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The 1927 Soviet War Scare: The Foreign Affairs-Domestic Policy Nexus Revisited

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The Soviet War Scare of 1927 is usually treated solely within the bounds of Soviet political machinations. This study explores the connection between Bolshevik domestic and foreign policy in the War Scare of 1927 with a focus on the peasants. The peasants in the early years of the NEP were seeking a compromise with the regime, seeing the relations of power following the war, the civil war, and horrendous famine of 1921-1922, not in their favor. The War Scare of 1927 altered how both the peasants and the regime saw one another and the possibility of compromise. The rumors of war were soon coupled with threats of peasants uprising against the communists. By fall 1927, both the local police in their svodki and the central OGPU in its summary reports to the political leadership were describing a mounting confrontational atmosphere among the peasants. Given the heightened anxieties within the leadership regarding the Soviet Union’s ability to defend itself, concern over the reliability of the peasantry and a demand to know more fully about the “political situation in the countryside” had reached a fever pitch. Surveiling the countryside, both the central OGPU and the party leadership concluded, not without some evidence, that a growing number of peasants desired a showdown. The War Scare of 1927 added significantly to the factors that helped set the process of collectivization in motion.

Affiliations: 1: Georgia State University,


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