Could just one little girl stop a war? I say, yes.
During the Cold War, there was a lot of finger pointing and threats about a nuclear war between the Americans and the Soviet Union, later known as Russia.
It goes back to World War II, when the Soviet Union and America were part of the Axis powers, but it was a love-hate relationship. According to History.com, American’s feared Joseph Stalin’s way of running a country, which ended pretty bloody, and the Soviets didn’t like that the United States never wanted to see Russia as the ultimate country.
Now, the Americans feared that Soviet Union will try and rule over the world after the fall out during the World War II.
Where does a little girl work in all of this?
Samantha Smith was just an 11-year-old girl from Manchester, Maine. She loved playing with her dog and roller skating.
In 1982, Smith asked a question to her mom.
A quote from samanthasmith.info:
“Actually, the whole thing started when I asked my mother if there was going to be a war.”
Smith wrote in her book, “Journey to the Soviet Union.” “There was always something on television about missiles and nuclear bombs. I remembered that I woke up one morning and wondered if this was going to be the last day of the Earth.”
Samantha was not an alone in wondering this, but she did something that made her to be the most famous little girl at the time.
She wrote a letter to the newly appointed CPSU General Secretary, Yuri Andropov. (Basically, a Russian leader.)
In the letter, according to this, Smith congratulated Andropov for the new job and asked if there was going to be a war between America and the Soviet Union. In April 1982, Smith got a phone call from a United Press International reporter talking about actually sending her letter to Russia.
Not long after the letter was sent, Smith received a letter back from Yuri Andropov himself inviting Smith and her family to visit Moscow.
The Americans ate up the situation. People were scared about a possible war and here comes a normal little girl being a pen pal with a powerful leader.
On July 7, 1983, the Smith family flies to Moscow and becomes Andropov’s personal guest for two weeks. Samantha Smith came back to America as “American’s Youngest Ambassador.”
She continued to be an activist as she also traveled to Japan and became a media celebrity in 1984.
I have some sad news though…
On August 25, 1985, Samantha Smith died in a place crash. She was 13-years-old.
She died very young, but she did what most Americans wanted to do during the Cold War, which is to not be scared and find an answer to why there was a cold war.