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Cold War CaptivesImprisonment, Escape, and Brainwashing$
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Susan Carruthers

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520257306

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520257306.001.0001

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The Politics and Pageantry of Escape from the East

(p.59) 2 Bloc-Busters
Cold War Captives

Susan L. Carruthers

University of California Press

This chapter focuses on how Soviet nonreturners, defectors, and displaced persons were warmly embraced by the United States. States do not typically urge foreign citizens to flee their own countries. Yet in the late 1940s, U.S. policy makers decided to do just that, eyeing high-profile defectors from the Soviet bloc as prized assets who could help win the Cold War in numerous ways. As early as February 1948, George Kennan's Policy Planning Staff advised that defection should be not merely welcomed but positively promoted. Departures from the “slave world” would humiliate and demoralize a Kremlin already rattled by the scale of wartime defection from Red Army ranks and by the obdurate resistance of its errant citizens to going back. At the same time, defectors would supplement the stock of intelligence, expertise, and creativity at the West's disposal.

Keywords:   Soviet Union, United States, defection, nonreturners, displaced persons, Cold War

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