Louis Fischer


Louis Fischer

Infobox Person
name = Louis Fischer


caption =
birth_date = birth date|1896|2|29|mf=y
birth_place = Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
death_date = death date and age|1970|1|15|1896|2|29
dead=dead
death_place =

Louis Fischer (29 February 1896 – 15 January 1970) was a Jewish-American journalist. Among his works were a contribution to the ex-Communist treatise "The God that Failed", as well as a biography of Mahatma Gandhi entitled "The Life of Mahatma Gandhi". This book was used as the basis for the Academy Award-winning film "Gandhi". Fischer's wife, Markoosha Fischer, was also a writer.

Early life

Louis Fischer, the son of a fish peddler, was born in Philadelphia on 29 February, 1896. After studying at the Philadelphia School of Pedagogy from 1914 to 1916, he became a school teacher.

In 1917, Fischer joined the Jewish Legion, a military unit based in Palestine. On his return to the United States, Fischer took up work at a news agency in New York City. In 1921, Fischer went to Germany and began contributing to the "New York Evening Post" as a European correspondent. The following year, he moved to Moscow, and in 1923 began working for "The Nation".

While in the Soviet Union, Fischer published several books including "Oil Imperialism: The International Struggle for Petroleum" (1926) and "The Soviets in World Affairs" (1930). When Fischer traveled to Ukraine in October and November 1932, for "The Nation", he was alarmed at what he saw. "In the Poltava, Vinnitsa, Podolsk and Kiev regions, conditions will be hard," he wrote, "I think there is no starvation anywhere in Ukraine now - after all they have just gathered in the harvest but it was a bad harvest."Initially critical of the Soviet grain procurement program because it created the food problem, Fischer by February 1933 adopted the official Soviet government view, which blamed the problem on Ukrainian counter-revolutionary nationalist "wreckers." It seemed "whole villages" had been "contaminated" by such men, who had to be deported to "lumbering camps and mining areas in distant agricultural areas which are now just entering upon their pioneering stage." These steps were forced upon the Kremlin, Fischer wrote, but the Soviets were, nevertheless, learning how to rule wisely.

Fischer was on a lecture tour in the United States when Gareth Jones' story about the Holodomor broke. Speaking to a college audience in Oakland, California, a week later, Fischer stated emphatically: "There is no starvation in Russia." He spent the spring of 1933 campaigning for American diplomatic recognition of the USSR. As rumors of a famine in the USSR reached American shores, Fischer vociferously denied the reports.

Fischer also covered the Spanish Civil War and for a time was a member of the International Brigade fighting General Francisco Franco. In 1938, he returned to the United States and settled in New York. He continued to work for "The Nation" and wrote his autobiography, "Men and Politics" (1941).

Fischer left "The Nation" in 1945 after a dispute with the editor, Freda Kirchway, over the journal's sympathetic reporting of Joseph Stalin. His disillusionment with Communism, although he was never a member of the Communist Party USA, was reflected in his contribution to "The God That Failed" (1949). Fischer began writing for anti-Communist liberal magazines such as "The Progressive". Louis Fischer taught about the Soviet Union at Princeton University until his death on January 15, 1970.

Works

*"Oil Imperialism: The International Struggle for Petroleum" (1926)
*"The Soviets in World Affairs" (1930)
*"Men and Politics" (autobiography) (1941)
*"The God that Failed" (contribution) (1949)
*"The Life of Mahatma Gandhi" (1950)
*"Stalin" (1952)
*"Lenin" (1964).
*"The Essential Gandhi" (editor) (1962).
*" Gandhi & Stalin. (1947)

ee also

* Denial of the Holodomor


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