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It began during World War 1, amid the February Revolution that was fuelled by major military losses, and saw members of the Duma – Russia’s parliament – assume control of the country, forming the Russian Provisional Government. A period of dual power ensued, during which the Provisional Government held state power while the national network of Soviets, led by the Bolsheviks, had the allegiance of the lower classes and, increasingly, the left-leaning urban middle class. Led by Vladimir Lenin, they campaigned for an immediate end of Russia’s participation in the war, and turned workers under their control into the Red Guards – later known as the Red Army – over which they exerted substantial control.
The situation boiled over with a military coup in October 1917, Bolshevik-led armed insurrection by workers and soldiers in Petrograd successfully overthrew the Provisional Government, transferring all its authority to the Soviets.
Despite President Woodrow Wilson’s public posture against interfering in the affairs of other nations, he and Secretary of State Robert Lansing decided to hire a Cossack army and depose Lenin, a bombshell book has claimed.
‘The Lenin Plot: The unknown story of America’s war against Russia,’ recounts the gripping tale.
Author Barnes Carr told Express.co.uk exclusively: “I first became interested in the Lenin Plot when I was a student at Tulane.
“At the university library, I met an amiable, brandy-sipping old gentleman who had lived in Paris after World War 1 and knew some Americans who’d fought in the US war against Russia.
“That was news to me. I had never heard of that.”
Mr Carr began digging and soon found news stories relating to this covert battle between Russia and the US.
He knew he had stumbled across something big, and so took to the archives and other libraries to gain first-person accounts in interviews, memoirs, letters, and autobiographies.
What Mr Carr learnt may contribute to one of the most shocking conspiracies ever penned.
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He explained: “After the Bolshevik coup of October 1917, party boss Vladimir Lenin announced plans to take Russia out of the war.
“It was revealed later that this was a secret deal the Bolsheviks had struck with Germany.
“Berlin had helped finance the Bolsheviks with the understanding that if Lenin seized power in Russia he would reciprocate by withdrawing from the war.
“German army divisions could then be moved to the Western Front, the main battleground in the war.
“The Allies feared defeat on the Western Front. US Secretary of State Robert Lansing, a bored pacifist sprang into action and used his office as a bully pulpit to push his plan to stage a coup in Russia and get the country back in the war.”
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Mr Carr detailed how leaders in Washington were apprehensive, but soon they spurred on by backing from their allies.
He added: “Russia was a former ally. The Allies had not declared war on Russia. This was dangerous political territory.
“But there was the economic angle. Russia was the second-largest country in the world, and her cities were largely undamaged by the war.
“Once peace was restored, Russia would emerge as a huge market for Western goods. The US, Britain and France wanted to gain financial influence in Russia as soon as possible, ahead of Germany, which had the same idea.
“The French, eager to recoup 13billion francs the Bolsheviks had stolen from them, were willing partners early on.
“The British ambassador to Russia, Sir George Buchanan, was recalled to London in January 1918, so England was not deeply involved at first. “That changed after Bruce Lockhart, a special agent for the British Foreign Office, returned to Russia in January 1918.”
Mr Carr explained how the plan began to unravel to overthrow Lenin and install their own Allied-friendly dictator.
But by 1918, the Lenin plot had two arms – politically and military.
Mr Carr explained: “At first, the Allies planned to simply arrest Lenin, Trotsky, and other members of the Soviet government and ship them to London to stand trial for treason.
“The charges would be based on an investigation by the provisional Government’s counterintelligence office into the deal Lenin had struck with Berlin.
“But then Sidney Reilly, a Russian adventurer hired as a freelance spy by the British Secret Intelligence Service, arrived in Moscow.
“Mr Reilly and Mr Savinkov advanced the Lenin Plot into an assassination plan, a ‘duel to the death’ in Boris’s words.
“Finally, the Allies hired a Latvian force to support the coup. Captain Francis Cromie, a naval attache at the British consulate in Petrograd, and a saboteur conducting clandestine ops against the Soviets, was approached by a Latvian army officer. “
Documents showing Wilson approving the Lenin Plot early on can be seen in Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS).
In a telegram, Mr Lansing told Mr Wilson that an Allied-friendly “military dictatorship” needed to be installed in Russia to get the country back in the war.
Wilson replied: “This has my entire approval,” to the Ambassador to Great Britain on December 12, 1917.
Mr Carr says it is evidence that the Cold War started long before most history books claim.
He told Express.co.uk: “If a Cold War can be defined as an attempt to defeat another nation militarily, politically, economically or culturally without a formal declaration of war, then it didn’t begin after the Second World War, as the media and some historians would have us believe.
“It actually began with the Allied invasion of Russia and the attempt to assassinate Lenin.
“East and West diplomatic relations went into a long deep freeze after that, marked by Soviet spy ops to steal Western military secrets, including radar, the proximity fuse, and the A-bomb.
“There was a brief respite during the Second World War, but Russia was not considered a true member of the Allies.
“It was more a case of strange bedfellows. Nor did the Cold War end with the fall of Soviet Communism.”
Lenin was shot in August 1918 by Fanny Kaplan, a hardened Socialist Revolutionist, but Boris Savinkov, an Allied agent, said he gave Kaplan her pistol.
He was seriously wounded but survived the attack.
The assassination attempt set off a wave of reprisals by the Bolsheviks against the Social Revolutionaries and other political opponents.
Thousands were executed as Russia fell deeper into civil war, until 1923 when the Bolshevik established the Soviet Union.
On January 21, 1924, Lenin would die of a brain haemorrhage at the age of 54.
‘The Lenin Plot: The Unknown Story of America’s War Against Russia’ will by published by Pegasus Books in the US on October 6.
The UK edition, under the title ‘The Lenin Plot: the untold story of America’s midnight war against Russia,’ will be published by Amberley Books on October 15 – purchase a copy here.
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