The Soviet Union and the Post-World War II Foreign Policy of Czechoslovakia as Assessed by American Diplomacy

Keywords: Soviet-American relations, US-Czechoslovak relations, Cold War, L. A. Steinhardt, history of Czechoslovakia


This article examines how American diplomats and international relations experts perceived Czechoslovak foreign policy priorities between the end of World War II and the consolidation of communist power in the ČSR in 1948. The purpose of the work is to identify the Soviet factor in US policy towards Czechoslovakia, the peculiarities of the perception of the country in the general context of Soviet-American relations and the genesis of the Cold War. The research is based on documentary sources from different archives: the US National Archives, the Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, and the archive of Ambassador L. A. Steinhardt at the Library of Congress. Archival documents are supplemented by articles from the American press. The author concludes that during this period, the perception of Czechoslovakia by the Americans was ambivalent and controversial. On the one hand, the existence of a democratic multi-party system made it possible to consider the ČSR part of the West, but, on the other hand, its pro-Soviet foreign policy forced the Americans to regard it as being behind the Iron Curtain. The real foreign activities of the Czechoslovak government led by communist K. Gottwald directly demonstrated Czechoslovakia’s orientation toward close relations with the USSR and its loyalty to the Kremlin. Because of this, the degree of Prague’s dependence on Moscow was a subject of serious discussion and reflection among American experts in international relations. Some of them unconditionally placed the ČSR among the Soviet satellites, while others considered it the last outpost of democracy in Eastern Europe. A turning point in the perception of Czechoslovakia was its refusal to participate in the Marshall Plan under the direct pressure of the Soviet government. After that, Prague’s inability to resist Soviet pressure and its dependence on Moscow became apparent to the Americans.

Author Biography

Artem Zorin

PhD (History), Associate Professor, Vyatka State University.

36, Moskovskaya Str., 610000, Kirov, Russia.

ORCID 0000-0002-3238-9036


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How to Cite
Zorin, A. (2021). The Soviet Union and the Post-World War II Foreign Policy of Czechoslovakia as Assessed by American Diplomacy. Quaestio Rossica, 9(3), 1080–1094.