Russia and Soviet Union

Assess the impact of Stalinism on Soviet foreign policy in the period 1917-1941
Stalinism, the principle of communism associated with Joseph Stalin, had various impacts on Soviet foreign policy from 1917-1941. The changing nature of Soviet foreign policy within this period meant that Stalin’s influence was not fully felt until the late 1920’s. The Soviet foreign policy was based around reasons for survival and therefore policies during this period were determined by the desire to protect the revolution against external enemies. Early policies centred upon ‘world revolution’ under Lenin, but with a change of circumstances and leadership a change in foreign policies was evident, with Stalin attempting to espouse his views of “Socialism in one country”. More so through the second half of this period Stalinism played an influential role in determining Soviet foreign policies.
The changing nature of Soviet foreign policy is evidently witnessed through the early policies under Bolshevik leadership compared to those implemented prior to World War II.   The changing aims and strategies of Soviet foreign policy were based on the needs of the country at the time. After the conclusion of World War I Lenin needed a policy that would strengthen Russia and his Communist ideology, so for this reason World Communism was introduced from 1918 to 1920. Along with the Comintern in 1919, they hoped to establish communism around the world to create a support network providing security for Russia.   With the end of the Civil War and the withdrawal of foreign troops, Lenin believed that the Communists had achieved ‘breathing space’ and therefore turned to a policy of ‘revolutionary pragmatism’ in which the Soviet Union publicly declared that it stood for peaceful coexistence and economic cooperation with the capitalist power, while at the same time exploiting situations to gain whatever it could, when it could, as Richard Overy points out: “Lenin hoped to Soviet Union could play off one...