History of War

ARMISTICE THE AFTERMATH

“THE NEAT, HAPPY ENDING OF WORLD WAR I WAS ANYTHING BUT FOR PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD”

Down through the generations, the familiar story told of the Great War is retold time and time again. Unfortunately, the neat, happy ending of World War I was anything but for people all over the world. Across Eastern Europe and the Middle East fighting continued, on and off, well into the 1920s, as actors on the ground sought to either enforce the political agreements made at the end of the war, or to overturn or influence decisions they felt were unfavourable to them. Here, we look at a handful of conflicts in the post-war period, reminding us that the end of one war too often simply sets the scene for the next one.

When WWI ended, the armed forces of most belligerent countries were still scattered all over Europe and in parts of the Middle East and Africa. Many of the German armies that had been left strewn across Eastern Europe and western Russia simply chose not to head home, but instead operated as independent armies pursuing their own political objectives. The West Russian Volunteer Army was one such unit. Nominally allowed to remain in the Baltic after the war to carry on the fight against the Bolsheviks in Russia, this force chose to largely ignore this mandate and instead charted a more independent path.

Commanded officially by General Pavel Bermondt-Avalov, a Cossack from Tiflis in Georgia, the West Russian Volunteer Army launched a campaign to secure an independent state or fiefdom of its own, briefly announcing the creationcommander. The West Russian Volunteer Army did not last long, however. After successfully invading Latvia and occupying at least part of Riga, it was defeated and driven back, with the support both of British warships firing from Riga’s harbour and reinforcements from Lithuania and Estonia aiding the Latvians.

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