We have not done anywhere near as much as the people of the Lysa works. We should do at least ten times as much."
Soviet Russia proclaimed the intention of creating an army of
3,000,000 men, for which the cities under Communist control were to furnish
300,000 to 500,000 proletarian workers. Party mobilization was continued
incessantly an when as a result of the revolution in Germany a new West Front
was formed, the city of Petrograd undertook the mobilization of
"thousands" of communists. There began the mobilization of national
sections. In connection with the slogan "everything for the army" in
the cities of Moscow, Petrograd and numerous other cities various measures were
adopted such as the inspection of barracks, the formation of parties of three
for the purpose of this inspection, provision for all manner of aid for the Red
army, the formation of societies for the preparation of New Year gifts for the
men in the army, etc.
Political and educational work was intensified within the Red army at the front and behind the lines and at the same time contact of the military forces was consolidated and firmly maintained with the people behind the lines. At the close of December, 1918, the men at the front were sending greetings to the workers at home with fervent thanks for the gifts received by them, adding this: "These gifts are more precious to us than anything. We believe in the triumph of socialism. We believe in a unified family of toilers. Things are difficult at the present time, and may become still more difficult, but we know that the warm heart of the proletariat is beating for us."
Such unity and solidarity of the class and party, of the army and entire toiling country, could not have existed in the camp of the counter-revolutionaries. On the contrary, the conformist parties of Mensheviks and social-revolutionaries entered the second year of the civil war with considerable dissension within their ranks and the loss of all prestige among the masses. The following data are eloquent testimony of this fact. In January, 1918, the Mensheviks at the first trade union congress controlled 16% of all seats. In January, 1919, their strength at the second congress accounted for a total of 6%.
Greater dissension developed among the party of social- revolutionaries. Officially, the party of social- revolutionaries had adopted an irreconcilable policy toward the Soviet government and toward the counter-revolutionary governments, yet at the ninth congress of this party the members thereof were urged to refrain from open hostility toward the Soviet government, while permitting open opposition to the counter-revolutionaries. Actually, the right wing of the party headed by Avksentyev and Zenzinov, remained true to the policy of cooperation with the interventionists and of supporting the counter-revolutionary governments. Many members of the social- revolutionary party were to be found among the most active participants of the bourgeois conspirators behind the Soviet front. The left wing of the social-revolutionaries continued to manifest its irreconcilable hostility toward the communist party, endeavoring to strike at it whenever it got an opportunity, when the situation at the front became more critical. The bourgeois counter-revolutionary parties (form the cadet party to those of the more rightist wing) maintaining their former insignificant power and were mainly engaged in organizing plots and conspiracies. Without any hopes whatever for success of their own, in view of their experiences in 1918, they were biding their time, waiting until the fighting would approach their localities, when they would plant spies in a large number of Soviet units and military establishments, taking due advantage for the purpose of the heterogeneous composition of the class leaders. All of these conspiracies, however, failed in their object, being duly exposed by the agencies of the dictatorship of the proletariat - the VCK of the OGPU* and promptly liquidated.
* The All-Russian Commission with Special Powers for dealing with counter-revolutionary activity of the State Political Department. - Tr.
The civil war throughout its duration had been accompanied by periodic waverings on the part of the entire mass of peasants or that of individual groups of the same which at times assumed the aspect of agitation and open revolt against the Soviet government. The causes and nature of this agitation of the peasant movement have been described in the first chapter of the present effort. This vacillation on the part of the peasantry had been due to the attitude of the peasants of moderate means (serednyaks) and wealthy peasants (kulaks) who still exerted a considerable influence, especially in the outlying districts long after the October revolution. The upper strata of the kulaks in the rural districts which was very active in the revolution against the landowners would not reconcile itself to the Soviet government which had liberated the toiling masses in the rural districts not only from the landowners but from the kulaks as well. Wavering at the military fronts during the civil war nearly always coincided with the wavering on the part of the peasantry. The peasant masses of the Volga, Siberia, the Don, Kuban and Ukraine had to experience the power of the White dictatorships, blinded by hatred for the revolution, of the gentry, in order to finally, gradually join the proletariat in the struggle between the Red army and the Whites.
The Communist Party recognized in due time the need for gaining the support of the peasantry of moderate means and its alliance with the indigent peasantry and proletariat. The VI Congress of Soviets convoked in November, 1918, adopted a resolution for the establishment of a committee for the handling of the indigent peasantry and the adoption of normal forms of Soviet construction in the rural districts. The famous address by Lenin with respect to "the attitude toward the peasantry of moderate means," delivered before the VIII Congress of the Communist party in March, 1919, presented a very concise and definite line of action directed toward junction with the serednyaks (peasants of moderate means). Subsequent sporadic peasant revolts were not directed against the Soviet government as a political system, and were due primarily to dissatisfaction with the hardships imposed upon the population as a result of the protracted civil war.
The rapid disappearance of peasant uprisings behind the fronts of the Red military forces was brought about also by the punitive methods adopted by the Soviet government. These in no case resulted in ruthless repression against the participants of mass uprisings and merely punished the leaders of counter- revolutionary and kulak-bandit movements. The change in attitude of the huge peasant masses also affected the number of desertions from the Red army. It is noteworthy that the largest enrolment of deserters on the South Front had taken place at the very time when the situation at this front was most critical.
In proportion as the extent of the civil war grew in scope the military forces of the revolution increased accordingly. Early in 1919 at the various fronts and in the internal districts of the country there had already been 125 infantry and 9 cavalry brigades.* These forces were distributed over the various fronts as follows:** Western army - 81,500 men; the Kursk group of forces - 10,000 men (later developed into the Ukrainian Front). On the Caspian-Caucasus Front - 84,000 (1st, 2nd, 3d, 4th, and 5th armies); on the South Front - 17,000 men (8th, 9th, and 10th armies) and on North Front - 20,000 men (7th army); in all 212,500 men with 1,697 guns. In addition to this, military units in the interior included 60,000 infantry and cavalry troops with 314 guns. It should be noted that among the troops of the interior there were aside from combat formations, also special troops, rail and water transport communication guards, troops guarding the sugar industry, and finally a variety of supply and provision detachments which comprised the so-called Zusmanovich "provision" army, which was shortly thereafter employed to reinforce the South Front. All of these forces were not sufficient for the accomplishment of the missions involved during the 1919 campaign on the various fronts, but the economic conditions of the country had imposed certain limitations upon the rate of the increase of forces at the time.
The general strength of the forces above presented had been 35% below that provided for in the organizational program owing to economic difficulties. The high command, however, intended to bring about the strength of the forces of the republic by mid-May, 1919, ton 700,000 or 800,000 men and 2,500 guns. Of this total strength 100,000 to 120,000 men were to be maintained in interior regions. The lack of military forces, compared to the extensive missions involved, resulted in greatly exhausting physically the available troops at the various fronts, who remained there for a full year without any relief. This exhaustion increased further owing to the extension of the fronts on which individual units were compelled to operate. Thus, the sectors of some divisions covered as much as 200 km. All these reasons also affected the inauguration of a uniform system of organization throughout the military establishment, which had not yet been accomplished in the various armies. Because of the very same reasons, the military discipline of some units was not quite satisfactory: there were some cases where issued orders were not executed and where men abandoned the front and went home. Suffering from a shortage in men, the high command found it impossible to provide for the regular relief of units in order to afford them an opportunity for proper rest and recuperation; in the spring of 1919 the strategic GHQ reserve was nearly completely absorbed at the fronts. Of the eleven G.H.Q. reserve divisions whose organization was started in the interior in the summer of 1918 only three divisions had been completed by February 1919.
The unsatisfactory state of the military industry was also reflected on the condition of the military equipment. The Red army had been short about 65% of its required machine-guns and 60% of its artillery. As heretofore, there was felt a need in ammunition, especially rifle ammunition, in uniform clothing and equipment. In the matter of bringing up to full strength and further developing the military strength of the Republic, the G.H.Q. contemplated the inauguration in 1919 of the following measures: First - for the purpose of reinforcing the troops at the front, there were to be sent to the front independent field companies from the interior divisions, instead of complete military units. Secondly - a certain flexibility was to be provided for in the organization of new units by allowing the various fronts (groups of armies) to organize the units they deemed necessary in newly occupied territory, there being organized at each front (group of armies) headquarters a special "formation department." In the interior regions a definite system had been adopted for the reinforcement of the Red army by mobilization conducted through the local military administrative agencies. Through the medium of these agencies provisions was also made for the pre-military training of the population. Thus military training was provided for locally. Aside from general mobilization, 1919 was noted for numerous party and professional mobilizations. In contrast to similar mobilizations undertaken in 1918, these mobilizations did not provide for any individual improvised organizations, and fresh proletarian reserves were sent to reinforce the regular troops that were already organized into military units. Improvement in the transportation system, thanks to the introduction of military control, insured greater efficiency in the transfer of military formations.
For obvious reasons we are unable to present a similar picture concerning the growth and development of the naval forces of the Republic in 1919. The work in connection therewith consisted primarily of the conservation and possible utilization of the old equipment of the navy and of the organization of river and lake flotillas, which played an important part in the spring and summer campaigns of 1919.
The military forces opposing the Soviet Union were made up of those foreign governments which took an active part in our civil war, and of the military forces of the internal counter- revolutionaries. The latter, in turn, consisted of forces not belonging to any particular territory that could be regarded as their origin or to localities whence they were being organized. The forces of the counter-revolutionaries had gone through the same stages as those of the Red army, i.e., they first were made
up of volunteers, which were later organized on the basis of compulsory military services, in which, however, they proved unsuccessful for political reasons. The strength of the counter-revolutionary forces of both categories varied during the different stages of the civil war. In contrast to the forces of the revolution, which were always on the increase, the forces of the counter-revolutionaries reached their maximum strength only by the spring of 1919, after which their strength fell off catastrophically - which is explained on the one hand by the withdrawal from the struggle of the foreign forces that had participated in the civil war, and on the other hand, by a disintegration in the ranks of the enemy as well as behind his lines.
Countries Strength Theater of Remarks of Forces Operations
1. Allied powers Northern In addition (France, Britain, theater of there were Italy, etc.)..... 50,000 operations small detachments of
2. France and Southern British forces Greece.......... 20,000 theater in the Trans- (Odessa, Caucasian and Kherson, and Trans-Caspian Nikolayev districts.
3. Japan........ 3d Inf. Far East Div.
4. United States.. 7,000 Far East
5. Finland........ 42,000 Serdobol and Viborg areas.
6. Esthonia....... 25,750 Esthonian sector of Western theater
7. Latvia......... 10,000 Latvian sector of Western theater
8. German volunteers under von der Goltz............. 39,950 do
9. Lithuania...... 8,200 Western theater (Lithuanian- White) Russian sector).
10. Poland........ 63,040 Western theater
(Lithuanian- White Russian sector and the Ukraine)
11. Czecho-Slovak Corps, as part of the Allied forces.. 40,000 Siberia
12. Aggregate...... 300,000 plus 3 Japanese divisions.
The forces of the foreign governments reached their maximum strength during the spring and summer of 1919. The nature, strength and theaters of operation of these are indicated in the above table, as of the month of February, 1919. Aside from this struggle on land, Anglo-French naval forces also operated against the R.S.F.S.R., blockading the shores of the republic. In the Black Sea the British navy played a strategic role in aiding the operations of General Denikin in the recapture of the Crimea and Black Sea ports. The total strength of the internal counter-revolutionary forces is shown in the following table:
Designation Strength Date Remarks
1. Army of 53,000- 2-1919 Including small the Don.... 76,500* volunteer formations.
2. Kuban 80,000- " " Not including the Army....... 82,000 Volunteer army.
3. Kolchak Intended to be raised Siberian to 150,000 men by Army....... 143,300 " " summer of 1919.
4. Northern Army....... 30,620 " "
5. Volunteer Army........ 17,000
6. Ukrainian Directorate Army........ 40,000
This table has been prepared on the basis of date contained in the report of the c. in C., No. 849 (Archives, Red Army, Dec. Nos. 34,805, 220, pp. 3 and 4) and various writings.
Aggregate - 283,920 - 307,420
* Latter figure claimed by Krasnov.
The internal situation within each of the counter- revolutionary armies quite accurately reflected the attitude and political aspect of the population of which it had been made up.
The Don army was characterized by average military efficiency, which had been due not so much to political strength as to the fact that, being made up mainly of cavalry, it enjoyed various tactical advantages over the Red army, which was weak in cavalry during the initial phases of the civil war. The Kuban-Volunteer army was quite efficient militarily, being well trained and equipped. It possessed well trained officers and was highly counter-revolutionary. Nevertheless, it possessed the important deficiencies that are inherent in all caste-ridden armies. It was most sensitive to reverses and found it difficult to cope with privations. The attitude of the Siberian armies reflected the tendencies of the population, among whom mobilization proved a complete failure and their efficiency, with the exception of some individual units, was below average. Thus during the fall withdrawal of the Siberian army in 1918, entire units either deserted to the Soviet forces or went back to their homes. The situation was even worse with respect to the forces of the Ukrainian Directorate, which were of lowest military efficiency due to the reasons stated in the beginning of the present chapter.
The efficient supply of the counter-revolutionary armies was insured upon the active intervention of the Allied powers in our civil war. Prior to this, these armies received only occasional assistance. The armies of South Russia were more favorably situated in this respect after the opening of the Dardanelles, when the Novorossysk port became their main base.
During the summer and autumn of 1919 the counter- revolutionary governments, receiving the financial support of the Anglo-French governments, and making favorable credit arrangements with the United States, obtained considerable military supplies, clothing and equipment in America. Foodstuffs were obtained by the counter-revolutionary armies primarily by the Machiavellian exploitation of the local resources, which greatly aroused the local inhabitants. The Volunteer Army, in this connection, went to greater extremes than all other armies, permitting its units to shift for themselves with respect to food - by brigandage and speculation.
The training and tactics of the counter-revolutionary armies had been much the same as that of the old Russian army.
In comparing the forces on both sides, it should be remarked that the characteristic positive aspects of the Red army consisted of her internal strength, which had been due to the concept of the revolutionary class struggle inherent in the ideology of this army. The guardians and bearers of this concept within the Red army were those class-conscious workers of the masses that had been incorporated in the rank and file of this army and around which were formed the nuclei of the indigent peasantry. Especially as regards strength and manpower the Red army was superior the armies of the internal counter- revolutionaries, inasmuch as it could freely utilize the reserves of the population made up of the indigent and average peasants and workers, the mobilization of which could not be hazarded by the enemy for political reasons. The latter circumstance determined the superiority of the development of the military forces in favor of the Soviet strategy.