#30 - JRL 2009-194 - JRL Home

Date: Mon, 19 Oct 2009
From: Jerry Hough (jhough@duke.edu)
Subject: "Mission to Moscow" film

Mission to Moscow really is a strange film. It really was war propaganda.
Besides distorting Stalin, it also distorts Davies. If you go into his
archives, as I have, his letters while ambassador were, although sometimes not
terribly sophisticated, not far from Kennan's and Loy Henderson (a great
"realist") in their interpretation of Stalin and the purges. Indeed, when
Davies died (in the 1950s if I recall correctly), Henderson was still a good
friend and served as a pallbearer.

But Davies and Henderson were for collective security, while Kennan was
for appeasement. The phrase about not worrying about the fireman who leaves
water in the house during a fire comes from a fervant letter to FDR in the
spring of 1939 to have collective security against Hitler. FDR supported
British policy on non-negotiations in 1939 and to make the point, he did not
even have an ambassador in Moscow for 18 months after Davies left.
Davies was treated as naive because of his "naivete" that one could have collective
security with Stalin against Hitler. Debates about the Soviet Union were
more politicized in the 1930s more than during the Cold War.

If anyone is interested, there is a book on the film that includes the

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