Dinner Speech - Gabriel Gorodetsky: Maisky’s Diaries - Red Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, 1932-43
von 19:30 bis 20:00
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nach Einladung / by invitation
The terror and purges of Stalin’s Russia in the 1930s discouraged Soviet officials from leaving documentary records let alone keeping personal diaries. A remarkable exception is the unique diary, assiduously kept by Ivan Maisky, the Soviet ambassador to London between 1932 and 1943. It grippingly documents Britain’s drift to war during the 1930s, appeasement in the Munich era, negotiations leading to the signature of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, Churchill’s rise to power, the German invasion of Russia, and the intense debate over the opening of the second front.
Maisky was distinguished by his great sociability and access to the key players in British public life. Among his range of regular contacts were politicians (including Churchill, Chamberlain, Eden, Halifax), press barons (Beaverbrook), ambassadors (Joseph Kennedy), intellectuals (Keynes, Sidney and Beatrice Webb), writers (Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells) and indeed royalty. His diary further reveals the role personal rivalries within the Kremlin played in the formulation of Soviet policy at the time.
Gabriel Gorodetsky is a Quondam Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and emeritus professor of history at Tel Aviv University. His three-volume edition of the full Maisky diaries and a compendium volume will be published by Yale University Press in 2015 and 2016. A single German volume will be published by Beck Verlag in 2016.