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By Gerhard P. Bassler

Alfred Valdmanis is better identified in Canada for his notorious function in most suitable Joey Smallwood's scheme to industrialize Newfoundland. A Latvian immigrant, he was once appointed Director normal of monetary improvement in 1950 with the certainty that via his connections to Europe he may perhaps attract German and Baltic industrialists to the remoted, rural island. His impact 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 previous and his attainable association with conflict criminals, made him the scapegoat of Newfoundland's difficulties, portray him as half comic, half sinister villain.

This used to be no longer the 1st time his identify was once hooked up with arguable concerns. 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 was once a finance minister of pre-war Latvia, a central authority respectable through the Soviet invasion, a smart collaborator lower than the Nazi career, 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 critical biography of Alfred Valdamis historian Gerhard Bassler casts the tale of this political manipulator and chameleon in new phrases: the customarily tragic effects of the desire to survive.

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The influence of the Credit Bank was felt in every industrial, commercial, and agricultural activity of the country. ' The elimination of 'foreign' economic influences was only one aspect of a deliberate drive to industrialize Latvia. The overall objective was nationalization of every branch of industry in combination with the establishment of new, state-owned enterprises. The government, explained Ulmanis in February 1937, has to be a party to any large-scale commercial and industrial activity, not for commercial reasons, but for long-term national-political considerations.

The young jurist would not accept the corrupt customs of the day. With barely concealed contempt he opposed many important men in parliament and court,' Zemgals relates. 80 Whether as a civil servant Valdmanis was in fact the alleged youthful idealist opposed to corrupt politicians and a champion for clean government cannot be verified. Although projecting the image of a non-conformist, some of the key traits attributed to the young Valdmanis - quest for education, career ambition, egomania, disillusionment with liberal democracy, and espousal of ethnic nationalism - were not atypical of Latvia's young educated elite at the time.

Acclaimed to be the most popular preacher in Liepaja, Sanders used to have Ansis and Alfred play the organ for him. Sanders started grooming Alfred early for political life, and Alfred appeared very interested. Excited at the prospects of public office, Alfred declared himself a candidate for parliament while still a university student The minutes of a 24 January 1929 meeting of an organization 30 Alfred Valdmanis and the Politics of Survival calling itself the Council of the Academic Section of the Latvian National Federation (Latviesu Nacionala Apvieniba) record that Alfred Valdmanis had been accepted as a new member.

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