Genoa Conference

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The Genoa Conference, convened in April and May 1922, was an international diplomatic meeting of twenty-nine states, including Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Russia, and Japan, but not the United States. It was summoned to resolve several problems in the postwar restructuring of Europe, including the desire to reintegrate Soviet Russia and Weimar Germany into the political and economic life of Europe on terms favorable to the dominant Anglo-French alliance. The Allies wanted Moscow to repay foreign debts incurred by previous Russian governments, compensate foreign owners of property nationalized by the Bolsheviks, and guarantee that revolutionary propaganda would cease throughout their empires.

The invitation for Soviet participation in the conference facilitated Moscow's drive for peaceful coexistence with the West and for the substantial foreign trade, technology, loans, and investment required by the New Economic Policy. Both sides failed to achieve their objectives. The Anglo-French side pressed for the broadest possible repayment of Russian obligations, but offered little in loans and trade credits. The Soviets pushed for as much Western financed trade and technological assistance as possible, but conditioned limited debt repayment on the recovery of the Soviet economy. Moreover, Foreign Commissar Georgy Chicherin angered the Western representatives by calling for comprehensive disarmament and representation for the colonial peoples in the British and French empires. The impasse between Russia and the West, combined with a similar stalemate between the Anglo-French side and Germany, caused Berlin and Moscow to conclude a political and economic pact, the Rapallo Treaty. Thus, the Genoa Conference ended in failure, though the USSR succeeded in gaining recognition as an integral part of European diplomacy and in bolstering its relationship with Germany.

See also: world war i


Fink, Carole. (1984). The Genoa Conference: European Diplomacy, 19211922. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

White, Stephen. (1985). The Origins of Detente: The Genoa Conference and Soviet-Western Relations, 19211922. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Teddy J. Uldricks