By Gerhard P. Bassler
Alfred Valdmanis is healthier identified in Canada for his notorious function in most advantageous Joey Smallwood's scheme to industrialize Newfoundland. A Latvian immigrant, he used to be appointed Director basic of financial improvement in 1950 with the knowledge that via his connections to Europe he may appeal to German and Baltic industrialists to the remoted, rural island. His impression was once delivered to an abrupt finish while, in 1954, he used to be charged with defrauding the govt.. The media, latching directly to his murky prior and his attainable association with warfare criminals, made him the scapegoat of Newfoundland's difficulties, portray him as half comic, half sinister villain.
This used to be now not the 1st time his identify was once hooked up with arguable matters. Valdmanis's wily political manoeuvring is extra the stuff of fiction than heritage. among 1938, at age 29, and his ironic downfall within the refuge of Canada, he used to be a finance minister of pre-war Latvia, a central authority respectable throughout the Soviet invasion, a clever collaborator less than the Nazi profession, then, a pal to the Allies, a spokesman for Latvian POW and displaced folks, and an adviser to the govt of Canada. during this first severe biography of Alfred Valdamis historian Gerhard Bassler casts the tale of this political manipulator and chameleon in new phrases: the customarily tragic results of the need to survive.
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Additional resources for Alfred Valdmanis and the Politics of Survival
After the Ulmanis coup it became the operational centre of the new regime. 8(1 The minister of finance from May 1934 to June 1938 was Ludvigs Ekis. Not a member of any political party, Ekis came from the Ministry of External Affairs and the diplomatic service. Although responsible for implementing the directions of Ulmanis's new economic policy and for the legal projects associated with it, he was no expert in economic matters. Reporting directly to the president, Ekis was not willing to fight his jealous colleagues in the cabinet.
They had lost power, and as he saw it, offered no viable alternatives for the future. Valdmanis, on the other hand, was in a strategic position to help shape Ulmanis's new economic policy because of the role of the Ministry of Finance with its important legal consulting division and the minister's dependence on his legal counsel's advice. The Ministry of Finance, including as it did the Department of Economics and the Department of Trade and Industry, was always more Wunderkind in Reborn Latvia, 1908-1938 35 than just a treasury department.
When he entered school, Alfred was already fluent in the three local languages: Latvian, German, and Russian. At elementary school (1914-20) in Liepaja, Alfred excelled in every subject except mathematics, where he was awarded only a 'C,' and in art (sketching). 1'2 Liepaja in the early twentieth century was more German than Riga. as The outbreak of the First World War brought increasing areas of Russia's Latvian territory under German control. The German army entered Libau, which was only thirty kilometres from the German border at that time, as early as August 1914.
Alfred Valdmanis and the Politics of Survival by Gerhard P. Bassler