It was the period when Western sympathisers arrived at Soviet ports by the boatload, and embarked on the return journey with their heads stuffed with propaganda. The slump at home quickened the tide… Almost without exception, they were astonishingly gullible. Professor Julian Huxley, for example, had no difficulty  in believing that “Stalin himself sometimes comes down to the Moscow goods sidings to help.” Margaret Cole knew of the existence of the OGPU, the Soviet secret police, but thought of them  as “kindly souls who came to our rescue and found us seats on crowded trains.”

Adam Sisman, “A.J.P. Taylor: A Biography”.

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