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18 - A Formative Threat?

The Western Powers and the Bolshevik Challenge

from Part IV - No Pax Atlantica

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 April 2022

Patrick O. Cohrs
Affiliation:
Università degli Studi, Florence
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Summary

Chapter 18 analyses how the principal western policy- and decision-makers of 1919 sought to deal with the Bolshevik challenge or, more precisely, the political challenge posed by Lenin’s regime and the political and ideological challenge posed by what they regarded as the threat of a transnational spread of Bolshevism across and beyond Europe. It also reassesses the overall significance of the Bolshevik threat for the making of the nascent Atlantic order after the First World War, underscoring that it affected the peacemaking process but was not as decisive as generations of cold war historians have claimed and highlighting that this process was by no means shaped by a struggle between Wilsonianism and Leninism. It then examines how Lenin, Trotsky and other leading Bolsheviks interpreted the western powers’ pursuits and sought to expand the communist revolution westwards, also through the Communist International. And, finally, it illuminates how difficult it proved for Wilson, Lloyd George, Clemenceau and their advisers to agree on a common approach both towards the Russian civil war and the Bolshevik regime – and how they eventually concentrated on isolating it and preventing a German-Bolshevik alliance, ensuring that subsequently the Soviet Union would remain outside the nascent Atlantic system.

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The New Atlantic Order
The Transformation of International Politics, 1860–1933
, pp. 765 - 787
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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  • A Formative Threat?
  • Patrick O. Cohrs, Università degli Studi, Florence
  • Book: The New Atlantic Order
  • Online publication: 22 April 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316338988.024
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  • A Formative Threat?
  • Patrick O. Cohrs, Università degli Studi, Florence
  • Book: The New Atlantic Order
  • Online publication: 22 April 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316338988.024
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • A Formative Threat?
  • Patrick O. Cohrs, Università degli Studi, Florence
  • Book: The New Atlantic Order
  • Online publication: 22 April 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316338988.024
Available formats
×