February 10, 2015

Two of the great antagonists in Russia’s post revolutionary years were Churchill and Trotsky. Churchill was British Secretary of State for War; Trotsky commanded the Red Army. Trotsky won.

Many of Churchill’s colleagues felt that his concern over the Bolshevik victory in Russia was turning into an obsession, excluding all else from his mind. The press called it “Mr. Churchill’s Private War.’ Lloyd George’s jibe that Churchill’s ‘ducal blood revolted against the wholesale liquidation of Grand Dukes” may have had some truth. Churchill likened the conveyance of Lenin across Germany to Russia in a sealed train to ‘a plague bacillus and more deadly than any bomb” and he called Bolshevism “foul baboonery.’ After he warned the House of the dangers of world-wide revolution, A.J. Balfour told him, ‘I admire the exaggerated way you tell the truth.”

The final blow came when Lloyd George and French Premier Clemenceau refused to provide further aid to the White Russian forces. At year’s end Churchill warned that very great evils will come upon the world, and particularly upon Great Britain, as a consequence of the neglect and divided policies of this year on the part of the Allies and of ourselves. We shall find ourselves confronted almost immediately with a united Bolshevik Russia highly militarised and building itself up on victories easily won over opponents in disarray.”

His forebodings never left him and years later he wrote in Great Contemporaries: “… the dull squalid figures of the Bolsheviks are not redeemed in interest even by the magnitude of their crimes. All form and emphasis is lost in the vast process of Asiatic liquidation. Even the slaughter of millions and misery of scores of millions will not attract future generations to their uncouth habiliments and outlandish names.”

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