Development of the W. Wilson administration’s position on Bolshevik Russia (november 1917 – march 1918)

Nataliya Gorodnia,

Dr. Habil. (History), Professor,

Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Kyiv, Ukraine


Valentyn Zatsepilo,

Master’s Student,

Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Kyiv, Ukraine




Annotation. This article intends to highlight the Wilson administration’s position on the Russian Bolshevik government and the development of a new U.S. policy toward Russia from November 1917, the time of the Bolshevik coup in Petrograd, to March 1918, when Soviet Russia ratified the separate Brest-Litovsk peace treaty with the Quadruple Alliance.
During November 1917 – February 1918, the Wilson administration’s position on the Bolshevik government in Petrograd remained uncertain. On the one hand, the United States did not recognize this government, the Council of People’s Commissars, and was trying to find out the ability of Russian anti-Bolshevik groups to overthrow it. On the other hand, the American government wanted to establish informal contacts and cooperation with the Petrograd government to prevent Russia’s withdrawal from the war and the collapse of the Eastern Front.
In addition, it was necessary to prevent the Germans from obtaining military supplies from warehouses in the Russian Far East. To protect them, the Allies discussed the possibility of military intervention and encouraged the United States to take part in it. The American government rejected this possibility, primarily because of the predicted negative perception of it by the people of Russia. The U.S. also opposed Japanese intervention because believed that under the guise of common allied goals, Japan would pursue its interests in Russia, including territorial expansion.
The change in the position of the Wilson administration regarding the Japanese intervention became apparent in early March 1918. Woodrow Wilson withdrew his objections to the Japanese intervention in the Russian Far East only after it became obvious that Japan would carry it out anyway. The authority for such an intervention, given to Japan by the Allies, created certain requirements and restrictions on Japanese actions, which were in Russia’s interests. The shift in the U.S. position was also caused by the signing of a separate peace with the Quadruple Alliance by the Russian Bolshevik government. After that, the President stated that the U. S. did not recognize this government even de facto, and therefore the peace treaty signed by it.
However, despite the negative attitude to the Bolshevik government, W. Wilson continued to treat Russia as an ally and tried to avoid decisions that did not meet the interests of Russia’s people.

Key words: the United States, foreign policy, Soviet Russia, Woodrow Wilson administration, Japanese intervention, World War I.


Submitted 10.07.2022



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