Ronald Reagan’s Original, Newly Discovered “Blow for Freedom” Letter, Attacking Russia and Communism, Up For Sale
This newly discovered historical document, which has been unknown to scholars and the public, is a powerful glimpse into Reagan’s early determination to fight the menace of Communism
The letter is valued at $20,000 and has never before been offered for sale
PHILADELPHIA, PA – November, 14, 2018. The Raab Collection, the nation’s leading dealer in important historical documents, announced today that it has discovered and will be offering for sale a powerful and unpublished letter of future President Ronald Reagan, showing his deep antagonism toward the Communist “menace” and his assailing of the Russians as “the brutal aggressors we know them to be.” In the letter, which has never been published before, Reagan promises to use television to alert the American public, and of those appearances states, “Frankly, I’d play Khrushchev in the screen if it would help alert America to this menace.” The letter is valued at $20,000.
“Ronald Reagan’s political career had a profound impact on the United States, and his firm stance against Communism (and its standard-bearer the Soviet Union) is what first brought him to the attention of conservatives and led directly to that political career. These beliefs became core tenets of his being, and remained so until the seemingly monolithic power of Communism in Europe teetered and fell during and just after his presidency,” said Nathan Raab, Principal at the Raab Collection. “In this remarkable letter we see the finest statement of his intention to use his television platform to strike a “Blow for Freedom”. Such statements are not common.
Historical background: By the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, Reagan sought a way to use TV to deliver his anti-Communist message. He determined to use the General Electric Theater to deliver his message. On September 24, 1961, The Iron Silence was aired, in which Reagan played a sympathetic Russian officer serving in occupied Hungary. At the end of the episode he released his two Hungarian prisoners, saying “ I never knew what freedom meant until I saw you lose yours.” One woman wrote to Reagan after the show, chastising Reagan for playing a Soviet. Reagan responded.
Excerpts of the letter, published here for the first time:
September 30, 1961, to Miss Eleanor Houston. “Your letter, I must confess, has somewhat startled me… It is true I played a Soviet officer but the idea was to use my role to point up the inhumanity of the Soviet creed. We here in America have given sanctuary to several Russian officers who fled Soviet Russia; they have added to our knowledge of this monstrous tyranny… Many people have kindly told us that our play was a blow for freedom and a good first step in tagging the Russians for the brutal aggressors we know them to be. I’m sorry if you did not interpret the story in this light but I assure you our aim is anti-Communist and for that matter anti-Russian. Frankly I’d play Khrushchev in the screen if it would help alert America to this menace…”