The Decision to Intervene
Mr. Wilson . . . should be judged by what he was and did prior to August 4, 1918, the date of the paper justifying the attack on Russia. That was the first of his acts which was unlike him; and I am sure the beginning of the sad end.
-- Louis D. Brandeis, 11 May 19241
After the October Revolution, the Wilson administration faced the dilemma of trying to ensure continued Russian participation in the war, while at the same time wanting to have as little contact with the Bolsheviks as possible. In March 1918, that policy proved to be futile when Russia left the war. "Viewed through Western eyes," one historian noted, the Soviet decision to sign a separate agreement with Imperial Germany was "nothing short of disaster." Germany was free to relocate substantial numbers of troops to the Western front long before the American Expeditionary Force had reached its full strength. Faced with that threat on the Western front, Allied politicians debated plans to keep German troops engaged in Russia either by revitalizing the Russian war efforts or, if necessary, by overthrowing the Bolsheviks and supporting a Russian civil war faction that favored continued participation in the war. Persistent demands by the British and French governments for Wilson to join an intervention in Russia finally met with the