John Scott (writer)
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John Scott (1912–1976) was an American writer who worked in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War II. The OSS was the predecessor organization to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Scott was the son of Scott Nearing (American radical economist, educator, writer, political activist, conservationist and peace activist) and Nellie Marguerite Seeds Nearing.
Scott wrote Behind the Urals: An American Worker in Russia's City of Steel about his experiences in Magnitogorsk, presenting the Stalinist enterprise of building a huge steel producing plant and city as an awe-inspiring triumph of collectivism. Scott contributed to the construction of Magnitogorsk as a welder working in treacherous conditions.
In one case Scott recalls a rigger falling past him while he was working:
I was just going to start welding when I heard someone sing out, and something swished down past me. It was a rigger who had been working on the very top. He bounced off the bleeder pipe...instead of falling all the way to the ground...[and] landed on the main platform about fifteen foot below me.
Scott's writing reflects the painful human price of industrial accidents, overwork, and the inefficiency of the hyperindustrialization program, the wretched condition of peasants driven from the land in the collectivization program and forced into becoming industrial laborers, and the harshness of the ideological purges. Stalin integrated the construction of Magnitogorsk into a five-year economic plan.
According to Scott, Stalin chose to industrialize Magnitogorsk for several reasons. For one, Stalin began to emphasize industrial modernization in favor of agriculture by the mid-1930s; secondly, Magnitogorsk was rich in iron ore and other minerals; lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Magnitogorsk lies far from any borders and was less vulnerable to enemy attack. "The Russian people shed blood, sweat, and tears to create something else, a modern industrial base outside the reach of an invader—Stalin's Ural Stronghold—and modern mechanized army."
These experiences, however, did not disillusion him with Soviet communism. Scott indicated he shared a belief with the Soviet people that "it was worthwhile to shed blood, sweat, and tears" to lay "the foundations for a new society farther along the road of human progress than anything in the West; a society which would guarantee its people not only personal freedom but absolute economic security."
- John Scott, Behind the Urals: An American Worker in Russia's City of Steel, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (1941), pg. 1-266.
- [Whittaker] (1952). Witness. Random House. ISBN 0-89526-571-0.
- Sam Tanenhaus, Whittaker Chambers, New York: Random House (1997), pg. 182.
- John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, New Haven: Yale University Press, (1999), pgs. 194, 195, 237.