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Russian Famine Relief Act

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Title: Russian Famine Relief Act  
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Subject: Herbert Hoover, American Relief Administration, Medicine Ball Cabinet, Allan Hoover, Commission for Relief in Belgium
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Russian Famine Relief Act

The Russian Famine Relief Act of 1921 authorized the expenditure of $20,000,000 for the purchase of American foodstuffs to send to post revolutionary Russia, for relief of the Russian famine of 1921.

The Act was overseen by Herbert Hoover, serving simultaneously as the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and the head of the American Relief Administration, and signed into law in late December. With the Russian Civil War winding down, and Lenin having implemented the pseudo-Capitalist New Economic Policy (NEP) in order to get the Russian economy back on its feet, some like Hoover and Sen. William E. Borah (R) of Idaho that hoped that the aid would serve as political leverage against the Bolshevik regime.

Others, President Warren G. Harding, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, and the business Conservatives within the Administration refused to countenance the idea, unless the Soviets were willing to pay back the money loaned to the Tsar’s regime during the war. Lenin refused, and so while the act was a genuine humanitarian gesture, it accomplished little in changing the tense relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union.

External links

  • Hoover Institute page
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