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December 13, 2019, 02:39:07 am

Author Topic: Modern history (Russia) Foreign policy essay need feedback  (Read 227 times)

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Modern history (Russia) Foreign policy essay need feedback
« on: June 27, 2019, 02:41:42 am »
How successful was Soviet foreign policy in achieving its aims from 1917 to 1941?
(p.s. the essay is a few hundred words short but I havent written a conclusion yet which could be the reason)

Soviet foreign policy between 1917 and 1941 was wholistically dedicated to ensuring the survival and growth of the USSR. The outcome of most of the resulting treaties, agreements and meetings can be defined as successful, while some led to the loss of Soviet land to opposing forces.

Between 1917 to 1921, Lenin aimed to ensure the continuation of Bolshevik power through a range of pragmatic solutions to counteract crippling issues. The treaty of Brest-Litovsk (1918) between Germany and Russia ended Russia’s participation in WW1 and allowed for the uprise of the Soviet Union under Lenin. The ‘Soviet leadership was prepared to put aside strict ideological concerns to avoid war’ (Thomas and McAndrew) in a time of extreme vulnerability as the government was still consolidating. This treaty proved to be extremely successful, effectively allowing Russia under the Bolsheviks to survive. Lenin strongly advocated Trotsky's ideology of ‘Permanent revolution’ as a mechanism of defense against outside threats through the rapid growth and spread of communism. The Second Comintern meeting (1920) marked Lenin's inauguration of the 21 conditions regulating nations’ admission to the communist international. This encouraged revolution against democratic governments, becoming a form of ‘internal consolidation and defense against outside threats’ (Thomas and McAndrew). The Red Army’s mistakes in the Russo-Polish war allowed the poles to take a counteroffensive strategy, forcing the Reds to retreat. The Treaty of Riga successfully secured Russia’s border, defending Russia’s sovereignty, despite losing a province to Poland which they had previously laid claim to.

Between 1921 to 1934, Stalin's aim was to establish strong military connections to Germany, which proved successful but was halted by the rise of Hitler, leading to Stalin's focus to shift to aligning Russia with capitalist powers. The Treaty of Rapallo (1922), revoked all financial claims and territorial expansions previously ordered in the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Russia allowed Germany to build secret training facilities on their land to train specialised soldiers and test weaponry banned by the Treaty of Versailles. This included the Lipetsk fighter pilot school and the Kama tank school. Following attacks on communists in Britain and China, Stalin shifted the focus of the Comintern from promoting communism to ‘Socialism in one country’. Litvinov stated that ‘this policy, not only does it not get rid of war but on the contrary unleashes it’, proving it to be unsuccessful as it did not reduce the chances of war breaking out. The uprise of Hitler led to a Germany-Japan relationship which Stalin was extremely fearful of. This prompted Stalin to seek the support of the capitalist nations and to join the League of Nations in 1934. Furthermore, Stalin’s fear of the Germany-Japan alliance led him to signing the Treaty of Friendship with Mongolia, which included a mutual defence protocol. Russia’s allegiance to the treaty led them to defeating Japan and expelling them from Mongolia during 1934. The scale of their defeat became a became a major factor in discouraging a Japanese attack on the USSR during World War II, thus being a highly successful operation in the survival of the USSR.

Between 1934 to 1941, Soviet foreign policy revolved around forming ties with USA, Britain, France and later Germany to ensure the survival and propagation of communism and the Soviet Union. In 1935, USSR, France, and Czech promised ‘mutual assistance’ to each other if one state engaged in warfare/conflict. Litvinov neglected communist ideology to form this alliance, which is a clear example of ‘Soviet expediency in the face of German aggression’ (Lynch). This mutual assistance pact proved itself unsuccessful due to events that would unfold in 1938. To further intensify Russia’s foreign situation, Germany, Italy and Japan signed the Anti-Comintern pact in 1936 which reinforced to Russia the clear threat of a 2 front attack in their European and Eastern borders. In 1938, the Munich agreement was signed in which France who were aligned with Britain, allowed Hitler to overtake Czech, rendering the mutual assistance pact 1935 as significantly unsuccessful due to Frances betrayal. Stalin stated that this agreement was ‘a gathering of anti-Soviet nations’, describing the USSR as ‘diplomatically isolated’. This changed in 1939 when Russia signed the Nazi-Soviet pact, giving freeway for Hitler to wage war against Britain and France. This pact was in Russia’s favour as it had allowed them to seize control over half of Poland.