Cold War: The Zinoviev Letter Return to the case study menu
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Comprehension
3a Look at paragraph 1. Explain which part of the Zinoviev letter has upset the Prime Minister.
3b Look at paragraph 2. Why does MacDonald see the letter as unacceptable?
3c Look at paragraph 3. What does MacDonald say about the relationship between the Comintern and the Soviet government?
3d Put this sentence from paragraph 3 into your own words (it is broken up into sections to help you):
No government will ever tolerate an arrangement with a foreign Government

by which the latter is in formal diplomatic relations of a correct kind with it,

whilst at the same time a propagandist body organically connected with that foreign government encourages and even orders subjects of the former to plot and plan revolutions for its overthrow.

Analysis and Interpretation
3e Look back at Source 2 as well as this source. Is the tone of Source 3 more or less forceful than the tone of Source 2? Explain your answer.
3f Look back at the Zinoviev Letter. Do you think all of MacDonald's complaints are justified?
3g Imagine you were a Soviet minister who had fought for the Red side in the Russian Civil War (Case Study 1). How would you react to this comment made by MacDonald in paragraph 2?
His Majesty's government cannot allow this propaganda and must regard it as a direct interference from outside in British affairs

Case Study Question
Fill out the relevant line of your Case Study Worksheet.

The Big Question
Look at your answers to the questions on source 3.
Have they provided you with any evidence or ideas which will help you answer the Big Question in this Gallery?
If they have, note them down on your Case Study Worksheet.

Source 1Source 2Source 3Source 4

The public response of Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald to the Zinoviev letter, October 24th 1924

Part of a private note from a senior Foreign Office minister to Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald, giving advice on what to do about the Zinoviev letter, October 15th 1924