The 1927 Soviet War Scare: The Foreign Affairs-Domestic Policy Nexus Revisited

in The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
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The Soviet War Scare of 1927 is usually treated solely within the bounds of Soviet political machinations. This study explores the connection between Bolshevik domestic and foreign policy in the War Scare of 1927 with a focus on the peasants. The peasants in the early years of the NEP were seeking a compromise with the regime, seeing the relations of power following the war, the civil war, and horrendous famine of 1921-1922, not in their favor. The War Scare of 1927 altered how both the peasants and the regime saw one another and the possibility of compromise. The rumors of war were soon coupled with threats of peasants uprising against the communists. By fall 1927, both the local police in their svodki and the central OGPU in its summary reports to the political leadership were describing a mounting confrontational atmosphere among the peasants. Given the heightened anxieties within the leadership regarding the Soviet Union’s ability to defend itself, concern over the reliability of the peasantry and a demand to know more fully about the “political situation in the countryside” had reached a fever pitch. Surveiling the countryside, both the central OGPU and the party leadership concluded, not without some evidence, that a growing number of peasants desired a showdown. The War Scare of 1927 added significantly to the factors that helped set the process of collectivization in motion.

The 1927 Soviet War Scare: The Foreign Affairs-Domestic Policy Nexus Revisited

in The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review

References

2)

John P. Sontag“The Soviet War Scare of 1926-27,” Russian Review34 no. 1 (1975): 66-77; Teddy J. Uldricks “Russia and Europe: Diplomacy Revolution and Economic Development in the 1920s” The International History Review 1 no. 1 (1979): 55-83.

4)

Robert Tucker“The Emergence of Stalin’s Foreign Policy,” Slavic Review36 no. 4 (1977): 566-567.

5)

Alfred G. Meyer“The War Scare of 1927,” Soviet Union/Union Sovietique5 pt. 1 (1978): 1-25; quotation p. 2.

7)

Sontag“The Soviet War Scare of 1926-27” 70-71.

9)

JacobsonWhen the Soviet Union Entered World Politics219-222.

10)

Gabriel GorodetskyThe Precarious Truce: Anglo-Soviet Relations 1924-27 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press1977); Keith Neilson “’Pursued by a Bear’: British Estimates of Soviet Military Strength and Anglo-Soviet Relations 1922-1939” Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d’histoire 28 (1993): 194-204.

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David R. Stone“Mobilization and the Red Army’s Move into Civil Administration, 1925-31,” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History4 no. 2 (2003): 343-367. As Jon Jacobson argues “Essay and Reflection: On the Historiography of Soviet Foreign Relations in the 1920s” The International History Review 18 no. 2 (1996): 344-345 Georgii Chicherin deputy commissar for foreign affairs might have differed sharply from the party leadership in his more optimistic analysis of the British threat but he was clearly in the minority in 1926-1927. On doubts about Chicherin’s optimism at the time as opposed to later revisionism see Teddy J. Uldricks “Russia and Europe: Diplomacy Revolution and Economic Development in the 1920s” The International History Review 1 no. 1 (1979): 55-83.

13)

Harvey L. Dyck“German-Soviet Relations and the Anglo-Soviet Break, 1927,” Slavic Review25 no. 1 (1966): 67-83; idem. Weimar Germany and Soviet Russia 1926-1933: A Study in Diplomatic Instability (New York: Columbia University Press1966): 13 68-72.

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Jon Jacobson“Essay and Reflection: On the Historiography of Soviet Foreign Relations in the 1920s,” The International History Review18 no. 2 (1996): 354.

15)

Sheila Fitzpatrick“The Foreign Threat during the First Five-Year Plan,” Soviet Union/Union Sovietique5 pt. 1 (1978): 26-35. The impact of the war scare on rural Russia in most all treatments of the matter is exemplified in Fitzpatrick’s brief statement: “It caused panic in the population leading to the hoarding of grain and other commodities” (26).

17)

Tracy McDonald“A Peasant Rebellion in Stalin’s Russia: The Pitelinskii Uprising, Riazan 1930,” Journal of Social History35 no. 1 (2001): 125-146.

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Merle FainsodSmolensk under Soviet Rule (Cambridge: Harvard University Press1958) 156; Volodomyr Semystiaha “The Role and Place of Secret Collaborators in the Informational Activity of the GPU-NKVD in the 1920s and 1930s” Cahiers du Monde russe 42 nos. 2-4 (2001): 237-238.

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Peter Holquist“‘Information Is the Alpha and Omega of Our Work’: Bolshevik Surveillance in Its Pan-European Context,” The Journal of Modern History69 no. 3 (1997): 415-450.

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Jeffrey Brooks“Official Xenophobia and Popular Cosmopolitanism in Early Soviet Russia,” American Historical Review97 no. 5 (1992): 1443-1446.

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LihBread and Authority in Russia (1914-1921)131–148.

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Roberta Manning“The Rise and Fall of ‘the Extraordinary Measures,’ January-June 1928: Toward a Reexamination of the Onset of the Stalin Revolution,” The Carl Beck Papers in Russian and East European Studiesno. 1504 (Pittsburgh: Center for Russian and East European Studies University of Pittsburgh 2001): 2.

49)

V. P. Danilov“Vvedenie (Istoki i nachalo derevenskoi tragedii),” TSD128-46; Obzor politicheskogo sostoianiia SSSR za ianvar’ 1928 g. fevralia 1928 g. in Sevost’ianov “Sovershenno sekretno” 6: 32; Obzor politicheskogo sostoianiia SSSR za fevral’ 1928 g. 31 marta 1928 g. in Sevost’ianov “Sovershenno sekretno” 6: 103.

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