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The Soviet Problem with Two "Unknowns": How an American Architect and a Soviet Negotiator Jump-Started the Industrialization of Russia, Part I: Albert Kahn

Sonia Melnikova-Raich
IA. The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology
Vol. 36, No. 2 (2010), pp. 57-80
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41933723
Page Count: 24
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Soviet Problem with Two "Unknowns": How an American Architect and a Soviet Negotiator Jump-Started the Industrialization of Russia, Part I: Albert Kahn
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Abstract

Soviet industnalization was a complex economic and political undertaking about which much remains unclear. Rather than examine the process as a whole, this essay focuses on two fairly unknown players in the history of Soviet-Amencan relations — one Amencan firm and one Soviet negotiator — and their contnbution to the amazingly rapid Soviet industnalization of the early 1930s, emphasizing some human and business factors behind Stalin's Five-Year Plan. Saul G. Bron, dwring his tenure as chairman of Amtorg Trading Corporation in 1927-1930, contracted with hading Amencan companies to help build Soviet industnal infrastructure and commissioned the firm of the foremost Amencan industnal architect from Detroit, Albert Kahn, as consulting architects to the Soviet Government. The work of both played a major role in laying the foundation of the Soviet automotive, tractor, and tank industry and led to the development of Soviet defense capabilities, which in turn played an important role in the Allies' defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II. Drawing on Russian and English-language sources, this essay is based on comprehensive research including previously-unknown archival documents, contemporaneous and current materials, and private archives.

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