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Canadian-Soviet Relations between the World Wars

Canadian-Soviet Relations between the World Wars

Aloysius Balawyder
Series: Heritage
Copyright Date: 1972
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Canadian-Soviet Relations between the World Wars
    Book Description:

    This study, based on archives only recently made available, examines Canada's relations with the Soviet Union between the first and second world wars.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-5651-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. CHAPTER ONE Trade and Canada’s Intervention in Northern Russia and Siberia
    (pp. 3-21)

    Relations between Canada and Russia during World War i were almost entirely commercial except for the military intervention which began prior to Armistice Day and continued during the first half of 1919. During the war Russia placed large orders for war materials, including rifles, ammunition, saddles, and railroad cars. Trade increased to such an extent that by the end of 1916 the Canadian government felt that a Russian trade commissioner should be appointed by Petrograd to facilitate commerce.¹

    The Russians responded favourably to this request and the Russian consul general in Montreal informed Ottawa in January 1917 that the Russian...

  5. CHAPTER TWO Adherence to the Anglo–Soviet Trade Agreement
    (pp. 22-45)

    The Canadian government’s policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of the Russian people of Siberia did not mean that Ottawa favoured the teachings of the Bolsheviks or that it condoned their revolutionary activities. On the contrary, the Canadian government was perturbed by radical groups who espoused the cause of the Bolsheviks. Among these groups the Industrial Workers of the World, commonly called the iww, appeared to have members who were openly sympathetic to the socialist experiment taking place in Russia. The rww arose primarily out of dissatisfaction with craft unionism and the conservative policies of the American Federation of...

  6. CHAPTER THREE Help for the Famine-stricken Peoples
    (pp. 46-56)

    Fourteen months prior to Canada’s adherence to the Anglo-Soviet Trade Agreement on 3 July 1922, Lenin asked his representative in London, Leonid Krassin, to ascertain whether Moscow would be permitted to buy 72,000,000 pounds of bread and preserved foods from Canada.¹ Several days later, Krassin informed the Soviet leader that Prime Minister Meighen was ready for discussions on the purchase of Canadian food and the method of payment for it.

    Evidently Lenin was attempting to alleviate the sufferings of his people caused by a shortage of food in certain regions of Russia. At the very time when the Volga district...

  7. CHAPTER FOUR De Jure Recognition
    (pp. 57-81)

    On 3 July 1922 Canada finally adhered to the Anglo-Soviet Trade Agreement. Ottawa favoured a rehabilitated Soviet Russia, not only for commercial reasons, but also for the preservation of peace in Europe. To support her views, Canada sent Sir George Gordon, president of the Bank of Montreal and Dr E. Montpetit, director of the School of Social, Economic, and Political Science of the University of Montreal, to represent her at the Genoa Conference which had opened on 10 April 1922.¹ Lloyd George, the British prime minister, convened the conference for the purpose of removing obstacles to the admission of the...

  8. CHAPTER FIVE Diplomatic Rupture
    (pp. 82-104)

    Most countries that resumed diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union discovered, to their utter dismay, that the Soviet foreign policy was formulated and executed by an unacknowledged, but nonetheless real, combination of the Narkomindel, the Foreign Office, and the Comintern. Paradoxical as it may seem, even while the Narkomindel laboured strenuously to regularize diplomatic relations with capitalist states, the Comintern, in order to gain concessions from the countries with which Moscow was negotiating, seemingly employed every means to undermine their international prestige so as to place them at the mercy of Soviet negotiators.¹ If a country complained of such underhand...

  9. CHAPTER SIX Limited Diplomatic Relations Restored
    (pp. 105-117)

    Two months before the official restoration of relations between Moscow and London in May 1929 Canada contemplated the resumption of trade and, if need be, diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. Prime Minister King, urged by Colonel C.H. Mackie, Labour members of Parliament, and manufacturing firms, asked the British government whether an exchange of consular officials with Russia meant the full resumption of relations with that country.¹ At the same time the Canadian prime minister notified London that he did not intend to take any action until after the general elections in the United Kingdom.

    One of the most insistent...

  10. CHAPTER SEVEN Preliminary Skirmishes
    (pp. 118-130)

    The British initiative in resuming diplomatic ties with the Soviet Union provided Canada with the opportunity of regularizing her relations with Russia. But, instead of improving, relations degenerated into a minor economic war in the early 1930s. This new situation can be understood only in the context of Canada’s attempt to cope with the profound economic problems of the Great Depression and Stalin’s determination to industrialize Soviet Russia by means of the five-year plans.

    During the decade following the Wall Street crash of 1929, Canada experienced large-scale unemployment, disrupted production, falling prices, and shrinking of her overseas markets. The number...

  11. CHAPTER EIGHT The Undeclared Economic War
    (pp. 131-148)

    Despite the promise of the Canadian importers to refrain from buying Russian coal, the Soviet product continued to flood eastern Canada. A number of Canadians considered the existing embargo a farce since it was enforced during the season when no ships could travel down the St Lawrence. As one Lachine resident put it in his letter to Bennett: ‘Some sort of arrangement was made this fall, but it did not prevent cargoes of Russian coal from being unloaded at St Lawrence ports, right up until the close of navigation.’¹ Then he went on to challenge the Conservative prime minister by...

  12. CHAPTER NINE The Embargo under Strain
    (pp. 149-170)

    Early in his administration Bennett discovered that it was much easier to enact legislation prohibiting Soviet-made goods from entering Canada than to maintain this embargo in the face of urgent requests from organizations and individuals to modify it or remove it entirely. He believed that declining trade must be supported by protective tariffs. He also realized that an embargo was but a negative measure, and did not constitute a panacea for Canada’s economic ills. Consequently, he attempted to foster commerce, particularly with the members of the British Commonwealth.

    The embargo on furs was barely four months old when representations were...

  13. CHAPTER TEN The Comintern and the Communist Party of Canada
    (pp. 171-207)

    Previous chapters have demonstrated the Canadian government’s concern over the rise of radicalism in Canada prior to 1919. This concern developed into an almost irrational fear of any labour and social unrest, which was frequently identified by prominent government officials and by editors of Canadian daily newspapers as fruits of Bolshevism. Some of this fear stemmed from the revolutionary proclamations of the Third International and some from the activities of the Communist party of Canada. To many people of Canada Russia was intimately linked with the Third International and with the Communist party of Canada.

    In December 1918, Prime Minister...

  14. CHAPTER ELEVEN Towards a Better Understanding
    (pp. 208-219)

    The year 1934 witnessed a more tolerant attitude towards the Communist party of Canada and towards the Soviet Union. In 1934 the seven Communist leaders who were imprisoned for conspiring with foreign powers to overthrow the Canadian system of government were paroled as a result of continued protests by some of the members of Parliament and by a flood of petitions from individuals and groups. The cgf party, in particular, objected to the imprisonment of individuals whose ideas the government did not share. One of the largest assemblies of signatures, 200,000 in number, obtained through the ceaseless efforts of the...

  15. CHAPTER TWELVE Conclusion
    (pp. 220-224)

    Canadian-Soviet relations can only be understood in the broad context of Canadian foreign policy during the period between World Wars i and ii. Canada’s participation in World War i created in Canadians a new sense of national identity. They became conscious of the fact that they belonged to a separate nation which had full powers to negotiate with foreign countries without being restricted by Great Britain. At the same time the majority of Canadians argued that Canada’s independence in foreign affairs could be worked out within the framework of the British Commonwealth.

    Even as a member of the British Commonwealth,...

  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 225-232)
  17. Index
    (pp. 233-248)