Skip to comments.Was The Nation Magazine pro Stalin?
Posted on 01/30/2011 8:13:29 PM PST by Chuckmorse
My dust-up with Nation Magazine contributing writer Ari Berman occurred at the onset of what I had hoped would be a constructive conversation on my radio program The Fairness Doctrine - left, right and uncensored. My co-host, liberal commentator Patrick OHeffernan had invited Berman on the air to discuss President Obamas State of the Union address. I began by asking if it was ok if I diverged from the topic briefly to clear up a matter regarding a piece of history related to his magazine. Then came the fireworks.
I brought up that fact that the editor of Nation Magazine, Freda Kirchwey, had been a loyal Stalinist in the 1930s and 1940s and remained loyal to Stalin after the 1939-1941 Hitler-Stalin Pact. The pact divided Poland between the two socialist behemoths, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, and triggered World War II. Kirchwey became editor of Nation in 1937 and had turned the magazine into a virtual organ of Stalinism. This meant, I contended, that Kirchwey and many of the writers for Nation were therefore de-facto pro-Nazi in those years.
In 1939 Kirchwey criticized the Committee for Cultural Freedom, a group whose members included eminent leftists with a conscience such as Sidney Hook, Max Eastman and socialist Norman Thomas, for releasing a statement condemning both the Nazi and the Soviet dictatorships as totalitarian. This was too much for Kirchwey who wrote that the term totalitarianism should only apply to Fascism and not Communism and that the group threatened left-wing unity. Hook responded to Kirchwey writing that her statement brings the Nation that much closer to 13th Street (Communist Party Headquarters) in the public mind; some members of the committee have told me that after reading your editorial they felt as if the Nation had died. Kirchweys selective condemnation was a blind spot that still infects many leftists today, one that stands in stark contrast to the consistent conservative position of accurately condemning both Nazism and Communism equally and on the same moral grounds.
Berman responded to my remark with the claim that the American right had been pro-Hitler. His evidence to back up this absurd statement was that the right was non-interventionist before America got into the war. This would be as ridiculous as claiming that all who opposed the Iraq War were pro Saddam Hussein. If he had done some research before throwing out such an ugly slur Berman would have known that the America First Committee, the most prominent American anti-war group at the time, was made up of both liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, left and right. America First counted as members such prominent leftists as Chester Bowles, former Nation editor Oswald Garrison Villard, and socialist Norman Thomas. The only major group in America that was pro-Hitler in the years leading up to the war, other than the Nazi Party itself and their small coterie of followers was the Communist Party and its fellow travelers during the 1939-1941 Hitler-Stalin pact.
Before hanging up the phone, Berman asserted that he really couldnt comment on any of this since it happened before he was born. This juvenile line of reasoning would, assumedly, limit any discussion of the Nazi Holocaust to those born before 1945. Bermans archive on the Nation Magazine website reveals the same sort of rabid partisanship that would have no doubt done Freda Kirchwey proud. He writes under the assumption, for example, that the right was responsible for the Arizona shooting but he does it in a sophistic and indirect style that employs innuendo and guilt by association.
A Google search of Ari Berman reveals a handsome young man and Berman is as smart as a whip. Hopefully he will mature to the degree that his mind wont be warped and his moral compass wont be permanently shattered by this sort of hyper ventilating partisanship and blind goose-stepping to a party line. But than again, taking such positions no doubt means invitations for Ari to fashionable parties and a career filled with accolades and trophies.
What makes this important is that tens of thousands of Americans went to Stalin’s Russia in the 1930s for a better life. What they heard from The Nation, and the New York Times was how great the young Soviet Union was doing...especially compared to Depression-era America.
And that was it back then. Not much in the way of radio, no TV, and of course no Internet. If the NYT said something, you figured that it was truthful. During the 1930s many Americans questioned Capitalism (just as they soon will again, unfortunately).
And, by the way, only a handful of those Americans made it out of the Soviet Union alive (or dead, for that matter). The vast majority got swept up under Stalin’s terror campaign and even had it worse, as they figured the Americans were spies.
Needless to say, our government didn’t lift a finger to help these Americans - we had bigger fish to fry (i.e., getting ready to take on Hitler).
The Nation? What about the Noo Yuck Times, and its star reporter Walter Duranty, whose Pulitzer Prize still hangs in the hallways there, while millionof ‘kulaks’ died in the socialist paradise of Ukraine?
That was exactly what I clicked here to post!
If you can find a copy, read Alexander Dolgun’s Story.
He was the son of one of those people, he even worked at
the US. Embassy. Arrested on the street in front of the
Embassy he spent 15 years in the gulag.
Does the sun rise in the morning?
Was, is, and forever will be........A silly question.
cementing A. Solzhenitsyn's & R. Conquest's works.
I never stop talking about this.
When has “The Nation” not been pro-Stalin?
Read P. J. O’Rourke’s “Republican Party Animal” for his description of a cruise to Russia sponsored by “The Nation.”
Exactly, were statists in favor of statists. They liked both the international and national statists.