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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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Part:         Session:         Page of 512

believe it today, but my impression of the ease of communication with people in Russia in 1936, as compared with 1959 when I next went there, is that in 1936 it was a whole lot easier to talk to people.

I've formed my own theory about this which is that there were many, many more people who had had some previous connection with Western European civilization, I mean who had grown up with some contact with the Western world, in the middle 30's than there were in the late 50's; and this made it easier to communicate. This doesn't mean that the society was any freer, but it did mean that one could at least make a little more contact with people than one can now. Of course, now the contact is extremely limited, except in cases of specialists, and I'm excluding in both periods the whole question of specialists going over to discuss their own special problems. But in 1936, it must be realized, was the last summer that there was any kind of even relative freedom at all. And of course, when I speak of ease of communication, I'm speaking in relative terms only because this was the summer of the first trials and from then on the whole atmosphere declined very rapidly until the worst of the Stalin period was over.

Q:

How did you happen to go with the Trenton newspapers?

Oakes:

Well, the answer to that is very easy, no particular credit to me. My brother, who is three and a half years older than I, knew the man who was general manager of the Trenton papers at that time, the Trenton-Times papers; and my brother I think was much more concerned about my getting a job when I got back from England than I was. I was sort of relaxed about that kind of thing; although I obviously had every intention of getting one, I



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