In 1917 the world was turned upside down by a popular uprising in Russia followed by a Bolshevik coup d’état. Suddenly the socialist revolution was underway. Capitalism was morally and materially exhausted by war, and history seemed to be on the side of communism at last.
But as Michael Occleshaw brilliantly shows the clash between communism and capitalism was never as clear-cut as later historians claimed. Far from putting their faith in historical inevitability, the Bolsheviks were shrewd and flexible operators. They used an alliance with the Kaiser’s Germany to protect their infant regime and to destroy domestic challengers. The British, French and Americans, meanwhile, actively sought to cooperate with the new government.
Occleshaw’s wealth of fresh information deepens and enriches our understanding of this crucial period in world history. From the secret negotiations among the Bolsheviks and the capitalist powers, to Britain’s plans for a separate Cossack state, he reveals a history darker and more dangerous than anyone could have imagined.