America's Secret War against Bolshevism

U.S. Intervention in the Russian Civil War, 1917-1920

By David S. Foglesong

400 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 16 halftones, 3 maps, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4958-3
    Published: February 2001
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-1113-6
    Published: February 2014
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-6931-9
    Published: February 2014

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From the Russian revolutions of 1917 to the end of the Civil War in 1920, Woodrow Wilson's administration sought to oppose the Bolsheviks in a variety of covert ways. Drawing on previously unavailable American and Russian archival material, David Foglesong chronicles both sides of this secret war and reveals a new dimension to the first years of the U.S.-Soviet rivalry. Foglesong explores the evolution of Wilson's ambivalent attitudes toward socialism and revolution before 1917 and analyzes the social and cultural origins of American anti-Bolshevism. Constrained by his espousal of the principle of self-determination, by idealistic public sentiment, and by congressional restrictions, Wilson had to rely on secretive methods to affect the course of the Russian Civil War. The administration provided covert financial and military aid to anti-Bolshevik forces, established clandestine spy networks, concealed the purposes of limited military expeditions to northern Russia and Siberia, and delivered ostensibly humanitarian assistance to soldiers fighting to overthrow the Soviet government. In turn, the Soviets developed and secretly funded a propaganda campaign in the United States designed to mobilize public opposition to anti-Bolshevik activity, promote American-Soviet economic ties, and win diplomatic recognition from Washington.

About the Author

David S. Foglesong is assistant professor of history at Rutgers University.
For more information about David S. Foglesong, visit the Author Page.


“An interesting and scholarly study of American foreign policy during the Woodrow Wilson administration.”The Russian Review

"A well-researched account of the dilemma faced by Woodrow Wilson in fashioning a policy toward the Bolshevik Revolution."--Choice

"Foglesong's provocative book is among the pioneers in this bold new American scholarship."--Journal of American History

"Foglesong adds significantly to our knowledge. . . . This is solid academic history."--American Historical Review

"Carefully researched, clearly written, and provocative, America's Secret War against Bolshevism is a welcome addition to the literature dealing with Wilsonian foreign policy, the American intervention in Russia, and early relations between the United States and the Soviet Union in general."--Slavic Review

"Based on his extensive research in primary documents, Foglesong's book combines major themes of previous scholarship into his own subtle, complex, and original thesis regarding U.S. and Allied military intervention in Russia in 1918."--Lloyd E. Ambrosius, University of Nebraska, Lincoln