London: Anglo-Soviet Youth Friendship Alliance, [1943?]. 10 pp.: ill. 18,2x12,5 cm. In original publisher’s illustrated wrappers. Minimal tears to the spine. Otherwise very good.
Extremely scarce. First edition. Text in English.
Published in 1943 in London, this edition contains personal narratives of children who lived in the Pravda Children’s Home near Moscow. The Home was founded in the early 1940s to look after children rescued from behind the enemy lines, liberated areas, and those who lost their parents to the war. At the time of the publication, there were 350 children in the Home, aged 8-16, 160 boys and 190 girls. The Home had its farm, gardens, dining hall, school, bath-house, etc. In 1943, the Anglo-Soviet Youth Friendship Alliance adopted the Home so that British youth could express in gifts and letters the sympathy they felt for Soviet children. As a token of gratitude, the Home administration decided to issue this book penned by the children themselves. The edition opens with a description of the Home written by the Superintendent. The main part of the book contains nine letters addressed to the members of the Anglo-Soviet Youth Friendship Alliance. In the texts, the children either take their British friends on a virtual tour of the Home or describe their lives there. Most letters contain details about how the narrators and their family members suffered from the Nazis. Almost all texts are signed. The authors are mainly children from Russia, Ukraine, and Latvia. The recto of the rear wrapper features a story of Soviet children rescued from the Nazis, while the rear wrapper contains a message from the Alliance encouraging readers to donate clothes, brushes, books, toys, soaps, etc., for the children in the Home.
The Soviet experience of the Second World War is not commonly associated with widespread activism in foreign relations. Yet, throughout the war, the Stalinist regime actively engaged in soft power projects with its allies, one of which was a pen-friendship scheme involving thousands of ordinary individuals. One of the main components of this scheme was the Anglo-Soviet Youth Friendship Alliance, founded and chaired by John Platts-Mills (1906-2001), a British barrister and left-wing politician. The Anglo-Soviet Youth Friendship Alliance aimed to encourage a close friendship between the young people of Great Britain and the Soviet Union. After the end of the military confrontation, Platts-Mills’ company with the Communists became more embarrassing than helpful. As a result, he was expelled from the Labor Party for his pro-Soviet sympathies, and Anglo-Soviet Friendship Alliance and other organizations established by John were gradually shut down.
No copies found in Worldcat.
Price: $250.00Status: On Hold