Dreams of a Great Small Nation: The Mutinous Army that Threatened a Revolution, Destroyed an Empire, Founded a Republic, and Remade the Map of Europe

Dreams of a Great Small Nation: The Mutinous Army that Threatened a Revolution, Destroyed an Empire, Founded a Republic, and Remade the Map of Europe

by Kevin J McNamara

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Overview

"The pages of history recall scarcely any parallel episode at once so romantic in character and so extensive in scale." -- Winston S. Churchill

In 1917, two empires that had dominated much of Europe and Asia teetered on the edge of the abyss, exhausted by the ruinous cost in blood and treasure of the First World War. As Imperial Russia and Habsburg-ruled Austria-Hungary began to succumb, a small group of Czech and Slovak combat veterans stranded in Siberia saw an opportunity to realize their long-held dream of independence.

While their plan was audacious and complex, and involved moving their 50,000-strong army by land and sea across three-quarters of the earth's expanse, their commitment to fight for the Allies on the Western Front riveted the attention of Allied London, Paris, and Washington.

On their journey across Siberia, a brawl erupted at a remote Trans-Siberian rail station that sparked a wholesale rebellion. The marauding Czecho-Slovak Legion seized control of the Trans-Siberian Railroad, and with it Siberia. In the end, this small band of POWs and deserters, whose strength was seen by Leon Trotsky as the chief threat to Soviet rule, helped destroy the Austro-Hungarian Empire and found Czecho-Slovakia.

British prime minister David Lloyd George called their adventure "one of the greatest epics of history," and former US president Teddy Roosevelt declared that their accomplishments were "unparalleled, so far as I know, in ancient or modern warfare."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781610394857
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 03/29/2016
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 416
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Kevin J. McNamara followed the path taken by the Czecho-Slovak Legion shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, traveling almost 2,000 miles along the Trans-Siberian Railway. He was subsequently awarded research grants by the Earhart and Tawani Foundations to acquire and translate from Czech to English first-hand accounts by the men who had served in the legion, which were published in Prague in the 1920s but were suppressed following the Nazi and Soviet conquests of Czecho-Slovakia.

A former journalist for Calkins Media Inc., and a former aide to the late U.S. Congressman R. Lawrence Coughlin, McNamara is an Associate Scholar of the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia, PA and a former contributing editor to its quarterly journal, Orbis: A Journal of World Affairs. He earned a B.A. in journalism and M.A. in international politics from Temple University, where he was a student of the noted military historian, Russell F. Weigley. He lives in Glenside, PA. Follow him at kevinjmcnamara.com.

Table of Contents

Foreword xiii

List of Maps ix

Acknowledgments xi

Foreword xiii

Introduction Losing a Great War 1

Chapter 1 Under Enemy Eyes 13

Chapter 2 Inside Enemy Lands 51

Chapter 3 Masaryk's Exile 75

Chapter 4 Russia Unravels 115

Chapter 5 The Odyssey Begins 147

Chapter 6 The Seizure of Siberia 181

Chapter 7 The Ambivalent Intervention 221

Chapter 8 The Moment of Truth 255

Chapter 9 The View From Siberia 289

Conclusion 317

Notes 331

Bibliographical Essay 369

Index 381

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