Historical files of the American Expeditionary Force, North Russia, 1918-1919
Using These Materials
- The collection is open for research. All items originally given some level of security classification were declassified prior to the microfilming project.
- United States. Army. American Expeditionary Forces, North Russia.
- Microfilm of reports, studies, memorandums and other records from the Records of the American Expeditionary Forces (World War I), 1917-23, record group 120 in the National Archives.
- 2 microfilms (positive)
- Call Number:
- 89348 Ca Microcopy
- Finding aid created by National Archives and Records Service, 1973. The introductory remarks were written by Patrick Garabedian and Timothy K. Nenninger.
- Scope and Content:
Creation of Historical Files
The Historical Branch, War Plans Division, 1918-21, and its successor, the Historical Section of the Army War College, 1921- 42, created the Historical Files of the AEF, North Russia. These historical units collected, preserved, indexed, and published documents of historical value relating to the American effort in World War I. In the course of its duties the Historical Branch began collecting and classifying documents of the North Russian intervention about 1920. The first page or cover sheet of many of the documents in this series bear the stamp "HISTORICAL BRANCH" and immediately below the stamp the file designation "57" and another number. The Historical Section of the Army War College continued to add to the Historical Files of the AEF, North Russia, during the 1920's and 1930's. The records comprising the Historical File came from two major sources: Headquarters of AEF, North Russia, and the Military Intelligence Division of the War Department General Staff. In addition, records from several other War Department agencies are included in the series reproduced on this microfilm publication.
The present arrangement of these documents is according to the so-called War Department historical decimal classification scheme, a filing system devised by the Historical Section of the Army War College, which despite its name lacks certain basic elements of a true decimal classification system. According to this scheme each file designation consists of two numbers separated by a hyphen. The number before the hyphen, the master number, represents the organizational entity to which the document was assigned; the number following the hyphen, the subject number, denotes the subject matter of the document. For example, the report of the Chief Surgeon of AEF, North Russia Jonas R. Longley, on the work of the Medical Department in North Russia bears the file designation "23-43.8." The number "23" is the master number for AEF, North Russia, and "43" is the subject number for the Medical Department. The number "43.8" is the designation for Medical Department history and reports. A descriptive list of folder contents and their file designations follows these introductory remarks.
None of the documents reproduced on this microfilm publication are now security-classified, but at one time or another many of them were. Some documents were classified as secret or confidential at the time of their creation and had security-classification markings stamped, typed, or written on them. The Adjutant General's Office reviewed the security classification of this entire series in March 1947 and marked each folder, file cover, or document with a rectangular stamp "CLASSIFICATION CANCELLED" or "CLASSIFICATION CHANGED TO CONFIDENTIAL." Between 1947 and 1970 National Archives and Records Service (NARS) staff members reviewed and declassified a few documents as a result of specific requests made by researchers. The remaining documents were declassified in preparing this microfilm publication.
Description of Records
Among the records included in this series are the following: reports of officers of the American Military Mission to Russia concerning the morale, efficiency, and operations of the AEF, North Russia; compilations of correspondence and issuances of Allied Headquarters and of Headquarters, AEF, North Russia, documenting conditions and events occurring in the Archangel-Murmansk area; British daily and weekly intelligence summaries pertaining to military and political affairs in Russia, Siberia, Germany, and Eastern Europe; and strength reports and returns, orders of battle, and maps and charts showing the strength and deployment of Allied and Bolshevik troops in North Russia.
- Biographical / Historical:
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, signed March 15, 1918, between Russia and Germany, removed Russia from the side of the Allies, added to the political chaos within Russia, and caused additional political and military problems for the Allies. On June 2, 1918, the Allied Supreme War Council voted for military intervention at Murmansk and Archangel in North Russia by a force of mixed nationalities under British command. The original objectives of the expedition were limited: to establish a rallying point for those Czech troops inside Russia who were still loyal to the Allies, to guard the supplies sent to the northern ports for the Imperial Russian Army, and to prevent the establishment of German naval bases at the northern ports. On July 17, 1918, President Woodrow Wilson agreed to furnish American troops for the intervention.
On August 9, 1918, the 339th Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion of the 310th Engineers, 337th Field Hospital, and 337th Ambulance Company, all elements of the 85th Infantry Division, were officially designated the "Murmansk Expedition." On August 27 the expedition, consisting of 143 officers and 4,344 enlisted men under the command of Lt. Col. George E. Stewart, sailed from Newcastle-on-Tyne in England and arrived at Archangel on September 4 where, with other Allied forces, it became part of the command of Maj. Gen. F. C. Poole, British Army. American troops soon began to deploy along a front 450 miles long, extending from Onega in the west to Pinega in the east, and at some points 200 miles distant from Archangel, the site of Headquarters, AEF, North Russia, and also Allied Headquarters. Between September 1918 and May 1919 troops of AEF, North Russia, suffered over 500 casualties in combat against the Bolshevik 6th and 7th Armies.
In addition to the troops composing AEF, North Russia, there were two other American contingents in the area. The American Military Mission to Russia, headed by Col. James A. Ruggles and including several assistant military attaches, reported on significant political and military events to the War Department and to David R. Francis, U.S. Ambassador to the Provisional Government of the Northern Provinces. The North Russia Transportation Corps Expeditionary Forces, consisting of the 167th (Operations) and 168th (Maintenance) Companies, Transportation Corps, were sent to Murmansk in March and April 1919 to operate and maintain the Murmansk Railway so that a line of withdrawal for the icebound Allied force at Archangel might be kept open. Maj. Edward E. MacMorland commanded this contingent, which operated and maintained the Murmansk Railway from its headquarters at Soroka.
Early in 1919 President Wilson and his chief advisers decided to withdraw all American forces from North Russia. During May 1919 Brig. Gen. Wilds P. Richardson, who had assumed command of all U.S. forces in North Russia on April 9, began to concentrate AEF, North Russia, around Archangel preparatory to return to the United States via Brest, France. By June 27 the last of AEF, North Russia, had left for Brest. On July 28 the North Russia Transportation Corps Expeditionary Forces left Murmansk for Brest, and on August 5, 1919, Headquarters, AEF, North Russia, was discontinued.
- Acquisition Information:
- Purchased from the National Archives and Records Service in 1989.
No further additions to the collections are expected.
- Rules or Conventions:
- Finding aid prepared using Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
- Additional Descriptive Data:
In addition to the general files of the AEF, North Russia, that can be found among the Records of the American Expeditionary Forces (World War I), 1917-23, Record Group 120, there are numerous documents relating to American activities in North Russia among the records of the American Section of the Supreme War Council, 1917-19 (reproduced as NARS Microfilm Publication 923) in the same record group. Another large series containing much information on the American intervention in North Russia is the general correspondence of the Military Intelligence Division in Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs, Record Group 165. The 1910-29 decimal file of the Department of State in General Records of the Department of State, Record Group 59, includes extensive documentation on conditions in North Russia during the Russian Civil War. The following three segments of the decimal file relating to Russia and the Soviet Union have been reproduced as microfilm publications by NARS: Records of the Department of State Relating to Internal Affairs of Russia and the Soviet Union, 1910-29 (M316), Records of the Department of State Relating to Political Relations Between the United States and Russia and the Soviet Union, 1910-29 (M333), and Records of the Department of State Relating to Political Relations Between Russia (and the Soviet Union) and Other States, 1910-29 (M340). Another important segment of the decimal file available on microfilm is Records of the Department of State Relating to World War I and Its Termination, 1914-29 (M367).
- Alternative Form Available:
This collection has not been digitized by the Bentley Historical Library. As of February 2010, the collection is available in digital form (for a fee) at http://www.footnote.com/documents/19387125/us_expeditionary_force_north_russia/
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Using These Materials
The collection is open for research. All items originally given some level of security classification were declassified prior to the microfilming project.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Copyright is not held by the Regents of the University of Michigan. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.
- PREFERRED CITATION:
[item], folder, reel, Historical files of the American Expeditionary Forces, North Russia (National Archives Microfilm M924), Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan