Cold War: The Russian Civil War Return to the gallery menu
Worksheets Big Question  

What do the Sources from the Russian Civil War tell historians about relations between Britain and Russian Communists c1918-21?

In 1917 Russia was suffering from the effects of the First World War. Its ruler, Tsar Nicholas II, was overthrown in a revolution in March 1917.

This did not really solve Russia's problems. A Provisional Government ran the country until a new government could be set up. Not all Russians supported the Provisional Government. Throughout 1917 it steadily lost support.

In November 1917 supporters of the Bolshevik Party overthrew the Provisional Government in a second revolution. The new Bolshevik government under Lenin also faced many opponents. Some wanted the Provisional Government restored. Others wanted the Tsar restored as Russia's ruler. Others were furious that Lenin pulled Russia out of the war. He gave the Germans huge amounts of land and money in return for peace.

These opponents became known as Whites (the Bolsheviks were Reds, and also called themselves Communists). From 1918-21 there was a bitter Civil War in Russia. Millions died from war, disease and famine. This is not unusual in civil wars.

What was unusual in this Civil War was that several foreign states also got involved. Britain, America, France and Japan all tried to help the Whites to defeat the Bolsheviks.

In this case study you are going to study a number of sources from the time. There are a number of questions with each source which will help you understand the source. All your answers will help you to develop your own answer to the Case Study Question.

* Source 3 Source 5 source 2 Source 4 Source 1