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2004 | 39 | 101-120

Article title

The Attitude of Czech Politicians Towards the Soviet Union and Polish-Soviet Relations (1926-1935)


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To the beginning of June 1934 Czechoslovakia did not de iure recognise the Soviet Union despite the fact that a Soviet diplomatic mission had existed in Prague since 1922, and a Czechoslovak one - in Moscow. The attitude represented by the government in Prague was influenced by fears of a deterioration of relations with the Small Entente allies and Yugoslavia, and the anti-Soviet campaign conducted by the National Democrats as well as by a negative attitude among other parties towards the recognition of the Soviet authorities. On the other hand, the interests demonstrated by Czech industrialists in the establishment of trade contacts with the Soviet Union became the reason why both the government in Prague and a major part of the Czech parties supported diplomatic relations with the authorities in Moscow. At the same time, slightly more attention was devoted to Polish-Soviet relations under the impact of the interest shown by the Soviet government in a non-aggression pact with Poland, which was perceived as a reinforcement of the international position of the Polish state. An eventual improvement of relations between Warsaw and Moscow could have become for the Czech authorities and some of the local political groups an additional argument in favour of inaugurating trade relations and a de iure recognition of the Soviet Union. At the end of the 1920s the National Democrats were skeptical about the possibility of improving the relations between Poland and her eastern neighbour and did not attach greater attention to the Polish-Soviet nonaggression pact signed in 1932. A change in Soviet foreign policy, which took place in 1933, increased the interests of the Czech authorities and certain politicians not only in a de iure recognition of the Soviet Union and the commencement of cooperation. This was also the period of an onset of pro-Soviet sympathies, cultivated not only by the communists but also by the Social Democrats and peasant parties. The accompanying negative opinion about the Polish policy towards the Soviet Union was expressed predominantly by journalists associated with the 'Hrad' group. The Czechoslovak-Soviet mutual assistance pact signed on 16 May 1935 increased pro-Soviet sympathies among the majority of the Czech political circles. The hopes connected with the alliance proved to be unfounded: the authorities in Moscow did not intend to become embroiled in a war conducted far from Soviet borders.







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  • J. Gruchala, Uniwersytet Slaski, ul. Bankowa 14, 40-007 Katowice, Poland


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