The uprising of the Czechoslovak Corps: date, reasons, results and historical facts
The uprising of the Czechoslovak Corps in the spring of 1918 by a number of historians is considered to be the beginning of a fratricidal campaign. Those who found themselves in the most difficult political situation on the territory of another state were forced to make decisions under the influence of a number of influential political forces of that time.
Background of the formation of the Czechoslovak Corps
The history of the formation of the Czechoslovak Corps, whose uprising in the late spring of 1918 served as a signal for the beginning of the Civil War on the territory of the Russian state, has so far caused many disputes among scholars of history not only in Russia. Caught in difficult political conditions and wishing to continue the struggle for the liberation of their homeland, they turned out to be a “bargaining chip” for political forces not only in Russia, but also in the warring Europe.
What were the prerequisites for the creation of the body? First of all, the intensification of the liberation struggle against Austria-Hungary, in whose power were the lands of the Czechs and Slovaks who dream of creating their own state. Its creation belongs to the beginning of the First World War, when a large number of Czech and Slovak migrants lived on the territory of Russia, who dreamed of creating their own state in the ancestral territories belonging to these peoples and under the yoke of Austria-Hungary.
Education Czech squad
Taking into account these patriotic sentiments of the Slavic brothers, the Russian government, going to meet numerous appeals addressed to Emperor Nicholas II, in particular, the Czech National Committee established in Kiev, on July 30, 1914, makes a decision to create the Czech squad. She was the forerunner of the Czechoslovak Corps, the uprising of which occurred four years later.
This decision was enthusiastically made by Czech colonists. Already on September 28, 1914, the banner was consecrated, and in October a squad of the 3rd Army under the command of General Radko-Dmitriev took part in the battle for Eastern Galicia.The squad was part of the Russian troops and almost all command positions in it were occupied by Russian officers.
Replenishment of the Czech squad by prisoners of war
In May 1915, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, Grand Duke Nikolay, gave his consent to replenish the ranks of the Czech squad at the expense of prisoners of war and defectors from among the Czechs and Slovaks, who were massively surrendered to the Russian army. By the end of 1915 a regiment was formed, named after Jan Hus. He numbered more than 2,100 troops. In 1916, a brigade was formed, consisting of three regiments, numbering more than 3,500 people.
Formation of the Czechoslovak National Council
However, Russia's allies could not accept the fact that its authority on the issue of creating a Czechoslovak state was increasing. The liberal intelligentsia from among the Czechs and Slovaks in Paris creates the Czechoslovak National Council. He was led by Tomash Masaryk, who later became the first president of Czechoslovakia, Edward Benes, later the second president, Milan Stefanik, astronomer, general of the French army, and Joseph Dürich.
The goal is the creation of the state of Czechoslovakia.To do this, they tried to achieve permission from the Entente to form their own army, formally subordinating to the Council all military formations operating against the powers that fought with the Entente on all fronts. Formally, they also consisted of units that fought on the Russian side.
Czechoslovak position after the October Revolution
After the February revolution, the Provisional Government did not change its attitude towards the Czechoslovak servicemen. After the October Uprising, the Czechoslovak Corps was in a difficult position. The policy of the Bolsheviks, who sought to make peace with the powers of the Triple Alliance, did not suit the Czechoslovakians, who sought to continue the war in order to liberate the territory of their homeland. They come out with the support of the Provisional Government, advocating war to the bitter end.
Speech by the Czechoslovak Corps against the Soviets in Kiev
A contract was concluded with the Soviets, which included points according to which the Czechoslovak units pledged not to interfere in the internal affairs of the country on the side of any party and to continue military operations against the Austro-Germans.A small part of the soldiers of the Czechoslovak Corps supported the uprising in Petrograd and went over to the side of the Bolsheviks. The rest were transported from Poltava to Kiev, where, together with the junkers of military schools, took part in street battles against soldiers and workers' councils of the city of Kiev.
But in the future, the leadership of the Czechoslovak Corps did not want to spoil relations with the Soviet government, so the military tried not to engage in internal political conflicts. That is why they did not take part in the defense of the Central Rada against the advancing detachments of the Soviets. But distrust grew day by day, which eventually led to the uprising of the Czechoslovak Corps in May 1918.
Corps recognition as part of the French army
Seeing the difficult situation of the Czechoslovak corps in Russia, the ČSNS in Paris addressed the French government with a request to recognize it as a foreign allied military unit in Russia. In December 1917, French President Poincaré recognized the Czechoslovak Corps as part of the French army.
After Soviet power was established in Kiev, the Czechoslovak Corps received assurances that the government of Soviet Russia had no objection to sending it back to its homeland. To get there, there were two ways.The first was through Arkhangelsk and Murmansk, but his Czechoslovakians were rejected for fear of being attacked by German submarines.
The second is through the Far East. It was this way that the decision was made to send foreign legionaries. An agreement was signed between the government of the Soviets and representatives of the ČSNS. The task was not simple: it was necessary to ship across the country from 35 to 42 thousand people.
The main cause of the rebellion of the Czechoslovak Corps was the tense situation around this military unit. Finding a huge armed unit in the middle of Russia was beneficial to many. The royal army ceased to exist. On the Don, the formation of the White Army was in full swing. Attempts were made to create the Red Army. The only combat unit was the corps of legionnaires, and both the red and the white tried to pull it over to their side.
They did not particularly want the speedy withdrawal of the corps and the Entente country, trying to influence the course of events through the Czechoslovaks. They were not particularly interested in the rapid withdrawal of the corps of the country of the Triple Alliance, since they understood that, having arrived in Europe, this military unit would oppose them.All this served as a kind of prerequisite for the revolt of the Czechoslovak Corps.
Tense, if not hostile, relations developed between the ČSNS, completely under the rule of the French, and the Bolsheviks, who did not trust the legionaries, mindful of their support of the interim government, thereby receiving a time bomb in their rear in the form of armed legionnaires.
Tension and mistrust delayed the disarmament process. The German government issued an ultimatum in which it demanded the return of all prisoners of war from Siberia to the western and central parts of Russia. The Soviets suspend the advancement of the legionnaires; this was the cause of the uprising of the Czechoslovak Corps.
The beginning of the uprising
The beginning of the rebellion served as a domestic event. The altercation between the captured Hungarians and the Czechoslovakians, who staged a mob on former allies because of a legionary injury caused by negligence. The authorities of Chelyabinsk, where it happened, arrested several participants in the massacre. This was taken as the desire of the authorities to stop the evacuation, as a result of the uprising of the Czechoslovak Corps.At the congress of the Czechoslovak Corps held in Chelyabinsk, the decision is made to break with the Bolsheviks and not to hand over their weapons.
In turn, the Bolsheviks demanded a complete surrender of weapons. Representatives of ČSNS, who turn to their compatriots with the order of complete disarmament, are arrested in Moscow, but it was too late. When the Red Army tried to disarm the legionnaires at several stations, they put up open resistance.
Since the regular army of the Bolsheviks was only being created, there was practically no one to defend Soviet power. Chelyabinsk, Irkutsk, Zlatoust were taken. Across the Trans-Siberian Railway, tough resistance was rendered to units of the Red Army and the cities of Petropavlovsk, Kurgan, Omsk, Tomsk were captured, units of the Red Army not far from Samara were defeated, and the way through the Volga was broken.
All along the railway in cities, temporary anti-Bolshevik governments were created, with their armies. In Samara, the army Komucha, in Omsk - the provisional Siberian government, under the banner of which all the dissatisfied with the power of the Soviets rose. But after suffering a series of crushing defeats from the Red Army and under its pressure, the forces of the White Army and the Czechoslovak Corps were forced to leave the occupied cities.
The results of the uprising of the Czechoslovak Corps
Gradually loading the loot with good troop trains, Czechoslovakian legionaries were tempted to stop the hostilities and quickly get out. By the fall of 1918, they began to go farther back to the rear, not wanting to fight, participating in security and punitive operations. The atrocities of the legionnaires even exceeded the massacres of the Kolchak detachments. This condition reinforced the news of the formation of Czechoslovakia. More than 300 convoys, filled with stolen good, slowly moved towards Vladivostok.
The retreating troops of Kolchak walked along the railway, through mud and snow, since all the trains, including the train with gold reserves, were captured by the white Czechs, and they defended them with weapons in their hands. Of the eight echelons of the Supreme Ruler, he was left with one car, which departed after passing all the trains and stood idle for weeks on the siding. In January 1920, Kolchak was handed over to the Bolsheviks by the “brothers” in exchange for an agreement on the departure of Czech legionaries.
The dispatch lasted for almost a year, from December 1918 to November 1919. For this, 42 ships were engaged, on which 72,600 people were flown to Europe. More than 4 thousand Czechoslovaks found peace in the Russian land.