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Mission to Moscow

(1943 b 123')

En: 6 Ed: 7

Joseph E. Davies introduces this dramatization of his book about his embassy to the Soviet Union as war with Germany loomed.

In June 1936 Ethiopia's Haile Selassie appeals for help at the League of Nations, and the Soviet Maxim Litvinov (Oskar Homolka) speaks for collective security. Joseph Davies (Walter Huston) is leaving on vacation with his wife (Ann Harding) when he is summoned to meet President Roosevelt, who sends him to the Soviet Union as ambassador. On the way he is to ask Hitler if he will disarm for a fair share of the resources.

Davies meets with the leading German banker, who calls von Ribbentrop. Davies is not allowed to see Hitler and goes on to Moscow, where he meets President Kalinin (Vladimir Sokoloff). European diplomats play billiards and have different views. Davies travels to study the Soviet system and learns that workers can share extra profits. He is warned of hidden microphones in the embassy but says he has nothing to hide. Davies is honored at a ball and attends a ballet and a trial of dissidents who favor Trotsky. Bukharin testifies that they have been negotiating with the Japanese and Germans. The USSR fears war with Germany. Davies visits Austria, Yugoslavia, Paris, and Holland. In Moscow he watches a military parade and says that he is glad the Soviets are preparing to stop aggression. Davies visits Chinese refugees from the Japanese invasion. At a farewell dinner Litvinov asks Davies to report what he has seen, and Davies thanks the Russians for their friendship. Litvinov announces the news that Hitler has entered Austria. Davies meets with Stalin and Kalinin. Stalin tells Davies that the prospects are bad because countries are giving in to Hitler. Stalin believes that England wants Germany to invade the Soviet Union, but Stalin says he is willing to defend France.

Davies criticizes the appeasement that let Hitler take Czechoslovakia. Davies visits Winston Churchill and tells him that the Soviet army and industry are strong. Davies recommends an alliance with the USSR and others opposing Germany. Churchill agrees, but he is not in power. Davies learns of the non-aggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union. Davies warns senators in Washington that war will come soon. Germany invades Poland, Denmark, Norway, and France. England fights back, and then Hitler invades Russia. President Roosevelt tells Davies that he will send aid to the Soviet Union. Mrs. Davies warns her husband to protect his health, but he goes on a speaking tour. Businessmen do not want to lose their profits and are not worried about Germany and Japan, but Davies warns against isolationism. He says Russia stalled in order to prepare, and he describes how the Germans invaded the Soviet Union, which fought back and gave the USA time. Davies speaks of the United Nations alliance and hopes for a new world with justice for all.

This docudrama reflects the current American alliance with the Soviet Union against the Axis powers and its strategic importance in helping the United States against the Fascist forces. Later during the McCarthy era its screenwriter Howard Koch was blacklisted.

Copyright © 2005 by Sanderson Beck

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