Concerns over external security affected government policy making to an enormous extent in the Soviet Union in the period from 1918 to 1934. Fear of being besieged by other nations drove Russia's leaders to develop foreign policies that would ensure collective and national security.
Within this period Russian foreign relations were caught in a flux between 2 contradictory policies; world revolution, or peaceful coexistence with its capitalist neighbours. As Russia found itself increasingly isolated as the only Communist nation in a capitalist world, it opted for the second policy.
According to the historian David Christian, Russia was isolated and vulnerable in a capitalist world. To defend itself, it would need modern industry. Stalin constantly referred to external dangers when urging the modernization of Russia.
In order to defend itself from invasion Russia had to mobilise resources for the war effort and become industrialized in a very short period of time.
In 1919 the Comintern was founded. It aimed to promote Communism in other countries. During this period the Soviet Union turned to other defeated powers in an effort to find friends and divide the capitalist world.
In 1920 the Red Army invaded Poland with plans for world revolution. But they were crushingly defeated. Soviet leadership decided that world revolution was something that would happen in the future. In the meantime peace was desirable.
Litvinov, the Commissar for Foreign Affairs, made alliances that helped to strengthen the Soviet Union's position. In 1922 Russia signed the Treaty of Rapallo that provided Russia with security from being invaded by Germany.
In 1927, the British government broke off diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. The slowdown in industrial growth and the prospect of war persuaded the government to increase investment funds for armaments.
The USSR joined the League of Nations in 1934...