Major Department



College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BA (Bachelor of Arts)

Session and Year of Graduation

Spring 2018

Honors Major Advisor

Alyssa Park

Thesis Mentor

Landon Storrs


This project examines political enmity’s role within Herbert Hoover and the American Relief Administration’s efforts to quell an extensive famine in Soviet Russia from 1921 to 1923. ARA members claimed that relief efforts were solely humanitarian, not an attempt to sway the USSR from socialism. Portraying the relief program as a humanitarian effort left open the possibility of a friendship between two countries with diametrically opposing ideologies. This paper argues that it was, in fact, anti-Soviet sentiment in the Hoover administration that directed the conception and actions of the ARA mission in famine-stricken Russia. It also shows how the ARA’s anti-Soviet sentiment reinforced Soviet officials’ own anti-American views, and ultimately hindered the deployment and efficacy of the mission. The paper makes use of ARA personnel’s oral histories and memoirs, materials not yet widely utilized due to the general disinterest of American historians towards the topic. Through these materials, it will demonstrate that the atmosphere of mutual distrust, predating the Cold War, hinted at the beginnings of a longstanding ideological rivalry between the US and USSR.

Total Pages

41 pages


Copyright © 2017 Megan Ryan