Soviet Historical Science and Foreign Policy Dynamics in the Late 1930s and 1940s: The Mishulin Line

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: Institute of World History, RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameNovaia i noveishaia istoriia
EditionIssue 3

Historical scholarship in the USSR in the 1930s and 1940s developed along with the dynamics of foreign policy. The main issue that shaped the development of historical scholarship was Soviet-German relations. The Soviet alignment with Great Britain and France determined the dominance of the “anti-German” line even in those areas of historical research which, at first glance, were unrelated to modern history in general and German history in particular. Thus, this line is clearly evident in the discussion of the causes of the decline of the Harappan civilisation, which allegedly came about under pressure from the Indo-Aryan tribes, with whom Germany was implicitly identified in relevant studies in the second half of the 1930s. The initiator of the “anti-German” line in ancient history was Alexander Mishulin. After the conclusion of the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Treaty on 23 August 1939, the tone of the works on ancient history changed abruptly to “Germanophile” at the initiative of the same scholar. At the same time, the first – “anti-German” – line still persisted and developed in parallel with the second. Soviet-German academic cooperation was also progressing, as can be observed in the documents of the archives of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The “pro-German line” disappeared with the outbreak of the Great Patriotic War, while the “anti-German” (“anti-Indo-Aryan”) one disappeared with the independence of India in 1947 and the gradual forging of friendly relations between the USSR and India.

Keywordsforeign affairs, USSR, historical scholarship, scientific policy, academic cooperation, academic diplomacy, ancient history, Harappan civilisation
Publication date26.06.2023
Number of characters45693
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