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The 1921 Russian Famine: America To The Rescue

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posted on Dec, 22 2015 @ 11:50 PM
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Some nightly browsing of a few websites brought me once again to one of my favorite websites: The History News Network. I attempt with great effort to remain neutral when looking back in the past, as history has a bad knack of being biased. It's almost so by definition, but every once in a while a goody will come up on HNN that I'm compelled to share.

This time is was this article by William Lambers: The Year America Saved Russia from Starvation

In the spirit of the season of giving and supposedly spreading good will toward men (that includes the abundance of canned food drives and care packages being sent out by charitable organizations around the world), I thought this seemed rather appropriate...


It was 1921 in Russia and an AP journalist had just attended a mass in the town of Volsk. As he was leaving the church, the priest rushed after him. He had a message he wanted the reporter to share with America: Please send food and save us from starvation!

A famine had struck Russia. People were starving to death. The aftermath of World War One, civil war, drought and failed policies left tens of millions of Russians with no food.


1921: A few years after the Bolshevik Revolution (The Great October Socialist Revolution) and The Great War (World War I). It is also a few years behind the onset Great Depression.

Now, why is that so fascinating to me? Well, I'm sure many of you are familiar with the Cold War Rhetoric used by both super powers from 1949 to 1985: containment and expansion. While the Soviet Union provided many aspects of potential growth of a communist regime (and in fact did win over many allies in doing so), the American approach was to contain the expansion of that communism. But what was a threat in 1949 did not initially impact the minds of America in 1921. In fact, according to Lambers:


When the call for help was first heard, America quickly responded. Led by Herbert Hoover, the American Relief Administration (ARA) started a feeding program for a million Russian children. To get served rice daily was a life-saver for those children.


Aside from the attacks on the Axis Powers during World War II, this appears to be one of the few times that America reacted in cooperation or compassion towards the Soviet Union under the communist parties reign. We have certainly heard plenty about continued hunger, famine, and poverty in Russia in the years that preceded the war and even continue to this day - but you might notice that the U.S. is not moving to the conclusion of assisting those in need there now (save for potentially Jewish-Americans working to assist Jewish-Russians on their code of peoplehood).

If that wasn't enough of a reason to refer to this article, consider this additional article by Walter Moss: Churchill’s Lesson: We Shouldn’t Be Afraid of an Alliance with Russia Against ISIS

We are in the very midst of a potential alliance with Russia to take out a collective evil in Eurasia, an echo of what happened in during World War II and the Nazi regime is set to repeat itself. What do we say about history? It tends to repeat, right? Well, perhaps it's not identical to the situation of the past, we don't have a crazed extreme nutjob wanting to kill all those who don't conform to...wait...

...well, those individuals aren't exactly leading entire nations of people. At least, not in a geopolitical sense. What was I saying again?

Oh yeah...history...it tends to repeat itself.

As for the Russian Famine of 1921 - it is widely regarded as a double whammy, and had terrible timing taking place shortly after two major wars that were influential in the region.

From ICIC


After the killing fields of the First World War, the political upheavals in Russia and elsewhere, and the rampant spread of disease among exhausted communities, came the threat of food shortages that put an estimated 32 million lives at risk in Russia, Ukraine and Georgia.


Furthermore, as pointed out in the first article, with a powerful El Nino - it is possible this year could once again prove to be riddled with hunger in Russia. We will have to wait and see if we learned from our last mistakes and if we have the sources to lend a helping hand, or if - like the war-driven facet to this machine - history will once again come full circle.

Some further reading for those interested in the 1921 Russian Famine:
Another article by Lambers in Examiner
PBS: The Great Famine
edit on 22.12.2015 by Shugo because: Fixed broken tags.




posted on Dec, 23 2015 @ 12:23 AM
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a reply to: Shugo


So basically America saved the Russian revolution and kept Communism going. It's a mad mad world.



posted on Dec, 23 2015 @ 12:56 AM
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a reply to: anonentity

That's not at all what I was getting at. One of the highlighting things about this was that despite what our stance was later in history, initially we did not take communism into account when it came to helping other people. And in addition, contrary to popular belief, the U.S. has helped Russia in times passed.

Had the U.S. not helped Russia in the Great Famine, it is extremely unlikely that communism would have ceased to be.



posted on Dec, 23 2015 @ 01:28 AM
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a reply to: Shugo

I do remember that back in the early 90s,that the Russian people were once again starving. I knew about it because the Berlin wall had just fallen about 6 months before and I knew some American Indians who told me they were flying to Russia to bring food,clothing and blankets to the Russian people. I asked "is it that bad there now"? and they said yes it was,that the people were sleeping in the streets with no food,sick and no place to live. It was horrible according to them. NOw I don't recall the government of the US stepping in to help,but I do remember the Indian tribes giving whatever they could to those people. The Indians for some reason have felt a kinship with the Russians for years. But also remember that America might be a different country today if Russia had not come to help the North during the civil war.

en.wikipedia.org...


During the American Civil War, Russian-American relations were very generally cooperative. Alone among European powers, Russia offered oratorical support for the Union, largely due to the view that the U.S. served as a counterbalance to the British Empire.[16]

During the winter of 1861–1862, the Imperial Russian Navy sent two fleets to American waters to avoid their getting trapped if a war broke out with Britain and France. Many Americans at the time viewed this as an intervention on behalf of the Union, though historians deny this.[17]

Alexander Nevsky and the other vessels of the Atlantic squadron stayed in American waters for seven months (September 1863 to June 1864).[18]



posted on Dec, 23 2015 @ 01:37 AM
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a reply to: Dimithae

That's good to know. I surmise that those not rooted deeply in American culture, but their own personal or relational culture are more in tune with the need to lend a helping hand. Now, I don't know that for sure, I'm no anthropologist nor a psychologist, but it appears to be the case. Those who attribute themselves to a particular nation within the country (not just America on the whole) from what I've generally read tend to be more sensitive.

As for the Wiki, while it is very possible that Britain could have opted for intervention, the contenders would more aptly be Britain and Spain, not France. France was in the midst of it's own turmoil and knew that any intervention would illicit some form of backlash that it could not have recuperated from. Whether Russia's involvement in quasi-blockading of the Atlantic circuit deterred war is debatable for sure though.



posted on Dec, 23 2015 @ 03:52 AM
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The article and OP title ignores the fact that other countries e.g. Great Britain also provided aid. Another article written by someone who wants to ensure the US get all the credit for what was (at the time) an international affair.

However, just to note that the aid was resisted by the Russian authorities who preferred the Russian people to starve than be saved by the West. Also note that the famine greatly impacted eastern Ukraine. Nice Russians.
edit on 23/12/2015 by paraphi because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 23 2015 @ 03:57 AM
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a reply to: paraphi

While I'm sure someone who is not interested in learning of the scope of the famine would believe the article at face value based on the headline alone, that's not the point of the OP. The two points of the OP is that tensions between the U.S. and Russia have not always been severe, and that similar relations in the past are still valid and current today.

We could talk all about how the Soviet Union refused aid from western countries, but I'd rather keep that someplace else.
edit on 23.12.2015 by Shugo because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 23 2015 @ 04:56 AM
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Seems that particular coin has two sides, my reading of history has not really touched on Russia, that's a lifetimes reading on its own!



posted on Dec, 23 2015 @ 09:38 AM
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originally posted by: Shugo
a reply to: anonentity

That's not at all what I was getting at. One of the highlighting things about this was that despite what our stance was later in history, initially we did not take communism into account when it came to helping other people. And in addition, contrary to popular belief, the U.S. has helped Russia in times passed.

Had the U.S. not helped Russia in the Great Famine, it is extremely unlikely that communism would have ceased to be.


I'm also loathe to think Hoover had altruistic ideals at the forefront of his mind as while yes, in WW1 he was responsible for aid reaching parts of Europe where required, I can't recall if any of them came without a price tag, often a very high one.
Also as per Paraphi above, the link you have provided does seem to airbrush out the giving from other countries.



posted on Dec, 23 2015 @ 01:36 PM
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originally posted by: uncommitted
I'm also loathe to think Hoover had altruistic ideals at the forefront of his mind as while yes, in WW1 he was responsible for aid reaching parts of Europe where required, I can't recall if any of them came without a price tag, often a very high one.


Most aid was in the form of some kind of repayment or some kind of allegiance, yes. The reconstruction of Europe after World War II was particularly interesting because of the attachment of anti-communism clauses.


Also as per Paraphi above, the link you have provided does seem to airbrush out the giving from other countries.


I find it fascinating that people seem to be more interested about talking about the overlying subject matter of the singular article and ignoring the others that were linked or the core subject matter of the OP.



posted on Dec, 24 2015 @ 07:21 AM
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originally posted by: Shugo

originally posted by: uncommitted
I'm also loathe to think Hoover had altruistic ideals at the forefront of his mind as while yes, in WW1 he was responsible for aid reaching parts of Europe where required, I can't recall if any of them came without a price tag, often a very high one.


Most aid was in the form of some kind of repayment or some kind of allegiance, yes. The reconstruction of Europe after World War II was particularly interesting because of the attachment of anti-communism clauses.


Also as per Paraphi above, the link you have provided does seem to airbrush out the giving from other countries.


I find it fascinating that people seem to be more interested about talking about the overlying subject matter of the singular article and ignoring the others that were linked or the core subject matter of the OP.


I don't think aid was "in the form of some kind of repayment", it was in the expectation of repayment.

It's of interest because it states quite clearly that America and America alone saved Russia.



posted on Dec, 24 2015 @ 02:22 PM
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originally posted by: uncommitted
I don't think aid was "in the form of some kind of repayment", it was in the expectation of repayment.


Right, basically it was "do this or don't get help."


It's of interest because it states quite clearly that America and America alone saved Russia.


...okay. That's not what I'm saying in the OP - which is what I thought the discussion might be about, but alright...
edit on 24.12.2015 by Shugo because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 24 2015 @ 02:39 PM
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just for perspective - the USA sent 2 expeditionary forces to russia in the previous year - [ both saw combat attempting to influence the russian civil war [ on the side of the white russians - anti comunists ]

PS - the UK also attempted to intervene militarily in the civil war sending both troops and aide



posted on Dec, 24 2015 @ 03:05 PM
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a reply to: paraphi

I've got different information.

The one that saved Russia from starving was the US, and the US alone. By my information, it was not a international effort.

I think the story goes along the lines that the soviets asked some famous russian writer whose name I cannot recall at the moment to ask for help because they did not want to ask the capitalists for help.

Certainly interesting story.
edit on 24-12-2015 by Nikola014 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 24 2015 @ 03:19 PM
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a reply to: Nikola014




I've got different information. The one that saved Russia from starving was the US, and the US alone.


Well your information is wrong.

Here is Pathe film of British Ships in London Docks loading food aid for Russia.


www.britishpathe.com...



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