Propaganda and the First Cold War in North Russia, 1918-1919: Antony Lockley Examines the Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War and the Propaganda Battle between the Bolshevik and British Forces on the Archangel Front

By Lockley, Antony | History Today, September 2003 | Go to article overview

Propaganda and the First Cold War in North Russia, 1918-1919: Antony Lockley Examines the Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War and the Propaganda Battle between the Bolshevik and British Forces on the Archangel Front


Lockley, Antony, History Today


LITTLE HAS BEEN WRITTEN about British involvement in the Russian Civil War (1918-21). Yet following the Bolshevik seizure of power in November 1917, the British government supplied 'White Russian' forces with millions of pounds of aid, enabling them to fight the Red Army in an attempt to defeat the revolution. In North Russia, British forces actually fought the Red Army from the summer of 1918 until September 1919, when the British evacuated, leaving behind the bodies of over 400 dead servicement.

The tools of combat in North Russia extended beyond bayonets and bullets. Indeed, psychological warfare, supported and driven by a propaganda battle between Bolshevik and British authorities, was crucial in the unfolding of this forgotten story. As the conflict progressed, Bolshevik propagandists proved themselves masters of their trade, turning the minds of British soldiers and Russians alike, often with devastating consequences. So successful was Bolshevik propaganda that it influenced decision-making at the highest level of British government, thereby fundamentally shaping the course of the intervention.

The struggle for hearts and minds began soon after Marcia 1918, when British marines began landing at the north Russian port of Murmansk, deep inside the Arctic Circle. British authorities justified the landings on the basis of war strategy, as Russia's departure from the First World War, formalised on March 3rd, 1918, by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, left up to seventy German divisions free for redeployment to the Western Front. Initially, Soviet authorities acquiesced, as Trotsky was concerned about the activities of pro-German White Finns close by. As the British landed more troops and began pushing south, however, the fragile understanding shattered. Fighting between British and Bolshevik forces erupted, with the front steadying some 300 miles south of Murmansk. British forces soon totalled 5,000, hastily joined by a similar number of Americans and approximately 1,000 French.

General F.C. Poole, in command of the Allied forces, decided to occupy the port of Archangel, which fell on August 1st, 1918. Poole ordered his officers to proceed as far as possible into central Russia, but the Bolsheviks halted the Allied advance around 150 miles inland on the river Dwina by the railway link to Volodga. On August 10th, Poole received a telegram from the War Office instructing him to 'take the field side by side with the [White Russian] Allies for the recovery of their country'. It was now clear: the Allies were fighting an undeclared war against the Bolsheviks.

Poole attempted to banish any uncertainty about the purpose and nature of the campaign from the minds of his three, by providing them with a series of information pamphlets and proclamations. In these he divided 'The Enemy' into two categories: Bolshevik and German. As one leaflet expressed it:

   We are not fighting Russia or honest
   Russians. We are fighting Bolsheviks,
   who are the worst form of criminals.

Poole's explanations built upon themes instilled in British soldiers by intelligence officers during their journey from Britain, describing alleged Bolshevik atrocities such as systematic murder of priests, and the rape and torture of civilians, including children. In spite of Poole's efforts, a decided ambivalence to the conflict quickly developed among the Allied rank and file. Detecting this, Poole addressed his forces in another document:

   There seems among the troops a very
   indistinct idea of what we are fighting
   for here in North Russia. This can be
   explained in a Few words. We are tip
   against Bolshevism, which means
   anarchy pure and simple.

In what amounted to a page-long justification of policy, d tiring which Poole claimed the Bolsheviks were led by 'a few men, mostly Jews', he again failed to counter the growing unease among forces under his command. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Propaganda and the First Cold War in North Russia, 1918-1919: Antony Lockley Examines the Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War and the Propaganda Battle between the Bolshevik and British Forces on the Archangel Front
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.