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With the "Die-Hards" in Siberia eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 212 pages of information about With the "Die-Hards" in Siberia.

It is well at this stage to estimate the effect this American muddle has had, and will continue to exert, upon the effort of the Allies to secure some sort of order in the Russian Empire, and upon the position of the Americans themselves in their future relations with the Russian people.  The American troops were spread over the whole province from Vladivostok to Nevsniudinsk, a point just east of the Sea of Baikal.  They were almost entirely confined to the railway, but in this country the railway is the centre and heart of all things.  American policy at Vladivostok applied to the whole of this area, which is really the Transbaikal provinces, or all Siberia east of Baikal.  In the early days of September, 1918, when I passed with my battalion towards Omsk, this immense area had been reduced to order by the efforts of the Allies, at the head of which I place the gallant Czechs.  The American forces arrived too late to take part in the military operations, but began to settle down to the work of administration with energy and ability.  The French moved forward after myself, and the Italian unit followed later, leaving the American and Japanese, with such isolated local Russian forces as had called themselves into being, in absolute possession of Transbaikal Siberia.  There was not a single band of Red Guards one thousand strong in the whole territory.  After nine months of Allied occupation the Reds organised, largely under American protection, two divisions (so called) of from 5,000 to 7,000 men, and numerous subsidiary units of a few hundred, who murdered and robbed in every direction, and destroyed every semblance of order which the Supreme Governor and the Allies had with so much labour attempted to set up.  Thus this huge province in a short time descended from comparative order to sporadic disorder, simply because America had no Russian policy of her own, and rejected that of her friends.

It was a major mistake of England and France to leave America and Japan cheek by jowl without a moderating influence, to wreck the good work they had accomplished in the Far East.  The rivalries of these two Powers in this part of the world were well known and should have been provided for.  It was too much to expect that they would forget their concession and trade rivalries in a disinterested effort to help Russia.  States are not usually philanthropic organisations, these two least of all.  The work has therefore to be largely done over again, either by us or by the Supreme Governor, Admiral Koltchak.  Or the Allies, finding the task too great, may retire and allow this huge province, probably the wealthiest part of the world, to recede back to the barbarism of the Bolshevik.

CHAPTER XXIII

JAPANESE POLICY AND ITS RESULTS

The lack of Allied cohesion produced by the defection of American policy from that of the European Powers may change completely the status and future of American enterprise in Siberia.  America has transformed a friendly population into at least a suspicious, if not a hostile, one.  Japan, on the other hand, has steadily pursued her special interests and taken full advantage of every American mistake, until she is now looked upon as the more important of the two.

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