Diplomat DeWitt Clinton Poole arrived for a new job at the United States consulate office in Moscow in September 1917, just two months before the Bolshevik Revolution. In the final year of World War I, as Russians were withdrawing and Americans were joining the war, Poole found himself in the midst of political turmoil in Russia. U.S. relations with the newly declared Soviet Union rapidly deteriorated as civil war erupted and as Allied forces intervened in northern Russia and Siberia. Thirty-five years later, in the climate of the Cold War, Poole recounted his experiences as a witness to that era in a series of interviews.
Historians Lorraine M. Lees and William S. Rodner introduce and annotate Poole's recollections, which give a fresh, firsthand perspective on monumental events in world history and reveal the important impact DeWitt Clinton Poole (1885–1952) had on U.S.–Soviet relations. He was active in implementing U.S. policy, negotiating with the Bolshevik authorities, and supervising American intelligence operations that gathered information about conditions throughout Russia, especially monitoring anti-Bolshevik elements and areas of German influence. Departing Moscow in late 1918 via Petrograd, he was assigned to the port of Archangel, then occupied by Allied and American forces, and left Russia in June 1919.