This is Samantha Smith, an American girl who was born in Julton, a town in the state of Maine in 1972 and who, at the age of 10, would become one of the greatest emblems of peace of the 80s.
Samantha Smith, the girl who touched the world
Samantha liked to learn what was going on in the world and used to write to various personalities, achieving various results. Because of this, in November 1982, he wrote to Yuri Andropov, the former secretary general of the Communist party of the Soviet Union, to ask him the position Russia would take in the event of a nuclear war between the two countries. The letter read verbatim:
“Dear Mr. Andropov: My name is Samantha Smith. I’m ten years old. Congratulations on your new job. I was worried about the possibility of Russia and the United States getting involved in a nuclear war. Will you vote for war or not? If not, please tell me how you’ll help avoid a war. This question does not have to be answered, but I would like to know why they want to conquer the world or, at least, our country. God made the world so that we could live together in peace and not to fight. Sincerely, Samantha Smith.”
To Samantha’s surprise, Andropov responded in April 1983 and acknowledged her bravery for writing. It also indicated that the Soviet Union’s intention was not to have to use them. He eventually invited her and her family to invite their country, as a form of cultural exchange. Samantha accepted the invitation and soon she and her family crossed the walls of the Cold War with a child-friendly misjudgment.
Samantha’s story soon came to be reached by the means of communication, both from one country and another, and so the girl became a star, known for her mediating profile and, perhaps without shading, in one more piece of the propagandist strategy of war.
During her stay Samantha stated that “the Russians were equal to the Americans”, which, while revealing, was completely uncomfortable. There she also shared with Kremlin officials, made youth camp, spoke to the first cosmonaut woman, and paraded on various radio and television programs.
The return to her country was no less spectacular, Samantha had become a symbol and was greeted with red carpet, roses and limousine. His pacifist statements increased his popularity, to the point that he was on countless television shows, he traveled giving talks, made a book based on his travel to Russia and, most tellingly, proposed an exchange of the grandchildren of the leaders of the two countries, to way of cultural guests.
The idea Samantha wanted to convey with this was: “we hate each other because we don’t know each other.” And, at least if the hatred persisted, it would be impossible for the leaders of both countries to drop a nuclear bomb right at the site of their relatives. This, of course, attracted attention, were both fantastic altogether and uncomfortable statements.
At the age of thirteen, the girl was already a media star, however, Samantha’s life would come to an end when she was traveling on a plane that crashed upon landing. The conspiracy is even indicted on the CIA and the KA GE BE. However, research on this issue revealed that one stormy night, coupled with pilots who did not have enough expertise, as well as a radar failure would be the cause of the accident.
Samantha’s image was almost forgotten over time, however, the Soviet Union issued a commemorative postage stamp and, for its part, the United States erected a statue in her honor. The girl’s mother also led a foundation for the exchange of students from both countries, which operated until 1995.
The figure of Samantha Smith, was almost forgotten over the years.
Fortunately, the cold war and misgivings on both sides would end soon, perhaps faster than Samantha could have imagined. However, it has left us a great lesson, it has allowed us to see that even small initiatives laden with innocence can change the course of our lives and the same history. And Samantha made it seem easy, so easy that it seems possible.