Maksim Maksimovich Litvinov (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Litvinov was the most prominent Soviet diplomat of the interwar period. During the 1920’s, he was a leading advocate of world peace through universal disarmament. In the 1930’s, he negotiated American recognition of the Soviet Union and became the main spokesman for the Soviet policy of collective security with the Western powers against German, Japanese, and Italian aggression prior to World War II.
Maksim Maksimovich Litvinov was born Meier Moiseevich Wallach on July 17, 1876, in the small city of Białystok in Russian Poland. He was the son of middle-class Jewish parents; his father, Moses Wallach, was a successful produce merchant who, while maintaining a traditional religious life at home, was well known in the local community for his liberal political views. Young Meier, however, at first showed little interest in either politics or religion and, in 1893, at the age of seventeen, joined the Russian army in an effort to escape the tedium of provincial Russian life. While in the army Meier was slowly converted to Marxism. He was eventually discharged from the army for a violation of military regulations and traveled to Kiev, where he joined the local section of the newly formed Russian Social Democratic Workers’ Party (RSDWP).
During the next two decades, the twenty-two-year-old Wallach would dedicate himself entirely to the Russian Revolutionary movement. Tall,...
(The entire section is 2459 words.)
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