Triggering Intervention:

Woodrow Wilson and the

American Military Expeditions to Russia




David M. Kudzia

Senior Individualized Project

Kalamazoo College



Table of Contents

Chapter Page
Preface iii
Causation 1
The Prime Suspect and His Motives 3
Descent into Chaos 13
Enter the Reds 19
Grasping for a Solution 25
Lost Hope 29
Inching Closer 32
Decision in the Arctic 37
The Legion’s Ordeal 39
Justifying Intervention 42
Planning the Expeditions 46
“The situation is getting beyond our control…” 49
Democratic Motivations, Chance Triggers 53
Selected Bibliography 57





            When historians write, they know that “there are roadways not to be traveled, armies not to be attacked, walled cities not to be assaulted.”  No work can hope to incorporate every relevant fact or theory.  This examination of the American expeditionary forces to Russia lacks many things, such as discussion of domestic politic movements and in-depth analysis of the Allied war aims in Russia.  Instead, its purpose is to arrange some of the documentary fragments so that new perspective on the process of executive decision-making can be obtained.  Though countless pages have been filled in attempts to teach leadership and judgment, I am of the opinion that such a venture is folly.  Trying to draw generalized conclusions that are universally applicable can only lead to mimicry and disaster.  The study of past leaders and their decisions should, instead, provide a deeper appreciation of the difficulties of command and authority.  Given the difficulties that have arisen from shallow understandings of events, it is perplexing that history is not held in higher regard today.  This work would not have been possible without the contributions of many people over an extended period of time.  I owe my first introduction to this material to Dr. Roy Rogers, who shared his personal interviews of former “Polar Bear” expedition members with me.  Documentary research would have proved exceedingly more difficult without the help of the Western Michigan University library staff, especially those in the Government Documents division.  For providing direction and advice on the development of my topic, I owe many thanks to Dr. Tania Maync and my Senior Individualized Project advisor, Dr. James Lewis.  Lastly, without the patience and understanding of friends and family in enduring countless hours of my expositions on esoteric subjects, I would not have survived to finish this project.  All mistakes, omissions, oversights, and misinterpretations should be accredited to me alone.



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About the Author

David M. Kudzia, age 21, is expected to graduate in June 2008 from Kalamazoo College with honors having a major in History, with concentrations in Early and Modern European History, and a minor in Japanese.  He has lived in Hikone, Japan during his junior year and has received "honors" status on his Senior Individualized Project: "Woodrow Wilson and the American Military Expeditions to Russia."

The story of the American Expeditionary Forces in Russia first became a subject of interest through Dr. Roy Rogers of St. Clair County Community College.  Later classes at Kalamazoo College concerning Interwar Europe and modern China furthered a desire to study the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union from its beginning.

Besides history, David's interests include Kodokan Judo and computer design.  Hailing from Port Huron, Michigan, David plans to attend Loyola University Chicago School of Law in pursuit of a Juris Doctor degree beginning in August 2008.