they are [the Russians] Live under a system of strict state-controlled information. But perhaps the attitude to take towards it is not to get too excited about it. When we consider what the USSR achieved in the 20 years of its existence, we can make allowances for some shortcomings, however regrettable. For that matter, even 15 years ago the Russian economy had changed little since the time of the Tsars, and the kulaks of the steppes were still treating modern industrial machines like new toys. In 1929 the Soviet Union did not have an automobile or tractor plant and did not produce high-grade steel or ball bearings. Today the USSR ranks among the top three or four countries in industrial strength. He improved his health, built libraries, raised his literacy to about 80%—and trained one of the most powerful armies in the world. It is safe to say that no nation in history has acted so quickly. If Soviet leaders tell us that information control is necessary to accomplish this task, we can take them at their word for now. Those of us who know the power and necessity of free speech can assume that if these leaders are serious about their work to liberate the Russian people, they will lean toward free speech – and we hope soon.

This is from an editorial the life, March 29, 1943. The entire issue was dedicated to the USSR. Indeed, the title on the front, with a picture of Joseph Stalin Special Issue USSR. (The issue was dropped when a neighboring office was vacated and I retrieved it.)

The image above is the cover. The photo, however, was taken in 1941 by the famous photographer Margaret Bourke-White.

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