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the economic isolation of a blockaded country, the aim of which is to produce disruptions in its economy by depriving it of raw goods and of markets for the sale of its commodities. An economic blockade is carried out by means of the termination (prohibition) of trade, financial, credit, and other economic ties with the blockaded state. It may be extended simultaneously to all economic ties or only to particular forms of such ties with the blockaded country. The termination of credit ties with a blockaded country, for example, can be an instance of partial economic blockade. An economic blockade is generally connected with a political blockade and is often combined with a military blockade, even without military operations.
An example of an economic blockade is the so-called Continental System organized by Napoleon I against England in 1806–07, into which nearly all the states of Europe, including Russia, were drawn. The Southern and Northern states of America used economic blockades against each other during the Civil War of 1861–65. Economic blockades were employed extensively by the Western European countries in World Wars I and II. From 1914 to 1918 an economic blockade of Germany was carried out by the countries of the Triple Entente. (Initially, the import of finished goods of military value into Germany was prohibited; later, strategic raw materials were also banned.)
The UN Charter provides for a blockade as a permissible collective measure to be carried out by member nations of the UN in order to restore and maintain peace; a blockade is carried out by a resolution of the Security Council on the basis of Articles 39 and 41 of the UN Charter.
The imperialist states have repeatedly used economic blockades as implements of struggle against socialism and the national liberation movement. The imperialist powers employed a blockade against the young Soviet republic. At the end of 1917 the government of the USA terminated trade relations with Soviet Russia; in 1918 the governments of England and France did the same. In October 1919, the Supreme Council of the Entente declared a complete prohibition of all forms of economic ties with Soviet Russia. The imperialist powers attempted to use a blockade to stifle the first socialist state in the world by starvation. The states of the Entente were forced to lift the blockade (January 1920) as a result of the failure of the intervention against the Soviet republic and the growth of contradictions in the economy of the imperialist countries themselves. Suffering defeat in the organization of a general blockade, the imperialist states attempted to organize the so-called gold blockade; they refused to accept Soviet gold as a medium of payment. Somewhat later, they organized a credit blockade, refusing to grant credits to the USSR. The Soviet Union successfully broke through one form of economic blockade after another.
After World War II (1939–45) the government of the USA attempted to organize an economic blockade of a number of socialist states: the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Democratic Republic of Germany, and the Republic of Cuba. In practice, however, these attempts led to the isolation of the USA from the markets of these countries.
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