In This Review

The Soviet Union and the Struggle For Collective Security in Europe, 1933-1939

The Soviet Union and the Struggle For Collective Security in Europe, 1933-1939
By Jonathan Haslam
310 pp, St. Martin's, 1984
Purchase

The Soviet Union and the Failure of Collective Security, 1934-1938

The Soviet Union and the Failure of Collective Security, 1934-1938
By Jiri Hochman
253 pp, Cornell University Press, 1984
Purchase

Two talented historians, using much of the same source material, reach rather different conclusions on the policy of collective security and alliance with Paris and Prague, of which Maxim Litvinov was the protagonist and symbol. Haslam, whose narrative is generally more detailed, sees it as a serious commitment undercut by Anglo-French appeasement and by domestic opponents. Hochman, who focuses on the position of Czechoslovakia and the road to Munich, finds it more of a charade and always second best to the desired deal with Germany. Both document the continuing Soviet-German contacts after Hitler took power. Avid students of the period will have to read both books.