Posts tagged Roosevelt

“I Write as I Please” 1935 book (Part VII)

The philosophical question was posed by Walter Duranty of “Does the end justify the means?”  What were the “means” used?  That is why I am glad I read what Duranty wrote in this book published in 1935 despite the six or so pages missed by the scanner.  I am on a quest to find out what might have been purposely left off for the Web readers to know. Anyone can download this book by the above title, all 347 pages of it.

So, W.D. answers that perplexing question with the Soviet Goal being for the “betterment of humanity there can be no loftier aspiration.”  Yet earlier he wrote about the human cost.  My husband, ever the economist, claims the price of the Soviets replenishing not only the human capital wasted but also the livestock killed off took a staggering amount of time into many decades to return to what it used to be when it was just individual peasants in the vast land of the former Soviet republics.

WD wrote a poem in ee cummings style to writing a piece he didn’t believe in 1917 about the war, but he got good marks for it from his editors “I plead guilty to adding a little color on occasion.” [if that is not an admission to lying, as Malcolm Muggeridge claimed Duranty did, I don’t know what is]

p. 310 – American objection to communism, it is not only foreign but coercive and therefore repugnant to our love of personal independence

p. 310 Bridge from “rugged individualism” to “capitalist collectives” without involving coercive or violence or any of the sufferings which during past five years have attended the birth pangs of Soviet socialization. [these were not “birth pangs” as if a hopeful child was born but the death throes of civilization!!!]

p. 314 – W.D. asks the question “Why did Russian people endure such hardship without revolt?”

1) ruling forces had no choice Lenin’s famous speech of “Kto Kavo” (who beats whom?) according to him, no compromise was possible

2) poor peasants had more to give than those who were not as poor

3) propaganda – emotional “sturm and drang” of Great War of West

Sabotage trials – Kulak hate, Japan threat, rise of Hitler, machivation of foreign capitalists

Lenin solved puzzle – communist party + 100,000 tractors and modern farm machiner = rural socialism

Soviet War fought on two fronts – industrial and agrarian

Turning point of industrial victory came in the beginning 1932

Initial success in Moscow, Leningrad [used to be called St. Petersburg] and Kharkov [city in Ukraine]

Bob Lamont – son of Secy of Commerce in 1932, made a trip to stock raising  station, NE Caucaus, conditions not so bad, hearkens back to 1921 Famine or whitewash stories sort of modern Potemkin village.

Kalmikov – president of autonomous republic of Kabarda – heart of cattle country

p. 317 – Bob Lamont said when livestock dies wholesale “You can’t treat your pigs the way you treat your peasants. Pigs won’t stand for it, can’t coerce them with exile.”

WD had not been back in NY since 1926 much better conditions than Soviet press led to believe.

W.D. had admired Hoover because of his help in A.R.A. up to this point but then he did not agree with Hoover when he said that Russia was an “economic vacuum”

W.D. also didn’t like when Ogden Mills – Secy. Of Tres. told him that the US will never stand for diplomat relations with a government of atheists and unbelievers

July of 1932 W.D. was invited to Albany, NY by Gov. Roosevelt – W.D. found him broadminded – profound knowledge of Soviet affairs [that’s probably because he read whatever Duranty wrote in the New York Times]

p. 323 – Kaganovich – Political Tractor – Finish five year plan in four years

W.D. in April 1933 – flew through Ukraine on way to Constantinople – Solution to agrarian problem

WD asked about mortality rates in Ukraine when he stopped through

p. 324 – nobody knew – new people had come to Ukraine in place, so 9/10s were really new and didn’t know how many Ukrainians had really died during the starvation period of 1932-33

Roosevelt recognized USSR in 1933.

p. 325 one of sorrows of life of a conscientious reporter is that sensational stories are always the most interesting but the drab ones often the most true. [not sure what W.D. meant by that]

WD accompanied Litnivov to D.C. who claimed it would take a ½ hour to work things out with the two countries in talks, it took 10 days

18 month stagnation of being after agreement

July 1935 Litvinov and Am. Ambassador Wm. C. Bullitt

p. 328 in Britain – the British Fear God and human thinking while the U.S. – Americans Honor the President as People’s Choice

p. 329 – possession of wealth is regarded as a shame, the attempt to use wealth for personal gain or advantage is juridically a crime

What I don’t understand about Walter Duranty is that he criticized rugged individualism while he was trying to make his mark in the world by reporting what he thought on the “Soviet experiment.” This book titled “I Write as I Please” essentially would make him money or at least personal gain.  I’d be curious to know how much money he DID make and how he lived into his final years.  I understand that he died in the 1950s in Florida.  Any historians are welcome to help me out on this, I’m loathe to go to Wikipedia to find out what might be a slant on this man in his favor.

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“I Write as I Please” 1935 book (Part IV)

If you look at the index of Walter Duranty’s book, it is chock full of names and places, five pages worth.  As a journalist Duranty knew to include as many people as possible which may have brought this book up on the charts of the New York Times bestseller list, if they kept track of such things back then.  People like to see their names in print whether in a newspaper article or in a book, so he knew that all who were “readers” would like to buy a copy of this book which was published so long ago.  Yet, there are many things that remain the same or history definitely repeats itself.  I’ll continue where I left off with what I think are interesting quotes:

p. 212 – Liatsis theory of Red Terror and warning and example [other references to who wrote the manual on terror and how to get people to do what the communist regime wanted them to do]

“His Majesty’s Opposition” – English phrase – W.D. learned to read between the lines of the Soviet Press. “Bewildering difference between Russian and non-Russian and Bolshevik and non-Bolshevik mentality.” [I have the same problem here in Astana, what is Kazakh and not Kazakh, what is post-Soviet and what is just human nature?]

In the spring of 1930, Walter Duranty went to Alma Ata where Trotsky was first exiled to do an interview.  So few references to Central Asia so to me this is interesting.  Christopher Robbins, in his book “Apples are from Kazakhstan” writes about Trotsky’s exile to Kazakhstan.

I like the following poem that Duranty quoted, it fits with living here in Kazakhstan, especially in the capital city of Astana:

p. 240

There was an owl who in an oak

The more he heard the less he spoke

The less he spoke the more he heard

Soldiers, imitate that wise bird

p. 247 – “The tempo of life by which the Bolsheviks /////[can’t read my writing] the rush of their progress, the haste of their desire to catch up and surpass the capitalist world in material achievement, has been too swift to allow any of them to pause awhile by the wayside, and think.”

p. 249 Three old enemies of newspaper:  time, space and selection

How to handle news in Russia – 1st rule – believe nothing that I hear, little of what I read and not at all of what I see

p. 278 – “I had no intention of being an apologist for the Stalin administration” [whether he intended or not, he was the mouthpiece that many people listened to, especially Governor Roosevelt from New York, who later opened up relations with U.S.S.R. in 1933 when he became President.]

(to be continued)

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Ainash’s Grandparents Difficult Lives

 

In my life I have seen my grandparents very few times. Moreover, I have not met my first grandmother in this life. We are used to living in the city, but my grandparents lived outside of city. So I have been there only on summer holidays. In spite of this, it was the best holidays of my life because it allowed me to play a lot with nothing else to do. The history of my grandparent’s life is not very well known by me because they did not like to talk about their lives and considered that children don’t need to know about the difficulties of their experiences. I know it only from my mother’s history.

My grandfather’s name was Turmuhambet. He was born in 1919 in Dzhambul city. He was tall, thin, quiet and a very kind person. My grandparent’s family worked on the railway. In the family were two sons and my grandfather was younger. He graduated only seven years at school. After that he went to serve in the armed forces. However, the war came and he began to serve in the regular Army. He served in the regiment, which Iran won in 1941. After 2 years in Tehran held a meeting of the anti-Hitler coalition leaders – there are General Secretary of the Central Committee of CPSU Joseph Stalin, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Consequently, the city had been completely blocked by troops and special service for three conference days. My grandfather was at that time in those troops. Unfortunately, my grandparent lost his brother in war.

My grandparents became acquainted on Victory Day’s celebration. Thus, my grandfather married my first grandmother. My first grandmother’s name was Kanymkul. She was not tall, but thin and a modest woman. She was born in 1927. My grandparents lived together 31 years. They had 8 children; there are 5 boys and 3 girls. After the war my grandparents moved to the village. My grandfather worked as an accountant and then foreman. He learned the Arabic language and wrote poetry. They have not been published, though. Grandmother was a housewife. She brought up children, supported a house and cared for the livestock. She died at 49 years old. Grandfather married a second time, 8 years later. Her name was Aigan and she was much younger than him. In their life together there were no children. My grandfather died at 85 years old, 2 months after the death of grandmother Aigan. He became ill after the grandmother’s funeral and was never able to recover from this loss. These were difficult times for our family.

In conclusion, I would like to note that grandparents of our generation lived in difficult times. They had many experiences of grief and suffering in protecting the homeland. Currently, there are a few retirees who remain and who served and fought in the Soviet army. Our country cares about them. They are providing incentives and working on social programs for them. But, in my opinion, this is not enough for the elderly, as well as our concern and love brings them more happiness and comfort. We must not stop talking with them and listen to their stories. The main purpose of their life was a peace for their grandchildren. Our main task does not forget history and persons who created this story.

Now I am very sad that I have spoken little with my grandparents about their lives. That gave them little time. But I know that every summer, which I spent with them, brought no less joy.

 

 

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One Day at a Time – Day 24 of 36

The following is from my journal account of my 5 week trip in Europe and Russia in May of 1976, 32 years ago.  This is the first entry since Alexandr Solzhenitsyn’s death that I’m not writing something related to him to honor his memory.  However, I will continue to write about the country of Russia he longed for while he was safely in the U.S. in 1976.  If Solzhenitsyn had been permited to return at that time, he might have seen some of the same things I observed:

 

We came back from Vladimir on train and then went to the Tretychou Gallery and saw a lot of beautiful Russian painter’s work.  A lot of portraits of the aristocracy were shown of the 17 and 18 century.  They were all high quality and I guess I was surprised because a lot of Renaissance styles were seen and yet I’ve never heard of these Russian masters.  Olga, our guide, told us many tales and stories related to the pictures which I want to look up more on.

 

Mike Spangler, the chaplain of Protestant churches here in Moscow, spoke to our group.  According to him, Soviets only permit American chaplains into the country, in 1933 Roosevelt wrote for his army who wanted freedom of religion.  1962, the Protestants sent over a chaplain, after the Roman Catholics did it.  Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Episcopal and Lutherans of America represent the Protestant faith here.  No church to speak of, and this was the only Sunday School in the Soviet Union.

 

Under the age of 18, no religious instruction is permitted.  He [Spangler] deals with foreigners, counseling; it’s a lonely place.  Lots of pressure here for the diplomats.  He works with university students who are exchange students, its tough for them with prejudice and harassment especially for blacks.  Things are fairly stable for the existing structure of the Russian Orthodox church.  There might even be a chance that the state will return to the church when they are busy with trying to influence the Mid-East Asian Islam countries.

 

Question was asked: “What persecution is experienced by the student who is known to go to worship?” Especially at university level meaning an automatic dismissal at an academic level.  He [Spangler] spoke of the Soviets being a war damaged people and that they may be cold and uncaring because of the great influx of foreigners who travel through and also being that the population is of 7.8 million.  He spoke also of the Hero Mother who will be manufacturing 10-15 children since the USSR has “0” population growth and in order to be a majority among the other republics.  He also mentioned that the wife often must hold down 2 jobs while the husband has only 1 or half of one as he is either out with the other men drinking and getting drunk in the bars.

 

At our Soviet meeting, however, we had heard Vitaly say that there was no real alcoholic problem in the Union that he was aware of.  But I must say, I saw three fallen or groveling drunks on the sidewalks and smelled vodka on many a passing person at subways and busses.  The very clothes people wore were dour, drab and dreary; there were mostly babushkas with old women under them all over Moscow.  Where are the people my age? People like Olga, there were only men my age around in their military uniforms of green.  More about Soviet people later.

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