Site Introduction

The site takes its name from an alleged quote of Winston Churchill, on Armistice Night 1918, when he said something to the effect of:

"The war of the giants has ended; the wars of the pygmies have begun."

Russia was hardly a "pygmy", but for all his rudeness Winston did correctly foresee the numerous smaller wars that followed the break up of the Austro-Hungarian, Russian and Turkish empires.

Reasons for the site

I have become very interested in all of the wars that immediately followed WWI, but particularly the Russian Civil War and related conflicts, such as the Freikorps campaign in Latvia and the Soviet-Polish Campaign of 1920. At first I didn't think there was very much on them in English and French, but then I realised that the problem was rather that much of it was hard to find.

A primary reason for this site then is to provide material that is not normally accessible, either because it was published in some obscure journal or not in English, or both. I have decided to concentrate on written material rather than pictures, since I can't do everything I might like to.

If you want a general history then I recommend reading a good book on the subject (see the reading list), since most of the web-sites out there are immensely unreliable either because they want to sell you a very slanted version – Anarchist, Marxist, Nationalist etc – or because they gloss over much of the detail. The Russian Civil War campaigns took place in extremely varied political and military conditions and there is no way they can be summarised quickly: sadly, the answers won't all be in a couple of Ospreys.

A keen wargamer, I could not resist a small section showing my models and what I do with them. However, I do not want the site to become a toy-soldier centred exercise – there are other sites that cater for this for the Pygmy Wars period.

In particular, I have a fondness for the Kriegsspiel method of gaming (see gaming by e-mail) in which the players are not all-knowing, all-seeing "Helicopter Generals" but have to work with late and incomplete information – its not reality, but it's a far closer approximation than most table-top gaming.

Once I had the site up, it seemed only natural to add material on my other gaming interests, but the Russian Civil War remains my primary interest.

Edit 2021: Over the years I have started to exhaust most of the material in English or French that is out of copyright, and have started to move into material in Russian and Polish. I'm too lazy to actually learn either language though, so it is very much an exercise in using translators and a dictionary.

Sections I Would Like to Add or Expand

I have a section on the Freikorps wars in Latvia, a subject very poorly treated in English, which I would like to expand. I would really appreciate any help from someone who can assist with Latvian (or Lithuanian).

I would also like to write up something on the Basmachis at some time.

Anyone with material they think would suit the site is welcome to send it to me, remembering that I have elected to avoid it becoming predominantly picture-based, either of period photographs or toy soldiers.