The Soviet Union joined world trends in agricultural technology while demonstrating a special affinity for American practices. Contacts established in the 1920s ceased between 1947 and 1953, the Cold War’s tensest moments. To reestablish them, N. S. Khrushchev dispatched delegations of experts to the United States, the first in the summer of 1955. Visiting farms, factories, laboratories, and land-grant colleges, Soviet officials everywhere found a system of industrial farming comprised of high-yielding crop varieties, labor-saving machines, and modern management practices. Drawing on documents from archives in Moscow, I argue that Khrushchev looked to this industrial ideal to inspire his agricultural programs. Considered as a part of global trends, Khrushchev’s initiatives appear rational rather than “harebrained,” as critics have judged them. Contributing to scholarly inquiry into the postwar Soviet system, I also speak to our understanding of global agriculture, suggesting that the scholarship needs to consider the Soviet Union as part of developments shaping the postwar era.


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pp. 295-324
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