British "Intervention" in Transcaspia, 1918-19

 
9780520003811: British

The "Malleson Mission" was a military mission by a small autonomous force of British troops, led by General Wilfrid Malleson, operating against Bolshevik forces over large distances in Transcaspia (modern Turkmenistan) between 1918 and 1919. Geopolitically, from the British point of view, the area was of interest to them because of its proximity to British India and Persia and their general sphere of influence. This little-known military venture, hardly more than sideshow of the First World War, has assumed considerable importance because of its use in Soviet Cold War propaganda in an area vital to the defense of the Western World. In the Soviet view Britain, with the connivance of American "Capitalism," perpetrated a deliberate act of aggression, as part of a long-term plan to seize and colonize Russian Central Asia; the British standpoint was that it was simply part of a hastily improvised plan to block a Turko-German advance through the Caucasus to India and Afghanistan. The author, Colonel Charles Howard Ellis, served as an officer with the Malleson mission, and has personal knowledge of events which took place during this time, but has not neglected the wider aspects of this campaign, drawing fully on material in English , German, and Russian that became available over time. He wrote this account only after he had retired from active duty. In one way or another, however, he remained involved in the politics of this region - both academically and militarily.

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