Foreign Policy (1917-1953)

  • Created by: NHow02
  • Created on: 23-03-19 12:31

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (1918)


- DECREE ON PEACE (signed 26 October) responded to the people's desire to end the war (Lenin pleaed with other nations for a just peace with 'no annexations, no indemnities')

- Russian front disintegrated rapidly (soldiers had no desire to die in futile fighting).         1. army could no longer be used against the Bolsheviks by Russian Generals.                   2. German army was now free to walk into Russia + excessive demands from Germany


- SPLITS within the party (Trotsky withdrew as Bolshevik negotatiator, stating there would be 'neither war nor peace' as russians refused to fight + Germans refused terms)

- the German army began to advance into Ukraine (Lenin feared an attack on Petrograd + pressured Bolshevik representatives to sign the Treaty on 3 March 1918)

- TERMS (worth paying to preserve what was already accomplished)                                   1. lost Poland, Latvia & Ukraine etc. (2 million square miles) + 1/6 of its population           2. ECONOMY: Lost 74% of oil + iron ore supplies & payed 3 billion roubles in reparations

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Russo-Polish War (1919)


- Poles wanted to reclaim territory that had belonged to the Polish Empire by taking advantage of Russia's chaotic situation

- Lenin + left-wing Bolsheviks hoped to encourage a revolution in Germany (seen as a 'red bridge into Europe' due to its instability - somecities setting up 'red soviets')


- Poles were an old enemey so invasion brought non-Bolshevik support under the Red banner (Tulchachevsky + the Poles were pushed back at Warsaw)

- However, the Reds had overstretched their supply lines + lacked support (Lenin decided to fight on even after Poles were expelled from Russia + against many of his colleagues wishes)

- Threaty of Riga in 1921 (surrendered large areas of White Russia to Ukraine + the Poles (Leni was forced to reach a peace settlement and co-exist peacefully with Europe for a time)

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Comintern (Failures)

2nd Party Congress in 1920 (designed to impress delegates of 41 countries) + introduced the 21 CONDITIONS (impractical + inflammatory):

1. freedom of action was refused to British + Spanish delegates                                           2. underground organisations must prepare for civil war and spread propaganda

Revolutionary Attempts:

- failed to attempt in Berlin, Munich & Hungary - Bela Kun's soviet republic last only 4 months -Communist risings in 1921 and 1925 in Germany (but mostly faded after 1923) (relations with Europe weakened as Comintern expressed an aggressive language/ideology)

- 1923, Curzon THREATENED TO CANCEL the Anglo-Soviet trade agreement of 1921, unless the Comintern abandonned activities in Persia, Afghanistan & India

- 1924, forged 'Zinoviev Letter' from the Comintern instructed conduction of propaganda (newly elected Conservative gov. virtually suspended all dealings throughout 1925 + remained suspicious throughout mid 1920's + early 1930's)

Russia could not afford to remain isolated as it needed trade with other countries to bring in capital goods to revive industry...

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Comintern (Successes)

The USSR and Germany were natural allies as both were outcast nations (due to Germany's responsibilty for WW1 & Russia's communist ideology)

Treaty of Rapallo 1922:

- included a renunciation of financial claims to either side + promised economic & military collaboration 

Treaty of Berlin 1926:

- reaffirmed the terms of Rapallo + reassured the Soviets (the Locarno Treaty of 1925 had worried Russia as Germany might reintegrate in to the Western world + isolate them)

- agreed favourable terms (Germany agreed to abstain from any trade with the League of Nations or financial boycott of the USSR)

- military + economic advantages                                                                                                1. German officers trained Red Army in tank warfare + military aviation                                2. Germany also made significant long-term loans (boosted the NEP + 5 year plans)      3. by 1932, 47% of total Russian imports came from Germany

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China (1921-27)

Spread of Communism:

- Stalin decided to support the Koumintang in China led by Kai Shek (believed Jeshi would bring stability to a kay strategic area on Russia's eastern border)

- however, the Koumintang established a military dictatorship (massacred striking workers in 1926 + surpressed Communist workers' revolt in 1927, killing thousands of workers)

- In April 1927, the Comintern responded by ordering a failed revolution in Shanghai (this was followed by a national campaign of 'purification')

Stalin was criticised for not supporting the Chinese Communist party formed in 1921, but was backed financialy + militarily by the Koumintang

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Nazi-Soviet Pact (1939)

Passed by foreign ministers RIBBENTROP & MOLOTOV (23 August) when it became obvious that Europe was sliding towards war:

Stalin's hopes & fears:

- Stalin had previously feared a two-front war against Germany + Japan (Meanwhile, Hitler also feared fighting against an allied force of Britain, France & the USSR)

- Stalin's ideal situation was war where he remained neutral (while facsist countries, Germany, Italy & Japan fought capitalist/democratic countries Britain & France)


- pact offered Stalin territorial gains in eastern Poland + Baltic States (but also allowed freedom for Hitler to invade Poland + access to raw materials from Russia)

- Winter War in Finland in 1939 had left USSR weak, but the pact provided protection (it also provided economic breathing space to concentrate on internal affairs)

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