First published as “Cowan’sWar” in 1964, then as “Freeing the Baltic” in 2002, this new edition includes new material from the author’s son. – The author’s son has edited the original text and added new material to a book that covers very important, if sadly neglected, recent history – Much Recommended.
NAME: Freeing the Baltic 1918-1920 FILE: R2549 AUTHOR: Geoffrey Bennett PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: hard back PAGES: 263 PRICE: £19.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: Royal Navy, destroyers, cruisers, Baltic, Russian Revolution, Baltic States, independence, Germany, Knight of the Sword, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Soviet Union
IMAGE: B2549.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/ybe7bzjf LINKS: DESCRIPTION: First published as “Cowan'sWar” in 1964, then as “Freeing the Baltic” in 2002, this new edition includes new material from the author's son. - The author's son has edited the original text and added new material to a book that covers very important, if sadly neglected, recent history – Much Recommended. For whatever reasons, Baltic history has been sadly neglected in English-language history books, despite the importance of the Baltic to Great Britain and Europe. Out of the Baltic and Scandinavia came the Vikings to make an indelible mark on the history of Europe and set the basis for an outward looking Britain that forged the greatest Empire. Trade between Britain and the Baltic was important from the Medieval period and Elizabeth I granted monopolies for trade to Russia and the other Baltic States. Scots fought for the Swedish Kings in the 17th Century in Germany and George II was the last British monarch to lead troops in battle during his campaigns in Germany as part of British interests in Germany and the Baltic. The Royal Navy helped von Hohenlau's Prussian Division escape the French by lifting them off the Baltic beach and getting them to the temporary Prussian capitol. During the Napoleonic wars, the Baltic trade was vital to Britain, prompting the British to invade neutral Denmark and make off with the Danish warships to prevent them falling into French hands and to maintain access to the Baltic. Then, the fall of Germany in 1918, and the Russian Revolution created the opportunities for the Baltic States to break free of Russian oppression and avoid incorporation into the newly formed Soviet Union. Britain sent a naval force to help the Baltic States in their struggle for independence, preventing the Baltic becoming a Soviet lake, and yet this important campaign has almost totally escaped historians writing for English-language publication. The author was a naval officer, who was also a writer and a play write, and served as a naval attaché posted to the British Embassy in Moscow. After retirement from the Royal Navy he became a successful historian and was elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. This uniquely placed him to write a history of the British naval force that was commanded by Rear Admiral Sir Walter Cowan and sent to aid the Baltic States in their fight for freedom from Russia. He grasped the opportunity and wrote the first published account of Cowan's War. This new edition has been read and edited by his son, also a naval officer, and new material has been added with a very helpful Preface by Rodney M Bennett. Remarkably little has been written of the British intervention forces that were sent into Russia and into the Baltic following the Russian Revolution. There are many reasons for this, other than just the well-established lack of attention to the Baltic by historians. In 1918, there was an overwhelming relief in Britain and the Commonwealth that the terrible trials of those fighting trench warfare had ended. Euphoria often follows victory, but a tired Britain was mainly relieved. There was a great desire to party and the Roaring Twenties are best remembered as a time of hedonistic partying. It was only in the 1930s, that Britons realized that the botched peace treaty ending WWI was giving way to a new threat from Germany to the peace and prosperity of Europe. In that atmosphere there was no great appetite to think of lingering war. What happened in and around Russia was best ignored. There were also practical reasons for the British involvement in the Russian Revolution to receive little publicity at the time and little historical interest later. There were a number of covert actions, some activity was deliberately not recorded, and some information was treated as highly sensitive and classified information. As a result, the actions of British servicemen, fighting inside Russia and working to help the White Russians against the Bolsheviks, came close to halting the Russian Revolution at several points, and the determination and courage of Cowan, his ships and sailors, achieved far more than could be reasonably hoped and was instrumental in assisting the Baltic States to break free from servitude to Russia and Germany. Although this campaign was not to receive the recognition it deserved, it was appreciated and has been remembered by the people of the Baltic States. As British declares its own independence from rule by the EUSSR, it may be necessary to help old friends and comrades in the Baltic to break free once more. Cowan performed brilliantly and outmanoeuvred the Germans, White Russians and Soviets with a tiny naval force and performed one of the most daring raids in Royal Navy history. Its exciting reading and an important part in the events of the 20th Century that continue to make their mark today. The author tells the story with clarity and authority but he starts by providing probably the best brief history of the Baltic States. This introduction is essential to developing a sound understanding of what happened next and how it continues to affect European history today.