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‘A Christian solution to international tension’: Nikolai Berdyaev, the American YMCA, and Russian Orthodox influence on Western Christian anti-communism, c.1905–60

  • Christopher Stroop (a1)
Abstract

Building on recent research into the religious aspects of the Cold War and the humanitarian efforts of the American Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in early twentieth-century Europe, this article locates the historical origins of religious anti-communism in late imperial Russian reactions to the revolution of 1905–07. It explores the interactions of Russian Orthodox Christian intellectuals, especially Nikolai Aleksandrovich Berdyaev, with prominent YMCA leaders such as Donald A. Lowrie and Paul B. Anderson, both of whom were mainline Protestants. Using Russian and US archives, the article documents the networks and mechanisms through which Berdyaev influenced his YMCA contacts. It shows that he shaped their efforts to fight communism in the interwar period and early Cold War through the promotion of religious values, or what Anderson referred to as ‘a Christian solution to international tension’. This concept was derived from early twentieth-century Russian ideas about the opposition between Christianity and ‘nihilism’ or ‘humanism’ as integral worldviews.

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This article was written with support from the European Research Council (ERC STG 2015 676804); principal investigator Dr Kristina Stoeckl. In addition, I would like to thank all the participants in the international conference ‘The varieties of Russian modernity: rethinking religion, secularism, and the influence of Russia in the modern world’, held at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration in Moscow in June 2013, for their helpful comments on this research in its initial stages, and my friends and colleagues Ana Siljak and Shimshon Ayzenberg for many productive discussions of Russian religious philosophy and the influence of Berdyaev over the years that have shaped my thinking and research. Thanks also to the editors of this special issue, the editors of the Journal of Global History, and two anonymous readers, whose comments improved this article.

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1 On the deportations, see Finkel, Stuart, On the ideological front: the Russian intelligentsia and the making of the Soviet public sphere, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007 .

2 Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi arkhiv literatury i isskustva (Russian State Archive of Literature and Art), Moscow (henceforth RGALI), f. 1496, op. 1, d. 833, Oswald Spengeler to N. A. Berdyaev, Munich, 7 May 1923; RGALI, f. 1496, op. 1, d. 831, Evsei Davydovich Schor to Berdyaev, Tel Aviv, 27 September 1935.

3 On Berdyaev’s influence on Western historiography of Russia and popular understandings of Russian history, see Siljak, Ana, ‘Nikolai Berdiaev and the origin of Russian messianism’, Journal of Modern History, 88, December 2016, pp. 737763 .

4 Lowrie put the figure at 1.5 million. See Lowrie, Donald A., Rebellious prophet: a life of Nicolai Berdyaev, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1960, p. 160 . For the estimate of 2–3 million, see Volkogonova, Ol’ga, Berdiaev (Berdyaev), Moscow: Molodaia gvardiia, 2010 , Seriia ‘Zhizn’ zamechatel’nykh liudei’ (The lives of remarkable people series), p. 242.

5 University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign University Archives (henceforth UIUC), Paul B. Anderson Papers, 15/35/54, box 6, folder ‘P. B. A. annual report (Russian service in Europe) 1925, Correspondence, 1924–26’, Paul B. Anderson, ‘Russian service in Europe: annual report for the year 1925’, p. 1. For an overview of the YMCA’s work with Russians, see Lee Miller, Matthew, The American YMCA and Russian culture: the preservation and expansion of Orthodox Christianity, 1900–1940, New York: Lexington Books, 2012 . Citations here are to the Kindle edition.

6 Raeff, Marc, Russia abroad: a cultural history of the Russian emigration, 1919–1939, New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 4 .

7 This is a major theme of Lahr, Angela, Millennial dreams and apocalyptic nightmares: the Cold War origins of political evangelicalism, New York: Oxford University Press, 2007 .

8 For a particularly emotional plea published in English for ‘Christian help’ to Russia, see Bulgakov, Sergius, ‘The old and the new: a study in Russian religion’, Slavonic Review, 2, 6, 1924, esp. p. 505 .

9 On which see Engerman, David C., Know your enemy: the rise and fall of America’s Soviet experts, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011 .

10 Quotation from UIUC, 15/35/54, box 6, folder ‘Russian Work, 1956–58’, Paul B. Anderson, ‘The place of Russian Work in Y.M.C.A. program at this time of world tension’.

11 See further Stroop, Christopher, ‘Nationalist war commentary as Russian religious thought: the religious intelligentsia’s politics of providentialism’, Russian Review, 72, 1, 2013, pp. 94115 , esp. p. 99. The original quotations are from N. A. Berdyaev, ‘K voprosu ob otnoshenii khristianstva k obshchestvennosti (On the question of Christianity’s relationship to society)’, in Dukhovnyi krizis

intelligentsii (The spiritual crisis of the intelligentsia), Moscow: Kanon + OI ‘Reabilitatsiia’, 1998 (reprint of 1910 edn), p. 215.

12 Berdyaev, N. A., ‘Novoe srednevekov’e (The new Middle Ages)’ in Berdyaev, Smysl istorii: novoe srednevekov’e (The meaning of history: the new Middle Ages) Moscow: Kanon + OI ‘Reabilitatsiia’, 2002, pp. 232234 . The first English translation of this book (trans. Donald Atwater) bears the title The end of our time, New York: Sheed & Ward, 1933.

13 C. S. Lewis to Corbin Scott Carnell, 13 October 1958, in Hooper, Walter, ed. C. S. Lewis: collected letters, vol. III: Narnia, Cambridge and Joy, 1950–1963, London: HarperCollins, 2006, pp. 978979 .

14 Lowrie, Rebellious prophet, pp. 236, 277.

15 Ibid., pp. 264–5, 272–3, 285–6.

16 Ibid., pp. 259, 274, 286–7.

17 On broad sacralization efforts in the early US Cold War, see Herzog, Jonathan P., The spiritual–industrial complex: America’s religious battle against communism in the early Cold War, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011 .

18 For more on Mott, see Miller, American YMCA.

19 See ibid.

20 UIUC, 15/35/54, box 3, folder ‘YMCA Press 1924–28, list of YMCA Press Berdyaev translations, 1923–47’, anon., ‘Translations of works by N. A. Berdyaev, senior editor Russian YMCA-Press 1923–1947’ (the latter date is apparently a mistake and should be the year of Berdyaev’s death, 1948); Lowrie, Rebellious prophet, p. 201; Miller, American YMCA, esp. ch. 8, ‘The hunger for books: serving a starving readership’.

21 UIUC, 15/35/54, box 5, folder ‘Nicolai Berdyaev, about, 1927, 1940, 1949, 1956–78’, Paul B. Anderson, handwritten notes on meeting with Berdyaev, January 1927; UIUC, 15/35/54, box 3, folder ‘YMCA Press and Russian Work headquarters papers, 1919–36’, partial draft report or memorandum with notes for revision by Paul B. Anderson, undated, c.1927, ‘I. Premises underlying the work of the North American YMCA for Russia’; UIUC, 15/35/54, box 3, folder ‘YMCA Press and Russian Work headquarters papers, 1919–36’, ‘Protokol ideologicheskago sobraniia pri R.S.Kh.D. (Minutes of an ideological meeting of the RSCM)’; UIUC, 15/35/54, box 3, folder ‘YMCA Press and Russian Work headquarters program papers, 1919–36’, memoranda from V. V. Zenkovsky, ‘Notes on the work of the YMCA in Russia’, 8 December 1926, and N. Berdyaev, ‘Memorandum’, 27 December 1926; UIUC, 15/35/54, box 3, folder ‘YMCA Press and Russian Work headquarters program papers, 1919–36’, N. Berdyaev, ‘Tezisy ob ekumenizme (Propositions on ecumenism)’, n.d.

22 Lowrie’s translations include The Fate of man in the modern world, New York: Morehouse, 1935 (originally Sud’ba cheloveka v sovremennom mire: k ponimaniiu nashei epokhi, Paris: YMCA Press, 1934); ‘Spiritual dualism and daily bread’, American Scholar, 7, 2, 1938, pp. 223–9 (originally ‘Neogumanizm, marksizm i dukhovnye tsennosti’, Sovremennye Zapiski (Contemporary Notes), 60, 1936, pp. 319–24); ‘Soviet Russia in World War II’ (in two parts), The Living Church, 17 April 1940 and 1 May 1940; The realm of spirit and the realm of Caesar, New York: Harper, 1952 (originally Tsarstvo dukha i tsarstvo kesaria, Paris: YMCA Press, 1951); and The meaning of the creative act, New York: Harper/London: V. Gollancz, 1955 (originally Smysl tvorchestva: opyt opravdaniia cheloveka, Moscow: Izdanie G. A. Lemana i S. I. Sakharova, 1916).

23 For examples, see UIUC, 15/35/54, box 6, folder ‘Paris Center Russian Work. 1926–45’, Anderson, Paul B., ‘Report for 1937: Russian service in Europe’; T. S. Eliot, The idea of a Christian society, New York: Harcourt, Brace, and Company, 1940 . Berdyaev also referred to ‘pagan nationalism’ and ‘the most evil of the idols’, internationalism, from as early as 1923, if not earlier. See ‘Novoe srednevekov’e’, p. 240.

24 For example, see Nietzsche, Friedrich, Thus spoke Zarathustra, trans. Graham Parkes, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005 , first part, 11, ‘On the new idol’, pp. 43–5.

25 For an early Christianized Russian example of this rhetoric, see Trubetskoi, Evgenii, ‘Gosudarstvennaia mistika i soblazn griadushchago rabstva: po povodu statei P. B. Struve i N. A. Berdiaeva (Sacralizing the state and the seduction of the coming enslavement: an answer to P. B. Struve and N. A. Berdyaev)’, Russkaia mysl’ (Russian Thought), 38, 1, 1917, pp. 7498 .

26 Chappel, James, ‘The Catholic origins of totalitarianism theory in interwar Europe’, Modern Intellectual History, 8, 3, 2011, pp. 561590 .

27 For a rare exception, see Baird, Catherine, ‘Religious communism? Nicolai Berdyaev’s contribution to Esprit’s interpretation of communism’, Canadian Journal of History, 30, 1, 1995, pp. 2947 .

28 On post-secularism and its impact on scholarly literature, see Mark Clayton, ‘Scholars get religion’, Christian Science Monitor, 26 February 2002, http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0226/p12s01-lehl.html (consulted 6 March 2018); Ray Haberski, ‘Why academia found God’, U.S. Intellectual History Blog, 15 March 2013, http://s-usih.org/2013/03/why-academia-found-god.html (consulted 6 March 2018); Koshar, Rudy, ‘Where is Karl Barth in modern European history?’, Modern Intellectual History, 5, 2, 2008, pp. 333362 ; Howard, Thomas Albert, ‘A “religious turn” in modern European historiography?Church History, 75, 1, 2006, pp. 156162 ; Schmalzbauer, John and Mahoney, Kathleen, ‘Religion and knowledge in the post-secular academy’, in Philip Gorski et al., eds., The post-secular in question: religion in contemporary society, NY: New York University Press, 2012, pp. 215248 .

29 For more on late imperial Russian anti-nihilist arguments, see Stroop, Christopher, ‘The Russian origins of the so-called post-secular moment: some preliminary observations’, State, Religion and Church, 1, 1, 2014, pp. 5982 ; Stroop, Christopher, ‘Thinking the nation through times of trial: Russian philosophy in war and revolution’, in Murray Frame et al., eds., Russian culture in war and revolution, 1914–1922, book 2: political culture, identities, mentalities, and memory, Bloomington, IN: Slavica, 2014, pp. 199220 .

30 For just one example of such political-theological rhetoric in the late Cold War American context, see Schaeffer, Francis A., A Christian manifesto, Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1982 .

31 UIUC, 15/35/54, box 3, folder ‘YMCA Press and Russian Work headquarters program papers, 1919–36’, anon., ‘Obshchiia polozheniia o rabote R.S.Kh. dvizheniia s iuneshestvom (The general state of RSCM youth work)’, n.d., and anon., ‘O programme religioznoi-natsional’noi raboty s iuneshestvom (On the programme of religious-national work with the youth)’, n.d. For an example of late imperial Russian concern with the rise of atheism among the youth, see Bulgakov, Sergei, ‘Na vyborakh (Iz dnevnika) (Election day: from my journal)’, Russkaia mysl’, 33, 11, 1912, pp. 189190 .

32 On France, see Baird, ‘Religious communism?’ On Russian interactions with the Church of England, see Geffert, Bryn, Eastern Orthodox and Anglicans: diplomacy, theology, and the politics of interwar ecumenism, Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010 . On Russian studies in America, see Engerman, Know your enemy. Much further evidence of enthusiasm for Russian religious thought in Britain, as well as of the interest of German and Swiss publishers, can be found in Berdyaev’s correspondence held at RGALI.

33 Davis, Donald E., ‘Donald A. Lowrie, 1889–1974’, Russian Review, 34, 3, 1975, pp. 356357 . Davis places Lowrie’s retirement in 1955, but an announcement from the Paris Office of the International Committee of the YMCA dates his retirement as Senior Secretary for France to 20 January 1956. See UIUC, Donald A. and Helen O. Lowrie Papers, 15/35/53, box 2, folder ‘1938, 1946, 1951–52, 1954, 1956,1960, 1963–65’.

34 Lowrie, Rebellious prophet, p. 235.

35 For an assessment of these discussions, which have begun to be explored in US history, see Settje, David E., Faith and war: how Christians debated the Cold and Vietnam wars, New York: New York University Press, 2011 .

36 Spinka, Matthew, ‘Eastern Orthodox literature’, Church History, 25, 3, 1956, pp. 262264 , esp. p. 264; Matthew Spinka, review of Rebellious prophet, Church History, 29, 3, 1960, pp. 375–6, esp. p. 375.

37 For a critique of Lowrie, see Stroop, ‘Nationalist war commentary’, p. 95.

38 To observe this shift, see, for example, Berdyaev, Nikolai, ‘Religioznaia sud’ba evreistva (The religious fate of the Jews)’, Khristianskaia mysl’ (Christian thought), 1, 4, 1916, pp. 120127 ; Berdyaev, Nikolai, Khristianstvo i antisemitizm (religioznaia sud’ba evreistva) (Christianity and anti-Semitism (the religious fate of the Jews)), Paris: Religiozno-filosofksaia akademiia, 1938 .

39 UIUC, 15/35/53, box 1, folder ‘Sept–Dec 1920’, obituary of John A. Lowrie (clipping from unidentified newspaper); handwritten marginalia read: ‘Dec. 1920 – Uncle Don’s father’. See also Douglas King, ‘John A. Lowrie’, http://www.geni.com/people/John-Lowrie/6000000017691645172 (consulted 6 March 2018).

40 Foglesong, David S., The American mission and the ‘evil empire’: the crusade for a free Russia since 1881, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007 , particularly chs. 1–3, provides helpful context regarding prevailing American attitudes towards Russia in Lowrie’s formative years.

41 UIUC, 15/35/53, box 4, folder ‘1943’, Donald A. Lowrie to unspecified friends, Geneva, 18 February 1943; UIUC, 15/35/53, box 4, folder ‘1944’, Lowrie to unspecified friends, Geneva, 3 May 1944. See also Lowrie, Donald A., The hunted children, New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1963 .

42 Davis, ‘Donald A. Lowrie’, pp. 356–7. See also Farrow, Lee, ‘From Jackson Square to Red Square: Donald Renshaw and famine relief in Russia, 1921–23’, Louisiana History: The Journal of the Louisiana Historical Association, 43, 3, 2002, pp. 261279 , esp. p. 272; Davis, Donald E. and Trani, Eugene P., ‘The American YMCA and the Russian Revolution’, Slavic Review, 33, 3, 1974, pp. 469491 , esp. 490.

43 UIUC, 15/35/53, box 2, folder ‘1922’, Donald A. Lowrie, ‘Home thots [sic] from the sea’ (manuscript dated c.1922 by archivist).

44 Foglesong, American mission, p. 2.

45 UIUC, 15/35/53, box 2, folder ‘1938, 1946, 1951–52, 1954, 1956,1960, 1963–65’, ‘Résumé of experience of Donald A. Lowrie’; RGALI, f. 1496, op. 1, d. 563.

46 Lowrie, Donald A., The light of Russia: an introduction to the Russian church, Prague: YMCA Press, 1923 ; Anderson, Paul B., Russia’s religious future, London: Lutterworth Press, [1936] .

47 This problem is frequently mentioned in Miller, American YMCA.

48 UIUC, 15/35/54, box 6, folder ‘YMCA and Orthodox churches – 1928 formal agreement and other documents, 1923–24, 1927, 1933, 1947, 1962’, ‘Understanding between representatives of the Orthodox churches and the World’s Committee of the Y.M.C.A’ and Paul M. Limbert, Basic issues in YMCA ecumenical policy and practice, World Alliance of YMCAs, 1962, p. 7. Anderson consulted on Orthodox issues for the 1962 pamphlet.

49 UIUC, 15/35/54, box 3, folder ‘YMCA Press 1924–28, list of YMCA Press Berdyaev translations, 1923–47’, Ethan T. Colton to Paul B. Anderson, 7 January 1925; UIUC, 15/35/54, box 3, folder ‘YMCA Press and Russian Work headquarters program papers, 1919–36’, Colton to Anderson, 10 February 1927. See also Miller, Matthew, ‘A hunger for books: the American YMCA Press and Russian readers’, Religion, State and Society, 38, 1, 2010, pp. 5373 , esp. p. 61.

50 Anderson, handwritten notes on meeting with Berdyaev, January 1927.

51 Anderson, ‘Russian service in Europe: annual report for the year 1925’, esp. pp. 7, 10. As Miller points out, the YMCA Russian Work always retained the goal of re-establishing YMCA work inside Russia itself: see Miller, American YMCA, ch. 2, ‘The YMCA’s outreach within Russia: a survey’.

52 UIUC, 15/35/54, box 6, folder ‘YMCA International Committee. Russian Work, 1950–52’, Lowrie to Anderson, 25 June 1952.

53 UIUC, 15/35/54, box 3, folder ‘YMCA Press and Russian Work Headquarters Program papers, 1919–36’, Lowrie to Colton, 13 November 1928; ‘Protokol ideologicheskago sobraniia pri R.S.Kh.D.’

54 UIUC, 15/35/54, box 3, folder ‘YMCA Press and Russian Work headquarters program papers, 1919–36’, Nicholas Berdiaeff, ‘Difficulties of work among the Russian youth’, 27 December 1929.

55 UIUC, 15/35/54, box 3, folder ‘YMCA Press and Russian Work headquarters program papers, 1919–36’, Anderson to Maurice Reckitt, 14 October 1936.

56 UIUC, 15/35/54, box 3, folder ‘YMCA Press 1924–28, list of YMCA Press Berdyaev translations, 1923–47’, Paul B. Anderson, ‘Memorandum on YMCA Press dated July 10, 1928’; anon., ‘Proekt programmy apologeticheskikh broshiur (Project of a programme of apologetics brochures)’, n.d.; UIUC, 15/35/54, box 3, folder ‘YMCA Press and Bishop White Russian Library Collection, 1935, 1937, 1953’, anon., ‘Predlozhennyia temy apologeticheskikh broshiur (Suggested topics for apologetics brochures)’, n.d.

57 On Russian idealists and religious philosophers as advocates of civil religion, see Stroop, ‘Thinking the nation’.

58 UIUC, 15/35/54, box 3, folder ‘YMCA Press and Russian Work headquarters papers, 1919–36’, ‘Christianity and the social order’, n.d.

59 The distinction is important. Those who voluntarily emigrated frequently regarded those who were expelled with suspicion, and vice versa. See Lowrie, Rebellious prophet, p. 160. On interwar ecumenism and interconfessional efforts, see Geffert, Eastern Orthodox and Anglicans.

60 UIUC, 15/35/54, box 6, folder ‘Interviews on Soviet Russia and Russian refugees, 1920–21’, ‘Memorandum: interview with—Mr. Arthur Bullard, Chief Russian Bureau, Dept. of State’, 21 December 1920 or 1921; UIUC, 15/35/54, box 6, folder ‘Paris Center work. 1926–45’, Anderson to Colton, 31 December 1931; UIUC, 15/35/54, box 3, folder ‘YMCA Press and Russian Work headquarters papers, 1919–36’, Eric Fenn (Student Christian Movement of Great Britain and Ireland) to Anderson, 29 January 1936; UIUC, 15/35/54, box 6, folder ‘Paris Center work. 1926–45’, Paul B. Anderson, ‘Memorandum on visit to Washington’, 10 May 1943; Anderson, ‘Place of Russian Work’.

61 RGALI, f. 1496, op. 1, d. 631, l. 3, John R. Mott to Berdyaev, 28 February 1947.

62 In addition to the articles and books by Lowrie already cited, Anderson’s and Colton’s pamphlets and books include: Anderson, Russia’s religious future; Anderson, Paul B., People, church and state in modern Russia, New York: Macmillan, 1944; Ethan T. Colton, The X Y Z of communism , New York: Macmillan, 1931 ; Colton, Ethan T., Four patterns of revolution: communist U.S.S.R., fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, New Deal America, New York: Association Press, 1935 ; Theodore Colton, Ethan, Forty years with Russians, New York: Association Press, 1940 ; Theodore Colton, Ethan, Toward the understanding of Europe, New York: Association Press, 1944 ; Theodore Colton, Ethan, The Russia we face now, Washington, DC: Public Affairs Institute, 1953 .

63 Anderson, ‘Place of Russian Work’.

64 UIUC, 15/35/54, box 3, folder ‘YMCA Press and Russian Work headquarters papers, 1919–36’, unsigned copy of letter from Anderson to recipient identified only as ‘Every’, 25 January 1936.

65 Miller, American YMCA, ch. 1, ‘The YMCA and Russia: a profile of good works’.

66 UIUC, 15/35/54, box 3, folder ‘YMCA Press and Russian Work headquarters papers, 1919–36’, S. E. Hening to Anderson, 5 November 1936. For an account of YMCA activity in Russia during the revolutionary years, see Jennifer Polk, ‘Constructive efforts: the American Red Cross and YMCA in revolutionary Russia, 1917–1924’, PhD thesis, University of Toronto, 2012.

67 Settje, Faith and war, 41. Also relevant here is Anderson’s 1943 discussion of the state of Baptists in Russia with Dr W. O. Lewis and Dr J. H. Rushbrook of the World Baptist Union. See Anderson, ‘Memorandum on visit to Washington’.

68 ‘Memorandum on visit to Washington’. Anderson misspelled Pasvolsky’s last name as ‘Pasvolski’.

69 UIUC, 15/35/54, box 6, folder ‘YMCA and Orthodox churches – 1928 formal agreement and other documents, 1923–24, 1927, 1933, 1947, 1962’, Donald A. Lowrie, ‘Thirty years of work with Russians’, 1947, pp. 5, 9.

70 Dunlop, John B., The new Russian revolutionaries, Belmont, MA: Nordland Publishing Company, 1976 .

71 Lowrie, ‘Thirty years of work with Russians’, p. 5.

72 Berdyaev, ‘Novoe srednevekov’e’, p. 242.

73 UIUC, 15/35/54, box 6, folder ‘Paris Center work. 1926–45’, Anderson to Colton, 31 December 1931; Berdyaev, Nikolai, Russkaia religioznaia psikhologiia i kommunisticheskii ateizm, Paris: YMCA Press, 1931 , translated as Berdyaev, Nikolai, The Russian Revolution: two essays on its implications in religion and psychology, London: Sheed & Ward, 1931 ; Berdyaev, Nikolai, Mirosozertsanie Dostoevskago (Dostoevsky’s worldview), Prague: YMCA Press, 1923 ,

translated as Berdyaev, Nicolai, Dostoievsky: an interpretation, trans. Donald Attwater, London and New York: Sheed & Ward, 1934 .

74 UIUC, 15/35/54, box 5, folder ‘Nicolai Berdyaev, about, 1927, 1940, 1949, 1956–78’, Paul B. Anderson, ‘Notes on the agreement between Mme. Rapp and YMCA Press 25 Jun, 1949’, 21 April 1972; UIUC, 15/35/54, box 5, folder ‘Nicholas Berdyaev Society, 1946, 1948–53, 1956–61’, memorandum from Lowrie to Anderson, 30 November 1951, and Lowrie to Anderson, 20 December 1951. On the negotiations, see UIUC, 15/35/54, box 5, folder ‘Russian Work, 1956–58’, Tamara Klepinine to Anderson, 22 November 1957.

75 UIUC 15/35/54, box 5, folder ‘Nicholas Berdyaev Society, 1946, 1948–53, 1956–61’, Lowrie to Anderson, 19 July 1948; Anderson to Helen Izvolsky, 8 April 1949; Lowrie to Mott, 20 April 1951; and memorandum from Lowrie to Anderson, 30 November 1951.

76 UIUC, 15/35/54, box 5, folder ‘Nicholas Berdyaev Society, 1946, 1948–53, 1956–61’, ‘Constitution of the N. Berdiaev Society’.

77 UIUC, 15/35/54, box 5, folder ‘Nicholas Berdyaev Society, 1946, 1948–53, 1956–61’, Anderson to Izvosky, 8 April 1949, and Anderson to Lowrie, 7 April 1949. Lowrie’s original wording did remain in the official constitution. See UIUC, 15/35/54, box 5, folder ‘Nicolai Berdyaev, about, 1927, 1940, 1949, 1956–78’, Statuts de ‘L’Association Nicolas Berdiaeff’.

78 Statuts de ‘L’Association Nicolas Berdiaeff’. Lowrie to Mott, April 20, 1951. For more on Mott, see Miller, American YMCA. Lowrie’s official title was secretary; Eugenie Rapp was vice-president. All the early correspondence was signed by Lowrie.

79 UIUC, 15/35/54, box 5, folder ‘Nicholas Berdyaev Society, 1946, 1948–53, 1956–61’, Klepinine to Anderson, 25 October 1951; ‘The Nicholas Berdyaev Society’, Times Literary Supplement, 28 September 1951; ‘The Nicolas Berdyaev Society’, Harvard Theological Review, 45, 1, 1952, p. 74.

80 My argument here is analogous to, and influenced by, Angela Lahr’s argument in Millennial dreams and apocalyptic nightmares that the Cold War allowed evangelical Protestants to re-enter the American mainline.

81 Anderson, ‘Place of Russian Work’. See also ‘Dr. Nicholas Goncharoff to lecture Thursday at Bates’, Lewiston Daily Sun, Lewiston, ME, 19 February 1963, p. 2.

82 UIUC, 15/35/54, box 5, folder ‘Nicolai Berdyaev, about, 1927, 1940, 1949, 1956–78’, anon., ‘Translations of Berdyaev’s works published in various countries’, n.d.

83 UIUC, 15/35/4, box 5, folder ‘Nicolai Berdyaev, about, 1927, 1940, 1949, 1956–78’, Graham Gibb (Geoffrey Bles Publishers) to Mr B. Krutikoff (YMCA Press), 2 July 1956; UIUC, 15/35/54, box 5, folder ‘Nicolai Berdyaev, about, 1927, 1940, 1949, 1956–78’, Klepinine to Anderson, 22 November 1957, and Anderson to Klepinine, 22 May 1956. For evidence that Berdyaev’s books were published in Japan during the 1950s despite lack of profitability, see ‘Translations of Berdyaev’s works’.

84 Lowrie, Rebellious prophet, p. 235.

85 Miller, American YMCA, ch. 8.

86 UIUC, 15/35/54, box 6, folder ‘YMCA International Committee. Russian Work, 1950–52’, Lowrie to Anderson, 25 June 1952.

87 UIUC 15/35/53, box 2, folder ‘1938, 1946, 1951–52, 1954, 1956,1960, 1963–65’, Eleanor P. Clarkson, ‘Dr. Donald A. Lowrie’, Morningside Garden News, 8 November 1963.

88 Lowrie, Rebellious prophet, p. 262.

89 Berdyaev, ‘Novoe srednevekov’e’, p. 231. Lowrie, Rebellious prophet, pp. 261, 267–9. For an early (1923) statement of Berdyaev’s comparing communism and fascism, see ‘Novoe srednevekov’e’, p. 235. Interestingly, Otto Wilhelm Barth-Verlag, a publisher based in Berlin, was still willing to solicit manuscripts from Berdyaev in 1941. See RGALI, f. 1496, op. 1, d. 876, ll. 9–11.

90 Lowrie, Rebellious prophet, pp. 260–1.

91 For a good overview, see Wallace, James C., ‘A religious war? The Cold War and religion’, Journal of Cold War Studies, 15, 3, 2013, pp. 162182 .

* This article was written with support from the European Research Council (ERC STG 2015 676804); principal investigator Dr Kristina Stoeckl. In addition, I would like to thank all the participants in the international conference ‘The varieties of Russian modernity: rethinking religion, secularism, and the influence of Russia in the modern world’, held at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration in Moscow in June 2013, for their helpful comments on this research in its initial stages, and my friends and colleagues Ana Siljak and Shimshon Ayzenberg for many productive discussions of Russian religious philosophy and the influence of Berdyaev over the years that have shaped my thinking and research. Thanks also to the editors of this special issue, the editors of the Journal of Global History, and two anonymous readers, whose comments improved this article.

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Journal of Global History
  • ISSN: 1740-0228
  • EISSN: 1740-0236
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