Soviet Union and Its Successor States 1917-2000 Research Paper

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¶ … Capitalism and the NEP in Soviet Russia: The View from Park Avenue

In historical research today, it is not politically correct to focus upon single individuals. It seems that historians would be better served studying genealogy (especially regarding corporate elites and their families) rather than the social sciences as a way of understanding the world though considering the inadequacy of the left-right paradigm to explain nuances in political development. The utter uselessness of this reliance upon a fictitious ideological continuum is seen in its inadequacy to explain the emergence of the NEP and its fruition into the Stalinist terror. The nuances of the history of the period can only be grasped by throwing out the paradigm, starting from scratch, noting the state capitalist nature of the regime and the individuals in both Russia and the United States that made it possible. The most unexpected to this author were the Park Avenue elites.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Research Paper on Soviet Union and Its Successor States 1917-2000 Assignment

This is especially the case when describing profound social events such as the Russian Revolution and the subsequent history of the Soviet Union spanning the period of 1917-1930. However, when one encounters powerful personalities on the Russian side such as Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin and then observes in fascination that they react on a favorable or even friendly basis with equally powerful personalities across the Atlantic such as Armand Hammer and the Wall Street power brokers he represented such as Henry Ford, one must give themselves pause to reflect upon the inadequacy of the right-left paradigm to capture even a scintilla of the reality of actual events. Certainly, it is the opinion of this author that it is simply an artificial construct that has little basis in reality and does much to obscure the reality of power where ideology is secondary and power is really the only thing that matters. The ability of all of the participants, Lenin, Trotsky, later Stalin, Armand Hammer and Henry Ford to deal with economic matters in such a cavalier manner and then to function differently in their home environments with their everyday constituents is an almost Orwellian exercise in doublethink.

Should it surprise anyone that it would be required that a historian read both Armand Hammer's biographical accounts of his adventures in Soviet Russia in its early days and Leon Trotsky's writings in the wake of his exile to understand the state capitalist nature of the emerging Soviet State? Although Trotsky could not bring himself to use the dirty words "state capitalism" and instead in his exile calls the Soviet Union a degenerated worker's state, there is really no difference. After all, if he had not been sent into exile and could have made an accommodation with Stalin, would he not have done it? He had flip-flopped positions before from Menshevik to Bolshevik. Was this really a bigger leap of ideological imagination? In addition, should it surprise anyone that an American billionaire such as Henry Ford would prefer to deal with one government dictator rather than several companies in a free market and that he did it both in the Soviet Union and later on and consecutively in Hitler's Nazi Germany?

One of the great tragedies of historical scholarship in the opinion of this author is the pillorying of the late Dr. Antony Sutton California State University Los Angeles. The British born academic received his D.Sc. degree from the University of Southampton, England and was a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution from 1968 to 1973. Largely ignored, vilified and reviled by mainstream academic historians, he meticulously documented the strange relationship of the Park Avenue business elites and the Soviet and later Nazi elites. In particularly, his earliest work, Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development 1917 to 1930 was very important in changing this author's opinion on the history of the Soviet Union. Although the author does feel that some of his polemical positions can be extreme, he bases his facts upon well-documented research that is academically unethical to ignore. Certainly, one must allow for the emotional embitterment that a gifted academic as Dr. Sutton must endured as he was subsequently shunned by former colleagues. Indeed, the above mentioned early work, prior to his falling out with the corporately approved and funded academia was praised by Zbigniew Brzezinski: "For impressive evidence of Western participation in the early phase of Soviet economic growth, see Antony C. Sutton's Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development: 1917-1930, which argues that 'Soviet economic development for 1917-1930 was essentially dependent on Western technological aid' (Sutton 1968, 283), and that 'at least 95 per cent of the industrial structure received this assistance (Brzezinski 1970, 348).'" Unfortunately, the memory hole does not just exist in the Orwellian universe. It is alive and well in twenty-first century academia and it is high time to rehabilitate Dr. Sutton's work by quoting him and sourcing him from other directions. Essentially, he makes the claim that corporations such as Ford Motor Company made a lot of money from playing both sides against the middle and by supporting both the Soviet and Nazi War machines. The grotesque and macabre joke is that business was they made a killing and that business was very good indeed.

In essence, Dr. Sutton's work is so massive in this one study that to serve the brevity of this short paper, we will only consider the Ford Motor's Company's experience. This can be amply sourced in parallel in the scholarly sources about and in the autobiographical writings of Armand Hammer and in academic studies of Henry Ford. Then, we will briefly consider Trotsky to round out our journey across the continuum of the imaginary left-right paradigm. Certainly, the hypocrisy of Trotsky is particularly interesting. He could sit across from Armand Hammer happily and deal with the Americans while an ensconced and powerful member of the Soviet regime, but then goes on the denounce this system that he later does not describe as "state capitalist" (it would be embarrassing to admit that he was an integral part of a state capitalist system, the NEP) but called it a "degenerated workers state."

It is the contention of this author that Leon Trotsky's allegation that the former Soviet Union was essentially a degenerated worker's state (really state capitalist) is essentially correct. Certainly, he should have known. He helped to create it along with Lenin. While the motivations of the Soviet leadership, in particular Lenin, may have started off with pragmatism alone, they quickly developed into an embrace of the concept in whole cloth. Across the aisle, Armand Hammer profitably facilitated this creation as the fixer of American industry in the nascent Soviet Union.

While Sutton focuses on the aspect of the Ford Soviet concession that dealt with farm tractors and ended up as largely a loss for Ford (Sutton 1968, 138), this was far made up for by profits in the also extended to automobiles. For instance, in 1929, Henry Ford signed an agreement to build a factory in Nizhniy-Novgorod (now Gorky) for cars and trucks on the Volga River. To quote Hammer:

During the thirties, this plant was to produce upward of one hundred thousand units a year. Henry Ford received thirty million dollars for his side of the deal and Russians paid the cost of equipping and building the factory (Hammer 1987, 236-237).

What Hammer documents as a primary source is that while the Soviet Union remained unrecognized by the United States and was in the waning days of the New Economic Program (NEP) and following the death of Lenin, the exile of Trotsky and the ascension of Joseph Stalin, Henry Ford made a cold thirty million gold-backed dollars and the Soviets paid for the infrastructure and physical plant. This was a huge sum of money for the time and shows that the cozy relationship between American business and the Soviet regime outlasted Lenin and the NEP. Stalin was also a partner as well in politics of profit once the Soviet regime changed hands. In fact, the big money for Ford was not under Lenin, but under Stalin when his regime was secure in power. All of this was happening while Ford operated profitable manufacturing plants in Nazi Germany (Reich 1990, 110-121).

Hammer is certainly a central figure in this dance. The younger Hammer was continuing the work of Allied American Corporation that his father Julius Hammer had started. The Hammer concession was one of the few in the U.S.S.R. At the time to make substantial profits and to be able to export them (Sutton 1968, 285-287). While he and his Allied American Corporation obtained the Ford Agency in 1922; they later dropped out as the central U.S.-Soviet facilitator for it by 1925 when Hammer admitted he could not compete with the official Soviet agency Amtorg. However, he still was an important advisor for the American power elite that needed up-to-date information on the ins and outs of the Soviet regime (Wood and Wood, 60). It was this network of personal relationships that was responsible… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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