Date: 12 January 1918 — 20 May 1925 (7 years, 4 months, 1 week, and 1 day)
Location: Former Russian Empire
Result: Bolshevik victory: (Allied withdrawal, Defeat and collapse of the Russian White Movement).
Russian Civil War and Communism (1918–21)
In 1918, America invaded Russia. 5,000 American troops landed at Arkhangelsk, in northern Russia, with the objective of making sure some ammunition didn’t fall into Bolshevik hands. What happened after that? It’s 1918.
Russian Civil War There are two main sides to the conflict: Side 1 is the Russian republic, formed from the remains of the Russian Empire when it collapsed. The Russian Republic was virtually powerless. Why? Because of Side 2, the Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks were the communists. In what was known as the October Revolution, they forcefully captured the seat of government at the time (Petrograd, or now St. Petersburg) since much of the Russian military was personally loyal to the Bolsheviks. They then pulled Russia out of World War 1. However, there was still opposition to the Bolsheviks (in the form of the Republic), and so a six-year-long Russian civil war began, fought between The Republic and the Bolsheviks.
The rest of the world didn’t like the fact that the Bolsheviks seized power. The Bolsheviks were communists — most of the other countries thought that they were basically extremists, and some of them were. Furthermore, the old Russian Empire was an ally to other countries, and, since it was fighting a war, the British, French, and Americans left some weapons and ammunition in Russia. They didn’t want this ammunition to fall into the hands of the Communists. And so, they did the smart thing. Britain, France, and America (and a whole1 lot of other countries) sent troops to Russia, to try and help the Republic (but mainly for the ammunition. And to rescue some stranded soldiers).
In July 1918, then-President Woodrow Wilson agreed to send some soldiers to Russia to guard American ammunition and supplies. The Brits, though, got to Russia first. When they arrived in Arkhangelsk (in North Russia) in August of 1918, they found out that the Bolsheviks had already taken their supplies south.
The British ran after the Bolsheviks in what would be a futile chase. When the Americans arrived in Russia a month later, in September, they were given the task of rescuing some stranded soldiers — more specifically, the Czechoslovak Legion, who were a group of — well — Czechs and Slovaks who were stuck in Russia without any way to get home. The Americans wouldn’t succeed, and the Czechoslovak Legion wouldn’t get out of Russia until 1920. However, two months after the Americans arrived in Russia.
In November 1918, World War 1 ended. Friends and relatives of the soldiers started petitioning Congress to bring back everyone in Russia. Congress didn’t, since the Russian civil war and World War 1 were separate conflicts. The American troops didn’t achieve any success whatsoever. They never reached the supplies they were supposed to protect, troops were dying left and right due to the cold and a pandemic (the Spanish Flu), and they were deserting since the entire endeavor seemed to be futile. Then, in July 1919, American troops started to return home.
The American expedition was a failure. The troops literally arrived in Russia, engaged in a couple of minor skirmishes, and went back home. In total, at least 110 people died in battle, 30 people went missing, and 70 people died from disease, mostly from the Spanish Flu. This failed expedition negatively influenced American-Soviet relations for quite a while.