The Georgian War was a conflict between the Allied forces of the United States and Greece against the forces of the New Russian Empire . In 1918, Georgia declared its' independence from Russia under a Socialist Menshevik government. In 1921, U.S forces invaded and took over the government, now part of the Commonwealth of Armenia. In 1931, Grigori Rasputin became the ruler of Russia. Under the advice of Josef Dughashvili, a native Georgian, he invaded the nation. Although Russian forces were able to take control of Georgia in a month, the American governor of Armenia, Franklin Roosevelt, managed to rally a force of Armenian militias, Greek troops, and American soldiers to fight against the Russians. The conflict soon escalated into a naval war. Neither nation was willing to commit to a long term conflict, leading to the Treaty of Sofia. In the Treaty, the U.S agreed to cede Georgia to Russia in exchange for reparations, most of which were never paid. The conflict was the first war between two major western powers since World War I.
When the United States received a mandate for the nation of Armenia in the Treaty of Versailles, it interpreted it in such a way that it used the mandate to seize territory across the South Caucasus. Therefore, Azerbaijan was assimilated into Armenia in 1920, and Georgia in 1921. While Azerbaijan was conquered due to its' threatening of native Armenians, Georgia was invaded due to its' hosting of a hostile Menshevik government which was opposed to American presence in Transcaucasia. Both of these nations had recently been a part of the Russian Empire. The coalition government of the Russian Republic, which succeeded the Empire, warned the United States not to expand in the Caucasus. Its' actions were limited, however, by the government's weak control over outlying territories and reliance on foreign support. As such, the U.S was able to expand unimpeded throughout the region.
After the Mensheviks aided the Azerbaijanis, and raided the Armenian border in 1920, the Americans had had enough. President Henry Cabot Lodge, diametrically opposed to what he viewed as a " Radical, Anarchist" government, and skeptical of " the ability of the Slavic races to govern their own lands," ordered Military Governor James Harbord to " use all means to secure Our holdings in the Near East, including conquest, if necessary."
Harbord began by attacking Georgian troops in the border province of Lori. With far better equipment, the Americans and Armenians were able to rout the Georgian in the Battle of Alaverdi in March 1921, pushing the Georgians back into their homeland, and giving the U.S access to central transit routes, including one to Tiflis, the Georgian capital. Desperate to prevent an American invasion, Georgian General Giorgi Kvinitadze ordered the sabotage of key roads. This sabotage was foiled by Armenian locals, but resulted in the death of Harbord's tank commander, Captain Dwight Eisenhower. This action prompted Harbord to initiate a full scale conquest of Georgia, with direct approval from the President. Harbord, leading a force of 20,000 Americans and 5000 Armenians then marched directly on Tiflis. This invasion was aided by insurgents in South Ossetia, who diverted Georgian strength in an all out uprising. Harbord marched through the Kvemo Kartli district, meeting little opposition excepting badly armed rural peasants. With control over the railroads, the Americans advanced quickly. The Georgians, under General Akhmeteli decided to limit the American expansion at Rustavi, while their troops evacuated Ossetia. American artillery, overcame the limited firepower of the Georgians, allowing the Americans to enter Rustavi after a four day siege on May 23. Harbord was then reinforced by ten thousand infantry. The Georgians assembled all of their forces to protect Tiflis. Demoralized and outnumbered, hundreds of Georgians deserted. The Georgians were able to hold Tiflis for two weeks, but recognizing the hopelessness of the situation, Georgian President Noe Zhordania surrendered on June 20th, preventing a bloodbath. American troops entered Tiflis, essentially giving them control of Georgia. The remainder of the nation was subjugated throughout the rest of the year.
As promised to Zhordania in his surrender, the Americans pursued a lenient policy towards the Georgians. Although the Armenian government in Yerevan assumed direct administration and levied taxes, the Georgians were able to continue limited autonomy. Initially, there was limited guerrilla warfare persisting into 1923. Eventually, the Georgian adjusted to the foreign occupiers. They remained resentful, however, of the Central government in Yerevan, and intensely disliked the Armenians. Protests in 1925 resulted in President Charles Dawes promising independence for the three nations as the Trans-Caucasian Federation. Grumblings against the Americans continued, whose policies seemed heavy-handed. Armenian Governor Franklin Roosevelt, appointed in 1929, sought to repair relations with the Georgian community in preparation for eventual independence. He met with former Georgian officials, and appointed them to key positions. Roosevelt also invested in Georgian infrastructure and industry, helping to modernize the Georgian economy.
However, Roosevelt was becoming increasingly concerned with developments to the North. The increasing instability of the Russian Republic threatened to spread into the Trans-Caucasus. The Americans were already having difficulty controlling minority groups in South Ossetia and Abzhakia. With the fascist Holy Army of Rasputin slowly moving west out of Siberia, Roosevelt predicted that Rasputin would invade Georgia after he won control of Russia. Roosevelt pressed the Department of War to send more troops in order to forestall a potential invasion. Frosty relations with the Dawes administration, and a preoccupation with the Hejaz and Central America limited the direct military aid Armenia received. Nevertheless, one thousand extra troops were sent to Armenia after Rasputin gained control in February of 1931; and Roosevelt significantly boosted defense capabilities by expanding the multi-ethnic Armenian National Guard. The Commonwealth also purchased supplies from the Greeks and British in the event of war.
Roosevelt's assumptions turned out to be correct. Rasputin sought control over all the former Russian Empire. He viewed American presence in the region as a Jewish backed abomination. " To fulfill God's will and establish His Kingdom on Earth, all of Holy Rus must be united, and the Satanic barbarians pushed from our lands," declared Rasputin after taking Petrograd. The commander of the Order of the Raven, Anatoly Pepelyayev, supported an invasion of the Baltics. Rasputin's closest adviser, Josef Dughashvili, digressed. Dughashvili, being a Georgian, was particularly incensed at the foreign occupation. As soon as Rasputin assumed power, Dughashvili began advocating for what he called a " liberation." In this he was supported by many in the Georgian community in Russia. In the Army, General Pavel Avalov, another Georgian, allied himself with Dughashvili's position. Although Rasputin was more interested in the Baltic nations, the presence of a hostile foreign power with Jewish support was both strategically and morally unviable for his Nationalist regime. Rasputin ordered regular Russian troops to assemble. On July 4th, the Russians invaded Georgia.
Immediately before Avalov's forces overran the Georgian border, South Ossesian insurgents attacked Commonwealth outposts in the north. This weakening of supply lines contributed heavily to the initial American defeat. Furthermore, U.S forces were participating in Independence Day celebrations, leading to lax border security. In a week, the Russian Army, numbering over 40,000, seized much of Northern Georgia, from Abzhakia to Ossetia. Commonwealth forces, a mixture of Americans and Caucasus people, took a few initial casualties, before retreating panicking to the south. The deeply religious folk of the occupied region, who had heard much of Rasputin, welcomed the invaders. Avalov also seized supplies the Americans had left behind, including FT-19 tanks, allowing him to continue his invasion. He rebuffed a weak Commonwealth counter assault before marching on Gori.
On July 6th, a shocked Congress declared war on Russia. The Dawes administration adapted a muscular stance towards the Russians, promising to fight for every parcel of land. Most Americans were either indifferent or hostile towards the war, which took place during the depths of the Great Depression. Americans had barely heard of Georgia, and often confused it with the state. Senator Burton Wheeler and Governor William Murray emerged as major opponents of the war, promising to aid Georgians in America and not Georgians abroad. The White House largely ignored public opinion in the war's early stages.On July 14th, the Russians defeated the heavily outnumbered Commonwealth forces in the battle of Gori. U.S artillery pieces, however, caused the Russians dozens of casualties. The Americans would later destroy this artillery rather then allow it to fall into foreign hands. A few days later, Avalov advanced to Mtskheta, the capital of the Mkhare region, where the Americans were holding out in an attempt to prevent the Russians from reaching Tiflis. The Battle of Jvari monastery, often compared to the Alamo, concluded the first stage of the war. The few hundred Commonwealth troops managed to inflict significant damage on the Czar's Army again by use of superior artillery and controlling the high ground. On the night of July 27th, the Russians stormed the monastery and massacred many of the soldiers. The Jvari massacre would later be used for propaganda purposes.
After the Jvari massacre, Roosevelt realized the Russians had an advantage, and evacuated Tiflis. The time bought by the battles at Gori and Jvari aided in this mobilization. Government forces fled into Armenia, followed by thousands of Georgians, particularly Leftists and other undesirables. Some Commonwealth-friendly Georgians remained in order to provide the U.S with intelligence. The Russians occupied Tiflis on August 3rd, ensuring control over most of Georgia.
Roosevelt had ordered mobilization of the local reserves on the first day of the war. By the time the Czar's Army occupied Tiflis, the reserves had mobilized, and remaining Commonwealth territories fortified.