chapter  2
52 Pages

The Development of British Policy

The Bolshevik Revolution could hardly have come at a worse time for the British-and for the Allied cause in general. It was clear that the Bol­ sheviks, who had always opposed the war against the Central Powers more unambiguously than any other Russian political party, were likely to make a separate peace with Germany. It was equally clear that the resulting trans­ fer of hundreds of thousands of German troops to the West might well spell defeat for the Allies. “The Germans,” British Prime Minister David Lloyd George recalled, “had held the Western Front for two years against a combination which was 50 per cent, stronger than their own as far as numbers were concerned.”3 Having fought the Allies to a draw under con­ ditions of marked inferiority, they might now, for the first time since 1914, get the chance to face them with an actual numerical advantage. At least until the arrival of large American forces, an event not expected for many months,4 the prospect of outright defeat was a distinct possibility.