The Control Over the Trans-Siberian Railway as a Motive for Britain's Participation in an Allied Intervention in the Far East and Siberia in 1917-1919 and Its Role in the Operation (Based on the Memorandum "Siberia" by George Nathaniel Curzon (December 20, 1919))
The article deals with the problem of control provision over the Trans-Siberian Railway as a motive for Britain's participation in an Allied intervention in the Far East and Siberia and evaluates its role in this operation. The work is based on the facts and judgments contained in the memorandum "Siberia" by George Nathaniel Curzon, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, dated December 20, 1919. The memorandum has not been previously described and researched in the domestic historiography. Besides the text of the memorandum, the source base includes the minutes of the meetings of the British War Cabinet, the memories of W. Graves, the commander of the American expeditionary force, and of J. Ward, the chief of the British expeditionary detachment, and some other sources of personal origin. Works by N.E. Bystrova, F.D. Volkova, R. Ullman, A.I. Utkin, N.A. Halfin and other researchers were also used. The main research methods were comparative and narrative. The comparative method made it possible to compare the memorandum with some other documents from the National Archives of the United Kingdom, as well as with the sources of personal origin important for the research topic, and confirm its analytical, resumptive nature. Since some of the documents, including the memorandum "Siberia", have not been previously investigated and described in the domestic historiography, the narrative method was widely used in the study. First, the author examines the main issues: Curzon's approaches to the Eastern policy of Britain; Russia's place in the British Eastern policy; control over globally important railways as an element of Britain's Eastern policy. Then the author reviews the provisions of the memorandum relating to the Trans-Siberian Railway and the motives for Britain's participation in the intervention in the Far East and Siberia, as well as the data on the participation of the United States, Japan, and Britain in the operation, and, on this basis, investigates the specificity, forms of participation and role of Britain in the intervention in these regions. The author concludes that, in fact, Britain became the main political driving force that led to the Allied intervention in the Far East and Siberia. The active position of Britain regarding the intervention in the Far East and Siberia was based on the tasks to oppose Germany during the war and at the same time to form and maintain Britain's long-term Eastern policy under the new conditions. The control over the Trans-Siberian Railway could be an effective instrument to overcome these challenges. A possibility to participate in the allied control over the Trans-Siberian Railway was a weighty motive for Britain to intervene in Eastern Russia. Its role in the operation was political and pragmatic.