How the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post influenced Denver's perception of the Russian civil war 1917-1920

Material Information

How the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post influenced Denver's perception of the Russian civil war 1917-1920
Pye, Kristyn W
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
155 leaves : ; 28 cm

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Master's ( Master of Arts)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
Department of History, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:


Subjects / Keywords:
Denver post ( lcsh )
Rocky Mountain news ( lcsh )
Denver post ( fast )
Rocky Mountain news ( fast )
1917 - 1921 ( fast )
Press coverage ( fast )
History -- Press coverage -- Soviet Union -- Revolution, 1917-1921 ( lcsh )
Soviet Union ( fast )
History. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
History ( fast )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 154-155).
General Note:
Department of History
Statement of Responsibility:
by Kristyn W. Pye.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver Collections
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
40462345 ( OCLC )
LD1190.L57 1998m .P94 ( lcc )

Full Text
Kristyn W. Pye
B.A., University of Central Florida, 1989
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts

This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Kristyn W. Pye
has been approved

Pye, Kristyn W. (M.A., History)
How The Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post
Influenced Denver's Perception of the Russian
Civil War 1917-1920
Thesis directed by Professor Mary Conroy
During World War I each belligerant
sacrificed men, supplies, and weapons to the war
effort. Consequently, when Russian autocracy was
overthrown in the midst of the war, her allies
hoped for a democratic government that would carry
on the war more effectively than the "ancien
regime." Throughout the rest of the war, American
interest and policy were dictated by its concern
for preserving as many United States troops as
possible. American and Allied diplomats tried to
prevent Russia from signing a separate peace in
order to maintain an Eastern front and relieve
their heavy losses along the western front.
Using The Rocky Mountain News and The Denver
Post newspapers as sources, this study is intended
to call attention to the American media and its
role in influencing public opinion in favor of the
government's actions in regard to Russia
throughout World War I.
The first chapter briefly explains both
revolutions, the various political groups and
their influence on subsequent events, and "Allied
intervention" in Russian affairs and its
consequences. The next eight chapters concentrate

on the very specific time period of March 1917
through to April, 1920. Each chapter includes
brief explanations of the facts as they have been
researched, in order to give the reader a better
understanding of the difference between Denver's
perception and the events as we now believe them
to have occurred. It began with Russian democracy
and ended with Bolshevik victory and the last
American troops leaving Russian soil.
This history chronicles the beginnings of
Soviet-American relations which were colored with
self-interest and distrust from the start. Each
chapter describes the factors that influenced
United States policy and public opinion toward
Russia and its increasingly difficult situations
of mass starvation, foreign invasion, and civil
Awareness of the wide gap between Denver's
perception and the actual events in Russia will
foster a greater understanding of differing points
of view that clouded understanding, acceptance,
and trust so needed for the future between very
different countries.
This abstract accurately represents the content of
the candidate's thesis. I recommend its

1. BACKGROUND....................................1
DENVER NEWSPAPERS ............................22
4 . THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION............... ....61
6. PEACE......................................100
8. CONCLUSION..................................124
BIBLIOGRAPHY.................................. 141

3.1 Photograph Showing Russian Trenches ........128
5.2 Cartoon "INCURABLE" ........................129
5.3 Cartoon "THE FAR EAST" .....................130
5.4 Cartoon "Join Me?" .........................131
5.5 Cartoon "THEY ARE ALL OUT OF STEP BUT ME" ..132
5.6 Cartoon "A VISION" .........................133
5.7 Cartoon "BOLSHEVISM" ..................... 134
5.8 Cartoon "WANTED-ANOTHER ST. PATRICK" .......135
5.9 Photograph "DAILY SCENE IN PETROGRAD" ......136
6.10 Cartoon "A NERVOUS WRECK" ..................137
6.11 Photograph "Peasants Give Clothes for
Food"........................................ 138
6.12 Cartoon "THE TREADMILL" ....................139
6.13 Photograph "Bandits in Bolshevik Russia" ..140

The Russian Engine spanned eleven time zones.
In that vast amount of land is one-fifth the
world's timber as well as more farmland than any
other geopolitical area, twice the amount in the
United States. "Russia", as that conglomerate was
popularly called, has immense supplies of almost
every mineral used in modern industry.1 It would
seem naturally advantageous to foster an economic
and diplomatic relationship with Russia. Why has
the United States not developed an understanding
of this rich and powerful yet ethnically diverse
and very complicated country? For those looking
in, Russia personifies the mysterious and the
exotic. American opinion has always fluctuated
between sympathy, intrigue and aversion. Those who
traveled to Russia in the early twentieth century
returned with descriptions of opulent aristocracy,
an oppressive Tsar, and a burdensome religion. And
though the United States has always traded with

Russia on a limited scale, her distance, her
perceived retarded growth, and her differences in
dress and religion have contributed to the image
of Russia as a dark, foreign, and mysterious land.
This study compares Colorado's reaction to
Nicholas II's reign with that toward the
Provisional Government and then depicts Colorado's
attitude toward Russia after the Bolshevik coup
and ensuing events which directly affected World
War I.
During and immediately after March of 1917
Colorado celebrated the revolution and the Tsar's
abdication. A kindred feeling developed between
the oldest democratic state and the newest
edition. The United States Government recognized
the validity of the newly formed Provisional
Government within one week. American newspapers
reported that all Russia was behind this new
government and that the whole country was
dedicated to continuing, with even greater
devotion, the war effort. This was not entirely
true. Many variables had motivated the populace
and the army to revolt, only one of which was a
desire to become a democracy to carry out the war

more effectively. Lack of food, clothing,
munitions, and morale were sizable factors. There
was .also a general loss of faith in the
government's ability to function in the presence
of any crisis.
The Tsarist regime collapsed on March 12, 1917
according to the Western calendar.2 The
Provisional Government, set up by the Duma even
before the Tsar's abdication, in the beginning
dominated the stage and stated its intention to
continue the war. These Duma politicians were
landowners, industrialists, and professionals
predominately from the liberal, Kadet, and
Octobrist parties who "longed for an idealized
vision of the British parliamentary system, but
without a monarchy, a society which would welcome
them retaining their wealth and privilege."3
Because the Provisional Government "gave little
representation to the mass of Russia's workers and
peasants," the latter "formed their own
alternative assemblies known as soviets; the
Petrograd Soviet held its first formal session on
27 February."4 These representatives dreamed of
"a new democracy...a society where all privilege

and wealth were a thing of the past."5 At first,
though, these divergent groups cooperated, the
soviets "endorsed the Provisional Government,
having little reason to doubt its commitment to
democratic advance."6 However, by April 1917 it
was obvious these two groups "could not
necessarily trust each other since their visions
of the future of democracy in Russia were
essentially very different."7
In late April, the question of war aims
caused the "first major political crisis faced by
the Provisional Government"8 and ended with a "new
coalition government on May 5, 1917 in which the
'soviet parties', the Mensheviks and the SRs,
joined the liberals in government"9 to form the
First Coalition Government. Foreign Minister P.N.
Miliukov of the Kadet party had promised the
Allied governments "fully to observe the
obligations taken with respect to our Allies"
which meant that Russia would honor "commitments
to annex the Ukrainian population of Austria-
Hungary and occupy Constantinople and the
Dardanelles straits."10 This was not in line with
numerous [Petrograd] soviet resolutions declaring

a peace 'without indemnities and annexations.'"11
Consequently, Miliukov's statement sparked street
demonstrations which were "inspired by Bolshevik
agitators and had not been endorsed by the
[Petrograd] soviet," resulting in his resignation.
Alexander Kerensky of the socialist SRs was
appointed War Minister.
By May 5, the Provisional Government,
composed of liberals and conservatives, now
included the various groups of Socialists who
headed the Petrograd SovietMensheviks and
Socialist Revolutionaries. These Socialist groups
participated in the first, second, and third
Coalition Governments which lasted from May to
October 1917. In general, the political groups
which formed the Provisional Government agreed on
the need to continue the war.
Through March, Bolsheviks in Russia also had
agreed to support the Provisional Government.
However, when Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov-known as
Leninand.sometimes incorrectly as Nikolai Lenin,
returned from Switzerland via Germany on 3 April,
the situation changed. The German government
arranged his travel and subsidized him with gold,

but far from posing as a German spy, Lenin was
determined and "prepared to accept help from
whatever source without compromising his
principles or altering his goals."12 Upon his
arrival in Petrograd, Lenin took control of the
Bolshevik party and within three weeks reversed
party policy.13 The Bolsheviks denounced the
"predatory imperialist war"14 and adopted a
program of "socialism by revolution."15 The
Bolsheviks, who were gaining support among local
soviets, began agitating in the army, among
peasants and factory workers, urging them to
disobey orders and take over. They promised land
to the peasants, peace to the army, and power to
the workers with simple, short slogans like "Down
With the War!", "Down With the Landlords!" and
"Peace, Bread and Land"16 which was in line with
the desires of many members in the Petrograd
A counter-revolutionary movement formed among
Duma politicians elected from many of the
property-owners of Tsarist Russia when they
realized that "in a democratic Russia the soviet
vision would ultimately be the one to triumph when

all Russians were able to vote."17 This group
would eventually organize and lead the White Army
against the Red Army. It included generals such as
Lavr Kornilov, Krasnov, M.V. Alekseev, Anton
Denikin, and Admiral Kolchak who would play major
roles in the civil war.
Moderate socialists also began to fear the
Bolsheviks because of the so-called July crisis.
The Provisional Government, which included the
Socialists, had been preparing for a Russian
offensive which began on July 1. Although initial
gains were won, "it was halted after 12 days, and
on July 19 German and Austrian forces
counterattacked and easily broke through Russian
1 o
lines," which were thoroughly demoralized. The
government coalition crumbled "with anti-war
demonstrations breaking out both at the front and
at the rear."19 More liberal Kadet ministers
withdrew from the government. The Bolsheviks
supported street demonstrations to press for an
all-Socialist government but then refused "to take
power or implement [their own] demands"20 because
they believed the move to be premature. The

Provisional Government was able to suppress the
The government appeared strong following the
crisis. The Bolsheviks popularity was temporarily
damaged "among militant soldiers and workers"21 as
a result of their unwillingness to take power.
Lenin provided another boost to governmental
popularity when it was rumored that he was a
German agent. Newspapers published accusations
against the Bolshevik leaders and government
troops managed to occupy their headquarters. Lenin
escaped to Finland but Leon Trotsky and others
were imprisoned.22
Unfortunately, the Provisional Government
failed to take advantage of the opportunity or to
accomplish "the measures that the impatient masses
demanded."23 Bolshevik support continued to grow
from July to August. At this same time the
counter-revolutionaries, many generals in the
army, and some members of the Kadet party, were
growing angry at the crumbling discipline in the
armed forces and the presence of Socialists in the
government. The military branch of the Petrograd
Soviet had issued Order No. 1 on March 14,

authorizing enlisted men "to obey their officers
and the government only if their orders did not
conflict with the Soviet" which "prevented the
Government from controlling the army and further
undermined army discipline."24
As a concession to the demands of the Kadet
Party, on July 18 Prime Minister Aleksander
Kerensky appointed Lavr Georgevich Kornilov as
Commander-in-Chief of the Russian armies. His main
objective was to restore badly needed discipline
in the army, which included reinstating capital
punishment for deserters. Kerensky was a Socialist
and earlier had supported the lax discipline
established as a result of Order No. 1. He now
needed a disciplined army.
In September 1917 Kornilov marched on
Petrograd to stage a coup and create a military
dictatorship designed to bolster declining
governmental power and military discipline. His
failure in that attempt resulted in the rise of
the Petrograd Soviet.25 Although most of the
liberal, or Kadet Party had tried to distance
themselves from the coup attempt, "in the popular
imagination the liberals had been as committed to

counter-revolution as the generals."26
Consequently, "all those who owned no property and
had thus been effectively disenfranchised under
the ancien regime, turned against the idea of
continuing a coalition government with the
liberals. "27
With a tenuous hold, Alexander Kerensky,
President of the Provisional Government, set a
date in October for elections to the Constituent
Assembly. This body was to elect a formal
government which would enjoy the support of the
people. In the meantime, Kerensky formed the Third
Coalition Government to consolidate his power. It
was weak, however, and disintegrated when the
Bolsheviks staged an uprising October, the night
of 24 and 25, 1917. Once they were in power, the
Bolshevik's first task was to begin negotiations
for peace. On March 3,1918 they signed a peace
treaty with Germany. The events of these months
are still being sorted out by historians; the
research for this paper was based on Geoffrey
Swain's study of the Russian Civil War, as cited.
Swain particularly describes how, after the
Bolshevik takeover, the White Army, the Red Army,

and later anti-Bolshevik socialists called the
Greens organized to destroy each other, and to
contend with the German forces and Russia's former
Allies who invaded Russia. The White Army
consisted of the group of generals who had
participated in the Kornilov Rebellion and had
been imprisoned by the Provisional Government
following its failure. After the Provisional
Government was overthrown in October they escaped
and gathered in the Don Cossack region in the town
of Novocherkassk. Their purpose was to organize a
volunteer army to destroy the Bolsheviks. Officers
and infantry arrived from all over Russia, though
the groups were small in numbersin the beginning
totaling about 5,000 mento wage a civil war for
the control of Russia.28 Throughout the Civil War,
the White Army, as it was named, was plagued by
deficiencies in men, munitions, food and clothing;
in general, all the basic necessities for
existence as an army. Yet they continued their
struggle throughout 1918, 1919, and into 1920.
In January, 1918, the Bolshevik government
formed the Red Army to defend the government in
case the German army refused Russia's surrender.29

This army included peasants, factory workers, and
anyone who did not wish- for the old system of
privilege to return. Tsarist army officers were
lured and sometimes coerced to serve as leaders.
The Greens included Socialists such as the
Socialist Revolutionaries (or SRs), Left SRs, and
Mensheviks. Though they cooperated with the
Bolsheviks against the German invasion, these
socialist parties, particularly the SRs, tried to
oust the Bolsheviks politically and legally. The
Srs won a majority of the people's vote in the
Constituent Assembly elections in November 1917.
In January 1918, however, Lenin dissolved the
assembly and remained in control.30
In the spring of 1918 the Srs formed an
opposition government on the middle Volga.
Geoffrey Swain asserted that many members of every
political party, including some Bolsheviks, were
against making peace with Germany at any cost.
This was where the Allies stepped into the picture
with offers of intervention. Though the Bolsheviks
signed an armistice with Germany in December,.
1918, both Trotsky and Lenin were interested in
Allied support to reorganize the Russian army in

case peace talks with Germany faltered.31 The
French and English representatives offered support
to Russia in writing after the armistice between
the Bolsheviks and Germans was signed. 32 Then on
February 18, 1918, the Germans resumed their
advance over Russia, determined to occupy all the
territory they had claimed. Consequently, the
Bolshevik government voted to resist and turned to
the allies for support.
The Entente powers were desperate for Russia
to continue the war. Their hope was revived in
February 1918 as the peace talks between the
Bolsheviks and Germany ran into snags. France and
Britain offered the Bolsheviks military and
financial assistance if it would resist Germany.
Trotsky especially seemed eager for Allied help
after the German army began advancing on February
18. He convinced Lenin and the Central Committee
to accept aid from them. On February 23, the
Germans presented Russia with new terms which the
Central Committee immediately accepted.33
However, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with
Germany was signed on March 3, 1918. It deprived
Russia of "territory accounting for over a quarter

of her total population, vast natural resources
and a great part of her manufactures."34 The
Allies stayed on hand and ready to discuss
intervention, giving Trotsky until the end of
April to "show himself to be serious."35 Trotsky's
conciliatory attitude allowed the British cabinet
minister Lord Milner to write to the ambassador in
Paris that "it is desirable to work as well as we
can with the Bolshevik government now in power."36
According to the historian L.I. Strakhovsky,
this arrangement was a farce because the Soviets
only accepted Allied assistance to keep Germany at
bay. Their primary goal was to consolidate a
tenuous hold on power by eliminating their
internal enemies. Any help received from the
Allied Powers enabled the Bolsheviks to
concentrate their energy on wiping out any force
in Russia willing to continue the war against
Until April 1918, the Americans themselves
had minimal military presence in Russia. Allied
activity was represented by the British and French
in the port of Murmansk, through an invitation
from the local soviet government. These local

soviet leaders were concerned that the English and
French harbored imperialistic aims so they
requested the Americans to send a military force
there as well. The suspicion of the local Murmansk
soviet regarding British and French intentions was
well grounded. Both the British and French were
determined to reap material gain and succeeded in
exporting great amounts of raw materials far below
their value.38 On May 24 the American cruiser
"Olympia" arrived in Murmansk. The Allied
representatives provided food and trawlers for the
fishing industry and protection from advancing
Finnish and German troops. The Allies also desired
to protect military stores located in Murmansk and
recreate an Eastern Front to help relieve military
forces in France. They believed the Soviet
government had betrayed Russia's pre-war treaties
in signing the Brest-Litovsk Treaty. On one hand
the Soviet government needed the provisions
provided by the Allies; on the other hand the
Bolshevik government felt pressure from Germany to
oust the Allies. Historian Strakhovsky stated that
Trotsky issued official notes protesting the

presence of Allied troops in Murmansk and then
sent secret wires advocating the opposite.39
In May 1918 the situation was suddenly
changed by events in the eastern part of Russia.
An army of Czechoslovaks was attempting to travel
across Russia through Siberia to Vladivostok. They
then intended to sail around the world and join
allied forces on the Western Front. They appealed
to the Allies for protection. Originally the
Soviet government had given them permission to
reach the Pacific by way of the Trans-Siberian
Railroad. En route, however, half the force became
embroiled in armed conflicts with regional
soviets. The Czechoslovaks maintained their
loyalty to the Allies and offered to fight the
Germans (and Bolsheviks) if they could be
supported along the railway by troops.
This helped U.S. President Woodrow Wilson
justify intervention in Siberia as he had been
pressured to do by England, France and Japan.
American approval of this venture infuriated the
Bolsheviks who were then convinced the Western
powers intended to subvert their position.
Consequently, relations deteriorated. At the same

time, Germany decided to bargain with the
Bolsheviks by offering them "freedom of maritime
communication"40 if the Allies were forced out of
Murmansk and Archangel. Due in part to the
Czechoslovak situation, the Soviet Government
agreed and demanded the local soviet rid
themselves of Allied presence. The Murmansk
Soviet, however, signed an agreement that not only
invited the Allies to stay but to increase their
forces in the north of Russia. The fact remains
that the Allied presence in Murmansk was a
documented invitation, even though it emanated
from the local soviet, who needed protection and
provisions. A temporary treaty was signed on July
6, 1918 which supported the status quo of supplies
and troops from the Allies in return for "united
action on the part of the signatories for the
defense of the Murmansk region against German
aggression"41 An important point of the treaty,
and one the Americans stressed, stated that "all
the authority in the internal government of the
region belongs to the Murmansk Regional
Council."42 This article successfully thwarted
the dubious aims of France and England until after

the Murmansk Soviet was abolished and its members
outlawed by the Central Petrograd Soviet. When the
Bolshevik policy had finally decided in favor of
Germany, this treaty with the enemy was now
unacceptable. Whatever the mishandling of
intervention in northern Russia, the advantages
for Russia outweighed any short-sighted Allied
policies. Though it was short-lived, intervention,
especially in the form of American presence,
spared the northern region from any foreign
domination or dismemberment.43
The arrival of seven thousand American troops
in Vladivostok, was not, as opposed to the
northern operation, prompted by an invitation from
the Russian people. Originally, the French and
British pushed for intervention in Siberia as a
result of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty. They were
afraid of the consequences of a collapse of the
Eastern Front and wanted it re-established. The
United States and Japan were both unengaged
members of the Allied coalition and could
seemingly afford to send troops to Vladivostok
whereas the French and British had all available
men at the Western Front.

For a long time, President Wilson refused
this British proposal to intervene in Siberia.
Wilson believed the presence of foreign military
units in Russia without a specific call for help
would create hostility. The Japanese also
initially declined to intervene if the United
States would not sanction it. Despite repeated
requests from England and France the situation
remained the same until news of the Czechoslovak
movement reached the United States in May 1918.
President Wilson saw them as a small Allied force
from a small country trying to reunite in
Vladivostok and protect Siberia from Germany.44
France and England viewed them as the only
military force disciplined enough to recreate an
Eastern Front. President Wilson then agreed to
send troops for the sole purpose of assisting the
Czechs along the Trans-Siberian Railroad. He did
not anticipate Japan sending almost 72,000 troops
instead of the 7,000 agreed upon and almost
decided to cancel the order. In the end the
President carried out the original plan hoping
that the presence of American troops might deter
suspected Japanese expansionist ideas. The

American forces were in Vladivostok for one and a
half years. During that time the troops did not
fight offensively with anyone.45 They guarded
the railway in the middle of a remote section and
neither hindered nor physically helped either side
during the Russian Civil War.
Neither landing in North Russia nor
Vladivostok produced the intended impact on the
outcome of the civil war. However, the presence of
these Allied forces inadvertently assisted the
Bolshevik propaganda. Newspapers reported the
foreigners' presence and claimed that they
intended to invade and conquer Russia. Allied
intervention united the population more than any
other Bolshevik argument or coercive measure. The
Allies half-hearted attempts with inadequate
forces, sent long after they were needed, probably
prolonged the bloodshed by raising false hopes
among the forces opposing the Bolsheviks to
continue and propelled opponents of the Bolsheviks
over to their side.
The United States had been receiving reports
on the developing situation in Russia since before
the revolution in February 1917. News stories,

magazine articles and commentaries related a
plethora of tidbits of information from all over
Europe. Even in smaller towns and cities like
Denver, the headlines, updates and explanations
were regular enough for the people to receive
quite a well-rounded, if not entirely accurate
picture of world war news as it related to Russian
affairs. This study deals specifically with the
Denver newspapers, The Rocky Mountain News and The
Denver Post, and their journalistic influence on
the Denver population regarding Russia and its
revolutionary and civil wars.

At the time of World War I John C. Shaffer of
Chicago owned The Rocky Mountain News. He was
nicknamed "John Clean Shaffer" for his reputation
of a "lofty moral code." He contended that
journalism was responsible for "giving its readers
all the news but should discriminate between clean
and unclean news."46 He was the Republican voice
represented in Denver. Harry Heye Tammen and
Frederick Gilmer Bonfils of The Denver Post also
felt a civic responsibility toward their audience,
appointing themselves "big brother" to the Denver
public. The Post was a democratic voice, devoted
to the welfare of its audience, but dedicated to
ferreting out the truth, especially truth
sensational enough to sell the most newspapers.
It is interesting to note the optimism that
prevailed in the first few months of the

revolution, as if it would be all over in a matter
of one week. The Denver Post reflected the mood of
Europe when it reported on March 15, 1917, "There
has been a successful revolution in Russia."47
The paper briefly described the events leading up
to the revolution. The population in Petrograd
held the government "responsible for all its
sufferings."48 The power-hungry government tried
to suppress growing restlessness by dissolving the
Duma. The Duma then rose up and declared itself to
be a new Provisional Government. Throughout the
article the vein remained positive, showing a new
democratic, united government that enjoyed the
support of the citizens and army of Petrograd. It
quoted one of the first public statements from the
Provisional Government which explained that they
[f]ully conscious of the responsibility
arising from this decision [to take
control], the committee expresses the
certainty that the population and the
army will lend their assistance for the
difficult task of creating a new
government which will accept the wishes
of the people and enjoy their

The article continued this sense of unity by
reporting that order in the city was quickly
returning as a result of a proclamation requesting
the people and troops to "resume their usual
activities.50 It openly stated that "
completely in the hands of the executive committee
of the duma and of the troops"51 and implied the
new government was quite stable and powerful
enough to be prepared for anything. The riots and
disturbances were reported in passing and with
some question as to their validity.
In comparison, The Rocky Mountain News
briefly mentioned food disturbances in progress on
March 14th and not until the 16th were full
articles devoted to the anarchy in Petrograd.
Titles proclaimed, 'DELAY MEANS DEATH,'
preferred spelling now is Tsar] and 'LONDON HAILS
Both newspapers described the crowds
gathering in orderly fashion to ask the government
for bread and the manner in which the Petrograd
regiments joined the revolutionary movement. Both
also explained that the Tsar abdicated for himself

and his son in favor of his brother, Michael. The
general picture of events was the same yet at
various times each paper featured different
players involved and occasionally printed
opposing viewpoints. The Rocky Mountain News
discussed the confusion of officials and diplomats
over "what the revolutionary leaders expected to
accomplish by shifting the crown."53 The News
also included positive reactions to southwestern
and northern Russian army commanders support of
the revolution.
However, the two papers printed opposing
information concerning Grand Duke Michael. The
Post highlighted his "marital and amorous
adventures," his "reckless career," and listed his
accomplishments as "three marriages, two divorces
and twice...exiled."54 The News portrayed a more
flattering image of the Grand Duke, mentioning
that his "education was wholly military and he has
held many honorary commands in the army" and also
"[t]he grand duke is a man of simple habits and is
considered very sympathetic with the people."55
The last paragraph of the article from The Denver
Post highlighted its desire for accurate news from

Russia when reporting this particular news story
was taken from Berlin instead of Britain to avoid
British censorship of dispatches coming through
Though attempts were made to get an uncensored
version of events in Russia, it is noteworthy that
the picture of events emerging was exactly
parallel with United States interests in
continuing the war. Subtle messages in the
newspapers implied that everything happening was
conducive to an improved war effort on Russia's
part and would bring the fighting to a quicker
conclusion. The financial section of The Rocky
Mountain News noted the "calmness, amounting
almost to indifference, with which Wall Street
today accepted the...upheaval in the Russian
empire, was strong proof of the
market's... inherent strength."56 The calmness
also could have been attributed to the reassuring
dispatches from Russia and an American need to
believe in a good situation during a horrible war.
A story on March 16 in The Denver Post
detailed a more in-depth picture of the new
national cabinet and its members. It explained

that as a result of Nicholas abdicating the
throne, he was no longer commander of the Russian
armies and stated, "Thus the nation is turning to
its most tried and trusted military leader, Grand
Duke Nicholas, "'idol of the Russian army and
ranked as Russia's master strategist.'"57 So, in
contrast to the past, the Russian army was being
led by not only a competent strategist but the
very best commander Russia could offer. In future
this could only increase Russia's contribution to
the war effort. Although the Tsar and his
immediate family were deemed to be unreliable for
the war effort, Grand Duke Nicholas, who was a
member of the ruling family, could still command
the trust and confidence of Russia, the new
Provisional Government, and the American public.
The article continued to reinforce new-found
confidence in "the complete success of the
revolutionary movement."56
That sense of the unity of revolutionary
forces with every sector of Russian life was
referred to more than once. The Duma had received
news from the front that the "military... is
backing the new government as well as the "civil

forces of the nation [who] are co-operating with
the government most heartily in restoring
normality in the life of the empire."59 Even
within the government itself there was
considerable cooperation. The food shortage, which
some historians claim finally brought down the
Tsar's government, was said to be under control by
the citizens themselves, "exercising their own
authority to repress any elements of the
population that might be inclined to indulge in
excesses."60 These optimistic reports implied that
Russia was returning to normal just three days
after the revolution.
One of the first orders from the Provisional
Government was to release all political prisoners.
The Denver Post featured a story proclaiming
"Prisons Opened and Amnesty Granted,"61 a gesture
notably approved by Grand Duke Nicholas as a "move
necessary to save the empire and bring the war to
a successful conclusion."62 The Rocky Mountain
News devoted a great deal of space to the Russian
revolution and its origins, consequences, and
purposes. It also included a very helpful article
explaining the Provisional Government's policies,

in order of importance numbered one through eight.
The first was a "general amnesty for all political
and religious offenses."63 Another article in
The News described the scene of Deputy Kerensky's
speech to thousands of soldiers and civilians when
he announced the "immediate publication of a
decree of full amnesty" for those "comrades...who
were banished illegally to the tundras of
Siberia."64 Both papers realized the importance
of this decree to the stability of a new
government as well as the impression of solidarity
this type of announcement would make on American
public confidence.
A report on March 16th in The Denver Post
recapped the revolution as well as providing more
in-depth details. It again stressed the mature and
far-sighted qualities of the participants.
Groups of students, easily distinguished
by their blue caps and dark uniforms,
fell into step with rough units of rebel
soldiers and were joined by other
heterogeneous elements united for the
time being by a cause greater than
partisan differences.65

The account dramatically described troops being
called out to stand guard over the crowds of
people gathered in the city asking the government
for bread. For a time the guards "playfully
disperse" the crowds and "charge[d] down the
street in a half-hearted fashion. They were
plainly without malice or intent to harm"66 anyone
in the throng milling about the streets of
According to the Denver newspapers, the
revolution began with a confusion of loyalties. An
order issued from above to fire upon the passive
crowds caused some troops to desert. Fighting
broke out between them and the troops remaining
loyal to the government. Eventually the
revolutionary soldiers "exhorted them to join the
side of the people."67 The success of the revolt
"lay in the reluctance of the troops to take sides
against the people." A melodramatic, almost
theatrical closing paragraph described the result
of Petrograd's struggle. "Toward morning, there
was a sudden lull, broken by exultant shouts,
which deepened into a roar and was succeeded by
the Russian revolutionary Marseillaise. The

regiments defending the admiralty had surrendered
and gone over to the side of the revolution...the
'cause of the people' had triumphed.
Both The Denver Post and The Rocky Mountain
News spent a good deal of attention on the
correlation between the Tsar's regime, its
suspected ties with Germany, and a mismanaged war
effort. The Rocky Mountain News featured a
condensed history of the Romanov dynasty beginning
in 1613 with Michael I and described it as being
"Founded in [an] Orgy of Blood."70 The Denver
Post saturated its audience with reports of
betrayal by the royal family. On March 17th The
Post recounted a general conviction that the
revolution was begun by the Tsar's own government
working through the police. Their reputed purpose
was in conjunction with previous efforts to "tie
up the industrial activity of the country and

bring the war operations to a complete
standstill."71 It explained the revolution then
grew out of their control because the Russian
population was waiting for an opportunity to rise
up. Another section of the article, entitled "Evil
Court Influences Swept Away", discussed the

"rumors of court scandals and the existence of
mysterious channels, which seemed to run from
court circles into the camp of the enemy."72
The empress was specifically mentioned and
received the brunt of the accusations regarding
the German connection. A member of the Duma,
Professor Milukoff, [Miliukov] was cited as
addressing the question of the empress' loyalty in
his speech to the Duma as early as November, 1916.
He read from a German newspaper which "spoke of a
group of mysterious persons who were gathered
around the young empress."73 A dispatch from
London on April 25th printed a portion of a letter
from the empress to Rasputin. Her flowery,
dramatic style condemned her. She wrote,
To lay one's head on your shoulder, to
say nothing-just to feel the joy of
peace and forgetfulness-what heavenly
bliss!...You will not leave me, for I am
weak and love you and have faith in you
One bold subtitle exclaimed, ."England Hails Revolt
as a Big Defeat for Germany"75 It continued to

relate the previous conditions which prevailed in
Petrograd explaining
[t]hat the court has been enshrouded in
a pro-German atmosphere and that the
emperor was a weak man under the thumb
of his wife and also under the
domination of several members of the
bureaucracy...whom were influenced by
and in the pay of German diplomats.76
Another reference to the Tsarina and her true
allegiances charged "Czar Nicholas of Russia has
abdicated. His empress, accused of plotting to aid
the German Kaiser, her close relative, is in
hiding."77 An accompanying article bore the title
"New Slav Offensive Seen in Influence of
Revolution."78 The dispatch reflected an
expectant mood that this new government would now
be able to continue with the war more effectively.
It clearly implied that now Russia had cleansed
herself, she could even organize an offensive
against Germany. This story blamed the lack of a
previous offensive on "certain Russian
bureaucrats" in the old regime.
March 19 proclaimed "a united Russia, and an
intention to fight the war to the bitter end, will

rise from the ruins of the old autocracy."79 As
opposed to the previous government with its German
sympathies, the new men in power were depicted as
"Russians who are anti-German and pro-Russian to
the core" which consequently made all future
activities to be "wholly to the benefit of the
entente powers." The new men in power wanted to
help the Russian people become a democracy with
freedom for all. Most importantly the new Russia
would continue the war effort and that was where
Americas concerns lay. If anyone of the Denver
Post or Rocky Mountain News audiences was
originally sympathetic to the autocratic
government, these continual references to
suspected ties to the enemy and suspicious
activity would almost certainly have altered
opinion in favor of the revolution and Provisional
On March 16, The Denver Post published an
interview at the Brown Palace Hotel in downtown
Denver with Count Leo Tolstoi's son, Count Ilya
Tolstoi. Although there was no mention of the
purpose for the Count's visit, his address was
listed as Tolstoy's Hill in Southbury,

Connecticut. He was employed as an author who
contributed material to the New York Evening Mail,
Century Magazine, and Cosmopolitan among others.81
He reinforced the prevailing opinion that the
Czar's government was riddled with German
sympathizers. As for the revolution, he stated he
"had hoped [it] would hold off until after the
war," and then continued on to say that it was
inefficiency piled on ignorance [that]
has driven the thing forward...that now
the war moves to a finish with victory
and no separate peace. The German is
done for in Russia.
Count Tolstoi's first statements did not emphasize
where his loyalties lay, but the rest of the
article revealed his sympathy was with the Duma
and the revolution. He assured his audience that
"the revolution that has broken on my country is
the best type of revolution, for it involves the
whole people, regardless of class."83
Count Tolstoi was an ardent supporter of the
President of the Duma Rodzianko. Throughout the
interview he characterized Rodzianko as the man
"who will bring order out of chaos" and who was

"utterly loyal to the Czar, but... opposed to"
the government. Tolstoi' then explained his
position and gave examples of men appointed to
important government positions who were presumably
German sympathizers. Trepoff [i.e.: Trepov] in
charge of railroads, Sturman [i.e.:Sturmer] as
Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Sefhomulinoff
[i.e.: Sulkhomlinov] the Minister of War were all
accused of pro-German sympathies. Tolstoi used
these examples to prove the disloyalty of the
Russian government to the Entente alliance. At the
close of the article Count Tolstoi reassured
Denver that the revolution "will soon be over."85
He reiterated his confidence in the wisdom of the
Russian people and stated they "have a conscience
and the knowledge that this is not the time to
The interviewer maintained a high degree of
objectivity throughout the interview until the
very last sentence when he noted "were it not for
the fact that he is the son of Count Leo Tolstoi
it is doubtful if Count Ilya Tolstoi would be able
to stand where he stands."87 The Rocky Mountain
News also featured a commentary from Count Ilya

Tolstoy, who reiterated the same information in
condensed form.
The light and dark imagery used throughout
both papers also increased public sympathy for
the new democratic path Russia had taken. They
depicted old, autocratic Russia as tenebrous and
depressing with no hope for the masses to improve
their lot. The titles "Dark forces were plotting
for Germany", "Democracy's High-Tide Breaks Age-
Old Chains from 'Darkest Russia'" and another
allusion "Subjects Awaken at Last" all created
a picture of unendurable gloom. In contrast, the
new government was received by its people with
"generous acclaim' and 'Dark Russia' was
"disappearing under the liberating blows of the
new regime." These references to the black night
of the past in contrast to the bright, new,
liberal, democratic hope for the future had
unmistakable effects. Audiences relying on The
Denver Post or The Rocky Mountain News for their
daily news would be quite sympathetic to the
revolution and hostile to the defunct autocratic
government, suspecting that it had been directly
influenced by the German enemy.

An article in The Denver Post on March 16
concentrated on Grand Duke Michael's long history
of liaisons and marital disappointments and summed
up his life with disapproval lamenting, "His iife
has shown little in the way of serious
achievement." A succeeding report declared that
Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovitch,
accepting the throne from his brother,
declares that he does so only with the
consent of the Russian people, who
should by a plebiscite establish a new
form of government and new fundamental
The article then continued to explain the
difference of opinion between the Duma leaders and
the representatives of the workingmen. The Duma
leaders wanted to put forward the program of a
regency under the grand duke whereas "the other
party," or various Socialists, were campaigning to
postpone any decisions on government until a
constitutional assembly was held.92 In the end
liberal democracy triumphed and The Denver Post
celebrated Michael's abdication as "releasing
Russia from its grip since the beginning of
history. "93

From coverage in the Denver papers it
appeared that Russia's ability to successfully
prosecute the war continued to be the major
criterion in evaluating the revolution. March 20
dispatches again assured their audiences of
Russia's intention to fight the war. The
Provisional Government issued a manifesto to the
Russian people and sections of it were printed
stating that the "government will faithfully
observe all alliances uniting us to other powers
and all agreements made in the past." It urged
the people and army to unite and save Russia by
"bringing the war to a victorious conclusion."95
The British Prime Minister, Lloyd George, speaking
of the Russian the House of Commons
was quoted as saying, "It was satisfactory to know
that the new government had been formed for the
express purpose of carrying on the war with
increased vigor. "96i The former Russian ambassador
to the United States declared that "One of the
greatest benefits [of the revolution] is the
sweeping away of the element of doubt concerning
Russia's earnestness in the prosecution of the
war."97 A small note at the end of the article

reported the confidence in a new growth of trade
between America and Russia which would result from
the revolution.
In the beginning of April 1917, news from The
Denver Post included accounts of Russia's new
confidence and military advances. Several
articles in early April's Post renewed faith in
Russia's fighting capacity, announcing, "TURKS
KAISER WITH THE BAYONET."99 Meanwhile, The Rocky
Mountain News printed a three-part series of
articles by Stanley Washburn, "a correspondent of
real ability and wide experience"100 on the Chicago
Tribune, detailing conditions which led to the
revolution. He explained that the "fall of Warsaw
[in late 1916] gave the Germans their first real
opportunity to launch their movement for an
independent peace [with Russia],"101 and that
very same day "there started in the Russian
capital a systematic campaign of pessimism and
false report that continued for weeks." Reports
flooded Petrograd "of Russian disasters and armies
surrounded" because "Russia had been sacrificed to

save the lives of the soldiers of the allies."103
Tsar Nicholas was exonerated of any German
sympathies while most of the blame was meted out
to a "number of pro-German sympathizers who have
stage-managed their sovereign"104 Washburn's
general tone was one of sympathy for the Tsar and
disgust for his conniving and "cynical
courtiers. "105

On 3 April in Russia, thirteen days behind
western calendars, Lenin returned from Switzerland
with the help of the German government who
"readily consented to send home socialists
dedicated to overthrowing a pro-Allied government
and ending Russia's participation in the war."106
For his part, however, Lenin's intentions were in
no way tied to Germany's concerns. His return
heralded a time of reorganization and strong party
leadership for the Bolsheviks. Until this time the
Bolsheviks had been supporting the Provisional
Government's aims of continuing the war and the
plan for a Russian offensive in early July.

In Denver, however, only a hint of the chaos
within Russia appeared in The Denver Post April 7
when Secretary of State Robert Lansing appealed to
the Russian government "to do everything possible
to bring about internal concord107 and continue
Russia's successful prosecution of the war.
Another report on April 11 printed a resolution
from Petrograd urging the Council [Soviet] of
Soldiers and Sailors delegates to support the
Provisional Government. It specifically requested
that the council "put an end to all dissension's
between workmen and employers in view...that
1 QO
disorganization of industry threatens the army"
and consequently the war effort. The resolution
requested a petition for an eight-hour workday be
postponed and the soldiers establish "a more
vigorous discipline on the basis of the new order
of democracy."
Although Denver papers did not mention
Lenin's return, they brought attention to the
peace advocates within the Russian government. The
News also published additional information that
"Socialists" [i.e. the Bolsheviks, Lenin's branch
of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party] had

come through Germany with special permission from
the German government. However, it gave no
specific details regarding names, organizations,
dates, or times of the alleged trip. These
"Socialists", or "labor deputies",
published a series of resolutions of a
character that leaves no doubt whatever
regarding their desire to upset the
provisional government and to bring
about the defeat of the Russian armies
and a dishonorable peace.110
It discussed the group's [Bolshevik] ties with
Socialists of different countries and the minor
position these "pacifists" held in the Congress of
District Councils of [Soviet] Workmen's and
Soldiers' Delegates.
Though the information available to the
public was prompt and detailed, the attempts to
give a well-rounded and objective picture of
events were seriously hampered by a desperate
desire for Russia to continue the war.
Consequently, many of the communiques discussing
negative news were accompanied by reports with a
positive viewpoint.

The April 11 article was the first serious
consideration of a possible separate peace. The
previously mentioned group of "labor deputies"
[i.e. Bolsheviks] opened up negotiations with
Germany to discuss peace terms on their own and
sent a delegate to Stockholm for that purpose.
The immediate American response was aid. A
Denver Post article entitled "Helping Hand of
Uncle Sam Offered New Russ Republic"111 mentioned
a loan to the Provisional Government as well as
other avenues being explored by the Americans.
Some sense of urgency pervaded a reference stating
that "Germany's principal object is either to
bring about a separate peace with [Russia or] to
stir up internal troubles and exert unusual
military pressure." A follow-up commentary m
The Post was printed some days later expressing
the same viewpoint. It named the United States as
the only country able to "preserve for the Russian
people that liberty which they have won after a
century of struggle."113 This duty was an
"obligation to freedom and to humanity" and must
rise against the "German conspiracy for the
restoration of the Romanoffs. 114 Contrary to the

threat of the restoration of autocracy, the German
threat was well documented. Reports that Petrograd
was in danger filtered in toward the end of the
month in an article which supported aid and
intervention. The dispatch described the enemy
preparations on the Dvinsk-Riga front and their
efforts to demoralize the Russian army with
propaganda inside the shells fired into Russian
The report then shifted to mention a problem
with soldiers' councils [i.e. Soviets] who "elect,
arrest and dismiss officers of various ranks"
which was regarded "as an undesirable practice"
and could invoke "serious consequences."116
However, these negative reports were only
tentative and sugar-coated accounts of the
internal unrest in Petrograd and the rest of
Russia. The Rocky Mountain News noted that the
"conflicts are being allayed and the number of men
at work is steadily increasing" because the "duma
labor commission has gone from factory to factory
in an endeavor to persuade the employees to come
to an agreement." Denver papers tried to
concentrate on Russia as the newest democracy

modeled after the United States. They portrayed
the baby republic as dependent on the help of
American money and all aid available.
In the midst of conflicting reports from the
situation in Russia, President Wilson appointed a
group of men headed by Elihu Root whose official
mission was to travel to Russia and determine the
need "for political, financial, transportation and
commercial advice and assistance."118 In addition
to Root who had no specific qualifications for the
job, the mission included
John R. Mott of Y.M.C.A. fame, Charles
R. Crane, an industrialist with some
experience of Russia, Cyrus H. McCormick
whose Harvester Company had wide
interests in Russia, and S. R. Bertron,
a New York banker.
Also sent were General Hugh L. Scott, Chief of
Staff, Rear Admiral James H. Glennon, an ordinance
expert who "succeeded admirably in his contacts
with the Russian naval people,"120 and Stanley
Washburn as Secretary of the Mission. The Root
Mission actually

had the double objective of assuring the
Russians of American sympathy in their
democratic experiment and of
ascertaining at first hand whether
Russia could be counted on to continue
as a strong factor m the war.
However, the mission only met with the moderates
in the government who tried "everything in their
power to convince the American Mission that they
were stable and that they could be counted on as
effective allies" in order for loans and aid.
Root and the other members of the
Mission got little impression of the
underlying strength of the extremists
and failed to realize how essentially
tenuous was the thread which held the
moderates m power.
According to one authority on the subject, the
Mission "was foredoomed to failure."124 It
underlined the fact that Americans knew woefully
little, about Russia. Without a better grasp of the
history of Russia the were unable to offer
effective help.

Lenin's return to Russia dramatically altered
the course of Bolshevik, and consequently Russian
destiny. He presented his "April Theses" to the
Petrograd Bolshevik Committee in which he
denounced the war as "imperialistic through and
through" and proclaimed that "[n]ot the slightest
concession must be made to 'revolutionary
defens ism'!...since the war on Russia's part
remains a predatory imperialist war. "12S The
soldiers and the masses clamored for peace above
everything and Lenin knew the importance of peace
to the party who would stay in power in Russia.
In May, Denver newspapers reflected the
changes in Russia and the different perspective
for both newspapers concerning Russia's ability to
continue fighting in the war. A great deal of
attention now centered on "radical leftist groups"
who were seen as instigating a separate peace with
Germany. They announced their belief that the war
was imperialistic in its origins and they could
not support it. The Post admitted that "Americans

did not pay much attention to the new peace move
until aroused by the danger that the council
[Petrograd Soviet] would drive Russia to a
separate peace."126 An article on May 2 in The
Rocky Mountain News quoted the Japanese Ambassador
Aimaro Sato warning, "IF RUSSIA FAILS, 5 YEARS OF
WAR." A few days later The News reported a
large demonstration in Petrograd against the
Provisional Government's assurances to the allies
that Russia would not "slacken her effort in the
common struggle against the central powers."
Another dispatch on May 11 reinforced fears of a
possible Russian collapse by stating that
Washington does not attempt to minimize
the dangers threatening...the Russian
provisional government... and the easy
possibility of there being negotiated a
separate peace between Russia and
May 15 revealed a shocking statement from A.
F. Kerensky, Minister of Justice, who "confessed
that his confidence had left him and that he
feared disaster."130 The report commented that
though Kerensky's declaration was "a trifle more

outspoken in its pessimism than the utterances of
other officials, [it] is not unrepresentative of
public opinion in Petrograd.,/131 The Post carried
theories that overtures to peace were instigated
by the Kaiser who was using certain Socialist
groups in an underhanded effort to stack the odds
for an immediate and decisive German victory.
The make-up of the "Socialists" was not fully
explained at that time, nor did reports delineate
exactly who was for or against the government or
how they worked in conjunction with each other.
Newspaper articles did mention the "extreme
letters"The Bolshevik section of the Social
Democratic partybut only in relation to their
refusal to "take a hand in directing the difficult,
affairs of the nation."132 The "Socialists" were
described as being represented by the Council of
Workmen's and Soldiers' delegates who also
declined to participate in ministerial affairs.
The reasons given by the council of deputies
originated "partly from precedent and partly
because it could not subscribe to a program of
continuation of the war."

By the middle of May information reached
Denver that the government and the "radicals" had
reached an agreement on three important points and
that cabinet reconstruction had begun. Those
issues were the "unity of the allies' fronts; the
fullest confidence of the revolutionary democracy
in the reconstructed cabinet [and] a plenitude of
powers for the government. "134 The United States
government approved a loan of one hundred million
dollars that same day to be spent on any supplies
needed for the war. The second purpose in the loan
was to reinforce the American conviction "that the
United States places no credence in rumors that
Russia is contemplating a separate peace with
Germany."135 Positive reports followed, stating
that Russia vowed, "FIGHT FOR FREEDOM TO END" and
The dispatches in each paper conflicted with
each other on an almost daily basis. A May 13
article in The Denver Post reported that a message
from the United States on conditions required to
receive a loan "decided the representatives of the
Workmen's and Soldier's committee to accept the
views of the provisional government."137 Yet, just

one day later it was announced that Alexander
Guchoff, [i.e.: Guchkov] Minister of War, and
General Korniloff, [i.e.: Kornilov] Commander of
the Petrograd garrison, had asked to be relieved
from their posts. Guchov maintained that his
decision was due to the impossibility of executing
his duties.
The last straw which led to his
resignation having been a demand by the
executive committee... that all his
orders be presented to the committee for
its endorsement.
It was assumed that General Kornilov's motives
were the same. On the southwestern front, reports
surfaced on specific details relating conditions
such as relaxing discipline, desertion and the
soldiers tendency to fraternize with the enemy.
The ill effects of the mood at the front were
reported by The Post as spilling over to the
"armies in the rear, along the railroads and in
the villages." The Provisional Government
released the news of their attempts to "amalgamate
the diverse interests" of the different parties
"which...have made an ordered and efficient

government in Russia impossible."140 In the very
same dispatch the government sent a message
stating they were confident the country would be
rescued if these groups could work together.
Consequently, the public was aware of the
almost insurmountable tasks facing the success of
the Provisional Government. Yet, also they were
encouraged that the government just might succeed.
Denver newspaper reports were ambiguous and
conflicting. On one hand reports continued to
emphasize the growing strength of "the left". They
implied the possibility the revolution might
become more radical. One dispatch contained an
excerpt from a manifesto issued by the Provisional
Government to the Russian people. It denied any
responsibility for starting or being involved with
the war and blamed the capitalist countries and
the Tsar for the bloodshed. At the same time it
tried to persuade the people and the army that
Russia must fight on for survival.
Do not forget soldiers and comrades that
the regiments of William are destroying
revolutionary Russia. Do not forget that
the loss of free Russia would be a

catastrophe not only to us but to the
working classes of the entire world.141
The image of the soldiers in the trenches
defending Russia's liberty was repeated at various
times in different dispatches. All but one
newspaper reported that the government was
fighting for newfound freedom. On the other hand
hints were also appearing describing the
disintegrating morale in Russia. Throughout May
articles referred to the "extreme left parties"
encouraging the soldiers to fraternize with the
Germans, undercutting government efforts to
revitalize morale to fight. Top-level resignations
and the increasing weakness of the Provisional
Government in contrast to the "power of theorists
preaching disorder and disarmament in the face of
an invader"142 could only cause alarm in
Denverites. Reports of an alliance between the
Provisional Government and the Council of
Workmen's and Soldier's deputies must have been
received by the Allies with apprehension.
During the month of May, 1917, Denver
newspapers characterized events in Russia as a

"whirling maelstrom."143 News from Russia appeared
to be fast moving and contradictory so that even
experts contradicted themselves. However, in
August, amid the general pessimism concerning
events in Russia, the Root Commission returned
with encouragement. Elihu Root stated, "I have
abiding faith that Russia, thru trial and
tribulation, will work out, create and perpetuate
a great, free and self-governing democracy," that
would be "remade in the spirit of our fathers,
competent to accomplish its divine mission and
carry liberty and justice throughout the world."144
Accompanying the mission was Basil Soldatyenkoff
[sic] as a special envoy from the Russian
government who also stressed that Americans should
have faith in the revolution. He asserted that
"the two needs of fhe new Russia were time and
friendly sympathy."145 A quote from vice-president
of the United States Federation of Labor James
Duncan, affirmed another common but misguided view
that "[t]he fight now is between [the return of]
autocracy and democracy."146 The delegation's
optimism contrasted with the reports that related
the unstable position of the Provisional

Government and the unrest of the Russian populace.
Hints of a capricious state of affairs continued
with the resignation of all but one of the cabinet
ministers. This new development resulted from a
"complete breakdown of the negotiations to bring
the constitutional democrats into the cabinet."147
On August 5th a revised view of events in
Russia appeared in The Denver Post. The Post
reported that Premier Kerensky was invited to form
his own cabinet. Representatives from various
political parties in Russia declared that "a new
cabinet should adhere to the program of reform and
consolidation issued by Premier Kerensky on June
1st."148 Although Premier Kerensky and his party
presumably were cooperating with the other
factions of the government, Denver readers also
had impressions of an unstable atmosphere in
Russia. This situation would certainly promote an
unfavorable image for the taxpayers of Denver who
were investing their money, sons, and husbands in
the war effort.
By September the newspapers related that the
Provisional Government was again in a very
precarious position; the Bolsheviks were gaining

strength. The Denver Post carried one explanation
for these confusing events, that of Professor P.
J. Rosenbach, president of the Association of
Psychiatrists. Rosenbach averred that "the birth
of political freedom has been driving many persons
insane."149 He claimed the revolution itself
produced a mental disease called "mass psychosis."
He expounded on this theory by explaining that
during the first month of the revolution the "rate
of morbidity from mental disease rose an
astonishing extent"150 and that these people and
their families had been entirely normal
previously. The psychosis could be detected by
such symptoms as "infatuations with committees,
delegations and demonstrations."151 The last
point in this report referred to the French
revolution and the similar occurrence of the
disease but failed to mention any commonality with
the American revolution.
During this time in Russia, Alexander
Kerensky had appointed Lavr Kornilov as Commander-

in-Chief of the Russian armies. Kornilov also
emerged as the leader of the conservatives who
desired stern discipline in the army and a
military dictatorship instead of the coalition of
socialists. Kornilov declared, "It is time to hang
the German supporters and spies with Lenin at
their head and to disperse the Soviet...once and
for all."152 However, when his forces tried to move
on Petrograd, the socialists "mobilized workers
and soldiers to defend the revolution."153
Kornilov's forces were wooed to the opposite side,
the military coup fizzled, and Kornilov and his
supporters were arrested.
At the turn of August to September, 1917,
Denver newspapers announced the new "peril to the
country" Articles told of the confusion in
Petrograd. There had been near mutiny from the
Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armies, General
Kornilov. Premier Kerensky stated that "[o]n
September 8th, a member of the duma, [Duma] M.
Lvoff, [Lvov] arrived in Petrograd and called on

me, in the name of General Korniloff, to hand over
all civil and military powers to the
generalissimo, who would form a new government at
his pleasure."154 Kerensky then ordered Kornilov to
"hand over his functions" and announced it was his
to take the urgent, indispensable
measures necessary to cut at the roots
all attempts against, the supreme power
and rights of the citizens won by the
In a more conciliatory tone Foreign Minister
Terestchenko [Tereshchenko, sic] explained, "My
personal opinion is that General Korniloff's
revolt is not dangerous and is partly due to a
misunderstanding, which will be cleared up."156
Further analysis of Kornilov's attempted coup was
issued. A dispatch on September 10th reported on
Kornilov's subsequent resignation and noted that
Russian embassy officials believed it was due to
elements of the council of workmen's and
soldiers' delegates opposed to
enforcement of the death penalty for
mutinous soldiers and that...the new
commander will modify the death penalty

The fateful month of November began with a
statement in both newspapers from Premier Kerensky
Russia entered the war early and she is
now worn out by the strain... He said
that Russia claims as her right that the
other allies now shoulder the burden of
the war.158
This statement created a great deal of alarm. The
American State Department claimed his words were
"a Macedonian cry for help." Kerensky echoed
this evaluation in a succeeding interview,
declaring that if Americans desired to help Russia
in her time of need, they could "send boots,
leather, iron and money."160 He emphatically
denied that Russia was out of the war, stating the
question was utterly ridiculous.

Attention in Denver was still concentrated on
the Kornilov rebellion, watching with dismay the
divisions of power within the Provisional
Government growing even wider. The Bolsheviks too,
recognized the weakness, calculated their chance,
and seized power. On November 5 Denver papers
reported that "representatives of the whole
Petrograd garrison passed under the guidance and
influence of the Bolsheviki and described them as
the "radical pacifist group."161 And though
dispatches streamed in confirming the Bolsheviks
had seized power, both papers regarded them as a
temporary government. The Rocky Mountain News
printed an interview with Harold Swift who had
recently returned from Russia as part of the
American Red Cross mission. He stated that the
"[rjevolt in Petrograd does not mean all Russia is
revolting...We must not attach too much
significance to these disturbances." He
explained that all Russia needed was aid and moral
encouragement; it would take Russians a long time
to achieve organized democracy.
During the next few days articles pertaining
to Russia still discussed Premier Kerensky's

avowed determination to continue the war. Though
they were small, references to Trotsky, Lenin and
the Council of Soldiers' and Workmen's Delegates
began to appear in Denver papers. Leon Trotsky,
identified as "President of the Central Executive
Committee" was mentioned as sending a "request to
the Petrograd garrison not to execute any military
orders except those approved and signed"163 by that
committee. Little by little the Denver public was
fed disturbing pieces of information that alluded
to the crumbled authority of the Provisional
Government. In the true vein of democracy,
Kerensky's government had decided to arrest
members of the Committee instead of resorting to
armed force. However Kerensky lost power to the
Bolsheviks. Headlines on November 8 announced
BOLSHEVIKI" and "Capital Betrayed to Extreme
Radicals by Garrison, and Taken Without
Both The Rocky Mountain News and The Denver
Post reported that the deposed Premier Kerensky
had fled to Moscow, but they suggested that since
the Bolsheviks were not highly regarded throughout

the country, their coup would not last. The press
dangled that hope before Denverites until Russia
was embroiled in civil war.
The Bolshevik government invoked suspicion
and horror. Their first directive to work for the
"immediate conclusion of the war for which purpose
the new government must propose an armistice to
the belligerents."165 At this point The Post
provided a detailed explanation of the recent
history of the Bolsheviks who were at that time
called "Maximalists". "It [the Bolshevik Party]
first sprang into prominence in the early days of
the revolution under the leadership of Nikolai
Lenine" who was "put under the ban" due to his
"ultra-radical preachments" and "suspected pro-
German leanings."166 The Provisional Government
had ordered him to be arrested but did not succeed
in apprehending him. The Post mentioned that Lenin
was at that time in hiding; the article claimed
that his chief lieutenant, Leon Trotzky, [sic]
"whose home was in the United States when the
revolution broke out but who sailed for Russia
shortly afterward," was in charge of the
Bolsheviks. The strength of the party was

described as lying "in the support... obtained from
the military, chiefly in the Petrograd garrison."
In turn, the military had functioned "with little
interference from their [Provisional]
government."168 This fact was especially
surprising due to public knowledge of the intended
coup d'etatNovember 2.
After the takeover, the revolutionary
committee issued a directive proclaiming that "the
officers who do not openly join the movement must
immediately be arrested." They warned the
soldiers to watch their men in command to see
whether they immediately embraced the new
The Post report noted that the revolution was
brought about without bloodshed. This gave the
impression of a relatively mild change in
government, that the Provisional Government was
almost absent from the capital and exerted very
little if any influence over the Petrograd
military or its citizens. The Bolsheviks "took
possession of the telegraph office and the
Petrograd telegraph agency...without disorder"
thereby controlling the information system. They

were also able to influence the whole Petrograd
garrison achieving a coup with no resistance. The
deposed Premier Kerensky fled to Moscow disguised
as a sailor. There was basically no opposition
from any corner. All of this happened within a few
days after Kerensky had vowed to continue the war
in spite of hardships.
The rollercoaster images conveyed confusion
and instability in Russia. Undoubtedly it was
difficult for the citizens of Denver to relate to
the kaleidescope of events. After the October
Revolution when the Bolshevik government announced
its first objective was to drop out of a war most
Denverites supported, the popular feeling must
have been anything but sympathetic. The official
opinion as well moved along these same lines; the
United States government decided not to recognize
the Bolshevik government. According to Denver
papers, this resolution was taken because it was
impossible "to know just who is in power in the
various departments." The Russian embassy m
Washington released a statement that expounded
more definitively its views on the recent events.

The Maximalists are in no way
representative of the whole Russia. If
they have succeeded in seizing power and
will form a Maximalist government, such
a government cannot express the will of
the nation. Consequently the Russian
embassy in Washington will refuse to
accept its authority.
Ironically, the Allies ended up with a
government in Russia that was again suspected as
sympathetic to Germany. The Denver Post relayed a
statement by Herman Bernstein, Russian author and
journalist averred, "The Lenine cabinet cannot
last long" because those who "suffered for Russian
freedom will hardly submit to the dictatorship of
Lenine, who came to save Russia with remedies made
in Germany."173 The Post quoted one Fedor
Fedorovitch Foss, representative of the deposed
Kerensky's ministry of commerce and industry who
happened to be in Denver, stressing Bolshevik
duplicity. Foss declared that a
great number of apparently poor German
laborers have come into Russia and
established expensive newspaper plants.
Who has paid for this
equipment?...Another indication that the
German hand is in the present muddle is
the fact that...Nicholas Lenine entered
Russia thru Germany from Switzerland on

a special train furnished free by the
, 174
Prussian government.
Seemingly, events were repeating themselves.
Russians were betraying Russians with German
complicity but this time no one could blame
autocracy for it. As far as a Denver Post or Rocky
Mountain News subscriber was concerned, who could
trust any Russian group in power? Could this have
contributed to the isolationist attitude
prevailing throughout the United States after
World War I?
It is interesting to note feelings of
animosity toward any type of government that was
not democratic and the way in which the press and
consequently the public viewed those differences.
Although both Denver papers made attempts to
report information objectively, neither newspaper
was able to remain impartial. The Tsarist
government came under a cloud for suspected pro-
German sympathies due to the fact that the Tsar
and German monarch were related. After the Tsar
abdicated, Americans felt more at ease with Russia
as an ally because she ostensibly was a democracy.

Yet Denverites might also have worried whether the
Provisional Government would be able to
effectively rule and fight in the war as well. The
second revolution confirmed their suspicions.
Readers of The Rocky Mountain News and The Denver
Post would almost certainly have been anxious
about the new and impertinent Bolshevik government
whose first goal was to drop out of the war.
In addition, the situation in Russia was
simply confusing. The experts had predicted a new
beginning for Russia, then as time progressed they
became pessimistic as to whether the different
factions could all work together. The Bolsheviks
had seized power and experts predicted their
downfall would be inevitable. The American public
was reassured that Russia would hold up her end of
the war even after the reports of the Bolshevik
coup appeared. The biggest concern of the men and
women reading these articles on the Russian
revolution was its effect on the war, especially
on those American soldiers sent from home to fight
overseas. Almost every report reflected this
concern. And although the government approved a
loan, sent the Red Cross and the Root Commission

to aid Russia, the newspapers implied that basic
American interest was to save our own American
soldiers by keeping Russian armies fighting the

The year 1918 was filled with bloodshed and
starvation. In rural Russia the masses were
"exhausted by war, overwhelmed by poverty, and
bent upon revenge"175 for the land they knew
should be theirs. Here began the period of "the
expropriation of the expropriators" in Russia's
cities and villages. Lenin and his Bolsheviks
declared the transition from capitalism to
socialism and proceeded to nationalize all banks
and industry.
The political problem escalated when Lenin
dissolved the Constituent Assembly on January 5,
1918. Elections had been held on November 12,
1917, after the Bolshevik takeover and resulted in
a Socialist Revolutionary victory at the polls.

When the assembly convened on January 5, 1918, the
Bolsheviks closed the meeting place. Lenin had no
desire for the Bolsheviks to share power with any
other political party in Russia. However, he was
forced to postpone his plan to exterminate all
other Socialist parties.176 The Germans began an
advance on February 18 (the Western calendar was
adopted on 1 February 1918) and occupied the
Ukraine, called the "breadbasket" for its fertile
soil. The mood in Russia changed to a "climate of
war fever"177 aimed against the invading Germans as
opposed to the "bourgeoisie", as Lenin would have
liked. However, the Japanese in Siberia, the
Allies in Murmansk, Archangel, and Vladivostok
were all foreigners on Russian soil. Even after
the Brest-Litovsk Treaty was signed on 3 March
1918, many socialists and communists continued a
pro-war policy. Lenin's determination to gain time
to regroup in order to eliminate all other
political opposition was one of the largest

factors in Russia's commitment to the onerous
treaty with Germany.178
Meanwhile, the Red and White armies were
brutally fighting, each trying to exterminate the
other and taking thousands of civilians along with
them. The civil war grew bloodier each time the
Reds and Whites faced one another. Their "passions
led men to commit atrocities unheard of during the
battles of the First World War" and "no one
emerged from three years of such cruelty and
terror unscathed."179 General Anton Denikin,
Commander of the White forces, later wrote that
"[n]ot only did the experience cripple the body,
[i]t deformed the soul as well."180
Many of those who escaped mutilation, mass
graves, or death by firing squad were consumed by
starvation. A
tenth of the freight cars and a third of
the locomotives on Russia's railways had
broken down even before the Bolsheviks
inherited them from Kerenskii's [or
Kerensky] government.181

With unreliable transportation from the grain-rich
countryside to the cities, the daily bread ration
in towns and cities all over Russia fell below a
quarter pound in February, 1918.182 The Bolsheviks
sent special detachments to comb the countryside
for grain to feed its starving populations, but
transportation and those peasants who owned the
grain proved to be unwilling participants in the
new social order.
While this was a period of survival for most
Russians, Americans were continuing their hopes
for the revival of an eastern front. Even after
the Brest-Litovsk Treaty was signed in March 1918,
the Allies concentrated a great deal of effort,
money, and military forces toward realizing that
Denver newspapers reflected the drive to
reopen an eastern front. They viewed the Bolshevik
government as a faction only temporarily in charge
of Russia and conveyed that attitude by printing

any reports of their expected downfall. On
February 17, 1918, The Rocky Mountain News quoted
an unnamed man who visited Petrograd as saying
"[t]hat the power of the Bolsheviki in Russia is
waning" because most of the soldiers in
Petrograd were not Bolsheviks. He said when these
groups would eventually leave the big cities for
their own farms and villages, the truth of
Bolshevik support would be obvious. Consequently
"the opponents of Nikolai Lenine and Leon Trotsky
are beginning to pluck up courage."
The News also ran another article just a few
days later titled "Bolshevik Rule Called
Failure." Professor S. N. Harper, head of the
Department of Russian Language at the University
of Chicago and an authority on Russia, lectured
members of the Mile-High Club at a banquet in the
Brown Palace Hotel in Denver and explained the
reasons for potential Bolshevik collapse. Harper
described scenes of complete chaos when
during a battle on the eastern front
last July, according to a military
observer with the Russian army...a
regiment was ordered to charge a hill.
As they reached the base of the hill the

regiment halted and soon after the
observer noticed that the entire
contingent were holding their hands
above their heads. They then gathered up
their arms, and charging the hill
captured it...When asked by the military
observer why they hesitated at the base
of the hill and held up their hands the
soldiers are said to have replied that
they were taking a vote as permitted
them by the Bolshevik government, to
learn if the majority of the regiment
desired to make the charge.
Reports describing the economic and social
situations in Russia also contributed to the
impression of a government out-of-control and
ready to topple over. On February 18 The Denver
Post printed an article declaring an "All-Night
Petrograd Fight Results In Death of 100 And City
Is Torn By Rioting." Also m February, typhus
broke out in Petrograd and "was attributed to
starvation conditions and the return of soldiers
whose clothing presumably carried the germs of
infection." Though both papers mentioned these
conditions sporadically, neither dwelled too much
on the human tragedy of genocide, starvation, and
the effects of these on a country trying to
recover from its part in a world war.

While printing reports of Russia in chaos,
Denver newspapers emphasized the possible re-
emergence of a Russian fighting force. Reports
hinted at the Bolshevik collapse and their
inability to govern the country. Russia was geared
to welcome another new, "more conservative element
among the revolutionists" who would pledge to
fight the war just as Kerensky's Provisional
Government had promised. In February The Denver
Post headlines declared "RED REGIME FALLS IN NEW
REVOLT."190 It reported rumors that the SR's, under
the leadership of M. Tchernoff, [sic: Chernov] had
overthrown the Bolsheviks and
expected that the allies would state
their aims clearly and explicitly and
would try to harmonize them with the
democratic principles of the Russian
because as Chernov himself stated, "Russia could
act as a magnet to draw the German forces and
prevent their being thrown to the western
front." Although erroneous, this was certainly
welcome and long hoped for news. Finally, the
Bolsheviks were reported as out of power and the

new government would continue the struggle against
Germany. However, although succeeding articles
mentioned rioting, pillaging, and the near
collapse of the "Entire Economic Structure" no
more references were made to the fall of the
Bolshevik government.
Throughout February 1918, the Bolsheviks were
still in power, a great deal of the Russian army
had been demobilized, and truce negotiations,
which had started in November 1917, were still
being discussed between Russia and Germany. The
Russian army could not act as a very powerful
magnet. Trotsky refused to sign a formal peace
treaty and declared Russia to be out of the war.
Germany invaded the Ukraine which had forced
Russia's armies to continue the fight, however
temporarily. As a result, headlines in The Rocky
Mountain News reported on February 15th "Slav
Peace Is Declared Sham Move" and "Demobilization
Order Held Up; Russians Are Expected to Re-enter
1 AO
War." Indeed, in Russia, imminent German
invasion soon would which force renewed
hostilities and a 'war fever' climate.

On February 20 The Denver Post printed the
opposite. Headlines proclaimed
Bolsheviki, Finding Germans Won't Trifle
With Them Any More, Abjectly Yield to
the Kaiser's Terms, Including Poland,
Lithuania, Moon Island and a Gigantic
Indemnity Placed at $4,000,000,000.193
The tone of this headline conveyed a hostile
attitude toward the ally who just canceled her
obligations. Just one day before, The Post ran an.
article on Russia's "REPUDIATION OF DEBTS
complaints were voiced by allied and neutral
diplomatic representatives and "indicated a silent
understanding with German imperialists." A Post
February 12 report announced the "Slavs Owe
United States $187,779, 000 "196 Previously, on 4
February, The Rocky Mountain News reported that
"scores of millions of dollars' worth of non-
military supplies" being "certain commodities,
such as foodstuffs, medicines and shoes" were
being shipped directly to Russia that same week.
Denver taxpayers probably resented a country who
simultaneously disavowed their debt, pulled out of

the war, and then accepted American food
While some articles centered on the rebirth
of the Russian army, other articles in the same
newspapers prepared Denver's public for a peace
between Russia and Germany and the possible
effects of this on the United States. The Post
WESTERN FRONT"197 because the
147 Austro-German and Bulgar divisions
on the Russian front which will entirely
be released by a separate peace, are
regarded as already having been stripped
of their effectives which have been
transferred to the western front.
Military experts also were quoted as saying "that
Germany would be obliged to keep some of these 147
divisions in the vast conquered territory for
garrison purposes." Previous Allied fears of
Russian grain being captured and utilized by the
German army were quelled in The Rocky Mountain
News by a February 13 article that asserted doubt
"as to the extent to which the agricultural
resources of the Ukraine or of Russia can be

brought to the aid of the German people in the
near future" because of the "[f]ailure of the
Russian transportation system."200 Denver
newspapers discussed the readily apparent
economic, social, and military hardships in Russia
but saw them in light of the way those events
would affect America.
In March 1918, news of Russia in The Post and
The Rocky Mountain News concentrated on the Treaty
of Brest Litovsk and possible Japanese
intervention in eastern Siberia. That region of
Russia held vast stores of Allied war supplies
which needed to be protected from the Germans. The
newspapers reported concern for the fate of the
war supplies as well as the effects on the Russian
people of "[a] radical departure from established
rule of international law" by the "forcible entry
into a neutral country."201
Both Denver papers supported Japanese
intervention in Siberia. The Rocky Mountain News
explained that "Japan regards Russia's collapse
and surrender to Japan's enemies as involving the
forfeiture by Russia of the latter's sphere in
northern Manchuria." Further,

the new Russian question touches upon
the most fundamental problems before
Japan, and that the occupation of
Siberian territory would not concern
merely the protection of the great
quantities of supplies furnished Russia
by America and the allies, stored at'
Vladivostok, but involve the vital
question of Japan's national defense.
On 4 March The News printed a widespread opinion
that "America will keep a free hand with respect
to Japan's probable action in Siberia" because "it
is recognized that any objection on the part of
this government to Japan protecting her own
interest would be seriously resented."203 The
Denver Post also relayed a favorable attitude
toward the Japanese position. It quoted the
opinions from three newspapers in London, The
Times, The Daily Chronicle, and The Daily News
that favored
Japan's proposed action without
qualifications and the plea is made in
some quarters that she ought implicitly
to be trusted and given a free hand.204
The Japanese were to be trusted because

[tjhere is every reason to believe
Japan, in return for a free hand,
desires and is prepared to give the
allies every assurance of
disinterestedness and of the single-
minded purpose to act swiftly and
efficiently solely in the joint allied
and not to further her own borders.
The Treaty of Brest Litovsk was signed on
March 3, 1918. Three days later The Post printed
an article whose title exclaimed "Evacuation of
Petrograd is commenced as Slav Patriots Plan to
Reject Peace, oust Lenine Regime and fight
Germans."206 This report was true in a sense. Many
Russians at all points of the political spectrum
favored resistance toward German aggression.
However, Lenin, a determined politician, "got his
way by the twin strategy of threatening to resign
and proposing a resolution calling for the party
to begin immediate preparations for a
revolutionary war."207 However, what he really
wanted was a revolutionary war against all other
political parties, not the Germans. So there were
Slav patriots who planned to reject the peace
treaty, oust Lenin, and fight the Germans.

There were few articles discussing the treaty
between Germany and Russia because it did not
immediately affect Denver. Russia was already out
of the war, the Treaty of Brest Litovsk was only a
formal announcement. More attention was spent on
the Siberian situation, because Allied food and
military stores were kept in Vladivostok. Every
month the situation in Russia changed, but
Denver's concern stayed the same.
In April 1918 reports about Russia continued
along the same line as in March. The Denver Post
and The Rocky Mountain News discussed the
possibility and probability of the Japanese or the
British intervening in Siberia. The media reported
this might occur, however, not just for the
military stores in Vladivostok but because the
Russian government was seen as cooperating with
the German enemy and either unwilling or unable to
prevent the murder of a Japanese soldier. Josiah
Ward wrote an editorial in The Denver Post on 9
April. At his death six years later, The Rocky
Mountain Herald hailed Ward as "a delightful
delineator of sketches, a fluent writer of news
and an historical student and orientalist of note"

whose "volume 'Come With Me Into Babylon' shows
literary merit."208 Ward declared that
Japan's appearance upon the horizon of
the great conflict may hurt the feelings
of the alleged Russian government, but
it will prevent the Germans from
launching submarines in Japanese waters.
The feelings of a government which is
openly controlled from Berlin and aided
in the dismemberment of its own country
is not worthy of. much consideration,
anyhow, notwithstanding our lofty
altruism.209 filtered through announcing that
[w]hile the Russian Bolshevik
authorities deny it, says a dispatch
from Harbin by way of Tokio,
[i.e.:Tokyo] to the Daily Mail, [in
London] there are 60,000 armed German
prisoners mobilized at Tomsk, Siberia,
and destined for the Far East.
It was apparent from these reports that
Russia had thrown in her lot with the enemy. But
conflicting reports were also numerous. The Rocky
Mountain News printed a story on April 5 that
"[s]everal Russian warships, including four
submarines, in the harbor of Hango, [near Finland]
were blown up by their commanders, who feared

Also The News reported
capture by the Germans."
the Germans "seized at Poltava 54,000 tons of
grain which they are importing to Germany."
The situation in eastern Siberia was treated
with caution because as The Post related "unless
the situation at Vladivostok is handled with the
greatest tact, grave and far-reaching trouble may
be expected." The article further explained that
because "Lenine is believed to be peculiarly
susceptible to German influence" the "utmost care
will be necessary to avoid giving a pretext for
the declaration of war which he threatens."214 It
was "assumed that German influences were working
unceasingly to bring about an open rupture between
the Bolsheviki and Russia's late allies" and the
United States government certainly wanted to avoid
that. However, officials in Washington "feel that
they cannot withhold full approval of the action
of the Japanese and British" because of
evidence that local Bolsheviki officials
are either powerless or unwilling to
punish the guilty parties [for the

murder of a Japanese soldier] and afford
adequate protection to foreign life and
property. 16
The reasons for intervention in Siberia varied
from protecting property and personnel to
preventing a military pact between Russia and
Another turning point in the Russian
revolution occurred in May 1918. The widespread
Russian belief that the Brest Litovsk Treaty was
only for "breathing space" and not meant for
permanence seemed at last justified. The Germans
staged a coup in the Ukraine, overthrowing the
democratic Rada government and installing right-
wing dictator General P. Skoropadskii who annulled
the 1917 land reform to "secure the grain
deliveries demanded by the Germans."217 Many in
Moscow felt the same would happen in Russia and
demanded a break with Germany and alliance with
the Allies. Consequently, the Bolshevik Central
Committee met to discuss the "implications of the

German action in the Ukraine. "21B These meetings
lasted from 6 May until May 13, 1918. The final
verdict passed in Lenin's favor for an economic
treaty with Germany in part due to his
determination and also because the Russian
ambassador in Berlin reported "the threat of
German intervention had passed. "219
Lenin put forth his plan "to buy off the
threat of a German coup by proposing a trade deal
to the voracious German imperialists. "22 He
the resumption of economic relations
with Germany, a large loan from German
banks to the Soviet government, the
payment of interest on this loan with
Russian raw materials, large soviet
purchases in Germany, concessions to
German companies for the exploitation of
Russian natural resources and German
assistance in constructing railway and
modernizing agriculture. In return
Germany would have to refrain from
interfering in Russia's internal
economic affairs and its economic
relations with the former states of the
Russian Empire, recognize the
nationalization of the banks and foreign
trade, guarantee the delivery to Russia
of half the total iron ore production of

the Krivoi Rog region of the Ukraine,
and agree a border with the Ukraine
which ceded the Donets Basin to
In short, Lenin's purpose was to secure German
protection no matter the cost to "build socialism"
at home that in reality meant starting a civil war
to ensure Bolshevik supremacy. That war began on
May 13, 1918.
During May 1918 Denver contained scarce
information regarding news of Russia compared to
the previous year. However both The Rocky Mountain
News and The Denver Post reflected the closer
relationship between Germany and Russia. The Post
wrote that "Soviet troops at Rostov offered little
resistance to the Germans when the latter occupied
the city and little damage was done to the
buildings there." In an article on May 6 The
Post hinted that demands to the United States by
Soviet Foreign Minister Tchitcherin
[i.e.Chicherin] "were coincident with the arrival

of Count von Mirbach, the German ambassador in
Moscow" and included
[f]irst, the removal of John K.
Caldwell, American consul at
Vladivostok: second, investigation of
his part in the alleged negotiations
with the American legation at Peking,
and third, the attitude of the American
government toward the soviet republic.
The Bolsheviks were "making full use of the
Siberian incident" which regarded an "alleged
participation of Americans, French and British in
a Siberian counter-revolt plot in connection with
which the Bolsheviki put plainly the question of
the recognition of their government."
Both newspapers printed reports of a German
VIRTUALLY HUN COLONY."225 German ambassador Count
von Mirbach delivered an ultimatum "which embodied
demands of a character apparently calculated to
turn Russia virtually into a German colony" by
the settlement of the prisoner question,
complete cessation of arming troops and

the disbandment of units recently formed
for the occupation of Moscow and other
cities of Great Russia.
An article in The Post explained that though
feelings were running high against the invaders,
"[e]ffective resistance will be difficult without
outside assistance, because of the lack of
technical- experts and supplies" which the United
States could offer. Cooperation between the Allies
and Russia was certainly viewed as within grasp
due to Germany's actions toward the Ukraine and
whether "the entente allies will recognize the
Bolshevik government." The News report ended on
the ever-present note of hope by explaining "that
many enemy detachments have violated the orders of
the central authorities and crossed the frontiers
of the Ukraine" and must be disarmed. To combat
this situation, the Don and Kuban regions were
declared to be in a state of siege which was
probably welcome news in Denver. The Post quoted
Sir George Buchanan, the late English ambassador
to Russia, as encouraging the Allied audiences not
to despair

but look ahead and wait patiently for
the hour of reaction. We must be
prepared for that moment and hold out a
helping hand to Russia. If Germany is
permitted to control Russia's enormous
man power, natural resources and
unexplored wealth she would become
mistress of the east, and whatever
conditions we might impose upon her in
the west, she would have won the war.230
The idea of some form of an eastern front was
kept alive by continuous reports of either the
possibility or an actual fighting force within
Russia. Though May in Russia, especially the
economic treaty signed on May 13, was an important
turning point in the emergence and final
domination of the Bolshevik party, Denver seemed
unaware of events, their significance, and their
consequent effects. At the end of May the citizens
of Denver still believed in a possible
rapprochement between the Bolsheviks and the
In the months after Lenin signed an economic
agreement with Germany on May 13, Allied

representatives began working furiously for the
Czech Legion and socialist groups to join Allied
troops in an attempt to overthrow Bolshevik forces
and renew an eastern front. The Allies were hoping
to accomplish four aims:
the seizure of Archangel to prevent the
formation of German submarine bases in
the area: the seizure of Vologda and its
railway connections.; to reach Vyatka
via Kotlas, and thus control the vital
Siberian trade; and to rally
'influential Russians'.231
Although Allied forces could control Archangel
alone, the Czechoslovak Legion was needed to help
accomplish the other three. Just at this crucial
strategic period, however, the Czechoslovaks
mutinied. After the May 13 decision between Russia
and Germany, the Bolsheviks altered their
attitude toward the Czech Legion from one of
cooperation to hostility due to Germany's
"objections to the existence of an Allied military
force in neutral Russia."232 As a result, Trotsky

demanded, the legion be disarmed. At the same time,
the Allies decided to split up the legion. The
second division "was to continue its eastward
journey to Vladivostok and France" as originally
planned, but the first division,
the bulk of which was scattered along
the railway system from Penza to
Chelyabinsk, was to proceed to Omsk, and
thence, performing a U-turn, west to
Vologda and north to Archangel.233
Though the Allies and Bolsheviks had opposite
intentions for the future of the Czechoslovak
Legion, both the order to disband and separate the
two divisions seemed to be part of the same trap
from the legion's point of view. The legion
eventually cooperated with the English troops in
Russia, but the delays in action and the varied
groups involved in the venture eventually caused
its demise. Hence, their mutiny and problems of
various participating political groups with very