Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bolshevism and the West, Introductory Matter

The introductory matter consists of a Foreword by Benjamin A. Javits and an Introduction by Samuel Untermyer.

Benjamin Javits was a successful lawyer and the older brother of Jacob Javits, a one-time United States Congressman and Senator. The main law school building at Fordham University is named after Benjamin Javits. His brief Foreword to Bolshevism and the West extols the debate gathering and the speakers, and introduces the presiding Chairman, Samuel Untermyer, a renowned lawyer.

Untermyer’s Introduction adds to the praise of Nearing and Russell, “two of the greatest intellectual gladiators that ever faced one another in the arena of public debate [p. 9],” and notes the sacrifices they have made for their beliefs. Lamentation is offered for the profound ignorance in America about the actual conditions prevailing in the Soviet Union. Untermyer takes advantage of his position as Chairman to proselytize for the US recognition of the Soviet government – after all, the US recognizes dictatorships and monarchies, and we have our own vassal states. (Later, on page 41, Russell endorses US recognition of the Soviet government.) Untermyer’s hope for normal diplomatic relations between the US and the USSR did not become reality until 1933.

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