Genoa Conference: Goals, Events, Outcomes
The Genoa Conference is a large-scale international political and economic forum where the fate of post-war Europe was decided.
The conference was accompanied by scandals, backstage intrigues, and historians have not yet formed a consensus on its outcome. The meeting is indicative of the political system of the interwar period. She clearly showed the inability of a large part of the political establishment of Western countries to accept the new realities and new rules of the game.
Ashes of War: Conference Backgrounds
World War I turned the orders of Europe. Millions of deaths, cities in ruins and the strongest economic crisis have forever changed the geopolitical system in the world.
As a result of the war, four major empires collapsed: Ottoman, German, Austro-Hungarian and Russian. The victorious countries began to establish their own order, regardless of the opinion of the losers.
By 1922, when the Genoa Conference was held, Britain and France had the greatest influence in the Old World (Europe). Confident in their grandeur, they imposed on the overwhelming Germany unbearable indemnities, which the Weimar Republic had to pay until the end of the century. Also, there was a complete isolation of the newly formed Soviet Union.
Changes in the political system
At the Versailles conference, the winners in their own way drew the boundaries of a new Europe.
However, very soon the leaders of the Western powers realized that without a dialogue with the Soviets and Germany, it would not be possible to build a strong peace.
The victory of the Reds in the Civil War came as a surprise to many. The communists nationalized all private enterprises in the territory of the former Russian Empire, as a result of which Western investors lost huge sums. It was to discuss the debt recovery and the establishment of new diplomatic relations with the Union and Germany that the Genoa Conference was convened.
Discussion of the conference lasted for several months. Starting date - April 6th. Representatives of 29 European countries were invited to the Italian city of Genoa.At the insistence of many, the United States delegation was not invited, but an observer from the United States participated in the forum. The official goal was declared "the restoration of Central and Eastern Europe after the war." However, the real goal was the desire of the Western powers to define the format of relations with the communist regime in Moscow and the republican government from Berlin.
The delegation of the Soviet Union prepared very carefully. Influential representatives of the USSR went to Italy, and Vladimir Lenin was appointed head of the delegation. However, the leader of the revolution in Genoa itself did not come, as he feared an attempt on his life. From the Western coalition, David Lloyd George played the decisive role at the Genoa Conference. He is one of the drafters of the document, which set forth the requirements for Soviet Russia - to return the losses to Western entrepreneurs. According to the general calculations of the Soviet side, the volume of capital investments in enterprises in the territory of the Russian Empire exceeded one and a half billion Soviet rubles. The largest share - 622 million belonged to the subjects of Belgium and France.
Shadow game of conference participants
The Genoese conference began with peers and official honors to each other. In a similar vein, it passed. Real political games often took place outside official events.
The meetings adopted resolutions with general formulations, appeals and notes. And behind the scenes alliances were made and the fate of many states was determined. The Genoa Conference of 1922 showed the extreme obsolescence of the diplomatic principles of the then diplomacy. The leaders of Britain, France and Italy considered inappropriate recognition of the Soviet government, and especially the reduction of reparations from the Weimar Republic.
The delegation from the USSR proposed a partial reimbursement of debt in exchange for loans and the provision of benefits to Soviet industry. However, no serious agreements were reached on this point and it was not.
Genoa Conference: Goals and Outcomes
The victorious Western powers in World War I viewed the conference as an opportunity to establish their leadership in Europe and establish relations with Germany and the USSR on the basis of these positions. The Soviet side, like the German one, wanted to achieve international recognition and break the trade blockade. The Genoa Conference of 1922 failed to satisfy practically any of the stated goals.
Secret Union of New States
The constant pressure of Western countries on Germany and the USSR led to their rapprochement. Two rogue states conducted informal negotiations outside the conference fields.
This led to the conclusion of an important Rapall agreement. The participation of Soviet Russia in the Genoa Conference brought considerable success. An extremely important treaty was concluded with Germany.
Both sides decided to resolve all disputed issues and establish close official relations. In exchange for raw materials and loans from Russia, Berlin provided special equipment and technical specialists for the development of Soviet industry. It was also decided to closely cooperate with the armies of the two states.
The value of the Genoa Conference is difficult to assess. On the one hand, not a single raised problem was solved, on the other hand, important backstage agreements were concluded between the European powers.