[PAST EVENT] US to USSR: American Experts and the Irrigation of Soviet Central Asia, 1929-1932
February 17, 2014
5:45pm - 6:45pm
The stories of Americans such as John Reed, or Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were sympathetic to the Bolsheviks and provided assistance to the Soviet cause, are well known. Less well known, however, are the stories of the Americans who provided technical assistance to the Soviets. In the 1920s and 1930s, particularly during the years of the First Five-Year Plan (1928-1932), thousands of Americans traveled to the Soviet Union to help build the first socialist country in the world. Many were workers, enticed by the idea of a country in which the working class (theoretically) ruled. But many were also professionals, men who did not necessarily support socialism, but recognized in the Soviet experiment an opportunity to realize big dreams. This talk looks at one particular case of American technical assistance to the Soviet Union assistance to Soviet irrigation and cotton-growing schemes Uzbekistan to explore the little-known story of American participation in the perpetuation of Russia's colonial relationship with its Central Asian borderland.