- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 20, 2002

Every generation has to learn history anew and in The Big Show in Bololand: The American Relief Expedition to Soviet Russia in he Famine of 1921(Stanford University Press, $70, 832 pages) Bertrand M. Patenaude gives us a superb lesson. His subject in this huge, formidably researched book is a significant event in Soviet-American history: how when a devastating famine gripped Bolshevik Russia in 1921, Herbert Hoover, a private citizen (later in 1928 elected as president of the United States) organized the American Relief Administration and saved millions of Russian lives.

In no time flat, some 300 ARA workers and many more local hires were feeding almost 11 million Soviet citizens a day and they did that for two embattled years, embattled because the Communists were fearful that the Hoover food program in reality was imperialism cleverly plotting the overthrow of the Bolshevik regime which the American relief workers called "Bololand." The Leninist revolution might have foundered had it not been for capitalist generosity and American organizational genius exemplified by a rich Republican conservative mining magnate.
Based on diaries, private letters and memoirs plus startling and disturbing photographs of the dead and dying, especially orphaned children, the book affords a shocking glimpse of Russia after the revolution. What is especially intriguing is the continuing Bolshevik suspicion about the ARA motives in saving lives.
Pravda published an interview with good old Leon Trotsky in which he defined the Hoover mission as a "highly skillful feeler projected by the ruling elements of America into the very depths of Russia." Communist provincials were less elegant in their rhetoric and denounced ARA as part of a capitalist plot to, among other things, seize Russia's gold mines. No matter how many "plots" they suspected, at least starving mothers and their children were being fed every day.
That didn't matter to the Bolsheviks. V.I. Lenin and his propagandists had so poisoned the atmosphere that they were delighted when ARA finally packed up and left. The last chapters of this volume, written with a Solzhenitzian irony, underscore the Bolshevik malice. Out of this atmosphere, understandably, sanguinary Stalinism emerged and thrived for a quarter century.


Arnold A . Offner's Another Such Victory: President Truman and the Cold War 1945-1953 (Stanford University Press, $37.95, 626 pages) is a history that is incomplete. For example, Mr. Offner blames Democratic politicos for forcing Henry A. Wallace off the presidential ticket in 1944 and replacing him with Harry Truman. Could such an event have occurred without the encouragement of Franklin Roosevelt as he began his fourth term campaign? Wallace's ouster from the ticket was foreshadowed by entries in Mrs. Roosevelt's diaries detailing FDR's disappointment in Wallace.
Mr. Offner makes no mention of Wallace's "guru letters" which, had they been made public by the GOP in 1940,would have threatened the president's third term re-election. He ignores FDR's firing of Wallace as head of the Board of Economic Warfare after a fight with Jesse Jones. There is enough archival evidence which has persuaded me that FDR didn't want Wallace in 1944 and that if a vice-president could have been fired, FDR would have done so.
More importantly, the author underplays the significance of Wallace's 1948 campaign for the presidency on the Communist-controlled Progressive Party ticket. He forgets that Moscow agreed in 1933 that in return for U.S. recognition of the Soviet Union, there would be no Comintern interference in U.S. domestic politics. And he seems to admire Wallace by referring to him at least three times as "advanced" as in "advanced liberal," "most advanced New Dealer," "advanced views." I prefer to think of Mr. Wallace as an advanced fellow-traveler.
In the very last sentence of this huge book Mr. Offner writes that Truman "promoted an ideology and politics of Cold War confrontation that became the modus operandi of successive administrations and the United States for the next two generations." My, my. Mr. Offner fails to consider that what Truman "promoted" might have led to the fall of the USSR. Much valuable research effort has goneinto this massive volume, but as Saul Bellow once said: "A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is great."


"Globalization" is this year's snarl word as "capitalism" was last year's. However, since the fall of the Soviet Union and the return to open market societies in Russia and Eastern Europe a new word was needed to revive a defunct socialism: So we have "globalization" which gives anybody who's against "it" the right to march, riot, pillage and, inevitably, to fire-bomb McDonald's. Anti-globalization, masquerading as humanitarianism, is a new form of anti-Americanism. That is why this collection of essays is so important in understanding the pro's and con's of globalization which also goes by the cant phrase, "cultural imperialism."
Many Globalizations: Cultural Diversity in the Contemporary World.
Edited by Peter L. Berger and Samuel P. Huntington (Oxford University Press, $35, 374 pages) is the result of a three-year study of globalization and culture in 10 countries. The fear that globalization would lead to global homogenization underestimates the ability of mankind to deal creatively and innovatively with cultural change.
Leading scholars from Chile, China, Japan, South Africa, Germany, Turkey, Hungary, Taiwan, India and the U.S. examine globalization developments in each country. Mr. Berger's introductory essay argues that "evangelical Protestanism, especially in its Pentecostal version, is the most important popular movement (serving inadvertently) as a vehicle of cultural globalization."


The author of No More Killing Fields: Preventing Deadly Conflict (Rowman and Littlefield., $39.95, 374 pages), a doctor, is president emeritus of the Carnegie Corporation, where he served for many years as a modern Maecenas, the Roman diplomat, counsellor to the emperor Augustus, and wealthy patron of such poets as Virgil and Horace. David A. Hamburg, in his mid-70s, has for years involved himself and recruited some of the most distinguished minds in the world in an endeavor to find the magic formula to eliminate war.
Mr. Hamburg's book is an optimistic rejection of George Santayana's dictum: "All problems are divided into two classes, soluble questions, which are trivial and important questions which are insoluble." Nor is Mr. Hamburg put off by the failure of the 1929 Briand-Kellogg Treaty which provided for the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy and which a decade later found most of the signatories the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain at war with each other. But there can be no more noble calling than seeking some way to divert man's historic propensity to make war.
Mr. Hamburg believes that to combat the new kind of Qaedistic war-making "it is in the national interest of advanced, affluent countries to help prevent degraded conditions in poor, undemocratic countries that breed hatred, violence and exportable terrorism." The 19 terrorists who turned four U.S. airliners into flying bombs a year ago were literate, well-educated Muslims as are the others waiting their turn to invade and attack. In the meantime, there is the problem of Iraq, the weapons of mass destruction, and biological-chemical warfare. Who's right: Santayana or Mr. Hamburg?

Arnold Beichman, a Hoover Institution research fellow, is a columnist for The Washington Times.


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