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Samantha Smith's Questions

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Wright cartoon on Samantha Smith, 1983

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Wright cartoon on Samantha Smith, 1983 / Maine State Museum

An editorial cartoon in the <em>Miami Herald</em> in 1983 simply and elegantly expresses what happened when Manchester schoolgirl Samantha Smith opened a discussion about nuclear war and peace: the hope that she could bridge what seemed to be a collision course to war.

Sidestepping the particulars of the 40-year divide of Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, Smith, 10, wrote to Soviet leader Yuri Andropov, "God made the world for us to live together in peace and not to fight."

Her letter, his reply, and her subsequent visit to the Soviet Union garnered international attention and discussion about whether she was being used for Soviet propaganda and whether ordinary Soviet and American people getting to know one another better could further prospects of peace.

In the cartoon, the missile head on the left reads "U.S." and the one on the right, "U.S.S.R." The caption is "Samantha."


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