Skip to comments.The Secret World of U.S. Communism
Posted on 12/20/2005 2:27:08 PM PST by Calpernia
0n March 27, 1962, the U.S. Communist newspaper The Worker exuberantly reported the following story: Attorney General Robert E Kennedy admitted, in effect, in a press conference in Los Angeles on Saturday, that the persecution of the Communist Party reflects a monstrous hoax perpetrated on the American people. He declared at the press conference that the Communist Party of the U.S. is no danger to the security of the U.S . For the CPUSA, such a statement from the then-highest official of the U.S. Justice Department (as well as the brother of the U.S. President) was astonishing and unexpected. Especially so, since the Kennedy administration had experienced an embarrassing Communist public relations victory in its botched Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba the previous April 17, 1961.
What Atty. General Bobby Kennedy supposedly did not know at the time, but the CPUSA did, was that the American Communist party then and back to its beginnings in 1919 was bankrolled by the Kremlin. CPUSA sent its members for military, espionage and terror training to the USSR, maintained an illegal underground apparatus to steal U.S. documents (including atomic secrets), penetrated both the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the CIA, and Office of War Information (OWI) during the Roosevelt WWII administration. It even commissioned CPUSA officials to Soviet secret police posts to spy on each other and on suspected unorthodox leftists, such as Stalin's nemesis Trotsky, who was murdered with an axe to his skull in Mexico City, all arranged by the CPUSA and Kremlin fellow-henchmen.
After decades of deceit, the truth about the CPUSA is finally out. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the archives of the Comintern (Communist International), the Soviet Communist Party, and other formerly super-secret documents have become available to historians and researchers. Under an agreement with the Russian Centre for the Preservation and Study of Documents of Recent History, Yale University press is undertaking a gigantic project to publish an annotated selection of these official records in a series called Annals of Communism.
A total of 18 volumes is planned (in English and Russian editions) dealing with such topics as History of the Soviet Gulag System, 1920-1989, The Last Days of the Romanovs, and Soviet Politics and Repression in the 1930s. The great value of the project is already apparent in volume one, entitled The Secret World of American Communism with Soviet documents authoritatively annotated by Harvey Klehr of Emery University, John Earl Haynes of the Library of Congress and Fridrikh Igorevich Firsov, now curator of the Comintern archives.
The documents in this volume demonstrate that the widespread popular belief that American Communists collaborated with Soviet intelligence and placed loyalty to the Soviet Union ahead of loyalty to the United States was well founded, they say. Concern about the subversive threat of the CPUSA and worries that Communists employed in sensitive government jobs constituted a security risk were equally well founded. So much for the Party and its fellow-travellers line that anti-communism was an irrational and indefensible persecution of a group of American reformers or that it was impossible for the CPUSA to have engaged in nefarious activities. Documents from the Soviet secret archives prove that is exactly what CPUSA agents were doing.
Many historians have failed to come to grips with the issue of Communist infiltration in government agencies or the dubious nature of the Popular Front alliance between. Communists and a segment of liberals during the 1930s and 1940s, the editors of this volume note. Previously, evidence of the Communist presence could be trivialized or its reliability questioned. In addition to their own evidentiary weight, they lend crucial support to the large mass of direct and circumstantial evidence indicating a substantial organized presence in a number of government agencies...
The CPUSA, Klehr, Haynes and Firsov pronounce, was a conspiracy financed by a hostile foreign power that recruited members for clandestine work, developed an elaborate underground apparatus, and used that apparatus to collaborate with espionage services of that power . Official Soviet documents that have become available in recent months shed much light on secret Kremlin activities and directives over the past decades. For example:
Proof that the Kremlin directly ordered the massacre of 5,000 Polish military officers at Katyn Forest in 1940 and possibly 15,000 other intellectuals, religious and prominent Polish citizens at POW camps in Kozielsk, Starobielsk, and Ostashkov, USSR who simply vanished after WWII.
Proof that Stalin ordered the North Korean invasion of South Korea in 1950 and used respected foreign journalists such as I.E Stone and Wilfred Burchett (both Soviet agents) to blame South Korea for attacking the Communists and to blame the U.S. of engaging in germ warfare.
Proof that the Soviets had extensive information about Korean Air Lines Flight 007, the passenger airliner it had shot down over the Sea of Japan on Sept. 1, 1983 with 269 innocent lives lost (101 more than died in bombing of the U.S. Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995). The Secret World of American Communism book goes back to the early days of the CPUSA and clears up scores of celebrated controversies that have become myths of disinformation over the years. (Younger readers of the Mindszenty Report will not be familiar with some particulars or names, but the book itself provides excellent background.)
John Reed, for example, was actually one of the founders of the CPUSA, but that has been overshadowed by lore of his celebrated book Ten Days That Shook the World which chronicled the illegal takeover of the Russian government by Lenin in 1919. Documents from the Soviet archives show that John Reed was a highly-paid Soviet agent. The very first document in this volume in fact records that he was given more than $1 million an enormous sum at the time in confiscated gold, silver and jewels to help export revolution to the U.S. In 1981, actor/director Warren Beatty won an Academy Award for directing a film of Reed s life entitled Reds to much critical acclaim. At the time, the Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation argued that the film should be withdrawn as a blatant piece of propaganda for Communism even as the Soviets were then occupying Afghanistan.
After Reed's death and burial in the Kremlin Wall, his widow Louise Bryant married Roosevelt's first ambassador to Moscow, William Bullitt. Among the documents in The Secret World of American Communism is a sensitive communication written by Bullitt to Roosevelt's assistant secretary of state R. Walton Moore in Washington, D.C. How the Russians got hold of it, the authors cannot explain. One possibility is pretty obvious. Another is that Alger Hiss was then working in the State Department.
Of some 1,000 documents Klehr, Haynes and Firsov reviewed for this volume (92 are reproduced in the book), the name of Alger Hiss does not appear. In the most celebrated and controversial spy scandal of the century, ex-Communist Whittaker Chambers, an editor of Time magazine, identified Alger Hiss, a high-ranking State Department official, as one of those Communist party members stealing documents for the Soviets. They write:
The evidence against Alger Hiss was sufficient to convict him in 1950; subsequent documentation has further substantiated the case that Hiss was a spy. Nevertheless, Hiss's defenders have continued to attack Whittaker Chambers credibility and have clung to the belief that there was no Communist underground in Washington or that, if one did exist, it was not involved in espionage.
Some 17 Soviet documents reprinted in The Secret World of American Communism prove that a Communist spy underground network did indeed exist, thus while these documents do not prove that Alger Hiss was engaged in espionage...what these documents do demonstrate, however, is the accuracy of the story told by the chief witness against Hiss, thus greatly strengthening the credibility of that witness.
Nor do the documents here represent the final word on Hiss or anyone else. The Soviet KGB and military also have files still closed full of information. Most important of all are top-secret documents sealed in the presidential Archive set up in the final days of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. Only Gorbachev's successor, Boris Yeltsin or his successor can release information from these sensitive files, or can keep them locked forever. (According to Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute, Yeltsin, after repeated promises to open the Communist Archives, last summer summarily issued a 30-year secrecy edict that sealed virtually everything in them after 1965.
One document in The Secret World of American Communism at long last proves that the much maligned Elizabeth Bentley, wife of Soviet Secret Police agent in the U.S., Jacob Golos, was correct about Communist infiltration of the Roosevelt administration. Her testimony that she was used by the Soviet espionage apparatus to collect information from Communist contacts in Washington, D.C. has long been dismissed by leftist historians as fantasy. Bentley, herself, was mocked as a plump, unfashionably dressed Blond Spy Queen in media headlines during her testimony to a Congressional committee in 1948. Newsweek dismissed her as a New England spinster wearing slinky black silk . The New Yorker s journalistic icon A. J. Liebling denounced her as a nutmeg Mata Hari as if either wardrobe or hair colour had something to do with her testimony. Even FDR s wife Eleanor Roosevelt, got into the anti-Bentley act in her syndicated news column (Spy Queen s Story New York World-Telegram 8/4/48): one can only regard her with regret and pity. She is probably an intelligent woman. She graduated from Vassar College, so she must have had some brains, Mrs. Roosevelt wrote, then went on to suggest in the future I should think it might be difficult for her to find any acquaintances who would be willing to say even Good Morning and Good Evening to her... .
On the other side, there was Judith Coplon who worked in the U.S. Justice Department and was arrested for turning over documents on counterintelligence to her Soviet lover, stationed at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. By conservative estimates, this information identified over 500 anti-Communist underground contacts in countries behind the Iron Curtain who were tortured and put to death. Coplon was tried and convicted as a Soviet spy in a sensational, headline-grabbing trial and then all charges dismissed on legal technicalities. She went on to work in urban renewal and U.S. city planning. Document 78 in The Secret World of American Communism labelled "top secret" demonstrates that Judith Coplon had a long-standing relationship with Soviet intelligence. Document 78 is addressed to Georgi Dimitrov, head of the Comintern, who gained international fame as a defendant in the Reichstag fire trial in Nazi Germany in 1933.
Then there is Armand Hammer of Occidental Petroleum and his father Julius, an abortionist. Documents 3 and 4 in this volume show the Hammers were actually an official part of the Comintern's covert financial network meaning they helped launder money for the Soviet government.
Providence Journal columnist Philip Tertian neatly sums up the Hammer/Communist history as follows:
In a career that spanned the years from manufacturing pencils under Lenin's friendly gaze to trading funny stories with a reverent Johnny Carson, Dr. Hammer built a fortune promoting U.S.-Soviet trade laundering Soviet money, disbursing stolen cash, and cutting deals with Stalin, all the while lying about his fealty to the party. The ironies of history: As despicable as Hammer was, it is useful to note that a man whose business empire was sustained by slave labour, and dependent on the patronage of Soviet tyranny, ultimately run afoul of American law by illegally contributing to the Richard Nixon re-election campaign, and ended his career presiding over a payroll that featured Al Gore's father .
American journalist Walter Duranty, a Moscow correspondent for the New York Times (Pulitzer Prize 1932) covered-up Stalin's forced starvation of millions in the Ukraine in 1932-33. In February 1957, the Times published three front-page exclusive reports from Cuba's Sierra Maestra, by correspondent Herbert Matthews, on a new political Robin Hood he likened to Abraham Lincoln. Matthews and his hero, Fidel Castro, even had their photographs spread across the Times front page. There is no information in the documents currently available that these two journalists were Communist agents, but not so reporter Edmund Stevens of the Christian Science Monitor.
Stevens, who served as an advisor to W. Averell Harriman in 1942 in a meeting with Stalin, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1951 for a book compiled of 44 of his Monitor articles on the Soviet Union. As it is now revealed, he was a member of the Young Communist League USA and then July 1995 the CPUSA before landing earlier jobs at the Manchester Guardian and the London Daily Herald. As for journalistic objectivity, Stevens praised Stalin as democratic and defended the infamous Hitler-Stalin pact of 1939. He and his wife lived in a three-story mansion in downtown Moscow, courtesy of the Soviet government, and were allowed to send art objects to New York galleries to sell. Yet, as late as 1988, a Newsweek journalist could only say of Stevens: some fellow reporters thought he might have some way compromised himself with the Soviet .
What was obvious about Pulitzer Prizewinning Edmund Stevens for decades and never admitted is that he was a propagandist for Stalin and Soviet Communism. Documents 81 and 82 in The Secret World of American Communism make the official connection Stevens died in 1992. The authors of this volume, it should be noted, do not editorialise on their findings about Steven's Communist connections. Rather, they conclude: Stevens concealed his membership in the CPUSA throughout his journalistic career. Whether Stevens had an understanding with the Soviet government may never be known, but these documents greatly strengthen the suspicion that he was not a neutral journalist .
On May 11, 1995 Roger Kimball, editor of The New Criterion called attention to the The Secret World of American Communism on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, headlined One Book on Communism That Should Shake the World . Said Kimball, it sets straight the historical record distorted by decades on conspiracy, cover- ups, propaganda, vain imagings, disinformation and lie . The day before, May 10, the book was released by Yale University Press with a press conference covered and reported on by the Associated Press, the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Boston Globe and other prominent news sources. Strangely, only the New York Times, America s official newspaper of record failed to mention the book s existence until several weeks later and buried it in a news report on difficulties the media had getting access to information in Soviet secret archives. This is the same New York Times who lent the Daily Worker newsprint when the Communist journal was short of it, says former Times reporter Gay Talese (The Kingdom and the Power, Page 92, World Publishing Co., 1969).
No matter. The book The Secret World of American Communism stands on its own as one of the most important revelations of recent history from the Kremlin's own, once secret archives. It belongs in your library now and for future generations. As Stephen Schwartz of the San Francisco Chronicle sums up: Soviet communism remains one of the great historical issues of the 20th century, and our attitudes toward it tell us a great deal about ourselves. It is not necessary to go all the way to Moscow to understand this particular issue, but it certainly helps.
Rosenbergs Granddaughter Sues NSA Over Spying
Check this link out- it's an eye opener!
I got that bookmarked. Thanks.
I can't believe how few hits this article got. But then again, I guess I can.
I have had to defend the idea that the 'cold war' actually had to be fought to folks under 30. They don't have the faintest idea...
Anyway thanks for the post..
I've noticed a significant decrease in hits for articles with significance at FR lately.
I think FR got hit with body snatchers or something.
How true. Does the ACLU make it into the pages of this book? Anyone know?
bookmarked and bump
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