Fischer, Louis, 1896-1970

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Louis Fischer (1896-1970) was an American teacher, lecturer, foreign correspondent, and writer. An expert on the Soviet Union, he wrote a biography of Lenin as well as one of Mahatama Gandhi.

From the guide to the Louis Fischer papers, ca. 1909-1950, (The New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division.)

Journalist; author and editor of numerous articles and books about the Soviet Union published from 1917-1969: Four of his books are: Gandhi and Stalin, Men and Politics, Russia, America, and the World, and The Story of Indonesia.

From the description of Louis Fischer papers, 1929-1961 (inclusive). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702166047

From the guide to the Louis Fischer papers, 1929-1961, (Manuscripts and Archives)

Author of MEN AND POLITICS.

From the description of Papers, 1938-l949. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 155522921

Fischer served as a volunteer in the Jewish Legion (1917-1920), spending 15 months in Palestine (1919-1920).He moved to Berlin in 1921, and while there he began contributing to the NEW YORK EVENING POST as a European correspondent. In early 1922 he moved to Moscow and married Markoosha soon thereafter. Fischer was special European correspondent for THE NATION (1923-1945). In 1936 he went to Spain to report on the Spanish Civil War, where he was an active supporter of the Republican anti-fascist regime, briefly joining the International Brigades. In June 1945 Fischer broke publicly with THE NATION and began writing for small anti-Communist liberal magazines such as THE PROGRESSIVE. In 1958 Fischer was appointed a research associate at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and in 1961 he became a lecturer at Princeton University²s Woodrow Wilson School, where he taught Soviet-American relations and Soviet foreign politics. Fischer was an active member of the Congress of Cultural Freedom. His publications about the Soviet Union include studies of Soviet foreign relations and biographies of Stalin (1952) and Lenin (1964). Fischer's interest in Indian independence and travels to India led to his books A WEEK WITH GHANDI (1942) and THE LIFE OF MAHATMA GANDHI (1950).

From the description of Louis Fischer papers, 1890-1970. (Princeton University Library). WorldCat record id: 177444323

Louis Fischer (1896-1970) was an American teacher, lecturer, foreign correspondent, and writer.

An expert on the Soviet Union, he wrote a biography of Lenin as well as one of Mahatama Gandhi.

From the description of Louis Fischer papers, ca. 1909-1950. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 86164266

Louis Fischer was born on February 29, 1896 in Philadelphia, son of David, a fish and fruit peddler, and Shifrah (nee Kantzapolsky). He attended the Philadelphia School of Pedagogy (affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania) from 1914 to 1916, then taught public school. From 1917 to 1920 he served as a volunteer in the Jewish Legion, a military unit recruited by the British army and spent 15 months in Palestine (1919-1920). After this military service, he worked for a brief period for a news agency in New York where he met the Russian-born Bertha “Markoosha” Mark (1890?-1977). Markoosha had been in New York since late 1916, first as a pianist touring with a group of Russian musicians; then holding various secretarial and translator jobs, sometimes working for Soviet government officials.

In 1921 Markoosha went to Berlin, Germany, to work for a former Soviet employer. Louis joined her a few months later. Aiming to get journalistic experience, he started contributing to the New York Evening Post as a European correspondent. In early 1922 he moved to Moscow. Markoosha, who had been working as an interpreter to Soviet delegations at conferences in Genoa and the Hague, joined him in September. In November, they married. Shortly thereafter, Markoosha returned to Berlin, while Louis stayed in Moscow. Their son George was born in May 1923, followed by Victor one year later. Markoosha stayed in Berlin with the boys until 1927, when she started working for the new Jewish farm colonies in the Ukraine. It was not until 1928, after Markoosha and the boys moved to Moscow, that the Fischers lived under one roof, though Louis often traveled thereafter.

Louis had been working for The Nation as special European correspondent since 1923, and contributing articles to foreign papers, often selling the same article more than once. To supplement his earnings, Fischer traveled to the United States every year to give lectures on the Soviet Union. While living in Moscow, he sympathized strongly with the Soviet regime. In 1926 his first book, Oil Imperialism: The International Struggle for Petroleum, was published; it described the international struggle for Russian petroleum concessions. The two-volume study The Soviets in World Affairs (1930) followed and became a standard reference in its day. Between 1931 and 1935, he published three more books on the Soviet Union. In 1936, the year of Stalin's first purge trial, Fischer went to Spain to report on the Spanish Civil War, where he was an active supporter of the Republican anti-fascist regime, and briefly joined the International Brigades.

In 1938 Fischer decided not to return to the Soviet Union. However, Markoosha and the boys, still living in Moscow as Soviet citizens, were denied permission to leave the country until Eleanor Roosevelt personally intervened. Reunited in the United States in spring 1939, the family first settled in New York-although Louis chose to live by himself in a hotel. Very soon it was obvious that their marriage was over, but until the late 1950s Louis and Markoosha stayed in close touch, visited and wrote each other, often met with the children together, and commented on each other's manuscripts. They never divorced.

Louis encouraged Markoosha to write, and her autobiography, My Lives in Russia, appeared in 1944. In it, she tried to explain the life of the Russian people and the early appeal of Communism to her. She wrote articles and reviews, two novels (1948 and 1956), and in 1962 Reunion in Moscow, a Russian Revisits Her Country . In 1948-1949 she returned to Germany, working in displaced persons camps for the International Rescue and Relief Committee (IRRC). In 1949, because of ill health, she declined to work as a translator at the Nuremberg trials. However, she worked again for the IRRC in 1950-1951.

In 1941 Louis's Men and Politics: An Autobiography appeared, an account of the developments in Europe between the two World Wars, and his personal encounters with politicians, correspondents, and political activists. During the Second World War, Fischer continued to report on European politics, but he also became interested in the cause of Indian independence. A guest of Mohandas Gandhi in 1942, he soon authored A Week with Gandhi (1942). He traveled to India several more times and his biography The Life of Mahatma Gandhi (1950) was the basis of the film Gandhi (1982).

Fischer's other major field of interest remained the Soviet Union and its foreign policy. His first new book after his family moved to the United States appeared in 1940 and dealt with the Nazi-Bolshevik Pact of 1939. In Communist and some left wing circles he was criticized for disloyalty to the Soviet Union. In June 1945 he broke publicly with The Nation, with which he had been associated for 22 years, accusing them of a ‘misleading' representation of current events, and employing double standards, especially concerning the Soviet Union. He began writing for small anti-Communist liberal magazines such as The Progressive, as a foreign correspondent and commentator on international politics, focusing on Europe and Asia, especially Communism in the Soviet Union and China; imperialism; and the problems of emerging nations. He was one of two American contributors to The God That Failed (1949), an autobiographical collection of essays written by ex-Communists and disillusioned fellow travelers. Fischer took offense when he was labeled an ex-Communist, because he had never joined a Communist Party, having only been sympathetic to the Soviet cause. In a note for a biographical entry, he referred to himself as a “left-of-center liberal who favors drastic social reform to improve living conditions” and an “active anti-imperialist.” He was also called a “liberal internationalist,” and his critical but utilitarian-humanitarian beliefs placed him among those liberals who have been called “believing skeptics.” His publications about the Soviet Union include studies of Soviet foreign relations and biographies of Stalin (1952) and Lenin (1964), the latter winning the National Book Award. (A complete list of his books can be found in the Appendix.)

Fischer's life of free-lance writing, lecturing and extensive traveling settled down with his appointment as a research associate at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in December 1958. In 1961 he became a lecturer at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, where he taught Soviet-American relations and Soviet foreign politics, until his death on January 15, 1970.

From the guide to the Louis Fischer Papers, 1890-1977, 1935-1969, (Princeton University. Library. Dept. of Rare Books and Special Collections)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Dawson, Lawrence H. (Lawrence Hawkins), 1880-. Lawrence Dawson's Discussions in print [manuscript], 1942 Jan. 6-July 21. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Fischer, Louis, 1896-1970. Louis Fischer papers, ca. 1909-1950. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf Fischer, Louis, 1896-1970. [Letter] 1951 May 27, New York [to Leo] Whitehill. / Louis Fischer. Texas Tech University Libraries, Academic Library
creatorOf Bane, Frank, 1893-. Papers of Frank Bane [manuscript] 1919 [1936-1966] 1971. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Donald and Katharine Foley Collection of Penguin Books, 1935-1965 Bancroft Library
referencedIn Boris Souvarine papers, 1915-1984 (inclusive), 1940-1984 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn Papers, 1871-1972 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
creatorOf Louis Fischer Papers, 1890-1977, 1935-1969 Princeton University. Library. Dept. of Rare Books and Special Collections.Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. Public Policy Papers.
referencedIn Marshall, Lenore, 1897-1971. Papers, 1887-1980. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn J. B. Matthews Papers, 1862-1986 and undated David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
referencedIn Lewis Gannett papers, 1681-1966 (inclusive) 1900-1960 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn Erik H. and Joan M. Erikson papers, 1925-1985 (inclusive) 1960-1980 (bulk). Houghton Library.
creatorOf Fischer, Louis, 1896-1970. Correspondence with Theodore Dreiser, 1933. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Woodrow Wilson School Policy Seminar Papers, 1930-2011 Princeton University. Library. Dept. of Rare Books and Special Collections.Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. Princeton University Archives.
creatorOf Fischer, Louis, 1896-1970. Louis Fischer papers, 1929-1961 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Gumberg, Alexander, 1887-1939. Papers, 1904-1939. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
creatorOf Louis Fischer papers, 1929-1961 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Kirchwey, Freda. Papers, 1871-1972 (inclusive), 1937-1971 (bulk) [microform]. Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Fischer, Louis, 1896-1970. Papers, 1938-l949. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Koo, V. K. Wellington, 1888-1985. Papers, [ca. 1906]-1976. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Louis Fischer papers, ca. 1909-1950 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Fischer, Louis, 1896-1970. Louis Fischer papers, 1890-1970. Princeton University Library
referencedIn Sidney Hertzberg papers, 1924-1984 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Century Company records, 1870-1924 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Moore, Dorothea May, 1894-. Transcript of oral history, 1984. Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Meier mss., 1927-2010 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly
referencedIn Hanson Weightman Baldwin papers, 1900-1988 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Correspondence, 1860-1979. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Baldwin, Hanson Weightman, 1903-1991. Hanson Weightman Baldwin papers, 1900-1988 (inclusive). Yale University Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
correspondedWith Allilueva, Svetlana, 1925- person
correspondedWith Allilueva, Svetlana, 1926-2011 person
associatedWith Amrit Kaur, Rajkumari, 1889-1964. person
associatedWith Andrews, C. F. (Charles Freer), 1871-1940. person
associatedWith Baldwin, Hanson Weightman, 1903-1991. person
associatedWith Bane, Frank, 1893- person
associatedWith CARE (Firm) corporateBody
correspondedWith Century Company corporateBody
associatedWith Chīcherīn, Georgiĭ Vasīl'evīch, 1872-1936. person
correspondedWith Chicherin, G. (Georgiĭ), 1872-1936 person
associatedWith Congress for Cultural Freedom. corporateBody
associatedWith Dawson, Lawrence H. (Lawrence Hawkins), 1880- person
correspondedWith Dellenbaugh, Frederick Samuel, 1853-1935 person
associatedWith Erikson, Erik H. (Erik Homburger), 1902-1994 person
correspondedWith Fischer, George, 1923- person
associatedWith Fischer, Markoosha. person
correspondedWith Fischer, Viktor, 1924- person
associatedWith Foley, Donald L. person
associatedWith Foley, Katharine person
associatedWith Frankfurter, Felix, 1882-1965. person
associatedWith FREDA KIRCHWEY, 1893-1976 person
associatedWith Gandhi, Mahatma, 1869-1948. person
associatedWith Gandhi, Mahatma, 1869-1948. person
correspondedWith Gannett, Lewis, 1891-1966 person
associatedWith Genoa Conference (1922) corporateBody
associatedWith Genoa Conference, 1922 corporateBody
associatedWith Great Britain. Army. Jewish Legion. corporateBody
associatedWith Gumberg, Alexander, 1887-1939. person
associatedWith Hertzberg, Sidney person
correspondedWith Hocking, William Ernest, 1873-1966 person
associatedWith Hull, Cordell, 1871-1955. person
associatedWith Kirchwey, Freda. person
associatedWith Koo, V. K. Wellington, 1888-1985. person
associatedWith Lenin, Vladimir Ilich, 1870-1924 person
associatedWith Lenin, Vladimir Ilich, 1870-1924. person
associatedWith Liberal Party (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Marshall, Lenore, 1897-1971. person
associatedWith Mashruwala, Kishorial Ghanshyamial, 1890-1952. person
associatedWith Matthews, J. B. (Joseph Brown), 1894-1966 person
associatedWith Meier, Deborah person
associatedWith Moore, Dorothea May, 1894- person
correspondedWith Nehru, Jawaharlal, 1889-1964 person
correspondedWith Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962 person
associatedWith Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945. person
associatedWith Soekarno, 1901-1970 person
correspondedWith Souvarine, Boris. person
associatedWith Stalin, Joseph, 1879-1953. person
associatedWith Stettinius, Edward R. (Edward Reilly), 1900-1949. person
associatedWith Tagore, Rabindranath, 1861-1941. person
associatedWith Thompson, Malvina, d. 1953. person
associatedWith Tito, Josip Broz, 1892-1980. person
correspondedWith Welles, Sumner, 1892-1961 person
associatedWith Whitehill, Leo Allen. person
associatedWith Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Europe
India
India
United States
India
Spain
India
Soviet Union
Soviet Union
Soviet Union
Germany
Soviet Union
United States
Spain
Russia
Europe
India
Europe
Subject
Cold War
Refugee camps
Motion picture producers and directors
Liberalism--United States--20th century
European history
World War, 1939-1945--Journalists--Correspondence
Jewish Legion--Photographs
Journalists--Biography--20th century
Communism--Soviet Union
Anti-communist movements
Foreign correspondents--20th century
Biographers--20th century
Women authors--20th century
Communism
Biographers--United States--20th century
Journalists--20th century
Refugee camps--Germany
Women communists--1917-
American history/20th century
Women authors--United States--20th century
Women communists--Germany--1917-
Liberalism--20th century
Revolutionaries--Anecdotes
Journalists--United States--20th century
Foreign correspondents--United States--20th century
Revolutionaries--Russia--Anecdotes
Journalism
Occupation
Authors, American
Journalists
Biographers
Function

Person

Birth 1896-02-29

Death 1970-01-15

Americans

Gujarati,

English

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