In March 1921 Lenin predicted, “If there is a harvest, everybody will hunger a little and the government will be saved. Otherwise, since we cannot take anything from people who do not have the means to satisfy their own hunger, the government will perish.“ By early summer, Russia was in the grip of one of the worst famines in its history. Lenin's gloomy forecast, however, was never put to the test. At almost the last moment, substantial help in the form of food, clothing, and medical supplies arrived from a most unexpected source —U.S. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover.
Hoover undertook the relief of Soviet Russia not as an official representative of the United States government but as the head of a private agency —the American Relief Administration (A.R.A.).