This episode of "The American Experience" is about the great famine of 1921 in Russia--something very, very few Americans would know about today. Due to many factors (drought, war, economic policies, etc.), a horrible famine hit the Volga-Ural region. In total, between 5-10,000,000 died from this in 1921-22.
Despite there being LOTS of distrust between the US and new USSR, Herbert Hoover (who had gained fame directed famine relief to Belgium during WWI) was put in charge of the ARA program to distribute $20,000,000 worth of food--a huge sum at the time. But, there were lots of logistical difficulties getting the food to the people as well as some interference from some Soviet officials. This story is about these difficulties and ultimate success of the program.
Like many of the episodes of this show, it's narrated by David Ogden Stiers--who has a lovely voice and did a good job. In addition, archival footage, interviews and modern recreations of events make up the show. And, like ALL the "American Experience" shows, it was exceptionally well made--a class production from start to finish. Just be forewarned--the photos of starving children are pretty intense--every bit as intense of images you see of starving victims of the Holocaust and other cruel events of our time.
By the way, some provoking things that might surprise you are how close, unfortunately for too short a period, the two nations were. I was also surprised by how beloved Americans from this program were loved and appreciated by Muslims within the Soviet Union. How times change.
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