By the terms of the troop withdrawals, negotiated by Tomáš Masaryk with Soviet Commander-in-Chief Muravieff on February 10, 1918, and confirmed by the Moscow authorities on March 26th, the Soviets agreed to provide trains to transport the Czechoslovak troops across Siberia to Vladivostok. From there, they would be evacuated to Vancouver or Seattle by ships to be furnished by England. The Czechoslovak troops would relinquish most of their military equipment, retaining only minimal sidearms for self-defense. The last proviso removed what had proved to be a major sticking point for Defense Commissar Léon Trotsky, who did not want foreign troops wandering across Soviet soil heavily armed.
When communications between the Czechoslovak leaders and their troops were disrupted, the Czechoslovak Legions gradually became involved in anti-Bolshevik fighting in the field, contrary to the arrangements negotiated by Masaryk and approved by the Czechoslovak National Council. The field commanders subsequently seized control of military operations and affected political realignments.
According to an important Czechoslovak military leader, Capt. Vladimìr Hurban, in exchange for their unmolested passage eastward, the forces were "determined to leave Russia without a conflict."1 Straightaway, however, the Czechoslovak Legions had no choice but to fight their way out of German encirclement at the railway junction of Bachmach against heavy odds. Hurban noted in his report that "relations with the Bolsheviks were still good... We refrained from meddling with Russian internal affairs and we did not react to the
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Publication information: Book title: Czechoslovakia:Anvil of the Cold War. Contributors: John O. Crane - Author, Sylvia E. Crane - Author. Publisher: Praeger. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1991. Page number: 30.
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