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|Title||Anna Louise Strong letter to Eleanor Roosevelt regarding Soviet actions in Eastern Europe, October 1, 1939|
|Author||Strong, Anna Louise (1885-1970)|
In this letter to Eleanor Roosevelt, Anna Louise Strong expresses her hope that the world war will "be fizzling out" by the end of the month -- that the outcome of the war will be a newly democratic Poland and a bloc of countries in Eastern Europe united for peace by the USSR. Strong believes that the USSR is the one nation working for peace against the whole world. She offers her opinion that, without the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact, Hitler would already have marched into the Baltic states and the Balkans, and that the USSR would be pressed on both sides by the Germans and the Japanese. Strong suggests that the Russians saw Hitler's ambitions, and recognized "that Chamberlain was intentionally pushing him eastwards". She notes that the "Whaley-Eaton service" believes the Soviets slowed Hitler down more by signing the non-aggression pact than they could have done militarily. Strong also points out to Roosevelt that the British are treating Hitler as an enemy, but are publicly uncertain about whether or not to consider Stalin an enemy, as well .
Strong moves on to Slovakia's enthusiasm for the U.S.S.R., citing a statement appearing in the Times by a Slovakian cabinet minister who alleges that fewer than 15% of Slovaks would vote to reunify Czechoslovakia, but that a significant majority would vote to be incorporated into the Soviet Union if that were possible. Strong believes this "speaks volumes for how the common people... were impressed by the Soviet Union". She tells Roosevelt that it's plain that the Soviets are trying "to form a neutral bloc of all East Europe, much as we try to form a strong neutrak [sic] bloc to keep war out of the Americas", and calls it a tragedy that the United States won't admit that it shares goals with the U.S.S.R. Strong lists multiple comparisons between the two countries to show this similarity .
While Strong believes that Stalin and Molotov are successfully pressuring Germany to reconstitute Poland, she acknowledges that "Hitler is a wild beast, and more or less crazy", which makes it hard to predict whether he will follow through. She tells Roosevelt that she thinks Roosevelt has "gradually picked up an impression of the Soviet Union that is not quite true". Strong insists that freedom of religion is still practiced there -- that, in fact, there will be more freedom for the "Greek Catholic churches" under Soviet rule than they had experienced under the authority of "Roman Catholic Poland". She agrees with Roosevelt that widespread killing is deplorable, and that "East Europe is still a brutal place", but defends the executions taking place in Russia as necessary reactions to the presence of German spies and secret agents. While she is convinced that all those executed had been legally convicted, Strong does acknowledge that the "process was in some cases too swift and too secret". Strong notes that the secret ballot gives Russians much control of their government, and claims that even Stalin could be voted out of office if the elections went that way. She admits that a political machine is in place, but thinks that Roosevelt does not see how active the Russian people are in changing their government .
Strong concludes by mentioning a recent talk she had with "Senator Schwellenbach", who "explained the new Neutrality amendments; they seem to me a very conscientious job, intended really to keep us out of war." She signs herself "yours, with much appreciation of your patience in listening to me".
Anna Louise Strong (1885-1970) was an American journalist and political activist throughout her life. After spending much of the 1910s working as a progressive advocate for child welfare, she became involved in the labor movement in Seattle, and through that movement increasingly identified herself with international communism. This advocacy, along with her work for the Seattle Union Record, connected her to the events surrounding the Seattle General Strike in 1919. Strong later left Seattle, and spent much of the 1920s and 1930s living in the Soviet Union, meeting with men such as Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin, and writing books about her experiences for Western audiences in an attempt to build support for the USSR. During World War II, she continued to promote the cause of communism, although her support for the Chinese communist movement ultimately alienated her from the government in Moscow, limiting her to one visit to the Soviet Union in the final two decades of her life. She spent most of those years living in the People's Republic of China, befriending Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong, and continuing to publish books and articles in support of communism until the end of her life.
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) was First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945 as the wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (as well as being the niece of an earlier American president, Theodore Roosevelt). In the 1930s, she had become a prominent advocate for the New Deal and the African-American civil rights movement. During World War II, she became an advocate for the United Nations, and later served as the United States' delegate to the U.N., chairing the commission that composed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Strong, Anna Louise, 1885-1970--Correspondence
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962--Correspondence
World War, 1939-1945--Europe, Eastern
|Digital Collection||Pamphlet and Textual Documents Collection|
|Digital ID Number||PAM0393|
|Ordering Information||To order a reproduction or inquire about permissions contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please cite the Order Number.|
|Repository||University of Washington Libraries. Special Collections Division|
|Repository Collection||Anna Louise Strong papers. Accession No. 1309-001. Box 4/18|
|Physical Description||2 leaves; 27.5 x 21.5 cm.|
|Digital Reproduction Information||Scanned from original text or image at 150 dpi saved in TIFF format, resized and enhanced using Adobe Photoshop, and imported as JPEG2000 using Contentdm software's JPEG2000 Extension. 2010.|