Relations between the Soviet Union and the United States were driven by a complex interplay of ideological, political, and economic factors, which led to shifts between cautious cooperation and often bitter superpower rivalry over the years. The distinct differences in the political systems of the two countries often prevented them from reaching a mutual understanding on key policy issues and even, as in the case of the Cuban missile crisis, brought them to the brink of war.
The United States government was initially hostile to the Soviet leaders for taking Russia out of World War I and was opposed to a state ideologically based on communism. Although the United States embarked on a famine relief program in the Soviet Union in the early 1920s and American businessmen established commercial ties there during the period of the New Economic Policy (1921-29), the two countries did not establish diplomatic relations until 1933. By that time, the totalitarian nature of Joseph Stalin's regime presented an insurmountable obstacle to friendly relations with the West. Although World War II brought the two countries into alliance, based on the common aim of defeating Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union's aggressive, antidemocratic policy toward Eastern Europe had created tensions even before the war ended.
The Soviet Union and the United States stayed far apart during the next three decades of superpower conflict and the nuclear and missile arms race. Beginning in the early 1970s, the Soviet regime proclaimed a policy of dtente and sought increased economic cooperation and disarmament negotiations with the West. However, the Soviet stance on human rights and its invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 created new tensions between the two countries. These tensions continued to exist until the dramatic democratic changes of 1989-91 led to the collapse during this past year of the Communist system and opened the way for an unprecedented new friendship between the United States and Russia, as well as the other new nations of the former Soviet Union.
After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the ensuing Civil War produced acute food shortages in southwestern Russia. Wartime devastation was compounded by two successive seasons of drought, and by 1920 it was clear that a full-scale famine was under way in the Volga River Valley, Crimea, Ukraine, and Armenia. Conditions were so desperate that in early 1920 the Soviet government sent out a worldwide appeal for food aid to avert the starvation of millions of people.
Several volunteer groups in the United States and Europe had by then organized relief programs, but it became clear that help was needed on a larger scale because an estimated 10 to 20 million lives were at stake. Although it had not officially recognized the Soviet regime, the United States government was pressed from many sides to intervene, and in August 1920 an informal agreement was negotiated to begin a famine relief program. In 1921 President Warren Harding appointed Herbert Hoover, then secretary of commerce, to organize the relief effort.
Congress authorized $20 million, and Hoover proceeded to organize the American Relief Administration (ARA) to do the job. Under Hoover's terms, the ARA was to be a completely American-run relief program for the transport, storage, and delivery of relief supplies (mainly food and seed grain) to those in the famine region. After Soviet officials agreed, hundreds of American volunteers were dispatched to oversee the program. The ARA gradually earned the trust of the local Communist authorities and was given a virtually free hand to distribute thousands of tons of grain, as well as clothing and medical supplies. This remarkable humanitarian effort was credited with saving many millions of lives.
ARA aid continued into 1923, by which time local farms were again producing and the famine's grip was broken. Hoover and his ARA were later honored by the Soviet government for the care and generosity that the United States had shown in this desperate crisis.
To all members of the Politburo.
I am enclosing the text of the Agreement with “Ara” [American Relief Administration] on organizing food shipments to Russia. Eiduk and I are completely in favor of signing the agreement. They are bringing in an additional quantity of food. We have the right to hold up (without appeal) any delivery if it exceeds 50 dollars for a private individual or 500 [dollars] for an organization (hospital, municipality). We are providing them FREE TRANSPORTATION FROM THE BORDER TO THE FOOD WAREHOUSES.
Litvinov opposes the last [point], considering it a privilege. His objection is not serious.
I request you take a vote and provide an answer by 2 PM Wednesday.
[signed] L. Kamenev
[Handwritten comments on the bottom of the document]
(If indeed the goal is trade, then we should do this [illegible] for they are giving us pure profit for the hungry and monitoring rights; and the right of refusal for three months. Therefore we ought not take payment for shipment to the warehouses.) ….
Agreed. October 19. Lenin.
[Handwritten comments, left margin]
The issue is obviously trade and not charity. I propose:
1) Exempt the incoming food from customs and taxes, charge for transportation on a universal basis;
2) Provide warehouse facilities for a charge.
Agreed. October 19. J. Stalin
Agreed. October 19. [illegible]
TRANSLATOR'S COMMENTS: A. V. Eiduk (1886-1938) was a Party member from 1903 and held numerous important government positions. He died in prison.
During the 1920s and early 1930s, tensions between the Soviet Union and the West eased somewhat, particularly in the area of economic cooperation. Following their consolidation of political power, the Bolsheviks faced the same economic challenge as had the government ministers of the tsarist regime: how to efficiently organize the vast natural and human resources of the Soviet Union. The economic situation was made even more difficult by the immense social and economic dislocation caused by World War I, the revolutions of 1917, and the Civil War of 1918-21.
As factories stood idle and famine raged in the countryside, Vladimir Lenin instituted the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1921 to infuse energy and direction into the fledgling Communist- controlled economy. NEP retreated from Communist orthodoxy and opened up the Soviet monolith economically.
For a variety of reasons – compassion for the sufferings of the Soviet peoples, sympathy for the great “socialist experiment,” but primarily for the pursuit of profit – Western businessmen and diplomats began opening contacts with the Soviet Union. Among these persons were Averell Harriman, Armand Hammer, and Henry Ford, who sold tractors to the Soviet Union. Such endeavors facilitated commercial ties between the Soviet Union and the United States, establishing the basis for further cooperation, dialogue, and diplomatic relations between the two countries. This era of cooperation was never solidly established, however, and it diminished as Joseph Stalin attempted to eradicate vestiges of capitalism and to make the Soviet Union economically self-sufficient.
7. In compliance with paragraph 6 of this resolution, direct the People's Commissariat on Finances of the USSR to provide the Moscow Chemical Trust [Moskhimtrest] with an accounting of receipts due to the government from A.IU. Hammer's pencil concession based on expenditures and excess profits, with the payments to be prorated on the basis of the annual balance sheets of the enterprise on October 1, 1929, 1930 and 1931.
CHAIRMAN, COUNCIL OF PEOPLE'S COMMISSARS OF THE USSR
Moscow, Kremlin “………… 1930”
The Soviet Communist party evolved from the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party's Bolshevik wing formed by Vladimir Lenin in 1903. Lenin believed that a well-disciplined, hierarchically organized party was necessary to lead the working class in overthrowing capitalism in Russia and the world. In November 1917, the Bolsheviks seized power in St. Petersburg (then called Petrograd) and shortly thereafter began using the term Communist to describe themselves. In March 1918, the Bolsheviks named their party the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik). The next year, they created the Communist International (Comintern) to control the Communist movement throughout the world. After the Comintern's dissolution in 1943, the Soviet party's Central Committee continued to use Communist parties from other nations as instruments of Soviet foreign policy. Each national party was required to adhere to the Leninist principle of subordinating members and organizations unconditionally to the decisions of higher authorities.
Strongly influenced by the success of the Bolshevik Revolution, American socialists and radicals met in Chicago in 1919 to organize an American Communist party. But the Americans were so divided they created two parties instead. One group consisted primarily of relatively recent Russian and East European immigrants, who emphasized adherence to Marxist orthodoxy and proletarian revolution. The other group, dominated by native-born, somewhat more pragmatic American radicals, sought mass influence. Such conflicting goals combined with the discrepancy between Communist doctrine and American reality, kept the Communist movement in the United States a small sectarian movement.
In 1922 the Comintern forced the two American parties, which consisted of about 12,000 members, to amalgamate and to follow the party line established in Moscow. Although membership in the American party rose to about 75,000 by 1938, following the Great Depression, many members left the party after the signing of the Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact of 1939. Others left in 1956 after Nikita Khrushchev exposed some of Stalin's crimes and Soviet forces invaded Hungary. Only the hard-core members remained after such reversals of Soviet policy. The American party, a significant although never major political force in the United States, became further demoralized when Boris Yeltsin outlawed the Communist party in Russia in August 1991 and opened up the archives, revealing the continued financial as well as ideological dependency of the American Communists on the Soviet party up until its dissolution.
TESTIMONY OF COMRADE GITLOW TO THE PLENUM OF THE ALL-UNION COMMUNIST PARTY (Bolshevik) (April 22, 1929)
Comrades! Inasmuch as a resolution of the VI Congress of our American Communist Party concerning Comrade Bukharin's situation has become the subject of debate at this session of the plenum of the Central Committee of our fraternal party of the Soviet Union; and inasmuch as Comrade [Philip] Dengel has issued a statement on that subject which needs further elucidation, I consider it necessary to give the following information about the facts in this matter.
(1) The Central Committee of our party has more than once made clear and, in precise language, formulated into resolutions the fact that our Central Committee unreservedly follows the line of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik) [VKP(b)]. ….
(2) Despite these repeated unanimous declarations by the Central Committee, the opposition in our party has mounted a campaign throughout the whole party - - a campaign led by the chief All-American Bureau of the League of Trade Union Propaganda - - whereby they accused our Central Committee of supporting Comrade Bukharin in his fight against the policies of the Central Committee of the VKP(b). Our opposition asserted itself as the only “true supporters of Stalin” in America.
(3) At our congress, Comrade [Earl] Browder, speaking for the opposition, brought forward that same accusation and announced that they (the opposition) “will not let this congress off with just a declaration on this political question, but will force it to submit to an open vote the question of Comrade Bukharin's condemnation, naming him by name.” We could not fail to understand the meaning of this announcement, for we knew that representatives of the ECCI [Executive Committee of the Communist International] served in fact as an integral part of the opposition faction, controlling its strategy at the congress.
(4) The same day that Comrade Browder made his disclosure, leaders of the Central Committee held an all-night meeting with representatives of the ECCI. At that meeting, Comrade Dengel told us openly that that the ECCI considered us adherents of Bukharin and that that fact influenced the ECCI in its assessment of the American question. We were informed that our repeated political declarations refuting that persuasion were insufficient to absolve us from this suspicion. We were told that our statements should be much more concrete, and that specific names should not be included.
(5) At the same time, the opposition at our Congress prepared a statement, publication of which was later demanded by the ECCI representatives. In that statement, for the first time in our party, the names of Stalin and Bukharin were specifically mentioned in a document concerning disputes in the VKP(b). The relevant passage said:
“Loyalty with regard to the Comintern demands at the present time rejection of the openly opportunistic viewpoint of right-wing elements in the German CP and in the VKP(b) represented by [Otto] Brandler, Frumkin, etc., and also the most energetic struggle against the pacifist viewpoint (Ewert, Ember- Dro, etc.) which are based on the interpretation given by Bukharin to the decisions of the VI Congress and on his article “Notes of an Economist” and on his speech at the Moscow conference dedicated to Lenin's memory, also titled “Lenin's political testament”. Loyalty with regard to the Comintern demands unconditional support of the line of the ruling party of the Comintern, the VKP(b) and of its Central Committee, led by Comrade Stalin.”
(6) Comrade [William W.] Weinstone, who worked under the direct supervision of Comrade Dengel and has never taken a single step without Dengel's approval, presented the statement, which further said:
“The Congress supports the Central Committee of the VKP(b), under the leadership of Comrade Stalin. Further, inasmuch as Comrade Bukharin has been estranged for the last few months from the the Comintern leadership, in view of his position, in view of his vacillating stance in the struggle with right wing and pacifist groups in the Comintern; insomuch as Comrade Bukharin's position hinders the development of the ruthless struggle against right wing and pacifist groups, we therefore propose that the Comintern make a final decision on Comrade Bukharin's leadership of the Comintern.”
(7) Given this situation, leaders of the Central Committee finally recommended that the Presidium of the Congress present the Congress with a resolution on the question of Comrade Bukharin's future work in the Comintern. Comrades Dengel and [Harry] Pollitt were both present at that session of the Presidium and at that session of the Congress at which the resolution was unanimously adopted; they absolutely did not protest it nor raise any question in conjunction with that resolution. Likewise neither of the two Comintern representatives made any remarks or posed any questions when the statements of Comrade Weinstone and the Opposition were presented to the Congress.
I offer these facts for the information of your Plenum.
With communist greetings,
translated by [?] Reinshten and [?] Mikhailov
TRANSLATOR'S COMMENTS: This document was translated into Russian from English. It was supposed to prove to the Plenum that the famous resolution against Bukharin adopted by the American CP was, despite his protests to the contrary, a direct result of pressure on the part of Philip Dengel. (“I Confess,” by B. Gitlow, p. 546.)
Despite deep-seated mistrust and hostility between the Soviet Union and the Western democracies, Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 created an instant alliance between the Soviets and the two greatest powers in what the Soviet leaders had long called the “imperialist camp”: Britain and the United States. Three months after the invasion, the United States extended assistance to the Soviet Union through its Lend-Lease Act of March 1941. Before September 1941, trade between the United States and the Soviet Union had been conducted primarily through the Soviet Buying Commission in the United States.
Lend-Lease was the most visible sign of wartime cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union. About $11 billion in war material was sent to the Soviet Union under that program. Additional assistance came from U.S. Russian War Relief (a private, nonprofit organization) and the Red Cross. About seventy percent of the aid reached the Soviet Union via the Persian Gulf through Iran; the remainder went across the Pacific to Vladivostok and across the North Atlantic to Murmansk. Lend- Lease to the Soviet Union officially ended in September 1945. Joseph Stalin never revealed to his own people the full contributions of Lend-Lease to their country's survival, but he referred to the program at the 1945 Yalta Conference saying, “Lend-Lease is one of Franklin Roosevelt's most remarkable and vital achievements in the formation of the anti-Hitler alliance.”
Lend-Lease material was welcomed by the Soviet Union, and President Roosevelt attached the highest priority to using it to keep the Soviet Union in the war against Germany. Nevertheless, the program did not prevent friction from developing between the Soviet Union and the other members of the anti-Hitler alliance. The Soviet Union was annoyed at what seemed to it to be a long delay by the allies in opening a “second front” of the Allied offensive against Germany. As the war in the east turned in favor of the Soviet Union, and despite the successful Allied landings in Normandy in 1944, the earlier friction intensified over irreconcilable differences about postwar aims within the anti-Axis coalition. Lend-Lease helped the Soviet Union push the Germans out of its territory and Eastern Europe, thus accelerating the end of the war. With Stalin's takeover of Eastern Europe, the wartime alliance ended, and the Cold War began.
The Testimonial of Wendell Wilkie is available as two images. Click on the icons to view full-size images.
[Overwritten, top of document:]
The information is fairly good (a rarity for the People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs!)
Must distribute to those to whom we send cipherings.
V. Molotov 23 Sept. SECRET
item no. 2
TO CHAIRMAN OF THE STATE COMMITTEE OF DEFENSE
Comrade J. V. Stalin
TO PEOPLE'S COMMISSAR OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Comrade V. M. Molotov
I am sending you a detailed testimonial of Wendell Wilkie. I direct your attention to the demagogic announcement by Wilkie on 23 August, reported by the newspapers before his U.S. departure. Wilkie deliberately demonstrates his anti-fascism because of his German background and fears that he will be accused of insufficient American patriotism. All of his pro-Soviet declarations carry a clear campaign message, since he hopes to ride a wave of sympathy towards the Soviet Union to the presidential elections in 1944.
The guns of distant battles fell silent long ago, but unanswered questions concerning United States servicemen missing in action and unrepatriated prisoners of war continue to concern the nation. Recently, the missing and prisoners of war from the Vietnam War have been the focus of attention.
But Soviet archival documents - - from an earlier era after World War II - - reveal that Americans were detained, and even perished, in the vast Soviet GULAG. To find out additional information about Americans liberated from German prison camps by the Red Army and then interned in Soviet camps, the U.S./Russian Joint Commission on POW/MIAs was formed early in 1992. Library of Congress officials, among others, have been authorized to research Russian archival materials on the subject in Moscow.
Through such efforts and additional cooperation, the fate of those missing in the Cold War may become known as well. Russian news reports tell of a United States B-29 aircraft shot down by Soviet interceptors over the Baltic Sea in April 1950. One of the Soviet pilots who downed the B-29 reported that the aircraft was recovered from the sea, but the fate of the crew is unknown.
The history of warfare cruelly suggests that some questions concerning the missing in action and prisoners of war will never be answered. Nevertheless, candor, goodwill, and a spirit of cooperation on all sides can minimize such questions. The opening of archives is a step forward in getting at the truth which can clear up the confusion and suspicion created in the past.
OFFICE OF THE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS OF THE SOVIET UNION FOR REPATRIATION
Department of Repatriation of Foreign Citizens
LIST of Allied POWs of AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP dispatched from Odessa Transit Camp No. 138 ... May 1945
Sergeant Clifton Mains' detachment
Name Military Date of Nationality Remarks Rank Birth Mains, Clifton Sergeant 1922 American Hill, Eugene Private 1917 " Dole, Wilfrid " 1919 " Consecci, John Sergeant Major 1918 " Kazmarik, John Corporal 1924 " Allen, Frank Sergeant 1922 " Dussey, Albert " 1922 " Total 7 people
Including: Officers - - Sergeants 5 Privates 2
COMMANDANT of Transit Camp no. 138
Colonel of the Guard [signed] Stoev
Head of the Directorate of Border Security [UPO]
Captain [a/c] [signed] Veipan
The Western democracies and the Soviet Union discussed the progress of World War II and the nature of the postwar settlement at conferences in Tehran (1943), Yalta (February 1945), and Potsdam (July-August 1945). After the war, disputes between the Soviet Union and the Western democracies, particularly over the Soviet takeover of East European states, led Winston Churchill to warn in 1946 that an “iron curtain” was descending through the middle of Europe. For his part, Joseph Stalin deepened the estrangement between the United States and the Soviet Union when he asserted in 1946 that World War II was an unavoidable and inevitable consequence of “capitalist imperialism” and implied that such a war might reoccur.
The Cold War was a period of East-West competition, tension, and conflict short of full-scale war, characterized by mutual perceptions of hostile intention between military-political alliances or blocs. There were real wars, sometimes called “proxy wars” because they were fought by Soviet allies rather than the USSR itself - - along with competition for influence in the Third World, and a major superpower arms race.
After Stalin's death, East-West relations went through phases of alternating relaxation and confrontation, including a cooperative phase during the 1960s and another, termed dtente, during the 1970s. A final phase during the late 1980s and early 1990s was hailed by President Mikhail Gorbachev, and especially by the president of the new post-Communist Russian republic, Boris Yeltsin, as well as by President George Bush, as beginning a partnership between the two states that could address many global problems.
People's Commissariat Ref. No. 9299 TOP SECRET
for Foreign Affairs Rec'd 2:00 Jun 16 1945 Copying Prohibited
Department 10 Sent 4:30 Jun 16 1945
Spec. No. 1729
Destination: Washington To whom: Soviet Ambassador Copy 1
In the message of June 15 to Comrade Stalin, Truman reported the June 15 departure of Sun-Tzi Ven from the USA for Moscow via Chungking. …. Truman also reported that Hurly, the American ambassador to Chungking, was instructed to support Soviet proposals in this connection.
Give Truman the following messsage from Comrade Stalin:
“PERSONAL AND TOP SECRET FROM PREMIER J. V. STALIN TO MR. PRESIDENT H. TRUMAN
Received your message concerning preparation of a Soviet- Chinese Accord and your instructions to Mr. Hurly. Thank you for the measures you have taken.
June 15, 1945.”
Confirm execution by telegraph.
M O L O T O V
1. Comrade STALIN
2. Comrade MOLOTOV
3. DEPARTMENT 10 For information to comrades: Vyshinskii, Dekanozov.
True copy: [illegible initials]
TRANSLATOR'S COMMENTS: The original handwritten text of the telegram to Truman is presented on leaf B-12-17-b. ==== Soviet Perspectives ==== After World War II, Joseph Stalin saw the world as divided into two camps: imperialist and capitalist regimes on the one hand, and the Communist and progressive world on the other. In 1947, President Harry Truman also spoke of two diametrically opposed systems: one free, and the other bent on subjugating other nations. After Stalin's death, Nikita Khrushchev stated in 1956 that imperialism and capitalism could coexist without war because the Communist system had become stronger. The Geneva Summit of 1955 among Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States, and the Camp David Summit of 1959 between Eisenhower and Khrushchev raised hopes of a more cooperative spirit between East and West. In 1963 the United States and the Soviet Union signed some confidence-building agreements, and in 1967 President Lyndon Johnson met with Soviet Prime Minister Aleksei Kosygin in Glassboro, New Jersey. Interspersed with such moves toward cooperation, however, were hostile acts that threatened broader conflict, such as the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962 and the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia of 1968. The long rule of Leonid Brezhnev (1964-1982) is now referred to in Russia as the “period of stagnation.” But the Soviet stance toward the United States became less overtly hostile in the early 1970s. Negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union resulted in summit meetings and the signing of strategic arms limitation agreements. Brezhnev proclaimed in 1973 that peaceful coexistence was the normal, permanent, and irreversible state of relations between imperialist and Communist countries, although he warned that conflict might continue in the Third World. In the late 1970s, growing internal repression and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan led to a renewal of Cold War hostility. Soviet views of the United States changed once again after Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in early 1985. Arms control negotiations were renewed, and President Reagan undertook a new series of summit meetings with Gorbachev that led to arms reductions and facilitated a growing sympathy even among Communist leaders for more cooperation and the rejection of a class-based, conflict-oriented view of the world. With President Yeltsin's recognition of independence for the other republics of the former USSR and his launching of a full-scale economic reform program designed to create a market economy, Russia was pledged at last to overcoming both the imperial and the ideological legacies of the Soviet Union. Hypermedia exhibit note: The following image is truncated in its original form for reasons unknown. === Exposing Imperialist Policies === CENTRAL COMMITTEE. COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION [TsK KPSS] Additional Measures To Expose Imperialist Policies __
We intend to make use of concrete facts to expose capitalist reality, political and ideological diversions of imperialism, the totalitarian character of a bourgeois state, and the strengthening of reactionary thought in the bourgeois apparatus and in capitalistic society as a whole.
The realization of such measures will permit us to coordinate the Soviet press, radio and television in such a way that the public's attention will be directed to the concrete manifestations of the anti-popular nature of imperialism.
Such propaganda campaigns will help the press agency Novosti, and politically oriented radio programs transmitted abroad to force our idealogical enemy onto disadvantageous paths in the ideological struggle.
A calendar of this type of events, mainly pertaining to the USA is attached. Similar plans pertaining to other imperialistic states could be developed in the course of work.
We request your review.
Assistant Chief of the Propaganda (A. Iakovlev)
Department, TsK KPSS January 21, 1971
TRANSLATOR'S COMMENTS: In the upper left corner are the words “Without right of publication.” In the upper right corner is the stamp of the TsK KPSS. The hand-written note could not be deciphered. The second page of the document is blank except for the handwritten notes: Comrade Ponomarev is absent. Comrades Smirnov and Parinov have been informed. January 29, 1971.
Attachment 170 Calendar of Certain Events
January 1, 1863 - In the USA the Act to free black slaves went into effect. Provides a rationale to point out the severity of the ethnic problem in the United States of America.
January 5, 1957 - President Eisenhower in a message to Congress set forth an expansionist U.S. policy for the Near East and Middle East that became known as the “Eisenhower-Dulles Doctrine.”
January 5, 1970 - In the USA progressive trade union activist Yablonsky was killed.
January 17, 1966 - In Spain, in the Palomares region, an American bomber plane with 4 nuclear bombs on board crashed.
- 140 years ago in the USA, the so-called Lynch law went into effect.
February 2, 1848 - End of the Mexican-American war, which resulted in the USA seizing from Mexico Texas, New Mexico, and upper California and part of Arizona
February, 1951 - In the USA seven falsely accused blacks executed
February 7, 1965 - Beginning of systematic bombing of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam by the USA
February 9, 1950 - Beginning of the “McCarthy Era”
March 1, 1961 - Decade of the “Peace Corps USA,” an organization engaging in subversive activity in Africa and Asia
March 5, 1946 - Churchill's speech at Fulton - the beginning of the “cold war” against socialist countries
March 12, 1947 - Acceptance in the USA of Truman's agressive foreign policy doctrine
March 16, 1965 - Bloody reprisals against participants in the black freedom march in Selma
March 23, 1947 - Truman's order to verify the loyalty of all government employees
April 1914 - Shooting of participants in Colorado strike
April 4, 1969 - The leader of the movement for the civil rights of American Negroes, Martin Luther King, is assassinated in the USA.
April 14, 1865 - President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated.
April 15-19 1961 - Decade of attempted armed invasion of Cuba by the USA
April 1861 - Beginning of the Civil War in the USA
April 25, 1898 - Beginning of the Spanish-American War. The first war of imperialism for the redivision of the world, resulting in USA seizure of the Phillipines, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Cuba.
April 27, 1965 - USA intervention in the Dominican Republic
April 30, 1970 - Invasion of American forces into Cambodia
May 4, 1970 - Anniversary of the shooting deaths of students at Kent State University in the USA
May 11, 1894 - Beginning of the Pullman strike
May 24, 1918 - Beginning of USA intervention in the Soviet North
May 26, 1938 - Creation in the USA of the Anti-American Activity Committee
June 5, 1947 - USA adopts expansionist “Marshall Plan”
June 5, 1968 - Robert Kennedy assassinated
June 23, 1947 - USA adopts anti-labor Taft-Hartley law
June, 1950 - Beginning of USA intervention in Korea
June 25, 1968 - Destruction of the American poor people's “Resurrection City” in Washington
June 28, 1932 - “Bloody Thursday” - shooting of war veterans - participants in a march on Washington
June, 1963 - Murder of Medgar Evers, famous black activist in USA
July 16, 1877 - Beginning of a railroad strike - the first national strike in the USA to spread to all main railroads in the country
July 20, 1948 - Trial of 11 USA Communist Party leaders begins
August 4, 1964 - Provocations by USA armed forces against Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin
August 4, 1953 - USA intervention in Guatemala
August 6, 1945 - Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
August 1918 - USA intervention in the Soviet Far East
August 23, 1927 - Execution of Sacco and Vanzetti
August 24, 1954 - USA adopts law “to monitor communist activity”
August 27, 1968 - Political reprisals against participants in mass antiwar demonstration in Chicago
September 23, 1950 - USA adopts the McCarran-Wood “law on internal security”
September-October 1919 - National strike in the USA in which 2 million people take part
October 31, 1956 - Triple agression of England, France and Israel against Egypt
November 19, 1915 - Poet Joe Hill shot in the USA
November 22, 1963 - Assassination of John Kennedy
November 22, 1970 - Portuguese colonizers commit act of armed aggression against the Republic of Guinea
December, 1931 - Two “hunger marches” on Washington by USA poor
According to Nikita Khrushchev's memoirs, in May 1962 he conceived the idea of placing intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Cuba as a means of countering an emerging lead of the United States in developing and deploying strategic missiles. He also presented the scheme as a means of protecting Cuba from another United States-sponsored invasion, such as the failed attempt at the Bay of Pigs in 1961.
After obtaining Fidel Castro's approval, the Soviet Union worked quickly and secretly to build missile installations in Cuba. On October 16, President John Kennedy was shown reconnaissance photographs of Soviet missile installations under construction in Cuba. After seven days of guarded and intense debate in the United States administration, during which Soviet diplomats denied that installations for offensive missiles were being built in Cuba, President Kennedy, in a televised address on October 22, announced the discovery of the installations and proclaimed that any nuclear missile attack from Cuba would be regarded as an attack by the Soviet Union and would be responded to accordingly. He also imposed a naval quarantine on Cuba to prevent further Soviet shipments of offensive military weapons from arriving there.
During the crisis, the two sides exchanged many letters and other communications, both formal and “back channel.” Khrushchev sent letters to Kennedy on October 23 and 24 indicating the deterrent nature of the missiles in Cuba and the peaceful intentions of the Soviet Union. On October 26, Khrushchev sent Kennedy a long rambling letter seemingly proposing that the missile installations would be dismantled and personnel removed in exchange for United States assurances that it or its proxies would not invade Cuba. On October 27, another letter to Kennedy arrived from Khrushchev, suggesting that missile installations in Cuba would be dismantled if the United States dismantled its missile installations in Turkey. The American administration decided to ignore this second letter and to accept the offer outlined in the letter of October 26. Khrushchev then announced on October 28 that he would dismantle the installations and return them to the Soviet Union, expressing his trust that the United States would not invade Cuba. Further negotiations were held to implement the October 28 agreement, including a United States demand that Soviet light bombers also be removed from Cuba, and to specify the exact form and conditions of United States assurances not to invade Cuba.
Dear Mr. President,
Imagine, Mr. President, what if we were to present to you such an ultimatum as you have presented to us by your actions. How would you react to it? I think you would be outraged at such a move on our part. And this we would understand.
Having presented these conditions to us, Mr. President, you have thrown down the gauntlet. Who asked you to do this? By what right have you done this? Our ties with the Republic of Cuba, as well as our relations with other nations, regardless of their political system, concern only the two countries between which these relations exist. And, if it were a matter of quarantine as mentioned in your letter, then, as is customary in international practice, it can be established only by states agreeing between themselves, and not by some third party. Quarantines exist, for example, on agricultural goods and products. However, in this case we are not talking about quarantines, but rather about much more serious matters, and you yourself understand this.
Mr. John F. Kennedy President of the United States of America
You, Mr. President, are not declaring a quarantine, but rather issuing an ultimatum, and you are threatening that if we do not obey your orders, you will then use force. Think about what you are saying! And you want to persuade me to agree to this! What does it mean to agree to these demands? It would mean for us to conduct our relations with other countries not by reason, but by yielding to tyranny. You are not appealing to reason; you want to intimidate us.
No, Mr. President, I cannot agree to this, and I think that deep inside, you will admit that I am right. I am convinced that if you were in my place you would do the same.
…. This Organization [of American States] has no authority or grounds whatsoever to pass resolutions like those of which you speak in your letter. Therefore, we do not accept these resolutions. International law exists, generally accepted standards of conduct exist. We firmly adhere to the principles of international law and strictly observe the standards regulating navigation on the open sea, in international waters. We observe these standards and enjoy the rights recognized by all nations.
You want to force us to renounce the rights enjoyed by every sovereign state; you are attempting to legislate questions of international law; you are violating the generally accepted standards of this law. All this is due not only to hatred for the Cuban people and their government, but also for reasons having to do with the election campaign in the USA. What morals, what laws can justify such an approach by the American government to international affairs? Such morals and laws are not to be found, because the actions of the USA in relation to Cuba are outright piracy. This, if you will, is the madness of a degenerating imperialism. Unfortunately, people of all nations, and not least the American people themselves, could suffer heavily from madness such as this, since with the appearance of modern types of weapons, the USA has completely lost its former inaccessibility.
Therefore, Mr. President, if you weigh the present situation with a cool head without giving way to passion, you will understand that the Soviet Union cannot afford not to decline the despotic demands of the USA. When you lay conditions such as these before us, try to put yourself in our situation and consider how the USA would react to such conditions. I have no doubt that if anyone attempted to dictate similar conditions to you – the USA, you would reject such an attempt. And we likewise say – no.
The Soviet government considers the violation of the freedom of navigation in international waters and air space to constitute an act of aggression propelling humankind into the abyss of a world nuclear-missile war. Therefore, the Soviet government cannot instruct captains of Soviet ships bound for Cuba to observe orders of American naval forces blockading this island. Our instructions to Soviet sailors are to observe strictly the generally accepted standards of navigation in international waters and not retreat one step from them. And, if the American side violates these rights, it must be aware of the responsibility it will bear for this act. To be sure, we will not remain mere observers of pirate actions by American ships in the open sea. We will then be forced on our part to take those measures we deem necessary and sufficient to defend our rights. To this end we have all that is necessary.
Respectfully, /s/ N. Khrushchev
Moscow 24 October 1962