A Temporary Setback in Relations with Britain
The conclusion of the Polish-Soviet non-aggression pact augured well for Moscow’s future. The Soviet Union at last appeared to be harvesting international rewards for the desperate sacrifices of the previous three years. A series of further successes, both real and apparent, in the autumn and winter of 1932 — both within Germany and elsewhere — appeared firm confirmation that the USSR had finally established itself as a Power to be reckoned with. The only setback occurred in relations with Britain, yet even this proved shortlived and seemed only to underline the progress Moscow had made.
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Notes and References
- 1.Towards the end of July 1931 Lady Astor and her companions (including George Bernard Shaw) obtained an interview with Stalin, during their stay as guests of the Soviet Government. Stalin was eager to have news of Winston Churchill, being particularly interested to know what office he was likely to hold in the event of the Conservatives regaining power. Lady Astor’s disparaging remarks about Churchill as a spent force in British politics met with scepticism from Stalin, who appeared convinced that Churchill was bound to rise to the top again and would then launch a further crusade against the Soviet Union (as in 1918–19): Christopher Sykes, NANCY: The Life of Lady Astor (London, 1972) p. 340. Churchill’s omission from the Cabinet thus removed any immediate fears on this score that Stalin may have harboured. Editorials in Pravda (”Makdonal’d vo glave ‘natsional’nogo’ pravitel’stva”) and Izvestiya (”Pravitel’stvo spaseniya kapitalizma”) on the 25 August both focused on the seeming bankruptcy of Labour rather than on any threat from Conservative participation in the new coalition.Google Scholar
- 3.Membership reached its nadir at 2 555 in November 1930, and had risen to only 9 000 by early 1932: H. Pelling, The British Communist Party: A Historical Profile (London, 1958) appendix A.Google Scholar
- 22.Beatrice Webb to Friends of Seaham, 23.7.23: Letters of Sidney and Beatrice Webb, vol. 3, Pilgrimage 1912–1947, edited by N. Mackenzie (Cambridge, 1978) p. 176.Google Scholar
- 28.Ivan Maisky, Who Helped Hitler? (London, 1964) p. 18.Google Scholar