The Forgotten Fight: A Diplomatic and Military History of the American Expeditionary Force Northern Russia, 1918-1919
The American entrance into World War I instituted a fundamental change in the nation’s handling of foreign policy. The established precedent of isolationism was rooted in Washingtonian affairs and further emphasized by the policies of the Monroe Doctrine and Roosevelt Corollary. President Woodrow Wilson, by choosing to engage in a European war, created a milestone in American history by sending troops across the Atlantic to “repay Lafayette’s debt.” However, while World War I shaped American relations with western Europe, it also played an important role in Russian-American relations with Wilson’s decision to intervene in the Russian Civil War. Like his Fourteen Points at the Treaty of Versailles, Wilson asserted the legitimacy to intervene in Russia through pro-democratic rhetoric. This historic decision not only marked one of the first pro-democratic interventions in American military history, but it became the foundation for containment strategy during the Cold War twenty years later.
Furthermore, this paper will look to highlight and bring forth the stories and testimonies of those who fought in the American Expeditionary Force in North Russia (AEF-NR). Examination of the American leaders in the region as well as the geographical situation will address why the AEF-NR’s intervention was far more violent than that of the American Expeditionary Force of Siberia, telling the story of the ‘Forgotten Fight’ and its significant effect on American-Russian foreign relations.