.. rences between themselves and the Russians (p. 80). In 1918, near the end of World War I, forces from the United States, France, and Britain gathered in Russia to “expand the eastern front” against the Germans (p. 84). The purpose of these interventions at first was to use Russian soil to win World War I, not to support either side of an ideological civil war that had just begun and was occurring simultaneously (p.
84). Before Russia made several questionable decisions in World War I, the ideology behind the Bolshevik regime was not challenged heavily by the west (Harris). Ulam states, “Until November 1918, the Allied intervention in Russia had nothing ideological about it. It was designed simply to give the Western Powers’ armies in France, which at the beginning of the German offensive in March 1918, were struggling desperately..” (p. 92).
However, since the Allies already had troops in Russia already to fight the Germans, it became convenient to offer aid to the White armies (p. 84). After the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1918, Britain and France made several attempts to advance the positions of the White counter-revolutionaries in the civil war by giving aid in the form of troops, supplies, and arms (p. 91). The Allies felt they could also encourage White forces by having “a token troop presence that would stir up the “healthy elements” in Russia into vigorous anti-Bolshevik activity” (p. 91). However, the aid that the White armies received proved to be offset by the lack of discipline, political focus, and capable decision-making that inevitably doomed the White cause (p.
92). The western state’s interventions were also not of dynamic proportions. There were several instances throughout the civil war when the western powers felt the Whites were going to win convincingly (p. 92). The pro-White European states also were limited in the amount of aid they could give considering the monumental casualties that World War I had created, and getting heavily involved in another country’s own civil war would not be popular in their respective homelands (p. 86).
The Allies also felt that as the Civil War went on “the mass of the population was turning against the Bolsheviks” (p. 92) , and the Kadet movement would at some time regain political power (p. 92). These miscalculations of the Allies helped contribute to the Bolsheviks winning the Civil War in 1921, but the intervention of the allies on Russian soil widened the gap between the west and Russia. With the failure of the West to intervene and successfully defeat the Bolshevik government, Lenin felt the democratic countries would “compose their differences and attack [The Soviet Union]” (Ulam, p.
78). As a result, Lenin attempted to thwart further intervention by retracting his comment that communists could not coexist with capitalists (Harris). He also agreed to allow the French to take positions as they pleased and enacted plans for trading between Russia and Britain that would allow “people in the business community to have a stake in Russia free of Communists” (Ulam, p. 99). Lenin’s rather suave actions may have saved the Bolshevik regime by giving the Soviets time to establish themselves free of potent intervention by the West.
From 1917 to 1920, as Russia found itself torn between entrenching a new government, dealing with negative sentiments from Europe, fighting a massive world war, and suppressing counter-revolutionary movements, Lenin knew that the opportunity to expand communism into Europe did not exist at the time (Harris). However, as the Bolsheviks gained more stability in Russia in the early 1920’s, Lenin chose to push for the expansion of the Communist ideology on a nationwide scale (Harris). He knew that Bolshevism was fast becoming a political force in the international arena. Communists were gathering support around the world in all countries through the sympathetic ear of the proletariat, and the ideological curiosity of the intellectual. The success of the Bolshevik uprising and 1917 set an example to Communists everywhere that they could also create their own Communist state through a well organized revolutionary movement.
Communism was injecting a fresh, utopian ideology into what was becoming a democratically driven world. They were fast becoming an enemy of social democratic states, and a threat to their way of life. In his plan for worldwide communism, Lenin concluded that Germany (the country that he referred to as “the giant”) was the key to creating a Communist Europe (Harris). He felt that if Germany (which was a heavily industrialized state with a strong economy and a well educated population) would become communist, it would open the door for the communism to expand throughout Europe (Harris). After the conclusion of W.W.I the German regime was dissolved, and the Bolsheviks began to “woo the German socialists” (Ulam, p. 94) into creating a Communist revolution in Germany.
The Bolsheviks tried to obtain more influence in German society by giving gifts and using the Comintern’s influence to create grass roots levels of revolution. However, when their labors did not yield a new Communist regime, democratic nations of the world took notice of the Bolshevik’s revolutionary tactics (Ulam, p. 94). By trying to use Germany as the spark to create a worldwide revolution the Soviets had failed, and in the process they created even more strife with the west. Lenin further pushed for Communist expansion in the 1920’s by calling for a plan to expand Communism into imperial colonies using a model of “two stage revolution” (Harris).
Lenin felt that imperial powers that controlled colonies were susceptible to creating grassroots communist movements because these states did not focus on educating their colonists and instilling them with a strong political ideology (Harris). Also, these colonies were mostly poor colonies that were made up mainly of poor, lower class peasants who could be sympathetic to the communist cause (Harris). Lenin’s two step plan called for colonies to free themselves of imperial control and establish their own governments (Harris). After their independence was established, Communist Party influence in these states would lead to organization of peasants and workers who would take over the state waving the Communist flag (Harris). In 1919, Lenin had established an organization of worldwide communists known as the Comintern whose goal was to increase the influence of the Communist Party in nations around the world (Harris). The Comintern was created to allocate the resources and provide the organization required to create radical socialist revolutions on an international scale (Harris).
Lenin began to use the Comintern vigorously in the 1920’s in an effort to increase the party’s influence in Europe. Lenin’s main goal was to create a total communist world and the fall of Europe from the hands of democracy was the key to achieving his goal. By making his motives clear on the expansion of Bolshevism, Lenin caused much strife between Russia and the west by encouraging the growth of the Communist movement on the soil of democratic European states (Harris). In many of these countries, the Communist party was soon banned and its members were arrested to curb any threat that the party held (Harris). In 1920 it was well noted by the western democracies that “two stage revolution” was a real threat when Communist Party involvement was exposed in Turkey. Revolutionary leader Kemal Ataturk fought against imperialist control with the help of Russia.
He used the Communist Party to build support for his movement, then later purged many of the members in order to gain more influence and sever his ties with the Communist Party (Harris). Even though communism did not reign in Turkey, it made the world realize the evident threat of communism developing on a grass roots level in their own country. Along with the threat of the expansion of Bolshevism in the 1920’s, the imperialistic actions of Russia became the principle source of tension between Europe and the Soviet Union. A territorial concern that created much strife was over the Slavic area that lie between Russia and Germany. After World War I, Poland was created as an independent state out of the three empires that had once occupied it : Germany, Russia, and Austria-Hungary (Ulam, p.
107). Poland had also created its own democratic government with the support of the League of Nations (Harris). With Poland becoming its own free state, a buffer zone was created between the Soviet/German border that would make it difficult for the Bolsheviks to gain access to Germany and lead a Communist revolution (Harris). The Treaty of Versailles had also created the countries of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Yugoslavia and made careful arrangements to set up these counties as a bloc of democratic governments to curb Russian imperialism (Harris). Lenin’s plans for the expansion of Bolshevism into Germany became complicated by the new Polish state (Harris). They no longer had direct access to the German border.
Russia also felt that Poland contained lands that were rightfully part of Russia. As a result, the Soviets invaded Poland in 1920 in an effort to reacquire lands that they had lost as a result of the Treaty of Versailles as well as regain access to Germany by taking further territory all the way to the German border (Harris). Upon their planned occupation of Poland, the Soviets intended to gather the support of the workers and lead a Communist revolution in Poland thereby destroying the Pole’s newly established non-Communist regime (Harris). Poland eventually defeated the Russians with the help of French troops in 1921, and the upstart attempt to create Communist revolution in the remains of a war tattered Europe failed (Harris). In 1921, Poland mounted its own offensive that pushed Russian troops all the way east to the city of Kiev.
The expansionist actions of the Soviet Union undermined the peace negotiations that ended W.W.I. and caused much anti-Communist sentiment among the nations of free Europe (Harris). With the Russian Bolsheviks coming to power in October of 1917, the spread of communism on a worldwide scale began. The idea of the expansion of Marxist thought became a source of tension that pitted Russia and its experimental communist society against states of democracy and capitalism in Europe. The strife that developed between Russia and Europe was the result of expansionist movements by the Communist Party either directly or by encouraging grass roots communist growth within (Harris).
Also, the questionable actions of both the Bolsheviks and the western Europe during World War I as well as the Russian Civil War created much hostility between the new Russian state and the establish states of the west. The actions taken by the Western states to hold back Bolshevik expansion clashed with the Communist’s revolutionary aspirations and dreams of global dominance. The struggle between two entities: one of rebellion and growth, and the other of maintaining social order and suppression become prevalent, and subsequently the “Cold War” had begun.