In 1917, on this day the Russian Marxist theorist and German Agent Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (codename Lenin) died of a heart attack about upon by the rejection of his call for an immediate socialist revolution (his "April Theses") by the Petrograd Soviet.
Death of LeninWritten on the train from Geneva and based upon his early theory of imperialism, the theses was more radical than virtually anything Lenin's fellow revolutionaries had heard. And just four weeks after the fall of tsarism, his thought process was completely out of context as a result of his isolation from mainstream political doctrine. Only later was the discovery made of an insidious German plot to force Russia out of the Great War.
To Lenin's huge disappointment, resistance was overwhelming. Pravda's editorial board refused to print it on the pretext of a mechanical breakdown in its printing press. And a meeting of the Bolshevik Central Committee on April 6 passed a negative resolution on them. Just twenty-four hours before his heart attack the Petrograd Committee had overwhelmingly voted the manifesto, two voting in favor, thirteen against, with one abstention.
However Lenin's death was not the end of the germ of communism that the Imperial German Government had placed in the sealed train from Switzerland. After the war, his political heir Leon Trotsky left Russia heading Westwards. He would later become a Political Commissar in the Sparticist Government in Berlin. In 1940, he would be sent to Geneva where the League of Nations was debating St Petersburg's request for military assistance to defend Republican Russia's territorial integrity from German Communist aggression.
In 1918, the Fall of the German Empire carried with it the implosion of the shell of Czarist Russia.
Twilight in RusslandThis required refusing Western demands for further offensives. Brusilov was managing to keep the Imperial Russian army in the field but one more good killing even in a successful offensive would have shattered it. Kerensky and Brusilov were blunt to their Western counterparts. There were two and ONLY two choices. One was keeping a large Austro-German army tied down on an Eastern Front while the West won the war themselves. This would require Western aid to be continued and increased via the White Sea, Vladivostok and Persia. The other was one more attack. Regardless of the result the shaky Russian state would implode. Germany would free up 100 divisions of Austro-German troops for transfer to the West while enabling the Central Powers to feed themselves on the Ukrainian and south Russian harvests. The Western powers fumed, pleaded and raged but in the end accepted the less bad choice.
Kerensky lived up to his part of the bargain. The Eastern Front stayed in being until the German capitulation in 1918. However the Russian implosion had continued parallel to the war. A left rising in Petrograd in November of 1917 took that city out of the war and left the imperial family as prisoners of a shifting coalition of agitators who would gain temporary ascendancy in the Petrograd Soviet. Kerensky and the core of his government were lucky to escape to Moscow with their lives. Brusilov died three days before the Armistice with Germany trying to put down yet another in an endless series of army mutinies.
A new article by Scott PalterNews of the end of the war and the beginnings of the German withdrawal in November saw every ethnic and regional group in the Russian Empire attempt secession. The Petrograd Soviet added to the chaos by hanging the Imperial family. When the smoke cleared the following spring Kerensky was reduced to ruling a region roughly with the boundaries of early modern Muscovy. The royalists split into two camps. The higher nobility grouped themselves around Grand Duke Nicholas, who claimed the throne despite an inferior actual claim. Based out of Mukden and Vladivostok, this regime was cut off from European Russia by a maze of warlord states in Siberia and Central Asia.
The younger royalists and nationalists emerged from the chaos of south Russia grouped into a Cossack and junior officer Volunteer Army under Baron Ungern-Sternberg (pictured). The self-proclaimed Field Marshal and Atman, had assembled this force in a welter of brief campaigns over the previous winter of 1918-1919. He was helped in this by most senior officers choosing to either stay with Kerensky or migrating to serve with Grand Duke Nicholas. He also had seized custody of the Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrova, giving him the legitimate heir to the throne as a figurehead. By a series of deals with the retreating Germans in western Ukraine he had traded their safe passage for their arms dumps. By dint of location in Ukraine, south Russia, Kuban and the north Caucasus, he was the only of the many competing regimes to have a food surplus. While millions starved he could feed his troops. Now with the end of the spring mud season he began his march north to place his puppet monarch on the throne in the twin capitals of Moscow and Petrograd.
This article is a continuation of the Russland timeline.
In 1940, on this day the Sparticist Government in Berlin dispatched Commissar Leon Trotsky to Geneva where the League of Nations were debating St Petersburg's request for military assistance to defend Republican Russia's territorial integrity from German Communist aggression.
War of Western Intervention by Ed, Scott Palter & Jeff ProvineIronically, during the Bolshevik Uprising of October 1917 Republican Russia had itself been on the verge of a descent into Communism. Most shockingly of all, many of the agitators had been funded by the Imperial Germany Government who attempted to covertly overthrow Kerensky's Administration which had chosen to keep Russia in the Great War after the fall of the Tsar. Unable to return to New York City, Trotsky had fled to Berlin where he founded common cause with Sparticist ring-leaders Rosa Luxembourg and Karl Leibnicht. By 1939 he occupied a prominent place on the Central Committee.
And so the rise of world communism had centered in Germany not Russia. But other threats to European Security were also emerging and fast. A resurgent Poland began to threaten Russia out of isolationism. At least until the Depression Years brought a fresh militancy to the German Government, and once again, a desire to conquer the East.
Left with a monster of their own malformed creation, the Western Powers began to contemplate the option of unilateral action outside the auspices of the League of Nations. First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill was ordered to prepare plans for the landing of a substantial allied force at Arcangel. And a war of intervention to support White Forces in Russia began to take an inevitable and insidious shape.
Anticipating this development, the Spartacists had deployed their most eloquent diplomatic weapon, by sending a Russian Emigre to Geneva to assure the League of Nations that Germany only desired "peace in our time" with her Eastern neighbour.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.