Skip to comments.A Long Way From Home – The Czech Legion’s Amazing Trek Across Siberia
Posted on 05/28/2018 11:52:22 AM PDT by KC Burke
RUSSIAS CZECHOSLOVAK LEGION of World War One was an army without a country.
The 60,000-man unit, raised between 1915 and 1917, was made up of Czech and Slovak patriots keen to free their ancestral homeland from Austrian rule. By taking up arms in the name of the Russian Tsar, the men of the unit hoped that after the war the great powers would reward them with statehood.
But when in 1917, the Bolsheviks rose to power following the collapse of Russias Romanov dynasty and then made a separate peace with the Central Powers, the Czechoslovak Legion suddenly found itself trapped deep inside an unwelcoming country. With nowhere to run, the unit fought its way across 9,000 kilometers of Siberian wilderness towards the Pacific port city of Vladivostok
and hopefully freedom.
(Excerpt) Read more at militaryhistorynow.com ...
I have been reading Sean McMeekin's "The Russian Revolution" which I will discuss on a later thread. During that good read I come across an event that is truly a great niche event in History. The Czech Legion and their battles across Russia during the end of WWI and the middles stages of the Russian Revolution.
Wow,The Ten Thousand of Greek history have nothing on the early 20th century Czechs.
Xenphon telling in Anabasis the March of the Ten Thousand in support of Cyrus the Younger after being stranded in Persia and forced to campaign across Asia Minor is one of the great epics of early history and this story of the Czechs is even greater.
The are many links and articles on the web including the one I posted to start Memorial Day discussion of brave heroes, but the link above I liked the best.
Here is one that I stumbled across.
I think I ran across this story in “Military History” magazine years ago. It’s covered in various books about World War I, including Sir Martin Gilbert’s massive volume, or the Bolshevik Revolution, but there doesn’t seem to be a good book available in English about the Czech Legion specifically.
Commies never forgive and forget.
I think the setting along the cities spotted across Siberian Railroad is ideal for a movie.
You are correct, this needs its own modern retelling especially how they battled Trotsky’s intention to have them all die.
Since the collapse of the commies more and more of the cities and villages along the railroad are being depopulated. People are simply leaving them.
I read a condensed version of Gilbert’s work when I was working on the restoration of the WWI museum in Kansas City. If this was mentioned in the condensation, I missed it — that was just over 20 years ago.
It’s a fantastic story, and archives opening behind the Iron Curtain in the last 20 years have probably made new information available. A historian fluent in Czech, so that he can read the diaries and memoirs of individual soldiers, has a great commercial opportunity, in my opinion.
There is a certain amount of debate about raided gold reserves.
With the British blockading the Baltic Sea and the Russians looking for goods to rebuild factories and infrastructure from the Swedes, what gold reserves were impossible to get to the Swedes due to weight and the markings of the Czarist regime.
Russia had huge debt to the western allies and anything found would be seized.
I just checked the “Complete History,” and it’s in the Index. Just snippets, though, and the bibliographic sources aren’t recent.
Perhaps someone knows an historian interested in movies that can get the screenplay written and sold.
I’m double connected to this in a way.
1. My Mother’s grandparents came to the US via Finland. I think they were on an island in the bay between Sweden and Finland. Before they could leave her grandfather had to serve in the White Russian Army. I don’t know the years.
2. My father was Patton’s 3rd and Patch’s 7th Armies during WWII. Toward the end of the War, he was stationed around Bad Tolz, Tegernsee, Bad Wiesee near the CZ border. The SS Casserne at Bad Tolz evacuated the base to prevent the allies from destroying the Town, Base and Hospital. My father was 20 miles into CZ when they were ordered to halt and let the Russians take Prague.
Your article mentioned the Russians in WWII taking the gold in Prague back to Russia. My father did not know that happened.
More connection that is unexplained.
Just skip the romance with a woman with astonishingly perfect hair.
We post WWI the US Army also had units supporting the “White Russians” which also wound up in Valdivostok. There was an accounting of this reported in The American Legion Magazine.
CZ near Bad Tolz near end of WWII, Russian assault on Prague
The article also leaves out the fact that theY traded the most effective White Leader Admiral Kolchak to the Reds for permission to leave. A definite stain on their story!
A very good film! Comes across in the film as a tragic hero.
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