Samantha Smith

by Abbie from Taipei

    Samantha Smith was born on June 29, 1972, in Houlton, Maine, a small town on the border of America and Canada. She was a peace activist and an actress. Her father, Arthur Smith, was an instructor at Ricker College. Samantha's mother, Jane Reed, was a social worker with the Maine Department of Human Services.

Cover of Time, November 22, 1982   ( ())
Cover of Time, November 22, 1982 ( ())

    Yuri Andropov became the leader of the Soviet Union in November 1982. At that time, most of the articles which were written about him was negative and gave huge threats to the world. He suppressed people who got opposite voices from him. The relationship between Soviet and America was even tenser after that. At the time, both Soviet and America put in lots of efforts to develop weapons which were capable to be launched from satellites into orbit. During this time, large anti-nuclear activists protested across Europe and North America. The Soviet Union involved in a war in Afghanistan for three years, which also contributed to international tension. On November 22, 1982, Time magazine published a magazine with Andropov on its cover.

Samantha Smith with the letter from Andropov ( ())
Samantha Smith with the letter from Andropov ( ())

    When Samantha Smith saw the edition of Time magazine with Andropov, she decided to write a letter to Yuri Andropov, the leader of Soviet Union in November 1982, when Smith was 10 years old: 

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. 
Samantha Smith 

    Her letter was published in the Soviet newspaper Pravda. On April 26, 1983, she received a response from Andropov (Below is the simplified version of the letter from Andropov): 
Dear Samantha, 
    You write that you are anxious about whether there will be a nuclear war between our two countries. And you ask are we doing anything so that war will not break out. 
    Yes, Samantha, 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. We were in alliance with the United States: together we fought for the liberation of many people from the Nazi invaders. And today we want very much to live in peace, to trade and cooperate with all our neighbors on this earth. And certainly with such a great country as the United States of America. 
    In America and in our country there are nuclear weapons. But we do not want them to be ever used. That's precisely why the Soviet Union solemnly declared throughout the entire world that never will use nuclear weapons first against any country. 
    We want nothing of like war. We want peace - there is something that we are occupied with: growing wheat, building and inventing, writing books and flying into space. We want peace for ourselves and for all peoples of the planet. For our children and for you, Samantha. 
    I invite you, if your parents will let you, to come to our country, the best time being this summer. You will find out about our country, meet with your contemporaries, visit an international children's camp - Artek - on the sea. And see for yourself: in the Soviet Union, everyone is for peace and friendship among peoples. Thank you for your letter. I wish you all the best in your young life. 
Y. Andropov

Samantha with Soviet children ( ())
Samantha with Soviet children ( ())

    On July 7, 1983, she went to Moscow, Soviet Union, with her parents, and visited there for two weeks. She visited many places in Moscow, like Artek, the main Soviet pioneer camp. She was amazed by all the friendly people and all the presents which people made for her. Samantha Smith stayed with the Soviet children during the trip and went swimming and learned Russian songs and dances. She made many friends in Soviet Union, one of the best was Natasha Kashirina. Lots of photographs and articles about her were published during her trip. Samantha Smith became well-known to Soviet citizens and was paid close attention to by them.

The Statue of Samantha Smith ( ())
The Statue of Samantha Smith ( ())

    In December 1983, she continued her role as "America's Youngest Ambassador", and she was invited to Japan. She said that Soviet and American leaders should exchange granddaughters for two weeks, to communicate and exchange ideas. On August 25, 1985, Samantha Smith and six other passengers were killed in a plane crush. However, even after her death, her name and her image was still remembered by everyone in the Soviet Union. People said that she was "like millions of Soviet young men and women, dreamt about peace, and about friendship between the peoples of the United States and the Soviet Union." Many places and things were named after her, like monuments, streets, museums. Her spirit is still in the heart of all of us.

Page created on 12/7/2016 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 12/7/2016 12:00:00 AM

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