Charles Scribner's Sons. New York. 1921.
|David R.Francis was the mayor of
St Louis, the Governor of Missouri, U.S. Secretary of the Interior and finally the U.S.
ambassador to Russia for 5 years from March 1916 to March 1921.
He was appointed to his ambassadorship by Woodrow Wilson and made a point of committing all official and unofficial interviews and incidents to paper immediately after they happened to provide a true and faithful record of events in his dispatches to Washington.
This book was derived from his notes so it has a rather irregular flow as he makes a determined effort to include all the relevant details. The result is an invaluable first hand account of the Russian revolution(s) from a uniquely placed American who had personal contact with Lenin, Trotsky, Kerensky, Rodzianko, Miliukoff and almost all the other leading actors.
The text is of great value for anyone remotely interested in the Russian revolution and is full of surprises:
Trotsky arrived in Russia from New York's East Side and Lenin arrived via Germany and Switzerland. With regard to Lenin, General William Hoffmann, the Chief of Staff of the Eastern Army of Germany admitted after the war that they had funded and sent Lenin to Russia to destabilize the Russian army and that he honestly, "...never knew or foresaw the danger to humanity from the consequences of this journey of the Bolsheviks to Russia."
In fact the German's launch of Lenin had considerable success as he unilaterally issued General Order Nš1 as the self appointed head of the Council of Soldiers and Workingmen's Deputies (ignoring the Provisional Government) commanding all military units to remove their existing officers and elect new ones. This was coupled with promises to stop the war and give all peasant soldiers their own private farms, which predictably went down very well with them and wrecked army discipline. The Bolsheviks and Germany eventually signed the Brest-Litovsk Peace treaty in March 1918 allowing Germany to move over 100 divisions to the West resulting in the further loss of hundreds of thousands of French, British and American soldiers' lives.
Probably the most interesting part of this first class book is Francis' analysis of the failure of the Provisional Government in the face of Bolshevik extremism.
He was well disposed towards the original Russian revolutionaries as they surprisingly peacefully displaced the Czarist autocracy and promoted a constitutional monarchy (Rodzainko and Miliukoff) or a republic (Kerensky) based on a democratic Constituent Assembly allowing all Russians to vote for their new government. This accorded with American Democratic ideas and he sent a cable to the U.S. government saying, "This revolution is the practical realization of the principle of government which we have championed and advocated - I mean government by consent of the governed".
However, the problems started almost immediately as the Bolsheviks revealed their very different character. As Francis said, "The Bolshevik leaders here, most of whom are Jews and 90% of whom are returned exiles, care little for Russia or any other country but are internationalists and they are trying to start a worldwide social revolution." (top)
|In the event the Provisional
Government failed and he saw the following principal reasons:
- From the start the Bolsheviks worked to subvert the loyalty of the 125.000 soldiers in Petrograd (St. Petersburg) with promises of private land, farms, stopping the war, avoiding the return of landowners etc. with the result that only 25.000 or so remained loyal to the Provisional Government.
- The Bolsheviks unilaterally issued General Order Nš1 producing chaos in the army and weakening a force that could have been used against them.
- As the leader of the internationally accepted Provisional Government, Kerensky could have arrested Lenin and Trotsky when they proclaimed that all people with property who refused to hand it over should be immediately killed. In the event he did nothing.
- Francis knew Kerensky well and saw him as more of an orator than a statesman, with his most fatal error (among others) being his argument with Korniloff, the Commander in Chief of the Russian forces. They planned to combine to remove the Bolsheviks but on Korniloff's request to be made head of the government, Kerensky foolishly ordered his arrest, and Korniloff replied by declaring his intention of marching on Petrograd. He never did but it didn't stop Kerensky arming the Bolshevik workingmen's and soldiers committee to defend Petrograd from the attack that never came.
- The Bolsheviks of course used the arms against the Provisional Government, and when the elections to the Constituent Assembly eventually came (far too late) at the end of November 1917, the Bolsheviks filled the assembly hall with soldiers armed with rifles, grenades and machine guns and rejected the result of the vote (Social Revolutionaries 20,893,743, Bolsheviks 9,023,963 out of 36.257.960 votes cast). The Bolsheviks declared that Constitutional Democrats were to be arrested and Lenin established his dictatorship.
With the empty statement, "The Soviet Republic represents not only a higher form of Democratic institution, but it is also the sole form which renders possible the least painful transition to Socialism", Lenin set in train the greatest system of organized mass murder that the world had ever seen (at least 15 million lives in the estimate of Robert Conquest), and lest the world forget, this human abattoir was largely directed by Jews ( NKVD heads Genrikh Yagoda and Yakov Agranov, and all the heads of the Gulag death camps, Aron Solts, Yakov Rappoport, Lazar Kogan, Matvei Berman and Naftaly Frenkel + Lazar Kaganovich killing at least 3 million Ukrainian farmers in the winter of 1932-33).
Stalin awarded the Bolshevik Jews a special protected status in Russia (until 1945) as recorded in Slezkine's recent book , "The Jewish Century" and he documents in some detail the way in which the new Jewish "revolutionary" bourgeoisie enjoyed their new country dachas, worship of Pushkin and attendance at elite educational academies (the inspiration behind George Orwell's book, "Animal Farm").
"Progressive" U.S. academics don't like this book and it is fairly obvious why.