What has Russia given to a country like America, that is, the United States? What has the United States given to a country like Russia? Let's remember: the War of Independence is going on, and tsarist Russia takes a favorable position in relation to the rebellious colonies, leading the so-called. League of neutrals; the war between the North and the South and Russia again supports the United States by sending its warships to the western and eastern ports of the country; we liberate serfs, there - blacks; we are adopting the Smith and Wesson revolver, the Berdan rifle, they call the same Berdan No. 1 rifle "Russian" and use it as a target. We are allies in the First World War and in the Second World War and opponents during the Cold War. They are participants in the Civil War against us and … save millions of Russians from hunger with the help of the ARA organization. We are saving their entire industries with the help of the Amtorg organization. Together we fly into space under the Soyuz-Apollo program, smoke cigarettes with the same name and boycott each other's Olympic Games, confront each other in Korea and Vietnam, and store our atomic weapons with US money after 1991, and for their money is destroying their chemical … We drink their Coca-Cola and we all wear their jeans, although they do not drink our kvass, but eat our black caviar. We sold them our furs, they sold us their tanks, and these examples can go on and on.
"Should we stand still, in our daring we are always right!"
That is, there is … the mutual influence of cultures and even more, the mutual influence of civilizations, since, from the point of view of cultural studies, it is quite permissible to interpret the cultures of both countries as real civilizations. And where there is mutual influence, there is borrowing of views, experience, moral norms and even everyday habits, or a process based on the exchange of information. Well, how could the young Soviet state, which had just recovered from the hardest internal conflict, and received no special help from anywhere, could exchange information with such an economically developed country as the United States? What was the result, what conclusions did our and their citizens come to? Let's look at these processes using the examples of the 20-30s of the last century, when many processes that have become dominant today were still only in a state of potency. So…
Let's start with the fact that the main source of information about life abroad for the inhabitants of the USSR about the same USA were newspapers, and, in particular, the main newspaper of the country - "Pravda". Of course, their general orientation was critical, but in publications of this kind, quite objective facts about life abroad and, above all, in the same USA, came across. For example, our press reported that New York is a boring and dirty city, and "much cleaner in Moscow!" (How we arrived in New York // Pravda. September 10, 1925. No. 206. P.5). And this, of course, made the readers happy. But the fact that in America “a factory worker earns 150 dollars a month, that is, for our money 300 rubles.”, brought them into a real shock. It is very easy to explain this; it is enough to look at the material of the same Pravda newspaper: "On the rationing of wages", where the following salaries were given: "couriers have the smallest category - 40 rubles, the highest salary is 300 rubles." And those who worked in forestry were paid even less: foresters a month 18 rubles. Judging by the content of political feuilletons, American workers not only had high wages, but could also live in "chic American hotels", where "each room with its own bathroom and toilet, and even with its own front, living room and other" (Help! // True. May 10, 1924. No. 104. P.7). All this information could be perceived by ordinary Soviet citizens who were "spoiled by the housing problem" and who lived in barracks and "communal apartments" only as something akin to fantasy.
It turned out that with all the shortcomings of capitalism in the United States at that time, there were many good things. First of all, these are multi-lane railways, since “it is only in Russia that there are maximum two-track railways. Here, in the American East, there are railways with four and six tracks "(More about America // Pravda. November 25, 1925. No. 269. P.2). And along this multi-track railway, trains ran, the comforts of which the Soviet people could not even dream of: “There is not only a restaurant car (sometimes two) and a row of sleeping cars or 'salons' with velvet armchairs for each passenger. In the "specific" carriage you can find: a hairdresser's, a bath, a buffet, rooms with card tables. " The author of this feuilleton can be seen simply shaken by traffic lights on the streets of American cities, and since the term “traffic light” was still unknown to most Soviet readers at that time, its description looks especially curious: “There are poles at the crossroads, sometimes entire towers with light signals. Red and green fires are replaced in them not only at night, but also during the day, delaying and letting cars on one side of the cross, then on the other. Sometimes these pillars are replaced by a concrete bump in the center of the intersection. There are also lights burning in it. " The journalist immediately criticized this adaptation, since the Soviet media used every opportunity to emphasize the negative aspects of life in the West: “We must, however, admit that the Americans were clearly too clever with these pillars. There is a lighthouse at every intersection. And there is a stop at almost every intersection. " But it was from such feuilletons that our people learned that all American men are always clean-shaven and washed, “all in straw boater hats, white shirts and collars: you cannot tell where the millionaire is, where is the Komi voyager, where is the employee from a store or office."
In Soviet newspapers and, above all, reading political feuilletons, Soviet citizens could read a lot of interesting things about the life of ordinary American farmers, whose standard of living could not but shock many of our collective farmers, who sometimes did not know what a tractor looks like: “I had to visit a farmer. Five other "middle peasant" farmers gathered there … Each arrived in his own car. When one of them gave me a ride on the way back, his wife ruled. In general, everyone here knows how to drive a car …”These tendencies towards unbiased coverage of everyday life and realities of ordinary people living in capitalist countries sometimes aroused assessments and comparisons undesirable for the Soviet regime from Soviet readers, which, of course, were not in our favor. For example, a peasant from the Oryol province in January 1927 wrote in the Krestyanskaya Gazeta: “America will come to socialism along other rails, namely: with such a high cultural education and reached an unheard of technology, although they write that the working class is being crushed there., but, conversely, we read that machines work in all branches of the industry, and workers operate them. And the working class lives, enjoys all sorts of luxury comforts that our bourgeoisie … "(" Socialism is heaven on earth. ", 1993. S. 212.)
So, it turns out that in the 1920s, at least some of our peasants believed that America would come to socialism "through a machine", that is, as a result of the development of science and technology. But … exactly the same thoughts occurred to the Americans themselves, and not to the peasants at all! For example, Theodore Dreiser, the author of the famous "American Tragedy" and a classic of American literature, having visited the USSR at the same time, came to a very similar conclusion: "I have a presentiment that our country will socialize over time - perhaps already before our eyes." He believed that the presence of large corporations in the United States would facilitate the transition to the Soviet system (Dreiser Th. Dreiser Looks at Russia. N. Y. 1928. P.10.).
The influence of our two countries on each other was also devoted to a very interesting article by I. M. Suponitskaya "Sovietization" of America in the 1920s-1930s, published in the journal "Questions of History" (No. 2, 2014, pp. 59 - 72). In it, she notes that the socialist experiment in Russia immediately attracted Americans with its scale, the ability to implement the most daring social plans, so it is hardly surprising that already in 1919 two Communist Parties appeared in the United States at once, one of which was headed by John Reed, a member October Revolution and author of the book "10 days that shook the world." However, his book really turned out to be “there” a shock for many Americans. Moreover, they perceived the events taking place in Soviet Russia as … a kind of "challenge" to the United States. They say that we were supposed to become leaders in such an epoch-making social experiment, and they considered it their duty (!) To participate in it and immediately went to the USSR to help restore the economy destroyed by the civil war and “build socialism”. "We were drawn to a new world …" wrote Nemmy Sparks, an engineer who created our Autonomous Industrial Colony of Kuzbass (AIC) and returned to the states as a staunch communist. But Louis Gross - a worker from Texas, on the contrary, remained in the USSR and became, in his words, "a real editor" (E. Krivosheeva Big Bill in Kuzbass. Pages of international relations. Kemerovo. 1990, pp. 124, 166).
“Karl often spoke of the photographs in the Moscow magazine News of the heavily nude girls on Russian beaches as evidence of the prosperity of the workers under Bolshevism; but he saw the exact same photographs of the heavily naked girls on the beaches of Long Island as evidence of the degeneration of the workers under capitalism.. " (Sinclair Lewis "It's impossible with us")
"I was in the future and saw how it works!" - stated the journalist L. Stephens after his visit to the USSR in 1923. He saw in young people the features of the psychology of the new society and mass enthusiasm. "Their religious ideal is efficiency" (American Appraisals of Soviet Russia? 1917 - 1977? Metuchen. N. J. 1978. P. 215.). It was to the American journalist Y. Lyons, and by no means a communist (although he adhered to leftist views), Stalin gave his first interview to the Western press on November 23, 1930, and journalist L. Fischer worked in Soviet Russia for 14 years, and during all this time he wrote very sympathetic articles for the weekly "The National". Another journalist from the United States, W. Duranty, was in our country from 1922 to 1934 and … received the Pulitzer Prize for his reports from the USSR, and Stalin even gave him interviews twice. About collectivization and repression, he said: “You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs,” which earned accusations among his American colleagues of unscrupulousness and even immorality.
“In ten years, you won't know anything here. There will be a chemical plant, a metallurgical plant … Do you think? " Movie "Deja Vu" (1989) "Faith" in the efficiency of industrial production was noticed very correctly!
It got to the point that he accused the English journalist G. Jones of lying, who had visited famine-ridden Ukraine despite the ban of the Soviet authorities, and when it turned out that the famine was still there, his prize was almost taken away from him (Bassow W. The Moscow Correspondents. Reportings on Russia from Revolution to Glasnost. NY 1988, pp. 68-69, 72).
Although diplomatic relations were not established between the USSR and the USA, in the 1920s not only writers, like T. Dreiser, and journalists, but even philosophers and politicians, such as, for example, J. Dewey and the famous progressist R. La Follette. Moreover, J. Dewey and W. Lipmann, and many other US figures then believed that America could well change the paradigm of its development from the culture of individualism to the culture of collectivism (Dewey J. Individualism Old and New. NY 1930) and move to socialism after otherwise, without the revolutionary upheavals that took place in backward and illiterate Russia. Moreover, in the years of crisis that followed the events of 1929, the Soviet model of economic development began to be seen in the United States as a suitable model for them as well. The State Planning Commission and the education system, and by no means the Comintern, the GPU and the Red Army, are the most serious challenges for America, for example, Columbia University professor J. Counts believed, and the same Dewey, together with the League for Independent Political Action, even presented a four-year exit plan from the crisis on the Soviet model, although he condemned terror and totalitarianism in the USSR.
It even got to the point that US Ambassador Joseph Davis, who was here from 1936 to 1938, became a fan of the Stalinist regime in the USSR. Stalin liked the film based on his book "Mission to Moscow" in 1943 so much that it was shown to the Soviet audience, and in 1945 he was the only one among all Western diplomats to be awarded the Order of Lenin!
Probably D. Davis was received differently. What if so?
Many American politicians accused the USSR of "communist penetration" into the territory of the United States and, I must say frankly, they had grounds for this. So, in 1939, regardless of any expenses, the USSR participated in the world exhibition in New York, where an impressive pavilion was built with a 24-meter statue of a worker holding a star in his hands (the work of the sculptor Vyacheslav Andreev), and conceived with the American Statue of Liberty. In addition, a life-size fragment of the Mayakovskaya metro station (!) And a 4-meter model of the Congress Palace, which was supposed to rise above the American Empire State Building, were mounted there! That is, we did not skimp on the PR of Soviet achievements in the States, as well as on the financial support of the American communists. In the 1920s, J. Reed carried money and diamonds to the United States, then businessman A. Hammer, and G. Hall, General Secretary of the US Communist Party, back in 1988 received $ 3 million from the USSR, for which he issued a receipt (Kurkov HB On the Financing of the US Communist Party by the Comintern. American Yearbook. 1993. M. 1994, pp. 170-178; Klehr N., Haynes JE, Firsov FI The Secret World of American Communism. New Haven-London. 1995. Doc. 1, p. 22-24; doc. No. 3-4, p. 29; Klehr N., Haynes JE, Anderson KM The Soviet World of American Communism. New Haven-London. 1998. Doc. No. 45, p. 155.).
But then the world economic crisis began and the Comintern immediately ordered to bet on the massive revolutionary actions of the proletariat - strikes, demonstrations, etc. It is interesting that until 1935 the US communists called Roosevelt a fascist and considered enemy No. 1. But after G. Dmitrov's speech at the Seventh Congress of the Comintern, they "changed their minds", began to cooperate with the US Democratic Party and entered the Popular Front. Following instructions from Moscow, the slogan "Communism is the Americanism of the 20th century" was even removed, which they liked very much, but, nevertheless, had to obey them. In general, let us note that the US Communist Party has never been independent, as, indeed, practically all other "commies" around the globe, because whoever pays calls the tune, well, but who paid? USSR, of course.
However, the USSR was engaged not only in the propaganda of communism in the United States, but also actively carried out intelligence activities there. Moreover, the Comintern obliged all parties to create their own underground structures for … special work. J. Peters was sent to the United States for this purpose in 1932, and then R. Baker, who wrote in his 1939 report that groups of people were created that were not members of Party organizations, but were subordinate to them (Baker R. Brief on the Work of the CPUSA Secret Apparatus, 26 January 1939. Klehr H., Haynes JE, Firsov FI Op.cit., doc. No. 27, pp. 86-87.). Moreover, not only Secretary General Browder worked for the Soviets, but also his wife, sister and many more party members from the “lower ranks”.
When this is observed in the "lower classes", they can be inspired with absolutely everything. Therefore, a reasonable government should not allow this!
Hundreds of American communists were trained at the International Leninist School in Moscow, and some were even accepted into the ranks of the CPSU (b). And they didn't just study theory. In a letter dated June 28, 1936, a certain Randolph, representing the US Communist Party in the USSR, wrote to D. Manuilsky and A. Marty that they should not be sent to military camps for the summer, where they were even dressed in the uniform of the Red Army and taught military science and even jiu-jitsu fight! If the enemies find out about this, he believed, they will be able to declare that the USSR is preparing an uprising against the US government (Baker R. Brief on the Work of the CPUSA Secret Apparatus, 26 January 1939; Klehr N., Haynes JE, Firsov FI Op. Cit., Doc. No. 57, pp. 203-204.). It’s interesting how they would look at such a practice in our country today, but then it, in general, was much less surprising, that was the time.
And, of course, there were many intelligence groups in the United States itself, which was subsequently reported to President Truman on the basis of reports from defectors (and, in particular, E. Bentley and W. Chandler, who worked underground as couriers) in the post-war years.
However, information from the USA to the USSR was constantly and through various channels. For example, the agrarian Harold Ware wrote to Lenin an overview of the state of agriculture in the United States in the early 20s, and then, together with a tractor detachment, came to help the starving people in the Volga region.
If we are talking about secret informers of Stalin, then among the members of the communist underground in the United States there were as many as 13 employees of the Roosevelt administration, who held various posts, up to the assistant secretary of the Treasury. According to the decrypted correspondence of Soviet intelligence, 349 people were found spying in the interests of the USSR, and more than 50 people who held significant posts were members of the US Communist Party (Haynes JE, Klehr H. Venona. Decoding Soviet Espionage in America. New Haven-London. 2000, p. 9.).
There have always been and are young radicals who are fond of new ideas, so there were enough of them in America at that time. For example, it was Lawrence Duggen, who worked for the NKVD for many years, and who jumped out of a window in 1948 after being interrogated by FBI agents. Moreover, many of them did not work for money, but for ideological reasons and refused remuneration, perceiving it as an insult (Chambers W. Witness. Chicago, 1952, p. 27).
However, there were some, for example, the same Hoover, who, in a letter to US President Wilson, pointed out that they should not be afraid of "Sovietization" of America, since communist ideas take root well only in countries with a large gap between the middle and lower classes, and when the latter lives in ignorance and poverty. The same J. Reed in his last years became disillusioned with Bolshevism and did not even want to recover from typhus (R. Pipes. Russia under the Bolsheviks. M.: 1997, p. 257.).
This is not money! Let's ruble!
- The dollar is not money ???
The philosopher Dewey believed that the dictatorship of the proletariat in Russia in the end would inevitably lead to a dictatorship over the proletariat and … after all, this is exactly what happened! The result of the "Sovietization" of the United States was many disenchanted, who became irreconcilable opponents of the Soviet Union and anti-communists. So, in the book "The End of Socialism in Russia" (1938), Max Eastman (he was married to his sister Krylenko, lived in the USSR, handed Lenin's Letter to the Congress to the USA and knew well all the Soviet backstage of those years) wrote, for example, that power in the country has passed from workers and peasants to a privileged bureaucracy, and that the Stalinist totalitarian regime is essentially no different from the regime of Hitler and Mussolini, as evidenced by the political processes and mass executions of the old Bolsheviks. "The experiment of socialism in Russia is over," he concluded and called Marxism "an obsolete religion" and a "German romantic dream" that Americans need to quickly part with.
- Which faculty?
- Comrade - not from our institute …
- Here, you see! Their professors are ready for battle, and ours can only look through microscopes and catch butterflies!
Member of the National Committee of the Youth Communist League J. One trip to the USSR in 1937 was enough for Veksler to completely lose faith in communist ideas. Everywhere he saw portraits of Stalin, people were afraid to talk to him about political processes; American students (surprisingly, yes, American students in 1937, right? But there were, it turns out!) told him about the nighttime arrests. Returning to the States, Veksler and his wife left the Youth League and became ardent anti-communists (The American Image of Russia. 1917 - 1977. N. Y. 1978, p. 132 - 134.). Theodore Dreiser also began to doubt in many ways, although he remained a friend of the USSR until the end of his days.
What a pity, but I invited an American colleague.
- Well, we'll feed the American.
- Both me and me …
However, as society was informatized, sympathies for the USSR in the United States more and more gave way to antipathies, until the enthusiasm for communism was replaced by mass anti-communism.
P. S. Today the archives of the Comintern have been declassified for researchers. There is the Russian Center for the Preservation and Study of Documents of Contemporary History (RCKHIDNI), which contains many extremely interesting materials. However, publications in the Voprosy istorii magazine, which should, in theory, become a desktop publication for every citizen of our country who is interested in history, also give a lot. As a last resort, if acquaintance with this publication is expensive and it is simply psychologically difficult for someone, you can get by with Sinclair Lewis's book "It's impossible here with us." It's worth reading, and surprisingly it's not outdated so far!