This is the first complete biography of Maxim Litvinov, a Bolshevik revolutionary who began his professional life running guns into Tsarist Russia and eventually became the leading Soviet diplomat in the turbulent 1930s. His was a spectacular career, spanning some of the most dramatic decades of the twentieth century and including an unsuccessful effort to contain Hitler with the cooperation of the Western Allies. Litvinov's subsequent replacement as Soviet foreign minister by Molotov in 1939 signaled the dramatic shift in Soviet foreign policy that led directly to the outbreak of World War II. After the war, Litvinov's final public act was to bluntly warn the West of the danger presented by Stalin's cold war policies-a threat Litvinov even dared to compare with that posed by Hitler a decade earlier. Litvinov's career ended in the relative obscurity from which it had sprung, his consistently pro-Western policies no longer consonant with the reemerging Soviet hostility toward the West. Passing away from remarkably natural causes in 1951, Litvinov left behind a political legacy that lay dormant for forty years until its recent revival by Mikhail Gorbachev. Between the Revolution and the West is based on extensive research in the Soviet Union and the West, including previously unavailable archives and interviews with Litvinov's friends and family. Hugh Phillips' work casts light not only on Litvinov the man but also on Soviet foreign policy during crucial and dramatic times.
Preface -- From Bialystok to Britain -- Diplomatic Baptism -- Keeping the Lines Open -- The Conferences at Genoa and the Hague -- Litvinov and the Origins of Soviet Disarmament Policy -- Years of Drift and Waiting -- Propaganda and Disarmament -- Becoming the New Foreign Commissar -- Litvinov and Soviet Foreign Policy on the Eve of Hitler's Ascendancy -- Reorienting Soviet Foreign Policy -- The Franco-Soviet Mutual Assistance Pact -- The Decline and Fall of Litvinov -- The Last Years -- Conclusion