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Soviet Foreign Policy: 1917-1941

            Throughout the period of 1917 to 1941 the majority of the many changes in soviet foreign policy were not results of pre-determined ideology, but rather a pragmatism that resulted from the varying situations. It can be seen that the Bolsheviks, although conclusive in their thoughts often determined their philosophy was not always the most effective.
             The first period of Soviet foreign policy was strictly ideological, where their actions were determined by their aspirations instead of practicality. Its aim was world communism; all countries becoming communist beginning with Germany, as it was thought that until this happened Russia could not build their utopian society. The ministry of foreign affairs was changed to the People's Commissariat of foreign affairs and led by Leon Trotsky; however he approached his job with the expectance of an immediate worldwide communist revolution. "I will issue a few revolutionary proclamations to the peoples of the world and then shut up shop." He appealed to workers of the central powers to conduct their own revolution and while his pleas did not go unanswered they caused little result. In Austria and Germany there was a wave of strikes, "a spontaneous movement of workers generated by a sudden reduction of bread rations" (Julius Braunthal) however "with strikes alone you can't compel an imperialist government to sign revolutionary peace proposals" (Otto Bauer). Also during this period was the introduction of the Commintern or communist international, an organization with the principle that only the combined force of the proletariat of most or all industrialized countries could succeed in overthrowing the government. "The communist international should represent a single universal communist party of which the parties operating in every country form individual sections." The Commintern implied Twenty one conditions for admission in to the group, something that was intended to centralize and strengthen the parties control and further their chance of revolution.

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