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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An important intelligent contribution, February 16, 2001
By 
pnotley@hotmail.com (Edmonton, Alberta Canada) - See all my reviews
This is important book which shed much light on the origins of the cold war and will probably do much to hurt Wilson's reputation. Based on 128 sets of private and governmental papers, coming from archives from three countries, Foglesong's book show a story of deceit and self-deception. Wilson has sometimes been seen as sympathetic to the cause of Russian freedom; indeed he has been sometimes seen as sympathetic to the Bolsheviks(for example by Richard Pipes, in The Russian Revolution). Quite false, for Foglesong shows how Wilson combined his trademark moralism, no less sincerely believed in for being trite and shallow, with working with reactionairies and militarist whites to crush the revolution.
Foglesong starts off with a chapter on Wilson's illusions in Mexico, during which American officials sought to use Japanese agents to poison Pancho Villa. The next chapter looks at the origins of American Anti-bolshevism; Foglesong looks at it a melange of Wilson, Lansing and the American elite's salon style anti-socialist chatter, its nativists prejudices, and its smug puritanism. We go on to see how this influenced American Anti-Communist propaganda, with its fatuous anti-atheism and its fear of racial equality. A passage on the State Department's susceptibility to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and choice comments from Lansing and Hoover are, as they, well worth the price of reading alone. But this is only the beginning. The United States completely failed to recognize that Russia had no choice but to leave the war; bullying the desperate Provisional Government was the last thing it needed and helped make its collapse inevitable. Wilson and Lansing supported the Cossack Kaledin, unaware that the cause of his Volunteer Army was hopeless. Wilson and Lansing constantly used secrecy and subversion, keeping the American public in the dark. The state department was contemptous of the left-wing Socialist Revolutionaries (SRs) the winner of the elections to the Constituent assembly and, as Geoffrey Swain has provocatively argued, the only group who could have possibly stopped the Bolsheviks. Instead Americans on the scene talked of favoring a "military dictatorship," and shed no tears when the SRs were overthrown by Admiral Kolchak, whose gross inadequacies as a leader have to be read in the invaluable monograph by Jon Smele to be believed. The Americans used food as a weapon, used the defeated Germans to prevent the Soviets from reoccupying the Baltic States, and indulged in further illusions about the incompetent and brutal Iudenitch.
Foglesong writes in a dry matter, but he is well worth reading. In the end he is quite successful in showing that far from making the world safe for democracy and for open diplomacy, Wilson's activities were a major stage in the creation of "secret wars." Quite unsuccessful the first time, the same methods of secrecy, rhetorical support for democracy, hard support for vicious, reactionary and incompetent rulers would be used again and again in the future.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars America's Secret War Against Bolshevism, June 17, 2000
By 
Kenton W. Main (Grand Junction, Colorado, USA) - See all my reviews
David Fogelsong has combined meticulous research with an easy-to-read writing style that accomplishes exactly what every well-crafted book should accomplish. By taking the reader deep into the seamy side of World War One politics, Fogelsong makes the reader question just about everything conventional wisdom preaches about the superior morality of the Woodrow Wilson presidency.
Naming the players on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, Professor Fogelsong backs his conclusions with documented archival materials. He reveals for the first time precisely what political maneuverings took place when the allies decided that Bolshevism should be totally eradicated from the face of the earth. The intrigue of spy networks and the expenditure of millions of American dollars in this effort do not necessarily pale by today's standards when one considers these actions actually set the standard by which the American government operates today. Fogelsong repeatedly proves the correlation in this book which begs the question, "Why does America continue to send her sons (and daughters) into harms way and spend less on them than on the behind-the-scenes political posturing?"
With this book, David Fogelsong has proven what many eastern Europeans steadfastly believe..."Where there ever was, or is now trouble in the world, there was, or is now, Great Britain." That the United States of America became, hesitantly at first, but later a willing accomplice in the intervention in the Bolshevik Revolution, set the bar at a new height which future administrations would continue to raise. Based on David Fogelsongs text the reader must conclude that Soviet-style thinking about America's efforts in Russia between 1917 and 1920 would indeed be reason enough for the Cold War. Some would argue this is oversimplification of a multi-faceted problem. Perhaps. The stories of the sons America sent to Russia may speak otherwise. Fogelsong has laid a most excellent foundation. The rest may well be for the grandsons to tell.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars sheds light on an unknown era in US history, March 1, 2008
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This review is from: America's Secret War against Bolshevism: U.S. Intervention in the Russian Civil War, 1917-1920 (Paperback)
Few outside the historical research community are even aware the US and other Allied nations were involved in Russian/Soviet affairs just after the Bolshevik revolution. At best it's a historical footnote. At worst, the history of this event has been intentionally neglected to preserve the image that the US has never lost a war.

It's time we acknowledge our attempt to destabilize the fledgling Soviet regime just after it took power during the latter stages of World War I. Given these events, later Soviet fear regarding the intentions of the US and other Western democracies is understandable. We'd tried to interfere in their affairs once, why wouldn't we try again?

Read the book and understand why America's actions haven't always been as clean and above board as its citizens have been led to believe.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Early Effort Against Communism, September 5, 2014
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This review is from: America's Secret War against Bolshevism: U.S. Intervention in the Russian Civil War, 1917-1920 (Paperback)
Most Americans today are probably not aware that President Woodrow Wilson sent troops to Russia during that country's civil war in an attempt to nip Bolshevism in the bud. In "America's Secret War Against Bolshevism," author David Foglesong chronicles our unavailing effort to stop the establishment of Communism in what became the Soviet Union.

Wilson rightly saw Bolshevism as a menace to the world, and Foglesong recalls the president's reasoning as to why. Wilson thought that intervention in Russia passed a cost-benefit analysis, but there was a tension between his general foreign policy belief in self-determination and wisely making an exception in the case of what would ultimately metastasize into world Communism. The author covers all of the reasons for intervention and the methods, economic and intelligence as well as military, used.

The president was hemmed in by factors such as American public opinion and the possible response of the Germans at the close of World War I. However, troops were ultimately sent to Siberia and North Russia. Foglesong recalls the role that the British, Japanese, and Czechs played in the intervention, describes the trajectory of events before the ultimate withdrawal of Allied troops, and offers his opinion on the efficacy of the operation.

President Wilson was correct in believing that the end of the Bolshevik regime was inevitable, but the Soviet government killed millions, forced the rest of the population to "live" in terror, and remained a purulent blight on the earth for most of the rest of the century. Winston Churchill was, as was often the case, foresighted and called for greater intervention.

While it would have been worth it to strangle Communism before it really got established, it is understandable to see how the war-weary Western nations in 1918 and 1919 might not have agreed. "America's Secret War Against Bolshevism" is a definitive account of this little-known episode in the history of the twentieth century.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Surprise!, May 1, 2014
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I never knew that the United States had sent troops to the USSR, a so called ally, during their revolution
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11 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite A New View of Wilsonian Diplomacy, January 3, 2002
This review is from: America's Secret War against Bolshevism: U.S. Intervention in the Russian Civil War, 1917-1920 (Paperback)
Though those like myself who have long studied Wilsonian meddling and moralistic posturing during the Mexican Revolution will not be surprised by the revelations in this book, I must admit it is a bit dry and I have yet to finish it but I have dipped into it enough. ... Woodrow Wilson was one of the biggest pious fakes ever to serve in the White House. His saintly reputation still prevails long after the messianistic image of John F. Kennedy has crumbled with the revelation of his philandering. But being a secret libertine and hedonist is far from being a moralistic racist who will "teach lesser breeds to elect good men" as Wilson said in regard to Mexico.
These superior attitudes were the basis of the prejudiced policies toward Huerta in Mexico, the Indian head of a mongrel nation (sic) and toward Lenin, offspring of the Mongol hordes of old. No matter that, however bad they were, they were not attacking their neighbors but their own citizens and that was then thought to be internal business by most people. The US public opinion in those days was sorely divided on intervention in Mexico and mostly opposed, so why would Wilson expect any public support for open intervention in faraway Russia when he could not muster support for open intervention in a country next door?
No matter that the Russian social and economic system had collapsed of its own weight and that was the Russian's concern. Wilson and the allies were going to set things right by any means necessary, including open armed invasion, and clandestine and open aid to Lenin's enemies.
Every time the US has tried to pacify or set things right in modern times by clandestine or open means it has been a failure. Laos, Cambodia, Guatemala, Bosnia, wherever. As long as there is innate social injustice and maldistribution of the national output there will be unrest. And throw in racial and ethnic factors and it is even worse, the Balkans and the Middle East.
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America's Secret War against Bolshevism: U.S. Intervention in the Russian Civil War, 1917-1920
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