The Development of Soviet Tourism and Its Impact on U.S. Recognition of the U.S.S.R.
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While most major powers had recognized the Soviet Union by the mid-1920s, the United States refused largely out of opposition to the revolutionary activities of the Third International. How did the U.S. finally reconcile with the USSR? It was a gradual process, developing alongside and in interaction with the development of Soviet tourism. Famine relief committees opened the door to unofficial diplomatic relations, providing the incentive, mechanics, and leadership for the later emerging cultural diplomatic societies. These societies, especially VOKS, allowed for an American-Soviet exchange in art, literature and science and developed the tools later used by Intourist, the Soviet travel bureau. The creation of Intourist brought tens of thousands of American citizens each year to see the social, cultural, and economic progress of the Soviet Union, its “superiority though success.” Stalin was correct in his assumption that this new approach to propaganda would be capable of affecting American public opinion and influencing the U.S. path to recognition.