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Friday, 7th March, 2014
A lot of energy is used by researchers to persuade the authorities to release classified documents concerning the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Is it possible that the CIA and the FBI hold documents that will provide evidence that will reveal the real killers of Kennedy? If they had existed, which I think is unlikely, would they not have been destroyed?
I have recently been investigating a case where the British, French and American intelligence agencies joined together in a conspiracy to assassinate Lenin in August 1918. It is nearly 100 years ago that this event took place and although we know virtually the whole story now, it is not because of the release of official documents.
In 1993 Gordon Brook-Shepherd decided that he would investigate the case. The former intelligence officer worked as a journalist for the Daily Telegraph and was in a good position to discover what had happened as he was trusted by the British establishment. After all, all the people concerned were long dead and the basic outline of the conspiracy had been revealed in 1931 when the wife of one of the agents involved in the conspiracy published an account based on the diaries of her husband, Sidney Reilly, who had been executed in 1925 by the Russian Secret Police (Cheka) for his part in the assassination attempt. In the next couple of years, two other British agents involved in the plot, Robert Bruce Lockhart and George Alexander Hill, published their accounts of the conspiracy. However, the British government refused to release MI6 files that would have confirmed the story.
Brook-Shepherd had a meeting with an unnamed government minister, who had been a close friend for many years. He later recalled that "over several lengthy sessions, I was briefed on everything that had survived in our closed archives on the subject I was dealing with". Eventually he was allowed to see the official documents held by the British intelligence services. He became suspicious when he could not find one reference to Ernest Boyce, the MI6 station chief in Moscow in the summer of 1918 when the conspiracy took place. Brook-Shepherd writes about finding a file headed "Anti-Bolshevik Activities in Russia" but when opened he found it to be completely empty. He eventually reached the conclusion that every document relating to the assassination plot had been destroyed.
Brook-Shepherd had no more luck examining the French archives. All the Deuxieme Bureau archives, along with other special security and diplomatic files, were carted off to Berlin by the Germans after the fall of France in 1940. These archives were taken by the Red Army after they seized the German capital in May 1945 and transported to Moscow. After the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union high-level negotiations took place about these archives. An accord was duly signed between the French and Russian governments on 12th November 1992. The first delivery took place on December 1993 and over the next five months an estimated 140 tons of paper arrived in Paris. However, Brook-Shepherd could find no documents relating to the 1918 conspiracy to kill Lenin. According to the French authorities, the Russian government is still holding about 5% of their classified documents.
The situation is even more difficult concerning the American involvement in the assassination plot. It is claimed that the Americans did not have an intelligence service in 1918. According to President Woodrow Wilson, the government was opposed to the whole idea of spies and intelligence agents. In a speech he made to Congress on 2nd April 1917, he claimed that in the past it had been used by monarchies and aristocracies to guard their privileged existence and had no place in the new democratic order where the people were entitled to know everything: "Self-governed nations do not fill their neighbour states with spies." Maybe he was unaware that the State Department had dispatched a series of spies and saboteurs into neighbouring Mexico on missions which included an attempt to assassinate the revolutionary leader Pancho Villa.
President Wilson was also officially opposed to intervention against the Bolshevik government at the time of the plot. This was partly because he did not want to do anything that increased the power of the British and French empires. Secondly, as a democrat, he had no desire to help the return of the Russian monarchy. In March 1918 he sent a telegram to the Bolshevik government, via the American consulate in Moscow: "The whole heart of the people of the United States is with the people of Russia in the attempt to free themselves for ever from an autocratic government and to become the masters of their own fate."
In reality, the Americans had a team of agents in Russia in 1918. The spymaster was Dewitt Clinton Poole, the Consul General in Moscow. America's main agent was Xenophon Kalamatiano, who was condemned to death by the Russian courts for his part in the conspiracy (if you do a Google search for these two men you will see what a great job the American authorities had done in trying to remove details of their involvement in this conspiracy).
Despite the efforts of these intelligence services to keep the conspiracy secret we now have the full story. However, it was not until 2001 that all the details were published. The information came from Alexander Orlov, a senior figure in the Russian Secret Police. He was a figure close to Joseph Stalin and was responsible for obtaining the false confessions from Lev Kamenev and Gregory Zinoviev in 1936. During the Spanish Civil War Orlov had the task of eliminating the supporters of Leon Trotsky fighting for the Republican Army and the International Brigades.
In July 1938 Orlov was ordered back to the Soviet Union by Stalin. Aware of the Great Purge that was going on and that several of his friends had been executed, Orlov fled to France with his wife and daughter before making his way to the United States. Orlov sent a letter to Nikolai Yezhov, the head of the NKVD, that he would reveal the organizations secrets if any action was taken against him or his family.
Orlov was interviewed by the FBI when he arrived in America. He was of course was an excellent source of information on the Show Trials that had been taking place in the Soviet Union (you have to remember at the time the media was reporting that there was indeed a Trotsky inspired plot to overthrow Stalin). However, it was not only events in Russia in the 1930s that he knew about. In 1918 he had been a junior officer in Cheka and actually took part into the investigation of Xenophon Kalamatiano.
Orlov was allowed to stay in America but he was told that he could not publish any information about his work in the Soviet Union without permission. After the death of Joseph Stalin he published The Secret History of Stalin's Crimes (1953). This did not include details of the plot to kill Lenin. He had written about it but was refused permission to publish it. Orlov died in Cleveland, Ohio, on 25th March 1973.
One of the FBI agents who interviewed Orlov was a man named Edward P. Gazur. He befriended Orlov and he inherited his unpublished memoirs. He allowed this material to be seen by Gordon Brook-Shepherd, who used it to help him write Iron Maze: The Western Secret Services and the Bolsheviks (1998). The book reveals that the plot had been instigated by Colonel Eduard Berzin, a senior commander of the Lettish (Latvian) regiments that had been protecting the Bolshevik Government ever since the revolution. That was true but he was also an agent of Cheka.
Berzin had his first meeting with Robert Bruce Lockhart, the Head of Special Mission to the Soviet Government with the rank of acting British Consul-General in Russia on 14th August, 1918. Lockhart, who described Berzin as "a tall powerfully-built man with clear-cut features and hard steely eyes" was impressed by Berzin. He told Lockhart that he was a senior commander of the Lettish (Latvian) regiments that had been protecting the Bolshevik Government ever since the revolution. Berzin insisted that these regiments had proved indispensable to Lenin, saving his regime from several attempted coups d'état.
On 25th August 1918, Consul-General Dewitt Clinton Poole attended a meeting with French Consul-General Joseph Fernand Grenard where the plot was discussed. Poole arranged for 200,000 rubles to be contributed to the operation. Colonel Henri de Vertemont, the leading French intelligence agent in Russia also contributed money for the venture. Over the next week, Sidney Reilly, Ernest Boyce and George Alexander Hill had regular meetings with Colonel Belzin, where they planned the overthrow of the Bolshevik government. During this period they handed over 1,200,000 rubles. Unknown to MI6 this money was immediately handed over to Felix Dzerzhinsky, the head of Cheka. So also were the details of the conspiracy.
Berzin told the conspirators that his troops had been assigned to guard the theatre where the Soviet Central Executive Committee was to meet. A plan was devised to arrest Lenin and Leon Trotsky at the meeting was to take place on 28th August, 1918. Robin Bruce Lockhart, the author of Reilly: Ace of Spies (1992) has argued: "Reilly's grand plan was to arrest all the Red leaders in one swoop on August 28th when a meeting of the Soviet Central Executive Committee was due to be held. Rather than execute them, Reilly intended to de-bag the Bolshevik hierarchy and with Lenin and Trotsky in front, to march them through the streets of Moscow bereft of trousers and underpants, shirt-tails flying in the breeze. They would then be imprisoned. Reilly maintained that it was better to destroy their power by ridicule than to make martyrs of the Bolshevik leaders by shooting them." Reilly's plan was eventually rejected and it was decided to execute the entire leadership of the Bolshevik Party.
The British government selected the man who they wanted to be the head of the new Russian government. His name was Boris Savinkov. It was a controversial decision as Savinkov had a very dubious past. He was a member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party and had been involved in several acts of terrorism and had been involved in the assassination of Vyacheslav Plehve, the Minister of the Interior, in 1904. Savinkov had been a member of the Provisional Government in 1917 and had a deep hatred of the Bolsheviks.
Winston Churchill, the Minister of War, was a passionate supporter of intervention, and on the advice of Sidney Reilly, had selected Savinkov was the best man to lead the government. Prime Minister David Lloyd George had doubts about trying to overthrow the Bolsheviks: "Savinkov is no doubt a man of the future but I need Russia at the present moment, even if it must be the Bolsheviks. Savinkov can do nothing at the moment, but I am sure he will be called on in time to come. There are not many Russians like him." The Foreign Office was unimpressed with Savinkov describing him as "most unreliable and crooked". Churchill replied that he thought that he "was a great man and a great Russian patriot, in spite of the terrible methods with which he has been associated". Churchill rejected the advice of his advisors on the grounds that "it is very difficult to judge the politics in any other country".
At the last moment, the Soviet Central Executive Committee meeting on 28th August, 1918, was cancelled. Three days later Dora Kaplan attempted to assassinate Lenin. It was claimed that this was part of the British conspiracy to overthrow the Bolshevik government and orders were issued by Felix Dzerzhinsky, the head of Cheka, to round up the agents based in British Embassy in Petrograd. The naval attaché, Francis Cromie was killed resisting arrest. According to Robin Bruce Lockhart: "The gallant Cromie had resisted to the last; with a Browning in each hand he had killed a commissar and wounded several Cheka thugs, before falling himself riddled with Red bullets. Kicked and trampled on, his body was thrown out of the second floor window."
Ernest Boyce and Robert Bruce Lockhart were both arrested but Sidney Reilly had a lucky escape. He arranged to meet Cromie that morning. He arrived at the British Embassy soon after Cromie had been killed: "The Embassy door had been battered off its hinges. The Embassy flag had been torn down. The Embassy had been carried by storm." Reilly now went into hiding and after paying 60,000 rubles to be smuggled out of Russia on board a Dutch freighter.
George Alexander Hill also managed to escape. Consul-General Dewitt Clinton Poole, who was on a visit to Siberia at the time, managed to get to Finland when he heard of the other arrests. His main agent in Russia, Xenophon Kalamatiano, was not so lucky and was arrested. Alexander Orlov was there when Kalamatiano was interviewed. He refused to answer questions but one of the officers noticed that he never parted with the cane he held in his hands. The officer asked to see the cane and began to examine it closely. Orlov told the FBI: "Kalamatiano turned pale and lost his composure. The investigation soon discovered that the cane contained an inner tube and he extracted it. In it were hidden a secret cipher, spy reports, a coded list of thirty-two spies and money receipts from some of them."
On 2nd October, 1918, the British government arranged for Robert Bruce Lockhart and Ernest Boyce to be exchanged for captive Soviet officials such as Maxim Litvinov. After his release the remaining plotters were put on trial. They were all found guilty and Xenophon Kalamatiano and Colonel Alexander V. Friede were condemned to death. The court also passed death sentences on Lockhart, Sidney Reilly, Joseph Fernand Grenard and Colonel Henri de Vertemont, noting that "they had all fled". They would all be shot if ever found on Soviet soil. Friede was executed on 14th December but Kalamatiano was sent to Lubyanka Prison. In the early weeks of his incarceration he was taken out several times into the courtyard for a mock execution. However, Felix Dzerzhinsky had decided that Kalamatiano was more use alive than dead.
Negotiations for Kalamatiano release began straight away. The Bolshevik government told American officials that "Kalamatiano had committed the highest crime against the Soviet state, was properly tried according to Russian revolutionary law and is still considered dangerous to Soviet Russia." It was made clear that Kalamatiano would remain in custody as long as the American government gave support to the White Army in the ongoing Russian Civil War.
On 19th November 1920 Kalamatiano managed to send out a message to the man who recruited him as an intelligence agent, Professor Samuel N. Harper: "Just a few words to tell you, and whichever of my friends you run across, that I am still very much alive - although skinny... Yesterday celebrated my 30th month of imprisonment in various institutions... However, as whatever happens outside finally is concentrated here I consider I have been given a box seat to watch the revolution and am not complaining of such an unusual opportunity. Several of your acquaintances have been here at various times. I trust sometime to tell you more about them all. At the present, names on paper are odious things... If I pull out alive, and I have every hope of doing so now - although at one time chances seemed to be rather on the undertaker's side - I hope we will have a chance of talking things over."
In the summer of 1921 famine was raging in the country and over 25 million Russians were facing starvation. On 27th July, the American Secretary of State, Charles Evans Hughes, warned the Soviet Foreign Minister, Maxim Gorky, in writing: "It is manifestly impossible for the American authorities to countenance measures of relief for the distress in Russia while our citizens are detailed." Three days later, the Bolsheviks agreed to release their American prisoners in return for American Relief Administration emergency help. Kalamatiano and five other Americans were released on 10th August 1921.
Kalamatiano was warned by Dewitt Clinton Poole that he must not tell anyone about his activities in Russia. He was dismissed from the State Department in December 1921 and given a job as a foreign language instructor at the Calver Military Academy. Despite official dissuasion, he did write his memoirs but no publisher was willing to accept his manuscript.
Xenophon Kalamatiano was a keen hunter and after one expedition in the winter of 1922 he suffered a frozen foot. It turned poisonous and toes had to be amputated. "I am departing the world in particles" he wrote from hospital to his old mentor, Professor Samuel N. Harper. The poison continued to attack his body and eventually damaged his heart. He died on 9th November 1923 of a condition certified by the doctors as "sub-acute septic endocarditis". He was forty-one years old.
The final part of the story was revealed in Alexander Orlov: The FBI's KGB General, a book published in 2001. FBI agent Edward P. Gazur, who interviewed Alexander Orlov, claims that Ernest Boyce the MI6 section head in Russia in 1918 was actually a double agent and in the pay of the Soviets. Nigel West has argued that "the reason why this hasn't come out until now is that Orlov, who was not debriefed by British intelligence, never told anybody but Edward Gazur."
Orlov's The March of Time, Reminiscences, was not published until 2004. Gordon Brook-Shepherd, the author of Iron Maze: The Western Secret Services and the Bolsheviks (1998) has pointed out: "Entitled The March of Time, Reminiscences by Alexander Orlov, it is 655 pages long and deals in twenty-nine chapters with episodes in his career as a soldier and Soviet secret service man, from those first years of Bolshevik rule down to his own break with Stalin in 1939 and his adventurous flight from his final post in Spain to North America. Much of that Spanish story and his escape from Stalin's clutches had already appeared in print. This account of the earlier period had never been published or even circulated. It covered half the book, much of it on that first decade of Bolshevik power with which I was concerned. (The whole of Chapter Five, for example, gives the real story, over seventy-six pages, of the entrapment of Boris Savinkov, the 'great conspirator', and the most dangerous of all the Bolsheviks' Russian foes.) I have quoted extensively from both of these sections, not only because of the fascinating human detail they provide, but because I came to regard them, after frequent counter-checks, as totally reliable."
John Scarlett, the Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, announced in the run up to its centenary that MI6 would "commission an independent and authoritative volume on the history of the Service's first forty years". Keith Jeffery, the Professor of British History at Queen's University, Belfast, was chosen to carry out the task and MI6: The History of the Secret Intelligence Service: 1909-1949 was published in 2010. The book includes some details of the activities of MI6 agents in Russia in 1918 but there is no mention of what is now known as the "Lockhart Plot".
The book does have one reference to Ernest Boyce. It accuses Boyce of sending Sidney Reilly back into Russia in September 1925 to have secret meetings with the leaders of Monarchist Union of Central Russia. "Boyce had to take some of the blame for the tragedy. Back in London, as recalled by Harry Carr, his assistant in Helsinki" he was "carpeted by the Chief for the role he had played in this unfortunate affair." He does not add that the group had been set up by Felix Dzerzhinsky, the head of the Soviet Secret Police, in order to gain revenge for the plots against Lenin. Only a few months earlier, Boris Savinkov, the man who the British government wanted to become the new leader of the Russian government, after the assassination of the Bolshevik leaders, had been trapped in the same way. Savinkov died in police custody on 7th May, 1925, Reilly was executed on 5th November.
The reasons why the intelligence services of Britain, France and United States covered up the Lockhart Plot was not so much because they were carrying out illegal acts such as the assassination of foreign leaders. The main concern was to hide the fact that they were so easily duped by Cheka and that one of their key officers was a double agent.
Could this also true of the non-release of CIA and FBI files on the assassination of John F. Kennedy? Maybe they are just covering up their own incompetence.
The Allied Plot to Kill Lenin (7th March, 2014)
Was Rasputin murdered by MI6? (24th February 2014)
Winston Churchill and Chemical Weapons (11th February, 2014)
Pete Seeger and the Media (1st February 2014)
Should history teachers use Blackadder in the classroom? (15th January 2014)
Why did the intelligence services murder Dr. Stephen Ward? (8th January 2014)
Solomon Northup and 12 Years a Slave (4th January 2014)
The Angel of Auschwitz (6th December 2013)
The Death of John F. Kennedy (23rd November 2013)
Adolf Hitler and Women (22nd November 2013)
New Evidence in the Geli Raubal Case (10th November 2013)
Murder Cases in the Classroom (6th November 2013)
Major Truman Smith and the Funding of Adolf Hitler (4th November 2013)
Unity Mitford and Adolf Hitler (30th October 2013)
Claud Cockburn and his fight against Appeasement (26th October 2013)
The Strange Case of William Wiseman (21st October 2013)
Robert Vansittart's Spy Network (17th October 2013)
British Newspaper Reporting of Appeasement and Nazi Germany (14th October 2013)
Paul Dacre, The Daily Mail and Fascism (12th October 2013)
Wallis Simpson and Nazi Germany (11th October 2013)
The Activities of MI5 (9th October 2013)
The Right Club and the Second World War (6th October 2013)
What did Paul Dacre's father do in the war? (4th October 2013)
Ralph Miliband and Lord Rothermere (2nd October 2013)
Operation Long Jump
Operation Long Jump (German: Unternehmen Weitsprung) was an alleged German plan to simultaneously assassinate Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill, and Franklin Roosevelt, the "Big Three" Allied leaders, at the 1943 Tehran Conference during World War II.  The operation in Iran was to be led by SS-Obersturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny of the Waffen SS. A group of agents from the Soviet Union, led by Soviet spy Gevork Vartanian, uncovered the plot before its inception and the mission was never launched.  The assassination plan and its disruption has been popularized by the Russian media with appearances in films and novels.
Random Murder Plots That Would Have Radically Changed History (If They Succeeded) (10 items)
A mutiny over wages could have made the Revolutionary War very difficult to win for the colonies. In Newburgh, NY, in March 1783, the fatigued Continental Army nearly turned on General George Washington because they hadn’t been properly paid. However, the Newburgh Conspiracy was quickly nipped in the bud by the crafty Washington.
The gripes of the troops eventually climbed to higher-ranking officers who circulated an anonymous letter urging a mutiny by the underpaid soldiers. The missive, written under the nom de plume Brutus, suggested that soldiers abandon the war effort and storm government coffers to take the money that was rightfully theirs. Having caught word of the growing conspiracy, Washington confronted the dissenting officers by surprise at a secret meeting, persuading them to fight on in an impassioned speech.
(#9) Elizabeth I of England
Queen Elizabeth I of England caught a lot of Catholic-flak for her Protestantism. On several occasions, those wishing to see Catholicism restored to England sought to install Elizabeth's cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, to the throne and kill Elizabeth to clear the way. However, Elizabeth's agents of espionage always remained a step ahead of the competition.
In another thwarted attempt, the Throckmorton Plot of 1583, was discovered by Elizabeth's secretary of state, Francis Walsingham. His surveillance led to the discovery of correspondences describing the takeover plan leading all the way back to Mary. Throckmorton was tortured and killed, and Mary was locked up. The Spanish, also motivated to bring Catholicism back to England, were tied to the plot and all ambassadors were banished.
Then conspirators were at it again in 1586 - this time headed by conspirator Anthony Babington, who gave his name to the failed Babington Plot. The uncovering of a second plot against Elizabeth resulted in the execution of Mary, who had previosuly been imprisoned. Elisabeth's top spy, Walsingham, sent in a double agent to carry messages to and from Mary, thus entrapping her and implicating her in the ongoing threats against the queen.
(#4) Gunpowder Plot
Many Britons still celebrate Guy Fawkes’ Day on November 5, the anniversary of the failed 1605 Gunpowder Plot, when King James I and all of Parliament almost suffered the blast of dozens of barrels of gunpowder planted beneath the House of Lords.
A group of Catholics led by Robert Catesby had planned the insurrection for a year with the intent of overthrowing King James I, an anti-Papist. The conspirators rented a cellar at the House of Lords and rolled in over 30 barrels of gunpowder. When Parliament was called to order on November 5, the plan was to blow King James I and the entire government to bits.
One conspirator got cold feet on November 4 and urged the politician Lord Monteagle to steer clear of the House of Lords on November 5. Monteagle reported the mysterious message to police, and on the eve of the plot, a search turned up Guy Fawkes, who had been charged with detonating the rudimentary explosives. Fawkes confessed under torture in the Tower of London and all implicated were killed - some after a trial and some before.
(#7) Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte didn't begin executing his ambitious takeover of Europe until 1803 - three years after the plot of the rue Saint-Nicaise. At the time of the 1800 plot, Napoleon, as First Consul of France, was on a speedy trajectory toward gaining absolute control of the French government, but his dissenters aimed to stop him in his tracks.
The conspirators plotted to park an explosive-filled barrel, AKA Machine Infernale, that would detonate and spray shrapnel at the motorcade of carriages escorting Napoleon to the opera on Christmas Eve. A plotter who was to signal his collaborator when to light the fuse panicked, so the plan unraveled. The bomb went off too late, killing many including an innocent 14-year-old girl who had been paid to keep an eye on the carriage holding the Machine Infernale - she thought it was a barrel of grain.
(#6) Franklin D. Roosevelt
Before Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated in 1933, a group of powerful industrialists - armed with the dangerous idea that their coming president was not in fact the answer for their ailing country - began a plot to overthrow the president-elect. The group (allegedly including JP Morgan) stashed away millions of dollars and weapons while ruminating on how a fascist regime should seize control of the US government. They believed that absolute power was the only way to lift the nation out of the Great Depression.
The paranoid clique of power brokers attempted to enlist a popular Marine Corps General, Smedley Butler, to recruit an army loyal enough to him to execute the coup d'état. Instead, Butler reported the indecent proposal to Congress and an investigation ensued. Nobody was prosecuted as a result of the investigation, but several accounts including that of William Dodds, US Ambassador to Germany, indicated that well-heeled industrialists were colluding with Germans to overthrow the US Democracy and install a fascist dictatorship. Of course, FDR was re-elected and the rest is history.
(#5) Pope Sixtus IV
For 300 years the Medici family ruled Florence, Italy. Part of their platform was their opposition to papal rule - a slap in the face that didn't sit well with Pope Sixtus IV, who ended up being behind the Pazzi Conspiracy in 1478. The pope allied himself with members of the Pazzi family, rivals to the Medicis, and together they conspired to assassinate brothers Lorenzo and Giuliano de' Medici and take over the city government.
In a brazenly sacrilegious ambush, four men - including two priests - attacked the brothers at Sunday mass. Giuliano died from 20 stab wounds, but Lorenzo got away with just a grazing of his shoulder. The Medici family fought back along with their supporters, who slaughtered more than 200 alleged Pazzi conspirators. The Pazzi family was then banned from Florence and stripped of its wealth.
About This Tool
There have been many failed or successful assassinations in history, which have great significance in different periods of each country. In human history, conflicts and even wars between various political systems or countries have never been interrupted, and assassinations occupy a very extreme and important position. In a flash of lightning, a successful murder would change history.
Assassinations have been used as a conventional method to change the direction of political development and rewrite history. In the history of many countries, many political leaders have suffered murder plots. The random tool lists 10 famous leaders in history who survived threats.
Our data comes from Ranker, If you want to participate in the ranking of items displayed on this page, please click here.
Was British plot to kill Lenin afoot in 1918?
More than 90 years after the British government was accused of trying to kill Vladimir Lenin and head off his fledgling Bolsheviks regime before it could become entrenched in Russian politics – an allegation long denied as Soviet propaganda – new evidence has arisen that suggests the accusation might have been true.
In part due to information found in American archives, it appears a scheme to assassinate Lenin may not have been baseless rumor, as British officials have suggested for decades.
First, some background. By early 1918, Russian Czar Nicholas II had abdicated, the provisional Russian government had been overthrown by the Bolsheviks under Lenin and, in a bid to extract itself from the costly First World War, the Soviets were negotiating a peace treaty with Imperial Germany.
“This did not please London,” according to the BBC. “The move would enable Berlin – which had been fighting a war on two fronts – to reinforce its forces in the West.”
Determined to keep the Russians in the conflict, and thereby keep the Germans fighting a two-front war, the British despatched a young man named Robert Bruce Lockhart to Russia. For decades, what became known as the “Lockhart plot” has been etched in the annals of the Soviet archives, taught in schools and even illustrated in films.
“Lockhart, a Scot, was a colorful character,” the BBC reported. “Known for his love of wine, women and sports, he also prided himself on his alleged ability to read five books at the same time.”
Initially, Lockhart appeared to make progress but in March 1918 the Soviets signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany, effectively ending any hopes of their rejoining the Allied effort.
Lockhart, according to the BBC, it seems, had no intention of giving up, despite Russia’s withdrawal from the conflict.
“Instead, the suggestion is, his attention was now turning to overthrowing the Bolshevik regime and replacing it with another government that would be willing to re-enter the war against Germany,” it reported. “Documents show that, in June, Lockhart asked London for money to fund various anti-Bolshevik organisations in Moscow.”
A letter was sent from the British Foreign Office to the Treasury, okaying the expenditure of such funds as Lockhart needed to complete his mission.
In late May, the British sent a small military force to Archangel in northern Russia under the guise that troops were going to be used to prevent thousands of tons of British military equipment, supplied to the Russians, from falling into German hands.
“However, documents from the day suggest that plans were later drawn up for these 5,000 British troops to join forces with 20,000 crack Latvian troops who were guarding the Kremlin but could, it was thought, be turned against the Bolsheviks.”
In the summer of 1918, Lockhart sent a telegram to London following a meeting with a local opponent of the Bolsheviks called Savinkov, the BBC reported.
It read: “Savinkov’s proposals for counter-revolution. Plan is how, on Allied intervention, Bolshevik barons will be murdered and military dictatorship formed.”
Underneath that telegram is a note bearing the signed initials of Lord Curzon, who was then a member of the British War Cabinet.
It says: “Savinkoff’s methods are drastic, though if successful probably effective, but we cannot say or do anything until intervention has been definitely decided upon.”
Around this time, Lockhart had teamed up in Moscow with Sidney Reilly, a Russian who had earlier changed his name from Rosenbloom, who had recently begun working for the British Secret Services.
But before the pair could move against Lenin, a young Russian woman named Fanya Kaplan shot him twice at close range in late August 1918.
“The Bolshevik’s secret police, the Cheka, arrested Bruce Lockhart a few hours later and he was taken to the Kremlin for questioning,” according to the BBC. “Reilly escaped the Cheka’s clutches on that occasion but was shot dead several years later after being lured back into Russia.
“According to Cheka records, Lockhart confessed to being part of a plot proposed by London to kill Lenin and overthrow the Bolshevik government,” the BBC added. “But in early October 1918, Britain’s representative to Moscow was freed in an exchange for his Russian counterpart in London.
Lockhart published his memoirs in the 1930s in which he insisted he’d played no either in attempts to kill Lenin or overthrow the Bolshevik government, according to the BBC:
Instead, he insisted that the maverick “Ace of Spies” Sidney Reilly was the man behind plans for a coup.
Lockhart added that he had little to do with Reilly who some claimed was out of control.
However, a letter written by Lockhart’s son, Robin, has been discovered in archives in America. It suggests that his father was being rather economical with the truth:
“If the question of my father’s relationship with Reilly still exercises anyone’s mind in the F.O., it is clear from his book Memoirs of a British Agent that once intervention in Russia had been decided on in 1918, he gave his active support to the counter-revolutionary movement with which, of course, Reilly was actively working.
“My father has himself made it clear to me that he worked much more closely with Reilly than he had publicly indicated…”
Nearly a century later, the only way to be sure of the truth would be to gain access to the rest of the files. But, not surprisingly, the British government continues to keep many of them secret. Don’t look for that to change anytime soon, either.
Nazi Plot Aimed To Kill The "Big Three" Allied Leaders With One Bomb
The Nazi war effort had begun to crack by 1943, so desperate times called for desperate measures. Enter Operation Long Jump: an alleged German plan to kill allied leaders Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the Tehran Conference in Iran.
Russian agents have been credited with thwarting the German assassins before they could execute their brazen plan, and the Russian media loved to trumpet the heroic triumph of successfully saving Stalin and his frenemies. British and American intelligence considered the Russian report to be baloney, maintaining that it never actually happened.
⟬onomical with the truth'
In his best selling book, Memoirs of a British Agent published in the 1930s, Lockhart insisted that he had played no part either in attempts to kill Lenin or overthrow the Bolshevik government.
Instead, he insisted that the maverick "Ace of Spies" Sidney Reilly was the man behind plans for a coup.
Lockhart added that he had little to do with Reilly who some claimed was out of control.
However, a letter written by Lockhart's son, Robin, has been discovered in archives in America. It suggests that his father was being rather economical with the truth:
"If the question of my father's relationship with Reilly still exercises anyone's mind in the F.O., it is clear from his book Memoirs of a British Agent that once intervention in Russia had been decided on in 1918, he gave his active support to the counter-revolutionary movement with which, of course, Reilly was actively working.
"My father has himself made it clear to me that he worked much more closely with Reilly than he had publicly indicated…"
Did the U.S. Try to Assassinate Lenin in 1918?
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THE LENIN PLOT
The Unknown Story of America’s War Against Russia
By Barnes Carr
In a famous speech shown on Russian television in 1984, President Reagan spoke directly to the Soviet people. “Our governments have had serious differences,” he declared. “But our sons and daughters have never fought each other in war.” Just over two decades later President Obama said almost the same thing when he was trying to “reset” relations with Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
It is one of the myths the United States has maintained about its relationship with Russia. Most Russian history textbooks contain at least a brief mention of the invasion by American forces (along with the British and French) of northern Russia in 1918, after the Bolshevik Revolution. But one would be hard pressed to find anything about this conflict in official United States documents, or even American military history books, which makes Barnes Carr’s entertaining new study, “The Lenin Plot,” a welcome corrective.
It is obvious why the American venture has been practically written out of history, though nearly 600 soldiers were killed or went missing in action. The war was a humiliating failure and not entirely legal. President Woodrow Wilson, supposedly a pillar of moral rectitude, and his pious secretary of state, Robert Lansing, lied about American involvement. Then they conspired in a cover-up.
The story is vividly told by Carr, who has unearthed some fascinating new archival sources to add to a sparkling narrative.
Russia fought together with the Western Allies in World War I, but huge casualties led to extreme war weariness by the time the czar was deposed in February 1917. Lenin’s promise to end the war was one of the main reasons his revolution succeeded and was one of the few pledges he kept.
When Lenin made a separate peace with Germany, the Allies felt they had a right to retaliate against the Bolsheviks, who had taken power in a coup, seized foreign assets and threatened to spread revolution throughout the world.
The trouble was they couldn’t agree on what to do or how to do it. At first they sent spies to persuade or bribe the Bolsheviks into remaining in the war — considered crucial by the Allies in order to keep the Germans fighting on two fronts. This is the best part of the book, with a cast list of colorful characters — spooks, crooked businessmen, mountebanks, ideologues and opportunists. The American spymaster in Moscow was a former tennis champion, DeWitt Clinton Poole, known to friends and the Russian secret service as “Poodles” his main field officer was a Russian-born track star, Xenophon de Blumenthal Kalamatiano — the first American spy to be swapped for a Soviet agent. My favorite is the wonderfully named Charles Adolphe Faux-Pas Bidet, the French spy in Moscow who as a police detective had led the case against Mata Hari.
When persuasion failed, the Allies began plotting the assassination of Lenin, which is where the book falters. Carr writes a rollicking spy yarn, but there is no convincing evidence that the one serious attempt on Lenin’s life, when he was shot in the neck and shoulder outside a Moscow factory in August 1918, leads back to Allied intervention. Western spooks talked about murdering Lenin, but it is not clear they did much about it.
Then came military intervention. The United States paid vast sums to support the White forces against the Communist Reds in the civil war. In order to get around the law then forbidding the American government from granting loans to independent armies or mercenaries, they laundered the money, paying the British and French, who passed it on to the Whites. Wilson denied it, but he fooled nobody, least of all the Russians.
To many anti-Communists, the worst thing about the American intervention wasn’t that it was illegal it’s that it was entirely ineffective. When the Allies finally started fighting the Reds around the port of Archangel with a multinational force of over 20,000 troops, including nearly 4,500 Americans, their army was far too small to make any practical difference. But it had a hugely significant future impact. The Soviets never forgot, and for many historians this was the start of the 20th century’s longest war, the Cold War.
Lockhart’s son, Robin, writes: ‘If the question of my father’s relationship with Reilly still exercises anyone’s mind in the F.O. [Foreign Office], it is clear from his book Memoirs of a British Agent that once intervention in Russia had been decided on in 1918, he gave his active support to the counter-revolutionary movement with which, of course, Reilly was actively working.
‘My father has himself made it clear to me that he worked much more closely with Reilly than he had publicly indicated.’
Professor Service, who found the letter, gave an interview with a BBC Radio 4 programme, The Lockhart Plot, aired last night.
He claimed the only way to get to the truth is to view the files from the day – but the British Government continues to keep many of them secret.
Statesman: Today, Lenin's embalmed body remains on display in the Kremlin, Moscow
4 Murdering MacArthur
Technically, this ambitious assassination attempt happened after the war, but it could have very well started World War III if it succeeded. Led by Hideo Tokayama, a former member of the secret police and one-time kamikaze pilot, the plotters planned to kill General Douglas MacArthur at his Tokyo headquarters on May 1, 1946 and pin the blame on Communists who were scheduled for a Labor Day rally nearby. The plot unraveled only after Tokayama poisoned a fellow plotter, whom he felt lacked the guts to follow through with the mission. The poisoned man survived and spilled the beans to the authorities, who promptly moved to foil the plot. While MacArthur was all class and even refused extra security, the assassination attempt nonetheless sent jitters throughout the Japanese populace, who had experienced hell only a year earlier.
Unveiled! Lenin's Brilliant Plot to Destroy Capitalism
Let's say you're a revolutionary looking to overthrow capitalism. You've got it all figured out when it comes to grabbing power. But you're still not sure how to stamp the market system out, forever, once l'état c'est toi. What is to be done?
Print, print, print. That was Lenin's answer. Or at least what John Maynard Keynes thought was Lenin's answer. In his post-Versailles treatise, The Economic Consequences of the Peace, Keynes famously quoted the Bolshevik leader saying, perhaps apocryphally, that "the best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency." In other words, incompetent central bankers are a communist's best friend. The idea is hyperinflation breaks down markets and breaks down classes. Business can't plan beyond today if they don't know what money will be worth tomorrow. And a collapsing currency turns the bourgeoisie into the proletariat overnight. That sound you hear is the revolution coming.
But it's a bit more complicated than that. Michael White and Kurt Schuler unearthed the original Lenin quote -- yes, he really did say it -- in a 2009 paper in the Journal of Economic Perspectives. And let's just say he wasn't so sanguine about capitalism withering away. See, Lenin thought hyperinflation was the best way to destroy capitalism after the revolution, because the revolution wouldn't be enough itself. The profit-motive would survive even if the bourgeois state did not -- and even if the socialist state tried to outlaw it. The only way to kill the profit-motive was to kill profits. And that meant killing the very concept of money itself. Here's how Lenin described how he was trying to do this back in 1919 (emphasis added):
Hundreds of thousands of ruble notes are being issued daily by our treasury. This is done, not in order to ﬁll the coffers of the State with practically worthless paper, but with the deliberate intention of destroying the value of money as a means of payment. There is no justification for the existence of money in the Bolshevik state, where the necessities of life shall be paid for by work alone.
Experience has taught us it is impossible to root out the evils of capitalism merely by confiscation and expropriation, for however ruthlessly such measures may be applied, astute speculators and obstinate survivors of the capitalist classes will always manage to evade them and continue to corrupt the life of the community. The simplest way to exterminate the very spirit of capitalism is therefore to flood the country with notes of a high face-value without financial guarantees of any sort.
Already even a hundred-ruble note is almost valueless in Russia. Soon even the simplest peasant will realize that it is only a scrap of paper, not worth more than the rags from which it is manufactured. Men will cease to covet and hoard it so soon as they discover it will not buy anything, and the great illusion of the value and power of money, on which the capitalist state is based will have been definitely destroyed.
This is the real reason why our presses are printing ruble bills day and night, without rest.
Well, maybe. Or maybe the Bolsheviks were printing ruble bills day and night, without rest, because they had to. They needed money to fight their civil war, but they didn't have any thanks to an economy in free fall and a Western embargo (and military intervention). And that left the printing press. So there's something of Lenin trying to turn economic lemons into ideological lemonade here.
But there's still something to the idea that destroying money destroys democracy and capitalism like nothing else, right?
Actually, no. Take Weimar Germany. Everybody knows you can draw a straight line from its hyperinflation to Hitler, but, in this case, what everybody knows is wrong. The Nazis didn't take power when prices were doubling every 4 days in 1923-- they tried, and failed -- but rather when prices were falling in 1933. See, money is just memory. That's how Minneapolis Fed president Narayana Kocherlakota put it back in 1996, and he's right: it's our way of keeping track of who has what and who owes what. Hyperinflation destroys one set of memories, but we can always use or create others. We can resort to hard currency or scrip or barter instead. In any case, our market mindset is still there, even if our savings aren't. Deflation, though, doesn't destroy our memories. It leaves us with nothing to remember. Falling prices mean falling wages -- which means rising rising unemployment and rising debt burdens. It's a vicious circle down into mass bankruptcy. And mass bankruptcy has a way of making people unhappy enough with capitalism that they want to give something else a try.
In other words, incompetent central bankers really are a communist's best friend -- but only central bankers who print too little money. So, would-be revolutionaries, forget about debauching the currency. The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to worry about inflation during a depression.