“Michael J. Carley has written a superb history of the first decade of Soviet foreign policy. Based on exhaustive work in the archives of Russia and Western Europe, this lively yet erudite study will be of interest to scholars and general readers alike. Carley’s theme is that Soviet foreign policy was hamstrung by the conflicting and contradictory interests of, on the one hand, the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs, which sought to ‘normalize’ Soviet Russia and strengthen its security by developing peaceful relationships such as trade, and on the other, the determination of the Communist International to foment revolution wherever it could. Nowhere is this theme better explored than in the matter of China, which Carley rightly retrieves from relative obscurity. While Comintern pressure meant that Soviet investment in the Chinese revolution grew from 12,000 roubles in 1923 to five million roubles in 1925, the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs was desperately trying to retain diplomatic relations with Great Britain, one of the first states with which Soviet Russia had established meaningful trading relations; in the 1920s there was no greater threat to British foreign investments than the riotous mix of nationalists and communists who threatened the elite tranquility of life in Shanghai. Marginalized in Politburo decision making, the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs could only look on helplessly as Britain broke off diplomatic relations. No wonder Foreign Commissar Chicherin joked toward the end of his life that the Comintern was ‘internal enemy no. 1.’ This book deserves the widest possible audience.”
---Geoffrey Swain, University of Glasgow
This is the definitive book on Soviet-Western relations in the 1920s. No one has done more research in Soviet and Western archives on this formative decade than Michael J.Carley, and it shows on every page of this fascinating book. While Carley focuses on Soviet diplomacy, the book also informs and illuminates our understanding of Western foreign policies. A must read for all students and scholars of the history of twentieth-century international relations.
---Geoffrey Roberts, University College Cork
hitherto unexplored Soviet archives as well as American, British,
French documents, Michael J. Carley has produced an original and
of Soviet relations with these powers. Written for the general
well as for the specialist, his book throws fresh light both on Soviet
making and on many highly contentious issues of the 1920s , such
so-called Zinoviev letter.
--- Zara Steiner, Cambridge University
“Silent Conflict is a tour de force of historical scholarship. Carley has mined the appropriate archival sources in Russia, Great Britain, France, and the United States to produce a ground-breaking analysis of the Bolshevik regime's troubled relations with the Western powers from the Revolution to the end of the 1920s. His careful assessment of the internal disputes between realists/pragmatists and ideological hard-liners in both camps will force historians to rethink their conclusions about this transformational period of what might be called the ‘first Cold War’.”
---William R. Keylor, Boston University