Bolshevism on the Brain? Winston Churchill, Intervention and the Russian Civil War

Churchill hears of War in the East, Strube, DE, January 1920sm

Churchill hears of War in the East, Strube, DE, January 1920

Friday, 20th September at 19:00

 Lightfoot Room, Old Divinity School, St.John’s College, Cambridge CB2 1TP

Click here to see the map

(Entrance from St.John’s Street, opposite St.John’s main gate with yales, through a side passage)

Talk by Dr Jonathan Black, Fellow of the Royal Society of Art, Senior Research Fellow in History of Art at Kingston University, London.

About the talk: Dr Black will focus on Churchill’s fierce opposition to Lenin’s new revolutionary government from 1918 and his support as Secretary of State for War (December 1918-January 1921) for the efforts of various White Armies to overthrow the Bolshevik regime. In his antipathy towards the Bolsheviks Churchill was indulged up to a point by Prime Minister Lloyd George. However, as early as the spring of 1919 the ‘Welsh Wizard’ had concluded Lenin’s government would endure and he feared Churchill had become fixated on the ‘Red Menace’ and, indeed, that he had developed a serious case of ‘Bolshevism on the brain.’

About the speaker: Dr Jonathan Black read BA Hons History at St. John’s Cambridge and then obtained an MA (1998) and a PhD (2003) in History of Art from University College, London. For his PhD thesis he focused on the image of the ordinary British soldier, or ‘tommy’, in the First World War art of: CRW Nevinson (1889-1946); Eric Kennington (1888-1960) and Charles Sargeant Jagger (1885-1934).

He has been interested in Russian history of the revolutionary era ever since his days at St. John’s and gave a paper on the British Intervention in North Russia at a Conference at the State University of St. Petersburg in October 2011. Dr Black has also long been fascinated by Churchill’s dramatic career.

Publications include: ‘Form, Feeling and Calculation: The Complete Paintings and Drawings of Edward Wadsworth’ (London, 2006); ‘Dora Gordine: Sculptor, Artist, Designer’ (London, 2008); ‘The Face of Courage: Eric Kennington, Portraiture and the Second World War ‘ (London, 2011) and ‘The Spirit of Faith: The Sculpture of John Bunting’ (London, 2012), and the most recent one: ‘Abstraction and Reality: The Sculpture of Ivor Roberts-Jones (1913-1996)’ (London, 2013). (Roberts-Jones was responsible for the figure of Churchill that stands in Parliament Square, London.)


  • £3 for general public;
  • FREE for CamRuSS members and staff and students of St John’s College;
  • £1 for other students (on presentation of their student card).
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