Independent confederation

October 27, 2017

This week in 1917 two days after Lenin had proclaimed a Bolshevik Revolution, Cossacks formed an independent confederation.

This was the origin of the Volunteer Army, one of the main White groups fighting the Red or Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War.

Supporters of the ousted Kerensky fought back against the Bolsheviks in Moscow and St Petersburg.

The Latvian Rifle Division defeated them in bloody street battles.

By week’s end, 4000 Whites and Reds were dead.

Eventually, the Russian Civil War, the Red and White Terrors that accompanied it and the 1921 Famine that was caused by it would claim upwards of nine million lives.

In the meantime, Trotsky attempted to negotiate a peace treaty with the Germans.

The Germans’ price for a treaty was one third of all Russian territory and 75 per cent of its industry and industrial resources.

Now that Gaza had fallen, General Allenby’s forces began to force its way northwards towards Jerusalem.

The advance was fast moving.

First Ascalon and then Jaffa fell this week.

The Arab army under Prince Faisal and Lawrence protected the flank of the British and Empire forces. A demoralised Turkish army was on the run.

The French Government fell this week.

In its place, Georges Clemenceau, ‘‘the Tiger’’ formed a new Government.

When asked his policy, he replied: ‘‘On internal policy, I wage war. On foreign policy, I wage war.’’

With a determination to see Germany utterly crushed, he would be opposed to imposing a reasonable peace treaty on Germany at Versailles.

Meanwhile, Victorian State Elections had seen Alexander Peacock’s Liberals returned to government by a crushing 44 to 21 majority.

Before all results were in, the Kyneton Guardian indulged in wishful thinking with a headline that read ‘‘Peacock Ministry Defeated’’.

The Prime Minister announced at Bendigo this week that he intended to introduce conscription.

It would start after another referendum was held.

Single men, not in an essential service and who did not have a brother or father already in the AIF, would be conscripted by ballot.

Only where voluntary enlistments fell short of 7000 per month needed for reinforcements, would men be forced to enlist to make up the number needed.

In Benalla, to raise money for the Red Cross, a group of Benalla’s young women dressed up as slaves. Six dressed as male slaves.

In front of a log cabin, they presented a song, dance and comedy show. In form, the show closely mimicked minstrel shows that had toured Benalla and Victoria in recent years. They raised $60.

— John Barry, Anzac Commemorative Working Party, Coo-ee — Honouring our WWI heroes

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