A Prisoner of the Reds


By Francis McCullagh, Published in 1920



By Francis McCullagh, Captain, Royal Irish Fusiliers. A gripping eyewitness account of the two tumultuous years of 1919 and 1920 in the Soviet Union—a period which saw the collapse of the major anti-Communist “White” army in the face of a determined “Red” army assault, the murder of Tsar Nicholas II and his family, and the early organizational stages of the Bolshevist state.

These earth-shaking events were witnessed and recorded by famous international journalist Francis McCullagh—who was also, in secret, a British Army Intelligence Officer deployed into Russia by the British government as part of its aid package to the anti-Communist forces during the Russian Civil War.

Starting at the time of the major rout of the White Russian forces in November 1919, McCullagh vividly describes the infamous chaotic retreat across Siberia by the White Army, their capture by the victorious Reds, and his successful “transition” to a journalist, hiding his Military Intelligence post from the victors.

Keeping up his journalist guise, he then proceeded to make his way back to Moscow—stopping along the way at the scene of the recent murder of Tsar Nicholas II and his family. There, with the aid of interviews with eyewitnesses of that massacre, and his own observations on the site, he produced the first reconstruction of those tragic events.

It would be wrong, however, to read his account as being sympathetic to the old regime in Russia, as his full and frank descriptions of the atrocities and errors committed by the White Russian armies show only too well.

Arriving in Moscow in 1920, McCullagh then proceeded to provide first-hand accounts of the inner workings of the newly-formed Bolshevist state, its ideologies, and its aims. His disguise as a journalist paid dividends, and offices in the Soviet Foreign Ministry and Media Departments opened their doors to him and provided much material, including personal interviews with many of the leading figures of the day.

Eventually his activities aroused the suspicions of the Soviet Secret Police, the Cheka, and he was arrested and imprisoned in the infamous Lubyanka police headquarters.

There, only thanks to errors made by his captors, his disguise held, and he was released. Shortly afterward, he was repatriated from Russia to Britain. Back home, he was able to provide the British government with extremely detailed information about Soviet military capabilities and tactics, including Trotsky’s plans for the Red Army, which Commissar Sverdlov had outlined to him in person.

McCullagh’s historically important work does not shy away from addressing the dominant Jewish role in early Bolshevism, and the fact that the murderers of the Tsar, the chief censors of the Soviet State, and most Bolshevist high-serving functionaries were Jews.

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