Drinking the cool aid - Russia in the 1930's

In the 1930's, during the height of the U.S.A. economic depression, thousands of U.S. citizens were lured by the lies regarding the prosperity of the Soviet Union and how good Communism was as a form of government that the came over for a visit. The New York Sun has an excellent review of a book that accounts for what happened.

Banished: 'The Forsaken' by Tim Tzouliadis
This is a very sad book, the story of thousands of Americans who, during the Depression, lured by sham Soviet propaganda and pro-Soviet falsehoods spread by the likes of George Bernard Shaw and the corrupt New York Times Moscow correspondent, Walter Duranty, migrated to the USSR in search of jobs and a role in the "building of socialism." It was, in the words of the author, "the least heralded migration in American history" and a period when "for the first time in her short history more people were leaving the United States than were arriving." Most of these expatriates, not intellectuals but simple working men, were quickly disenchanted and wanted to return home, only to find that Moscow considered them Soviet citizens and barred them from leaving. Ignored by the American government, many of them ended in the gulag. In Tim Tzouliadis's "The Forsaken" (Penguin Press, 436 pages, $29.95), their dismal story is told with great skill and indignation usually missing from Western accounts of communist Russia.

An incredibly sad story -- the book also deals with the blind stupidity here in the U.S.A.

Much of the book deals with American-Soviet relations during the 1930s and 1940s. We are given examples of the incredible na�vet� of Franklin Roosevelt, who lacked even elementary knowledge of the Communist regime: He is quoted as asking, "How could Stalin afford to buy all these factories?" There are vignettes of the no less na�ve vice president, Henry Wallace, who visited the concentration camp at Magadan and found nothing amiss, as well as of the despicable American ambassador to Moscow, the multimillionaire Joseph Davies, who liked everything in the Soviet Union and even took Stalin's show trials at face value. These public figures eclipse the poor devils who had themselves migrated to the Soviet Union � and who flit in and out of the pages of this book, faceless and nameless.

I consider FDR to be one of America's worst presidents -- his tenure established the basis for the pervasive socialism and big government that we are now having to deal with. Teddy was spinning in his grave...

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on August 2, 2008 11:19 AM.

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