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#174 – Maxim Litvinov

#174 – Maxim Litvinov published on No Comments on #174 – Maxim Litvinov

Maxim Litvinov was a Russian revolutionary and an important Soviet politician. He was named People’s Commisar of Foreign Affairs in 1930, and spearheaded the campaign for Soviet policy of collective security with the Western powers against Nazi Germany. 1Maksim Litvinov | Biography

On the day after the October Revolution of 1917, Litvinov was appointed by the Council of People’s Commissars as the Soviet Government’s plenipotentiary representative in Great Britain. 2Soviet Foreign Policy, 1930–33: The Impact of the Depression. New York: St. Martin’s Press. pp. 11–13 His accreditation was never officially formalised and his position as an unofficial diplomatic contact was analogous to that of Bruce Lockhart, Britain’s unofficial agent in Soviet Russia. 3

In 1933, Litvinov was instrumental in winning a long-sought diplomatic plum: formal diplomatic recognition by the United States of the Soviet government. US President Franklin Roosevelt sent comedian Harpo Marx to the Soviet Union as a goodwill ambassador. Litinov and Marx became friends and even performed a routine on stage together.4Current Biography. pp. 518–520 Litinov also actively facilitated the acceptance of the Soviet Union into the League of Nations where he represented his country from 1934 – 1938

In 1935, Litvinov negotiated treaties of mutual assistance with France and Czechoslovakia with the aim of containing Nazi Germany’s aggression.5

American historian Jeffery Herf views Litinov’s dismissal of the Molotov Ribbentrop Pact as conclusive proof that the Nazi belief in Jewish conspiracy that supposedly controlled the governments of the Soviet Union and other allied powers was completely false.6

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