Soviet Foreign Policy 1924-1939 Socialism in One Country By Mr. Rakochy IBDP History
Perspective• Important to look at Stalin’s foreign policy through the lens of Socialism in One Country – At odds with Totsky’s Permanent Revolution• Nationalism replaced Marxist-Leninist worldwide revolution – Dependent upon Socialist revolutions in W. Europe
Sino-Soviet Relations pre-WWII• Revolution in China in 1911 left power vacuum• Lenin supported Chinese Communist Party (CPC) and it was backed by Comintern• CPC to be a wing of Guomindang (GMD) – Chinese Nationalists• Nationalists represented Chinese bourgeoisie (middle-class)
Sino-Soviet Relations pre-WWII - 2• Change of GMD leadership 1925 under Chiang Kai-shek reduced CPC influence• GMD increasingly anti-communist• GMD still supported militarily by Soviet Union despite anti-communist tendencies• Stalin looked at Chiang’s nationalist regime as an ally to the Soviet Union• Why did Stalin feel he needed an ally in China?
Sino-Soviet Relations pre-WWII - 3• April 1927 Chiang’s government massacred 30-40 thousand communists and workers in Shanghai• CPC under Mao Zedong introduced a policy independent of Soviet Union and Comintern• Trotsky’s claim Stalin is the gravedigger of the revolution gains some ground in China
Anglo-Soviet Relations• Under Lenin Anglo-Soviet trade agreement of 1921 slightly improved strained relations – 1923 agreement strained by British Foreign Sec. Curzon’s demand that Soviet agents stop agitation in Persia, Afghanistan and India or agreement will be terminated • Soviet’s comply with Curzon Ultimatum• MacDonald Labour government recognized USSR officially - 1924
Anglo-Soviet Relations - 2• Zinoviev letter 1924(which was a fake) further strained relations bringing relations to virtual standstill through 1925 – Letter suggested Comintern conduct major propaganda campaign in British military and elsewhere• Arcos raid of 1927 on Russian trade mission in London resulted in an end to diplomatic relations until 1929
Soviet-German Relations 1924-1933• Soviet-German relations 1924-1933• Lenin had improved relations dramatically in 1922 with Treaty of Rapallo (open diplomatic relationship established, secret economic and military alliance)• 1925 German/Western Treaty of Locarno troublesome to Soviets – Fear of Soviet isolation and erosion in Soviet German relations resulted
Soviet-German Relations 1924-1933• To alleviate concerns Germany signed a number of trade and diplomatic agreements with Soviets• 1926 Treaty of Berlin reaffirmed Treaty of Rapallo and both countries pledged neutrality in case of an attack by a foreign power• Militarily and economically relations improved through 1933 (not politically)
Soviet Foreign Policy 1924-1933 Review• 2 possible tracks – Trotsky’s or Stalin’s – Permanent Revolution vs. Socialism in One Country• USSR adopts Stalin’s policy of Socialism in One Country – Foreign communists subservient to USSR – Stalin’s foreign policy impacted by domestic priorities• By 1932 USSR a European power once again
Fascism and Collective Security• Collective Security: working together with other States to stop fascism• Litvinov (Commissar of Foreign affairs) helped USSR to join the “robbers den” aka League of Nations in 1934 – Denounced German appeasement as “suicidal”• 1935 USSR signs mutual assistance pacts with France and Czechoslovakia – USSR only obliged to help Czechoslovakia if France acted upon German aggression
Spanish Civil War• Soviet Union main supporter of Spain• Litvinov’s pursuance of collective security against fascism made Spain important• Stalin not totally committed as belief in Socialism in One Country was paramount• Aid came in limited quantity
Spanish Civil War 2• Stalin’s intervention cautious and not a full commitment• Why did Stalin commit? See page 257 of Corin and Fiehn• Stalin sent supplies: 650 planes, 400 tanks, 18,000 machine guns, clothing and medicine, 3,000 advisors• Stalin supported NKVD in mini-war between POUM and NKVD
Nazi-Soviet Pact 1939- why the turn?• Hitler’s aggression (Rhineland 1936, Anschluss 1938,Czechoslovakia 1938) left Stalin with few choices – West had shown tendency to choose fascism over fear of communism – Munich Conference and concessions by West to Hitler did not build confidence in Soviets.
Nazi-Soviet Pact 1939 continued• Historians disagree about Stalin’s motives – Some believe west forced Stalin’s hand – Others believe Stalin would do whatever benefited USSR• May 1939 Litvinov replaced by Molotov (a move away from Collective Security)• August 1939 Nazi-Soviet Pact signed: 1. Committed both sides to neutrality if other attacked (in line with 1926 Treaty of Berlin) 2. Future spheres of influence secretly agreed upon – E. Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Bessarabia (part of Romania) to Soviets.
Nazi-Soviets continued• 1 September Hitler invades Poland from West starting WWII. 17 September Soviets attack Poland from East.• 28 September 2nd Nazi-Soviet pact signed – concedes more of Poland to Germany but gives Soviets Lithuania. – Hitler also got economic concessions from USSR including grain and supplies passing through USSR from the Far East.
Was Stalin blinded by Hitler?• Stalin did not believe pact would last forever but was caught off guard when Soviets were invaded by Hitler in June of 1941