Although people only started using the term "Cold War" after 1946, the United States and the Soviet Union had clashed politically since the Russian Revolution of 1917. Despite their distrust of communism the United States was too preoccupied with the Great Depression and with maintaining an isolationist standpoint during the interwar period to draw significant measures against the Soviets. At the time this article was published, the United States hadn't even recognized the Soviet Union as a real country. Articles like this one, which gave our readers a primer on Stalinist ideology, illustrate just how seriously we took the Soviets' ambitions for becoming a major industrial power. That is to say, we didn't take it them too seriously at all. Russia had plenty of natural resources, but modernizing such a vast, "primitive" land in less than a decade seemed like an impossible feat.
We reported that when Stalin's initial five-year plan didn't work out, he extended the period of change to ten years--that is, ten more years of driving "Soviet slaves" into poverty and starvation, until they had collectively managed to turn Russia into the promised land. The pictures at left show Russian scientists analyzing soil and testing plants in an effort to develop better agricultural techniques. For all their hard work, we said, they experienced little reward. Eventually, Stalin and his crew would have to concede that their "Five-Year plan was only a dodge, a pretty bauble dangled before the people's eyes."
"Until now, Stalin and the rest of the Soviet leaders have managed to impose their will upon the Russian people. In all parts of that vast country, which includes nearly half of Europe and third of Asia, they are working like beavers to bring about their communist paradise."
At the same time, we couldn't ignore that the Soviets possessed a vast amount of natural resources and space. The Magnetogorsk factory iron and steel factory, in particular, posed a threat to our economic dominance since it was the world's largest steel center outside of the United States.
Read the full story in "Soviet Slaves Rebuild Red Russia"