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The Czech Legion
It was July 6th, 1918, the dull cold hung in the air. The people of Vladivostok sat in their houses and ate breakfast, when the Czech Legion broke the garrison. Bullets rang out, but in a few hours, the Czech’s seized the port city of Vladivostok. Declaring it an Allied Protectorate. All though little is known about this extraordinary unit, its journey across Eurasia had a profound effect on history, which continue to echo into the modern day.
The sounds of the bullets that had just been fired hung in the air as people tried to make sense of the events that had just conspired.
Somehow, the Czech Company, had crossed Russia into the far east. And now occupied the Russian Port of Vladivostok, with their tons of gold. But their occupation was not the amazing part, as in this case, it truly was the journey that was amazing.
The Czechs began their 9000 kilometer journey after the Bolsheviks signed the treaty of Brest-Litovsk, taking Russia, who the Czech’s had been fighting for, out of the war. The Czech’s had sworn fealty to Tsar Nicholas II, the last Romanov tsar, who had by now been forced to abdicate. After a bloody 5 day retreat they began their slow train ride on the Trans-Siberian railroad. The Czech’s were taking a train to a Russian Port on the Baltic, where they would be ferried out to France to help fight the Germans. After the Germans demanded that the Soviets derail (Literally) the entire operation, the Soviets accepted, as they feared that the Germans would attack. They attempted to close the railroad, but the Czechs resisted and fought the Bolsheviks who were trying to cut them off.
A war had now erupted between the Czechs and the Russians.
The Czechs rode the railroad all the way across Siberia, seizing cities along the way. They almost freed the Romanov’s who had been imprisoned in Yekaterinburg, were ordered shot because the Czech legion was only a few hours away from the city. Along their journey the Czech’s stole the tsar’s gold in Kazan.
Although this group is little known in World war 1 history, it has a profound effect on the Bolshekiv revolution. The governments of the entente used their troubles as a casus belli on the Bolsheviks, when the entente intervened in the Russian revolution, in an attempt to stop the red tide from spreading throughout Europe. In 1918, a coalition army of 90,000 men landed in Vladivostok. Their goal was to hold the city long enough so they could rescue the Czech Legion, and bring them to fight on the Western front in World War 1. But these plans wouldn’t last. In November, world war 1 ended, before the Czech’s could embark to France. Czechoslovakia had been freed in the treaty.
But, to the despair of the legion, one of the first actions of the new Czechoslovak government, was for the legion to remain in Vladivostok.
They remained there to aid the Entente in the Far east. But, the Entente failed to tame the red tide.
By 1920 the White-Russian forces had collapsed, and the Entente was withdrawing troops.
The Czech legion struck a deal with the Bolsheviks, that they would be allowed time to evacuate Vladivostok, in exchange for the Czarist gold. The Czech legion evacuated Vladivostok, (With a boxcar full of Czarist gold which they had hid from the Bolsheviks)
The Czech’s returned to Czechoslovakia, having achieved their goal of freeing their homeland, they slowly faded into obscurity.
Although most have never heard of the Czech Legion, it had an immense impact on history. Their existence warranted the allied intervention in the war, and unified Russia against a common enemy. Their efforts in holding back the red tide, only increased its potential energy.
And as the potential energy increased to huge amounts, the German’s struck again, and the red tide again was released. As it slammed into Europe, and spread across the lands of the German Reich, the allies landed in Normandy. As the red tide drowned the Germans, and pushed their corpses back to Berlin, the Allies took over West Germany. And as the red tide again began to collect potential energy, it again released, in a series of coups, and a half-century long battle ensued, and in the center of this battle, the world hung on a shoestring, waiting for the detonation.
But in 1989, the red tide finally began to recede, and with it the Soviet union was pushed back into its borders, and in 1991, the red tide, crept further into their own borders. in 1991, the tide that had once been crashing into the shores of every nation on every continent, now failed to control Moscow. As it receded, all of the things it had taken away floated back. All of the things it had done, evaporated. Bringing on a new era, an era of peace and prosperity to the world.
Would all of this had happened without the Czech legion, probably not. The name of this group isn’t well known, and probably never will be. But although their names are unknown, the effects of this group, will echo through history and into the future for centuries to come. And as the echo begins to silence, it will already have set off 100 more.
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