Anglo-French Agreement of 23 December 1917
|Description||A 1917 Anglo-French agreement for an dismemberment of Russia after the October Revolution.|
On Dec. 23, 1917, Britain and France signed an agreement on joint intervention in Soviet Russia and its division into spheres of influence, effectively to bring about the complete dismemberment of the Russian realm for their own political and commercial advantage.
In March 14, 1917 Order No. 1 was issued by the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. It called on units to elect a committee which would run the unit and specifically refused officers access to weapons, something which destroyed the organization and discipline of the Russian Army. Most of the military specialists in the allied countries began to doubt the effectiveness of the Russian revolution in so far as it would affect an Entente victory over the Central Powers. Later, when the Bolsheviks overthrew the provisional government in November, 1917, Russia was obviously no longer any help to the Allies, and not only military specialists but also political leaders lost faith in Russia as an effective ally.
In these circumstances the allied governments were ready to undertake open military intervention in Russia to continue the war against Germany; this is the reason given to explain and justify the policy of the Allies. But there was another reason for this step, a reason that has existed all through the nineteenth century. Great Britain’s fear of the rising power of Russia as manifested in the Russian penetration of Central Asia and in Russian expansion in the Far East. France, on the other hand, looked for material economic advantages where Great Britain mainly pursued a political aim, although the British were not likely to overlook economic possibilities. France and Great Britain came to an understanding and agreed to an actual dismemberment of Russia. Britain would gain the Baltic littoral and the oil producing regions of Baku and Transcaucasia; France would get the vast coal resources of Donbas and the naval base of Sevastopol on Crimea.
The first British soldiers landed in Russia’s northern ports in the spring of 1918, immediately after the conclusion of a peace treaty between the Germans and the Bolsheviks at Brest-Litovsk on March 3. The troops also made incursions into the south of the country, in Transcaucasia, in Central Asia and in the Far East.
The agreement formed the basis for the further allied interventions in Russia, which ultimately involved several hundred thousand soldiers.