Eleven-year-old diplomat Samantha Smith

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June 29, 2012, is the 40th anniversary of the birth of Samantha Smith. She was the American schoolgirl who became famous for the letter she wrote in the fall of 1982 to then-Soviet leader Yury Andropov. She was compelled to write the letter after reading an article about Andropov in Time magazine. The article suggested that this man, who had recently become the leader, posed a threat to the United States and that his leadership was quite likely to lead to a new war.

June 29, 2012, is the 40th anniversary of the birth of Samantha Smith. She was the American schoolgirl who became famous for the letter she wrote in the fall of 1982 to then-Soviet leader Yury Andropov. She was compelled to write the letter after reading an article about Andropov in Time magazine. The article suggested that this man, who had recently become the leader, posed a threat to the United States and that his leadership was quite likely to lead to a new war.

© RIA Novosti . Prostiakov / Go to the photo bankJune 29, 2012, is the 40th anniversary of the birth of Samantha Smith. She was the American schoolgirl who became famous for the letter she wrote in the fall of 1982 to then-Soviet leader Yury Andropov. She was compelled to write the letter after reading an article about Andropov in Time magazine. The article suggested that this man, who had recently become the leader, posed a threat to the United States and that his leadership was quite likely to lead to a new war.
Eleven-year-old diplomat Samantha Smith - Sputnik International
1/11
June 29, 2012, is the 40th anniversary of the birth of Samantha Smith. She was the American schoolgirl who became famous for the letter she wrote in the fall of 1982 to then-Soviet leader Yury Andropov. She was compelled to write the letter after reading an article about Andropov in Time magazine. The article suggested that this man, who had recently become the leader, posed a threat to the United States and that his leadership was quite likely to lead to a new war.
© RIA Novosti . Yuri Abramochkin / Go to the photo bankSamantha Smith was born on June 29, 1972, in Houlton, Maine. Her mother Jenny Smith was a sociologist and her father Arthur Smith an English language and literature teacher. After reading the article in Time magazine, Samantha asked her mother: “So why is everyone so scared of Mr Andropov? Why does nobody ask him if he’s planning to attack our country?” Her mother replied jokingly “Why don’t you ask him yourself?”
Eleven-year-old diplomat Samantha Smith - Sputnik International
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Samantha Smith was born on June 29, 1972, in Houlton, Maine. Her mother Jenny Smith was a sociologist and her father Arthur Smith an English language and literature teacher. After reading the article in Time magazine, Samantha asked her mother: “So why is everyone so scared of Mr Andropov? Why does nobody ask him if he’s planning to attack our country?” Her mother replied jokingly “Why don’t you ask him yourself?”
© RIA Novosti . Yuri Abramochkin / Go to the photo bankSamantha took her mother’s words literally and wrote her letter: “Dear Mr Andropov. My name is Samantha Smith. I am ten years old. Congratulations on your new job. I have been worrying about Russia and the United States getting into a nuclear war. Are you going to vote to have a war or not? If you aren't, please tell me how you are going to help to not have a war. This question you do not have to answer, but I would like to know why you want to conquer the world or at least our country. God made the world for us to live together in peace and not to fight. Sincerely, Samantha Smith
Photo: Samantha Smith (center) at a press conference in St. Petersburg.
Eleven-year-old diplomat Samantha Smith - Sputnik International
3/11
Samantha took her mother’s words literally and wrote her letter: “Dear Mr Andropov. My name is Samantha Smith. I am ten years old. Congratulations on your new job. I have been worrying about Russia and the United States getting into a nuclear war. Are you going to vote to have a war or not? If you aren't, please tell me how you are going to help to not have a war. This question you do not have to answer, but I would like to know why you want to conquer the world or at least our country. God made the world for us to live together in peace and not to fight. Sincerely, Samantha Smith
Photo: Samantha Smith (center) at a press conference in St. Petersburg.
© RIA Novosti . Yuri Abramochkin / Go to the photo bankThe girl’s letter was published in the Soviet newspaper Pravda. On April 26, 1983, she received a reply from Andropov. “We in the Soviet Union are trying to do everything so that there will not be war on Earth. This is what every Soviet man wants. This is what the great founder of our state, Vladimir Lenin, taught us,” Andropov wrote.
At the end of the letter Andropov invited the girl to visit the Soviet Union and see for herself how people there lived.
Photo: Samantha Smith in front of the State Central Puppet Theater.
Eleven-year-old diplomat Samantha Smith - Sputnik International
4/11
The girl’s letter was published in the Soviet newspaper Pravda. On April 26, 1983, she received a reply from Andropov. “We in the Soviet Union are trying to do everything so that there will not be war on Earth. This is what every Soviet man wants. This is what the great founder of our state, Vladimir Lenin, taught us,” Andropov wrote.
At the end of the letter Andropov invited the girl to visit the Soviet Union and see for herself how people there lived.
Photo: Samantha Smith in front of the State Central Puppet Theater.
© RIA Novosti . Yuri Abramochkin / Go to the photo bankIn July 1983, Samantha and her parents flew to the Soviet Union. She received a warm welcome in Moscow. Samantha spent two weeks in the Soviet Union.
Eleven-year-old diplomat Samantha Smith - Sputnik International
5/11
In July 1983, Samantha and her parents flew to the Soviet Union. She received a warm welcome in Moscow. Samantha spent two weeks in the Soviet Union.
© RIA Novosti . Yuri Abramochkin / Go to the photo bankShe visited Moscow and Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), and attended the Artek children’s holiday camp. At the Artek Young Pioneer Camp the best room was prepared for her. She had her own uniform made for her and the building of a new cafeteria was completed in honor of her arrival. Samantha took part in all the camp activities.
Eleven-year-old diplomat Samantha Smith - Sputnik International
6/11
She visited Moscow and Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), and attended the Artek children’s holiday camp. At the Artek Young Pioneer Camp the best room was prepared for her. She had her own uniform made for her and the building of a new cafeteria was completed in honor of her arrival. Samantha took part in all the camp activities.
© RIA Novosti . Yuri Abramochkin / Go to the photo bankOn July 22, 1983, before returning home, Samantha spoke the words that many people still remember today: “We will live!” Thanks to the girl a new expression came into existence: “child diplomat.”
Photo: Samantha Smith meeting cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova.
Eleven-year-old diplomat Samantha Smith - Sputnik International
7/11
On July 22, 1983, before returning home, Samantha spoke the words that many people still remember today: “We will live!” Thanks to the girl a new expression came into existence: “child diplomat.”
Photo: Samantha Smith meeting cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova.
© RIA Novosti . Yuri Abramochkin / Go to the photo bankThe main outcome of the trip was a book by Samantha Smith “Journey to the Soviet Union,” in which Samantha describes what she saw: “They’re just like us.”
Eleven-year-old diplomat Samantha Smith - Sputnik International
8/11
The main outcome of the trip was a book by Samantha Smith “Journey to the Soviet Union,” in which Samantha describes what she saw: “They’re just like us.”
© RIA Novosti . Yuri Abramochkin / Go to the photo bankSamantha at the Central Puppet Theater.
Eleven-year-old diplomat Samantha Smith - Sputnik International
9/11
Samantha at the Central Puppet Theater.
© RIA Novosti . Yuri Abramochkin / Go to the photo bankOn August 25, 1985, Samantha Smith and her father died in a plane crash. The small twin-engine aircraft missed the runway in poor visibility and crashed. All eight passengers on board were killed.
Photo: Samantha Smith with her parents on Red Square.
Eleven-year-old diplomat Samantha Smith - Sputnik International
10/11
On August 25, 1985, Samantha Smith and her father died in a plane crash. The small twin-engine aircraft missed the runway in poor visibility and crashed. All eight passengers on board were killed.
Photo: Samantha Smith with her parents on Red Square.
© RIA Novosti . Yuri Abramochkin / Go to the photo bankIn October 1985, Samantha’s mother Jenny Smith founded the Samantha Smith Foundation to organize visits by schoolchildren from the Soviet Union, later Russia, to the United States and to encourage the development of mutual understanding between the two countries. In 1995, the foundation was formally wound up.
Eleven-year-old diplomat Samantha Smith - Sputnik International
11/11
In October 1985, Samantha’s mother Jenny Smith founded the Samantha Smith Foundation to organize visits by schoolchildren from the Soviet Union, later Russia, to the United States and to encourage the development of mutual understanding between the two countries. In 1995, the foundation was formally wound up.
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