White movement

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(Redirected from White armies)

The White movement, whose military arm is known as the White Army (Белая Армия) or White Guard (Белая Гвардия, белогвардейцы) and whose members are known as Whites (Белые, Беляки) or White Russians (a term which has other meanings) comprised some of the Russian forces, both political and military, which opposed the Bolsheviks after the October Revolution and fought against the Red Army (as well as the nationalist Green Army and the anarchist Black Army) during the Russian Civil War from 1918 to 1921.

The designation White had two meanings. First, it stood in contradistinction to the Reds—the revolutionary Red Army who supported the soviets and Communism. Second, the word "white" had monarchist associations: historically each Russian Tsar was solemnly called the white tsar, and the monarchist ideal during the civil war was known as the white idea.

Strictly speaking, no monolithic "White Army" existed; lacking central coordination, the White forces were never more than a loose confederation of counter-revolutionary forces. The officers who made up the core of the White Army mostly upheld monarchist ideals, but some elements of the White Army drew support from many other political movements, including democrats, social revolutionaries, and others who opposed the October Revolution; at other times and in other places, the same groups supported the Red Army instead. There was also a third group known as the Green Army who opposed both. The rank-and-file troops of the White Army included both active opponents of the Bolsheviks (many Cossacks, for example) and enlisted apolitical peasants. At times, the Western Allies of the Triple Entente and interventionist foreign forces provided substantial assistance to White Army units. This prompted some people to see the White Army as representing the interests of foreign powers.

The Russian Civil War between Whites and Reds raged until 1921. The White Army, in intermittent collaboration with interventionist forces from outside Russia (Japanese, British, Canadian, French, American) held sway in some areas (especially Siberia, Ukraine and the Crimea) for periods of time and put considerable bodies of troops into the field. But they failed to unite or to co-operate effectively amongst themselves, and the Bolshevik Red Army eventually gained the upper hand.

White activity re-concentrated in migr circles. Considerable numbers of anti-Soviet Russians clustered in Berlin, Paris, Harbin and Shanghai, setting up cultural networks which lasted until the time of World War II. Thereafter White Russian activity found a new principal home in the United States.

Prominent persons of the White movement

See also

de:Weie Armee it:Armata Bianca ro:Mişcarea Albă zh:白军 he:הצבא הלבן ja:白軍

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