Preparing for the Bolshevik Incursion into Afghanistan and Attack on India, 1919-20

Andrei Evgenievich Snesarev

Date Published :
July 2014
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Helion Studies in Military History
Illustration :
1 illustration and 1 map
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781909982031
Pages : 200
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Available


In 1919, Afghanistan invaded British India and precipitated the short Third Anglo-Afghan War. Although this Anglo-Afghan War was more limited than the first two, it drove defeated Afghanistan toward Revolutionary Russia. The Kingdom of Afghanistan worried about Britain's intentions and so Afghanistan became the first country to recognize the new Bolshevik government. Relations improved to the point that In May 1921, the Kingdom of Afghanistan signed a treaty of friendship with the Soviet Union. The British perceived the recognition and the treaty as a threat to British India. There were fears that Britain would invade Afghanistan and the Workers and Peasants Red Army (RKKA) began preparations to aid Afghanistan. Britain was still actively aiding the holdout elements of the White Army in the Russian civil war. The Soviet Union needed to finish their civil war and prepare to deal with Britain and the Soviet southern border. The most decisive way was to invade British India through Afghanistan. The second way was to prepare to counterattack a British invasion. The Soviets put their best regional scholar, General Andrei Snesarev, on the job. Snesarev's lectures in 1919 and 1920 were part of this preparation. Students of the Oriental Department of the RKKA Military Academy would lead the Soviet aid effort to Afghanistan. Snesarev's knowledge was critical and so his lectures were taken down by stenographers and then printed as a book. The expected British invasion did not materialize, but the thoroughness of Snesarev's works and his presentation of materials from a military specialist's point of view served the Soviet planners decades later during their invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Snesarev's work still has relevance today. His book was not available to the Russian public until recently and has not been available in English until this printing.

Snesarev's book presents the geography, terrain, climate, natural resources, ethnic groups, history, languages, government, law, bureaucracy, economy, taxation, military industry, military qualities of the people, organization of its armed forces, armament and equipment and a discussion of the recent Third Anglo-Afghan War. It ends with a detailed look at the strategic points of Afghanistan and its lines of communication. The book presents a good look at the region almost a century ago, yet is strangely current in this war-ravaged land.

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