Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Lee Jones, J.H. Poteet, Finley Grise

Degree Program

Department of History

Degree Type

Master of Arts


“One should doff one’s cap to the statue of Jupiter, in case he returned to power.” – Lord Byron

Our task in this study is to determine whether the words of Lord Byron are true in the realm of International Power Politics. This is a study of the application of the principle of non-recognition – the refusal of acknowledgement – to Russo-American relations during the period from 1917 to 1933.

The year was 1917, and the Gladiator of Capitalism stood over the prostrate form of Russian Bolshevism and appealed for the decision of “life” or “death” to be meted out by the world powers. England signaled, “Thumbs down”; “Death,” cried France; “Yes,” said Japan, “let him die.” But in the center of the Powers stood the United States deciding the action – vetoing the anti-Bolshevik crusade. “He is wounded and dying of his own accord,” observed Uncle Sam. “Let us wash our hands of this matter and let him live – if indeed he can! Let us reiterate our confidence in the great Russian people who will eventually throw off this conspiracy. In the meanwhile, let us ‘wait and see’ and refuse during the interim to recognize this ‘communist’ experiment.”

And so began the sixteen-year non-recognition period in United States-Russian relations. This thesis concerns this period and the relations of these two countries.

The writer first became interested in this subject while reading on the 1954-1955 Intercollegiate Debate Topic, “The Recognition of Communist China.” On the suggestion of Dr. James H. Poteet, head of the History Department, Western Kentucky State College, the subject of this investigation was formulated.

This paper at best can be only a cursory study of the history of this period; however, the writer will endeavor to develop to its fullest, the effects of the official attitude of non-recognition as practiced by the United States. It is hoped that this study will result in a clear elucidation on the issue of the non-recognition of Soviet Russia as seen from the vantage point of 1955.


American Politics | Diplomatic History | European History | History | International Relations | Political History | Political Science | Social and Behavioral Sciences | United States History