The two brief, but richly documented, essays that comprise this book provide an excellent overview of Argentina’s relations with the U.S. and U.S.S.R. during the first half of the twentieth century. Skillfully overlapping Argentine, British, and U.S. diplomatic records, interview data, memoirs, periodical literature of the period, and a wealth of secondary sources in a variety of languages, the essays address the different factors that shaped Argentine relations with the emerging superpowers, particularly the evolving interplay between internal and external conditions and actors in determining the tenor of relations throughout this period. In chapter 1, an award-winning essay published in English in HAHR in 1986, Rapoport explores Argentine-Soviet relations from 1917 to 1955. He concentrates on how dynamics within the Soviet leadership, the Argentine Communist party, and the Argentine political elite influenced the course of diplomatic and commercial ties between the two nations. He emphasizes the impact of World War II, of shifting Soviet international perspectives before and after the war, and of U.S. global preoccupations on key actors’ behavior, and the overall nature of the relationships. He contrasts the recurrent Soviet interest in exploring commercial links to Argentina with the ideological vacillations exhibited by the Soviet leadership, the Argentine Communist party, and the international communist movement in general when addressing the Argentine governments, especially the emerging figure of Juan Perón. This is posed against the tactical and strategic perspectives adopted by different members of the Argentine political elite and the U.S. government which influenced the Argentine approach toward the U.S.S.R. Rapoport’s judicious use of sources illuminates the conjunctural factors that influenced the behavior of these actors, and highlights the contradictions and disparities between the public posturing and private positioning of each over the course of time.

The second chapter, an equally well-crafted study of the relations of Argentine political elites with the U.S. government and its factions, traces the uneasy nature of these relations during the years before, during, and after World War II, particularly focusing on Argentina’s relationship with the Axis powers and the U.S.S.R. and its eventual incorporation into the United Nations. Here again, Rapoport demonstrates great ability in showing how the changing balance of economic and political power in Argentina converged with shifting strategic visions within the U.S. foreign policy establishment, and how these were both, in turn, influenced by the outcome of the war and the structure of the emerging postwar international order. As in the first chapter, he adroitly weaves the different strands of this relationship into a complex, tightly argued explanation of the varied internal and external economic and political motivations that influenced the manner in which Argentine-U.S. relations evolved during this critical historical juncture. In doing so, he debunks several stock assumptions prevalent in the literature, such as the purportedly uniform fascist sympathies within the military clique that took power in Argentina in 1943. Thus, while one might disagree with some of his comments, there can be no doubt that Rapoport has produced a fine piece of scholarship. As a result, and despite its brevity, the book will serve as a required introduction for any serious student of Argentine diplomatic history, and is a welcome addition to the literature on Argentine international relations.