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Great Famine: American Experience Previous Broadcasts

Episode #2308H

KQED World: Sun, Nov 3, 2013 -- 1:00 PM

When a devastating famine descended on Soviet Russia in 1921, it was the worst natural disaster in Europe since the Black Plague in the Middle Ages. Half a world away, Americans responded with a massive two-year relief campaign, championed by a new Secretary of Commerce, "the Great Humanitarian," Herbert Hoover. The nearly 300 American relief workers, "Hoover's boys," would be tested by a railroad system in disarray, a forbidding climate, and -- being among the first group of outsiders to break through Russia's isolation following the Bolshevik Revolution -- a ruthless government suspicious of their motives. By the summer of 1922, Americans were feeding nearly 11 million Soviet citizens a day in 19,000 kitchens. "The Great Famine" tells this story of America's engagement with a distant and desperate people -- an operation hailed for its efficiency, grit and generosity -- within the larger story of the Russian Revolution and the roots of the U.S.-Soviet rivalry that would dominate the second half of the 20th century.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Plus: Mon, Nov 4, 2013 -- 5:00 AM
  • KQED Plus: Sun, Nov 3, 2013 -- 11:00 PM
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