Alfred Valdmanis and the Politics of Survival

By Gerhard P. Bassler

© 2000

Alfred Valdmanis is best known in Canada for his infamous role in Premier Joey Smallwood's scheme to industrialize Newfoundland. A Latvian immigrant, he was appointed Director General of Economic Development in 1950 with the understanding that through his connections to Europe he could entice German and Baltic industrialists to the isolated, rural island. His influence was brought to an abrupt end when, in 1954, he was charged with defrauding the government. The media, latching on to his murky past and his possible affiliation with war criminals, made him the scapegoat of Newfoundland's problems, painting him as part comedian, part sinister villain.

This was not the first time his name was connected with controversial issues. Valdmanis's wily political manoeuvring is more the stuff of fiction than history. Between 1938, at age 29, and his ironic downfall in the safe haven of Canada, he was a finance minister of pre-war Latvia, a government official during the Soviet invasion, a shrewd collaborator under the Nazi occupation, then, a friend to the Allies, a spokesman for Latvian POW and displaced persons, and an adviser to the government of Canada. In this first serious biography of Alfred Valdamis historian Gerhard Bassler casts the story of this political manipulator and chameleon in new terms: the often tragic consequences of the will to survive.

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Product Details

  • Series: Heritage
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 504 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.3in x 9.0in
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SKU# SP001090

  • PUBLISHED OCT 2017

    From: $39.75

    Regular Price: $53.00

    ISBN 9781487598150
  • PUBLISHED MAR 2000

    From: $41.25

    Regular Price: $55.00

Quick Overview

Valdmanis's wily political manoeuvring in Latvia, Germany, and Canada from 1938 to 1954 is more the stuff of fiction than history.

Alfred Valdmanis and the Politics of Survival

By Gerhard P. Bassler

© 2000

Alfred Valdmanis is best known in Canada for his infamous role in Premier Joey Smallwood's scheme to industrialize Newfoundland. A Latvian immigrant, he was appointed Director General of Economic Development in 1950 with the understanding that through his connections to Europe he could entice German and Baltic industrialists to the isolated, rural island. His influence was brought to an abrupt end when, in 1954, he was charged with defrauding the government. The media, latching on to his murky past and his possible affiliation with war criminals, made him the scapegoat of Newfoundland's problems, painting him as part comedian, part sinister villain.

This was not the first time his name was connected with controversial issues. Valdmanis's wily political manoeuvring is more the stuff of fiction than history. Between 1938, at age 29, and his ironic downfall in the safe haven of Canada, he was a finance minister of pre-war Latvia, a government official during the Soviet invasion, a shrewd collaborator under the Nazi occupation, then, a friend to the Allies, a spokesman for Latvian POW and displaced persons, and an adviser to the government of Canada. In this first serious biography of Alfred Valdamis historian Gerhard Bassler casts the story of this political manipulator and chameleon in new terms: the often tragic consequences of the will to survive.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Heritage
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 504 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.3in x 9.0in
  • Author Information

    Gerhard P. Bassler is a history professor at the Memorial University of Newfoundland.