Russia and Italy against Hitler: The Bolshevik-Fascist Rapprochment of the 1930s

Russia and Italy against Hitler: The Bolshevik-Fascist Rapprochment of the 1930s

Russia and Italy against Hitler: The Bolshevik-Fascist Rapprochment of the 1930s

Russia and Italy against Hitler: The Bolshevik-Fascist Rapprochment of the 1930s

Synopsis

Clarke tackles an untouched part of pre World War II historiography: the complex web of ideology, economics, military cooperation, and diplomacy binding Italy and the USSR prior to 1935. While explaining the contradictory cooperation of these two ideologies, Clarke's study takes on greater significance against the larger world canvas. It becomes a valuable avenue to understanding interwar diplomacy and the Soviet Union. Clarke's research comes from the Italian Foreign Ministry Archives (1924-1941). This unique Italian perspective sheds new light on Stalin's Russia and Mussolini's Italy.

Excerpt

Let the reader take care. This is a book easily misjudged. On the surface, it is a close study of the diplomatic and commercial ties binding Stalin's Russia and Mussolini's Italy in 1933 and 1934. These years of improved relations were made palpable in the commercial agreement of May 1933, the political Pact of Friendship of September, and the increasing military contacts spanning the first half of the decade. A brief era of good feeling ensued, which eroded after 1935 with Italy's invasion of Abyssinia and the participation of both nations in the Spanish Civil War. Ultimately, of course, Mussolini joined Hitler in the attack on the Soviet Union in 1941.

Narrowly focused, there may not appear to be very much very remarkable in this tale even though the rapprochement of two such ideologically different governments might seem odd. Italian-Russian relations had, after all, been cordial enough before the Revolution and again during the New Economic Policy period, and by 1930 signs of improvement could be seen in their cooperation with Germany against France. Commerce between these two medium-weight powers leaped forward in 1931.

But the events that Clarke richly describes, when set against a larger canvas, take on greater significance. Hitler's assumption of power and the rise of German economic and military power, to say the least, upset the European state system and threatened to reshape or destroy the rough power balance achieved by between-the-wars Europe. It took some time for politicians to appreciate fully the new dangers, but more quickly than most, those in Moscow and Rome sensed that a veritable "Diplomatic Revolution" was underway. For Moscow, the changes in Germany marked the beginning of the decline of the centerpiece of their NEP foreign policy, the German connection that evolved after Rapallo. For Rome, the changes threatened . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.