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Title:Between two worlds: Americans and Soviets after the Bolshevik Revolution
Author(s):Greenstein, David
Director of Research:Hoganson, Kristin
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hoganson, Kristin L.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Koenker, Diane; Leff, Mark H.; Oberdeck, Kathryn J.; Costigliola, Frank
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Soviet Union
Bolshevik Revolution
cultural history
Russian history
international relations
United States and the World
American history
Abstract:This dissertation investigates the ways that migration and the ongoing legacies of imperialism shaped the United States’ engagement with the world in the early twentieth century. It focuses on interaction between Americans and Russian Soviets during an era marked by both multidirectional migration and the increasing deployment of American power abroad. In the decade after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, Americans attempted to transform Russia through military occupation, humanitarian work, and the spread of cultural and industrial products. Between Two Worlds shows that such ventures were not unilateral extensions of American values and interests. Russian émigrés, workers, and refugees substantially affected American programs and even core questions about the United States’ role in the world and what it meant to be an American. This research also shows that rather than precursors to the cold war, American approaches to Russia were part of the history of early twentieth century imperialism. Chapters trace these interactions through a series of case studies. A chapter on economic connections engages histories of international business, labor, and migration during Ford Motor Company’s Russian operations. A study on cultural interaction examines the circulation of filmmaking techniques and sentimental narratives in the Russian and American motion picture industries. Solders’ on-the-ground encounters in the context of overlapping U.S. and Russian development projects are the focus of a chapter on the Allied military occupation of North Russia. A chapter on humanitarian intervention explores American famine relief projects in Soviet Russia and the pathways they opened and foreclosed for migrants. An epilogue follows the circumnavigation of a group of refugees and aid workers through outposts of U.S. empire. Highlighting movement and multidirectional interaction, these histories challenge pervasive narratives about Americans and Russians as nationally, ideologically, and culturally divergent.
Issue Date:2015-02-12
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 David E. Greenstein
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-07-22
Date Deposited:May 2015

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