- Jul 19, 2012
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
At the height of the Depression, several thousand American emigrants left New York on the decks of passenger liners waving goodbye to the Statue of Liberty, bound for Leningrad.
Over 100,000 Americans had applied for jobs working in brand new factories in Soviet Russia, ironically built for Stalin by famous American industrialists such as Henry Ford.
Those American emigrants who entered the “workers’ paradise” were certain that they were leaving the misery of unemployment and poverty behind them. They considered themselves fortunate.
Their optimism would prove to be short-lived. Most were stripped of their American passports soon after their arrival.
Considered suspect by Stalin’s paranoid totalitarian state, the foreigners were swept away in the Terror.
The American jazz clubs, the baseball teams, and the English-language schools set up in cities across the USSR, would quickly vanish with them.
In the killing fields at Butovo, a suburb 27 kilometres south-east of Moscow, several of the American baseball players were executed during the Terror, and lie buried in mass graves stretching for hundreds of metres.
The state powerful enough to tend to your every need is powerful enough to have you snuffed out on a whim.
The Soviet Terror, also called the Great Purge, occurred from 1936-1938. About 1.5 million people were killed for political reasons in two years including most of the Bolshevik leaders of the October revolution. Compare that to the Tsars, who executed 3,900 political prisoners in 85 years. The Purge was later denounced by Khrushchev, and many of its victims were declared to be innocent. Would that the state never had that much power in the first place.