Poage first visited Europe in 1944, just months after the Allied landing in France. He was, at the time, a guest of the British government, who wanted the American Congress to better understand the realities of the war. Poage recalled being impressed by the British citizens' reserve during the war; the country seemed to be carrying on with daily life despite the fighting. At night, however, the streets and windows were dark to defend against German air raids. Bombings were so ubiquitous that British repair crews could be seen each morning rebuilding those structures that were hit the previous night.
The same could not be said of Germany after the war’s end. When Congressman Poage visited the country in 1946, he was struck by the lack of progress the country had made toward rebuilding itself. This visit influenced the implementation of the Marshall Plan, wherein the United States helped restore Germany’s economy. Poage believed that the plan prevented the inevitable fighting and looting that would have torn Germany apart.
In 1959, Poage traveled through Russia on an InterParliamentary Union trip. He described the experience of visiting Rostov-on-Don in terms of its similarity to central Texas’s blackland prairies. The farms he visited were either owned by the state or through a cooperative. While the state-owned farms utilized better machinery, he felt the cooperative farms were generally more successful. He remembered the Russians as being friendly and optimistic about their economic futures. Across the Soviet Union, Poage encountered pictures of Lenin on nearly every available wall. He recognized that most Americans would bristle under the Soviet form of government, but that at the time the Russians felt they were better off under Soviet rule than they had been under the Czars. However, he predicted that the next generation, removed from memories of the old empire, would be more open to criticizing the Soviet government and be instrumental in ensuring world peace.
(Click on the images below to view detailed records for each item in the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections.)
This packet contains guides for touring Vienna, including brochures for dining spots, museums, cultural landmarks and maps for traversing the city.
Congressman Poage observes his own reflection in a mirror during a tour of an Austrian palace, 1969.
Map of Copenhagen [undated]
Budapest Travel Brochure, undated
Congressman Poage poses with casks of wine in Spain, June 1976
In this entry from his extensive travel diary (dated September 7, 1949), Congressman Poage remembers the opening day of the IPU Conference in Stockholm.