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We talk a lot about labor history on our Overtime episodes, looking back at past struggles by workers to see what lessons we can draw out for our own struggles today. One of the lesser known but very interesting periods in US labor history came during the temporary friendly relations between the US and the Soviet Union during World War 2. Immediately following the war, quite in contrast to the depths of McCarthyism just a few years later, the US remained on nominally friendly grounds with the USSR. The Soviet victory over the Nazi war machine had raised the prestige of the still young socialist nation all around the world. This week, we sat down to discuss a historical artifact from this period, a pamphlet describing a 1945 visit of a delegation from the Congress of Industrial Organizations in the US to the USSR. In this period before the second Red Scare, the union leaders reported back a far more open and positive review of the Soviet system than described following their anti-communist turn.
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