When West Virginia Begged the USSR for Foreign Aid

A view of the Kremlin and Moskvoretsky bridge from the Moskva River embankment, 1870. Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images

Were it not for the coal mine, the town of Vulcan, West Virginia may well have never existed. As a rural and geographically isolated community, Vulcan relied on a single, small bridge for its connection to the larger world. When the bridge failed, the town repeatedly tried to get financial assistance from the local and state government -- with no success. In a state of increasing desperation, the Mayor of Vulcan wrote the Soviet Union for help... during the Cold War. Listen in to learn what happened next.