Diana West vs. History

warRonald Radosh’s riposte to Diana West fantasies about Soviet control over American foreign and military policy during World War II is most welcome and very well done. It is depressing that West’s nonsense finds some fans. Yet error and Radosh’s convincing criticism draws welcome attention to the complexity of World War II and of the alliance of the Western democracies with the Soviet Union. Winston Churchill, who as much as any one person saved Western civilization in 1940 and 1941, put it best. When asked how he, whose political career was bound up with anticommunism since he advocated armed intervention to overthrow the new Bolshevik regime in 1917-1918, could support an alliance with Stalin he famously replied: “If Hitler invaded Hell, I would rise in the House of Commons to make a speech in favor of the devil.” In 1941, Hitler invaded the Hell of Stalin’s Russia and Churchill made a remarkable speech on the BBC to offer an alliance with the previous Soviet foe.

As a historian of modern German history, including the Nazi era, I would add the following by drawing on a vast and excellent scholarship by historians of Germany and Europe that West appears to have ignored.

1.  The idea that the United States was dominated by the Soviet Union and entered World War II as a result of that influence was a core theme of Nazi propaganda. The Nazis, of course, asserted that an international Jewish conspiracy had created the alliance between the Americans and the British with the Soviet Union. The Nazis were particularly enraged at Franklin Roosevelt who, they believed, had robbed them of the chance to win the war in Europe. (For the relevant material see my book The Jewish Enemy:  Nazi Propaganda during World War II and the Holocaust.)  In spring 1945, Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Germany’s Minister of Propaganda, attacked the “Anglo-Saxon powers,” the United States and Great Britain for, in effect, stabbing Nazi Germany in the back as it was fighting the “Jewish Bolshevik” threat. West’s argument about Soviet domination over American policy evokes disturbing parallels to the Nazi interpretation of World War II.

2.  Peter Hoffmann, the leading historian of the German resistance to Hitler, makes clear that Klaus von Stauffenberg, the leader of the attempted anti-Nazi coup of July 20, 1933, and his fellow conspirators did not have the support of the vast majority of the German officer corps. Indeed, as historians Omer Bartov, Christopher Browning, Saul Friedlander among others in this country, and a host of historians in Germany in recent decades such as Horst Boog, Ulrich Herbert, Manfred Messerschmidt and Juergen Foerster have overwhelmingly demonstrated, the German general staff and officer corps distinguished itself not only by its criminality in fighting a racial war of extermination on the Eastern Front but also by its fanatical determination to fight the war to the very last day. West’s suggestion that the United States or Britain should have had anything to do with the German army after its participation in the Holocaust and these massive crimes is grotesque. The generals and senior officers belonged in war crimes trials, not in a new alliance with the Western democracies. As it was, too many of them successfully avoided trial and punishment in the postwar years. The dismantling of the German military was a precondition for peace and stability in postwar Europe.

In making this suggestion of an alliance with remnants of the Nazi regime, West unintentionally also echoes Soviet propaganda following World War II. It was the Soviet Union, the Communist states and Communist parties in Europe who claimed that West Germany and the American-led NATO alliance were simply a new version of the former “fascist” anticommunism of the Nazi regime. The leaders of the postwar alliance—Truman, Marshall, Eisenhower, Acheson among others—all understood that the defeat and definitive end of Nazism as a political force was a precondition for an effective containment of Communism in the Cold War. Joseph McCarthy didn’t understand that distinction. Perhaps Diana West does not either.

3.  Some ex-Nazi intelligence officers paraded their anticommunist credentials and supposed knowledge of the Soviet Union after the war and some were, for a time, hired by the CIA. Richard Breitman, Norman Goda and Timothy Naftali’s work on US intelligence and the Nazis offers important material on these issues. The results of the “intelligence” about the Soviet Union offered by the ex-Nazi was often embarrassingly stupid. American intelligence officials concluded that their supposed knowledge of the Communist regimes was generally worthless.

4.  There is a shameless quality to the arguments then and since by the isolationist right in the United States. Having fought Roosevelt’s efforts to warn early on about Hitler’s danger and to intervene in the European war the “isolationists” then attacked him—and Truman—for the fact that the Red Army was in Berlin. Had Roosevelt not intervened in the war, it would likely have ended with the Red Army on the coast of France. Had the United States intervened earlier, the Red Army might have been at the Soviet-Polish border in May 1945.

5.  Some official Soviet histories of World War II argue that the only reason the US entered the European war was to prevent the Soviet Union from expanding further or, in communist terminology, to prevent “revolutionary” developments in Western Europe as well. Apparently those Soviet historians had not been informed that in reality Roosevelt was Stalin’s stooge. In fact, as Robert Dallek, Warren Kimball and Gerhard Weinberg have all pointed out, American entry into the war in Europe had everything to do with the defense of American national security and, initially preventing the defeat of Britain in 1940.  One implication of West’s argument is that the United States should not have intervened in World War II in Europe and thus should have stood by passively as Nazi Germany dominated Europe and, as Weinberg and Goda have pointed out and as Admirals of the United States Navy understood by 1939, posed a direct threat to the continental United States. What non-intervention in a war against a regime of such radical evil and huge global ambitions had and has to do with conservatism immersed in the Western moral and political tradition is hard to discern.

We scholars often complain that what we do does not reach a broad enough audience, that much of what we do is miscontrued and that the great simplifiers have an easier time finding a mass echo. West’s claims not only fly in the face of the work of historians of Soviet espionage. They also display striking ignorance of the findings of many historians of both World War II, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and the Cold War in Europe. Ronald Radosh deserves the congratulations and thanks from many fellow historians who have worked for decades to write accurately and truthfully about these events. He has done the kind of thing that distinguished historians of the first rank need to do when our discipline is attacked because it presents work that unsettles some conventional wisdom or another.

Dr. Jeffrey Herf is a professor of modern European history at the University of Maryland specializing in 20th century Germany. He is the author of Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys (Harvard University Press), War By Other Means: Soviet Power, West German Resistance and the Battle of the Euromissiles (Free Press) and Reactionary Modernism: Technology, Culture and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich (Cambridge University Press).

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  • Lt. Aldo Raine

    I’d like to post here some additions to Mr.Herf’s point 2.

    1) Not only did the Stauffenberg group did not have the support of the vast majority of high ranking German officers, they did not have the support of the German people either. And they themselves were aware of it! In fact, in the immediate wake of the failed July 20th assassination attempt, Hitler had an enormous surge in popularity and the conspirators were almost universally reviled by the Germans, even by those who at that point developed grave misgivings about the war and Hitler. Sir Ian Kershaw documented all this in his two-volume biography of Hitler.

    2) Whatever the German generals wrote in their post-war self-serving memoirs(but I repeat myself), facts say that the officers who joined the conspiracy were stripped of their ranks and privileges, thus denied a court martial and placed under the jurisdiction of the nazi civilian court system operated under the auspices of the infamous Roland Freisler. Heinz Guderian played a particularly important role in that.

    3) The conspirators themselves were a heterogeneous group politically. Some of them even wanted Germany to keep some of the territorial gains of Hilter such as Austria, Sudetenland and Danzig.

    4) Allied misgivings about the conspiracy and it’s instigators had nothing to do with any Soviet agents, real or imagined, placed in the high eschelons of the respective governements but rather with points 1) and 3) of this comment. They included short-term and long-term concerns. Short term concerns were two-fold. For one, the Allies, having themselves been aware of point 1), believed that the conspiracy was at best a long-shot and even if it did succeed in terms of bringing down Hitler they were not sure if the new governement would accept Allied terms. The long-term concerns were related, ironically, to the possible total success of the plot. It was believed, not without justification, that in the wake of the war’s end on basis of the plotters’ plans that another Stab-In-The-Back Legend(Dolchstosslegende) would develop in post-WWII Germany just like post-WWI. This time, to borrow Mr.Radosh’s terminology, it would likely have been Stab-In-The-Back Legend on steroids, which in turn might have given birth to a Hiter on steroids. I know this is alternate history speculation but if Mrs. West is allowed to her version, I am to mine as well.

  • ReyR

    “…those Soviet historians had not been informed that in reality Roosevelt was Stalin’s stooge.”
    Please tell me you are kidding us.

    • Sue Sponte

      Are you kidding? I guess you missed the irony in his comment; he was opining on the implications of West’s thesis.

      • ReyR

        But of course I was kidding. On second thought, no, I was not. Russian humor is an oxymoron.

  • ReyR

    And this is what passes for logic today:
    4. Had Roosevelt not intervened in the war, it would likely have ended with the Red Army on the coast of France.
    5. Some official Soviet histories of World War II argue that the only reason the US entered the European war was to prevent the Soviet Union from expanding further.
    I am impressed.

    • Merican

      Herbert Hoover was of the same opinion, why would the US be stupid enough to interpose between the Bolshevik Commies and the Nazi Commies? Note that the Bolsheviks wrote the history and are still writing the history w/ a dash of old Trotsky!

    • Sue Sponte

      It’s also supported by facts. This is what Russia did in 1814 during the Napoleonic wars. In 1942 the Soviets were relocating their industry east of the Urals where it was safe from the Wehrmacht, and although down for the count, were not out; mobilizing for a determined counter-offensive. Thus, an army of over a million troops was being organized in Siberia which turned the tide at Stalingrad and elsewhere. Did Lend-Lease help, sure it is did, but it was not the dispositive factor. By 1944 when D-Day occurred, the Soviet army was on the outskirts of Warsaw. Without an Anglo-American force in Western Europe they would have had little difficulty moving from Berlin to the Atlantic Wall, something that, after the fall of the German capital, they could have accomplished in a few weeks.

      • ReyR

        Yeah, god’s own truth. The Empire of Evil has always done just that. Sly, aren’t we?

  • joe

    Well that didn’t take long. When Radosh and Horowitz decided to devour a fellow conservative, I knew it was just a matter of time before they called up reinforcements from the liberal left academe – the history department of the University of Maryland no less. Maryland U is the dancing monkey that accompanies the Progressives as they crank the hurdy gurdy in the “occupied street” shows. And about Herf’s pathetic comment thanking “Ron for trying to stem this tide”: good lord! The flood tide was instigated by clowns like Herf. Do you not realize there is an electronic trail that demonstrates attack after attack against West? Herf is incapable of correctly identifying the current history of the very tide he falsely claims exists – let alone the history of Germany. As I said in an earlier post, the thing conservatives do best is cannibalize themselves. You academics make mountains of molehills. Stuff your experts.

    • joe

      And I’ll say it again. Where the h-ll were any of you hypocrites when Howard Zinn invented his history? Answer me that! I find you academic snobs, you “experts” woefully silent on that issue. As a great man once said: “you strain out gnats and swallow camels.” This entire charade is utterly disgusting.

    • Chez

      It’s hard to argue with Herf’s point #2.

      • joe

        Here is Herf’s summation of point 2: “The dismantling of the German military was a precondition for peace and stability in postwar Europe.” Hmmm. Wasn’t something eerily similar to this said in Versailles? I’ve arrived at the point in my very old life where it’s impossible to separate historical fact from the political bent of the historian. “We must stop Germany at all costs! We must feel sorry for Germany! We must stop Germany at all costs. We must watch Germany dominate the European Union.” Sometimes I think our historians fail to see the forest for the trees. None of Herf’s points, or Horowitz’s points or Radosh’s points merit the slaughter of West. I mentioned in an earlier post elsewhere that Swift (of Gulliver) had these guys pegged with his assessment of the Big Endians and the Little Endians. They need to call a time-out. Mine is an average mind. It needs Diana West. Quit killing her.

        • Sue Sponte

          The comparison to Versailles was a theme the isolationists harped on a lot in the run-up to World War 2. What that obscures, however, is that World War 2 was not merely a re-run of the Great War. Hitler was not another Kaiser, a constitutional monarch presiding over a parliamentary democracy very similar to Britain and was not out to exterminate the Jews, many of whom, like munitions chief and future premier Walter Rathenau, served their fatherland loyally in high positions.

          • Richard Hiltbrunn

            Wait! Bringing the Jewish extermination thing up, when you are talking about the U.S.’s reasons for entering the war is a bit off. The west, in general, didn’t really understand what the Nazi’s were doing early on, and the U.S. didn’t respond to that stimulus, as a reason to enter.

        • Chez

          I disagree with your assessment of Herf’s #2. I would sum it up THIS way: “[The German military was engaged in genocide, both in the disposal of civilians on the battlefield in the East, and in its participation in the Holocaust. Our association with such a force would have been morally indefensible.]”

          JOE: “None of Herf’s points, or Horowitz’s points or Radosh’s points merit the slaughter of West.”

          RESPONSE: But the West WASN’T slaughtered. We met the Cold War challenge of the Soviets and prevailed. If the West is sinking today, it is because of our own policies, (i.e., unchecked Muslim immigration, unsustainable spending, moral degeneration, etc.).

          • joe

            None of Herfs points or Horowitz’s points or Radosh’s points merit the slaughter of “Diana West.” I wasn’t referring to “the west.”

          • Chez

            A negative book review is hardly a “slaughter”.

          • Debra Blouin

            You missed something…he wasn’t say The West was slaughtered, he said (Diana) West was slaughtered.

          • Melissa

            ” Our association with such a force would have been morally indefensible.”

            And yet our association with Communism and the Soviet Union is okay with you even though they have killed many, many more people.

        • ziggy zoggy

          You really seem to feel warm and wet about the Nazis.

  • theoprinse

    Tnx dr. Herf. I am glad the discussion goes on in a proffesional way. Indeed the US intelligence community used the Gehlen Organization that became the secret service of the Bundes Republik. Another US nazi Koordination was the CIA / TSS project MK Ultra.

    …. “After distinguishing himself in battle, Mengle arrived at Auschwitz to study genetics. Working as an officer of the sinister SS, his works included experimentation in removing defective or inferior genes and replace them with superior genes and visa versa. One of the ultimate goals of his work was to discover the genetic formula to create a super race. This superior race was to be genetically engineered to be the master race, while at the same time creating a slave race that would do the menial less glamorous tasks.

    One of his very first acts as an SS officer making his mark upon arriving at Auschwitz, was to order the deaths of 1000 Jewish men women and children.

    He was recruited by the CIA at the end of the war, and worked largely out of Brazil. Despite his gross abominable reign at the infamous death camp, and the massive amount of evidence against him, he was never seriously persued as a war criminal.” …

    http://mightynose.wordpress.com/2013/07/07/the-history-of-mk-ultra-how-the-nazis-won-wwii/

  • joe

    And I’ll say it again. Where the h-ll were any of you hypocrites when Howard Zinn invented his history? Answer me that! I find you academic snobs, you “experts” woefully silent on that issue. As a great man once said: “you strain out gnats and swallow camels.” This entire charade is utterly disgusting.

    • Benjamin Kerstein

      Actually, criticism of Zinn has been copious on the Right and among responsible people on the Center and Left as well.

      • joe

        I guess that accounts for why his book (tripe) is so widely circulated among our schools and universities and why Mitch Daniels was so heavily criticized by our academics for insisting the book should be banned from publicly funded schools. Yeah, you’re right, another success story regarding the brave efforts of the pusillanimous Right in combating Marxist infiltration of young minds. Try again.

        • Chez

          David Horowitz himself has been an unremitting critic of Howard Zinn.

          • joe

            It appears he’s an unremitting critic of Diana West. Zinn is very much alive among the leftist printing presses. So I question how effective is Horowitz opinion regarding Zinn. On the other hand, I wonder how much longer a warrior like West will be there thanks to the unflagging and hypocritical efforts of Horowitz (and Radosh). Were I in a foxhole with Horowitz, Radosh and West fighting a common enemy, I would have to witness Radosh and Horowitz slaughtering West before they were overrun by the enemy they were in the foxhole to fight. My money is on West. At least she’s engaged in trying to win the hearts and minds of our youth. That’s where the future of or nation resides. That’s were Zinn was unremitting in his efforts to gain a foothold. Horowitz and Radosh are fighting the wrong battle.

          • Chez

            Strange argument you are making…..that academe’s continued infatuation with Howard Zinn is somehow a reflection on Horowitz. David has repeatedly attacked Zinn’s outlandish ‘A People’s History of the United States’ in both his books and in his articles. The fact that the Left-wing world of academe is impervious should surprise no one.

            As for David being an “unremitting critic of Diana West”…is this what you call an objective assessment, given that their spat has been on-going for all of two days??? I suspect that the current tempest will soon die down, that relations will be frosty for some time….and that eventually, these two conservative warriors will bury the hatchet. But even if they don’t, while the current bloodletting is unfortunate, it’s not a tragedy. There is genuine disagreement here over an historical epoch. Let the facts fall where they may….and let us celebrate the fact that there is no conservative “orthodoxy” to strangle us the way one can be found on the Left.

          • joe

            It is not strange at all. I was born and raised in Maryland. Not there any longer. Maryland is overrun with Zinn and Zinnites. The state is a liberal progressive mess. Hardly a day goes by that the U of MD doesn’t endorse some bogus leftist agenda. And now we have an academic from that liberal progressive hotbed endorsing an assault on a conservative warrior. And there are comments to the effect: “I’m glad I found out about Diana West before I too was duped.” This is the argument connection “that academe’s continued infatuation with Howard Zinn is somehow a reflection on Horowitz” – a quote from your text above. You will not convince me that assaulting West is somehow good in the long run. Truth be told, we no longer have the luxury of a “long run”.

          • Chez

            My God man, you seem to be saying that because Horowitz disagrees with Diana West on her book, he is somehow in bed with Howard Zinn. This is perhaps the most spurious logic I’ve read in quite some time.

            Academe’s infatuation with Zinn is certainly not relegated to the State of Maryland. It is a nationwide phenomenon,…one that David has repeatedly referred to and attacked in his writing.

          • joe

            You know perfectly well that’s not what I said. Horowitz’s objection to Zinn is ineffectual at best. However, he is doing irreparable damage to West. I don’t know all of his reasons for this tirade, but Horowitz is certainly more famous now for attacking West than he is famous for failing to subdue Zinn. Academics joining Horowitz to shame West is beyond the pale. Would that our academics went after leftists with such enthusiasm. And I’ll say again, you know perfectly well that was the gist of my comment. My God Man! indeed.

          • Benjamin Kerstein

            You are blaming Horowitz for something that he has nothing to do with. The progressive/liberal romance with Zinn is a pathology of their own. Horowitz has done a great deal to fight it. His failure or success is an issue of the larger political culture and has nothing to do with the issue of West’s book.

          • joe

            I’m blaming Horowitz for attacking West, period. He is being successful with his attack on Diana West even though he failed in his attempts to dethrone Zinn no matter how laudable his efforts. He is attacking an ally. That’s my problem with this entire fiasco. He could have swallowed his ego (as could have Radosh) and had a private meeting with Diana West regarding her hot selling book. This whole thing stinks to high heaven and all of it leads right back to Horowitz and Radosh. I don’t get it. There are so many worthy targets out there. Why devour Diana. No excuse from the conservative heavyweights will make sense of that. Something else is going on here.

          • Chez

            Your original post called the critics of West “hypocrites” for not challenging Zinn…and now, you concede that Horowitz’s efforts against Zinn have been “laudable”. That’s one heck of a reversal.

            Furthermore, I repeat, this tempest is momentary and will die down in no time. Conversely, Horowitz’s opposition to the likes of Howard Zinn runs to the heart of his world view and will last until David’s last breath.

            I personally agree with you that this little spat is unfortunate, but there’s an almost hysterical tone to your posts….as if the refutation of Diana’s west’s new book harbors the death of conservatism. Let’s get a grip here. West will survive this. Her book may not sell as well as it otherwise would have, but the success or failure of Diana West’s book is hardly a barometer for the survival of conservative thought.

            JOE: “Something else is going on here.”

            RESPONSE: I agree. An ideological disagreement has been exacerbated by the egos of two very prominent conservative personalities. It’s not the end of the world.

          • joe

            Bull feathers. You like to misinterpret to suit your own ends. It is not a reversal. Of course it’s laudable to combat Zinn, but Horowitz’s attempts have been ineffectual. He quit the battle. Zinn is the victor. History is re-written. Young minds suffer. Obama takes the White House. Conservatives are better at destroying their own allies – a la the host of RINO’s rampaging through Congress. Conservatism is on the ropes. We have a President openly endorsed by a domestic terrorist – Bill Ayers. Who cares? The CPUSA openly endorses obama and the collection of buffoons on the left in Congress. Where are the conservatives? Where are all these conservative values you claim are alive and kicking? I’ve watched our majority in government endorse the Occupiers. I’ve watched the media openly assault conservatives with blatant lies and distortions. I’ve watched the IRS take down conservatives. I’ve watched our youth sneer at the conservative values that nurtured them. It is fashionable to sign petitions to abort infants in the fourth trimester – infanticide. Our college campuses are openly hostile to conservatives to the point of excluding them from the forum. Our military openly deprives Christians and the Chaplaincy of practicing their faith. Remember the famous “they didn’t build that” comment from the Marxist in Chief? As a nation, we are too numb to comprehend the import of that comment. Take a look at the abject wastes who are in charge of the State Department, the CIA, the Joint Chiefs, as ambassadors to the UN. Don’t tell me conservatism is not imperiled. And do you think this happened by accident? These are not just victories of liberalism; they are failures of Conservatism. Don’t forget, while it’s “laudable” that Horowitz switched sides, he was a left endorser of all things Marxist before he was a conservative – at a time when the left was winning the hearts and minds of the boomers – my generation. He very likely helped shape and form many of the liberal loons who are taking down our nation and our constitution as we speak. In other words, our failure has been a long time in the making. I’m sure while Nero fiddled, he hummed your refrain about nothing bad is going to happen. And what are conservatives doing now apart from engaging in jailhouse conversions to the Right? They’re going after Diana West. That’ll help a lot. I find your juvenile distortions insulting and pedestrian.

          • Chez

            My goodness. Me thinks you’ve popped a gasket. Let’s calm down a bit and avoid descending into the very name-calling and fratricide that you claim to be decrying.

            1) When did David “quit the battle”? He’s more involved in reversing the polluting influence of the Howard Zinns in our schools and universities than any other American I can think of. He has started a movement – Students for Academic Freedom – that works daily to open up academe to conservative ideals. He travels the country speaking at one university after another, making the conservative case. A year or two ago, he testified at a hearing of the Pennsylvania state-house on the issue of academic freedom. How can you possibly claim in good conscience that he has “quit the battle.” And you have the temerity to accuse ME of “juvenile distortions”???

            2) Of course conservatism is on the ropes. Everyone understands this. But do you actually believe that Diana West’s book will change that? Do you actually believe that it will make more than the tiniest ripple in our nation’s body-politic? Do you accord her THAT much influence? Do you actually believe that this little spat between David Horowitz and Diana West will have any lasting impact on our nation’s political future?

            I’m trying to offer you a little perspective. You’re all in a lather.

          • joe

            Gee, what kind of ripple did Zinn’s book make in our nation’s body-politic? Is that the kind of perspective you’re offering? I suspect thirty-three years ago there were folks saying “Zinn’s tripe will not make even the tiniest ripple in our nation’s body-politic”.

          • Chez

            In a couple of weeks, no one will even remember this little spat between Horowitz and West that you seem to believe has the fate of our country hanging in the balance.

          • Richard Hiltbrunn

            Chez, I think joe is right, that we shouldn’t be trying to kill our allies in the trenches, when they make mistakes. On the other hand, I can see that it might do damage to the conservative cause to go off spouting inaccurate history as as a war cry.

          • ziggy zoggy

            Criticizing mistakes is a death sentence?

          • Melissa

            Who says Diana West made a mistake, and who says that her account of history is inaccurate. She had a lot more references in her research than have been offered by her critics. Mostly what I have read from her critics has been opinion only.

          • ziggy zoggy

            And all of that has NOTHING to do with West’s paranoid belief that the Soviets directed WW11.

          • Melissa

            You are right. This Chez character is worthless, and now he is resorting to ridicule. How very Alinskyish of him.

          • Rovidan

            Sorry, but this began as a blind-side barrage by these two (Horowitz and Radosh). They aren’t writing as critics, they are engaged in a full-out attack on the person of West. Joe is absolutely correct, the feeble critique of her work does little to disguise the fact that she has, very obviously struck a very painful nerve with them. It will be quite interesting to see their charade come unraveled in the coming days.

          • ziggy zoggy

            He is not attacking West at all. He is simply criticizing her shoddy scholarship and pre-formed conclusions.

          • Melissa

            I absolutely agree. So many other targets, and yet we have a high-profile conservative attacking another conservative. This does not compute. Something stinks.

          • ziggy zoggy

            Famous? No offense to Horowitz or West but neither of them are famous and this subject is pretty damn obscure. And the last time I checked, this site is dedicated to fighting the left (and islam.) Many of the contributors here have made it their life’s work. Methinks thou art full of $hit.

          • joe

            Methinks you went off the rails at “methinks” because clearly you cannot.

          • ziggy zoggy

            I’m not going to give you a reacharound no matter how much you beg. Just enjoy your Cleveland steamer and let me know how West’s stupid book is the savation of mankind and FPM helps the left somehow. How are the @$$ herpes? Do they hurt?

          • ziggy zoggy

            What does any of that have to do with faulty scholarship and pre-formed conclusions.

        • Benjamin Kerstein

          That Zinn’s book has been a success in some quarters does not change the fact that it has been criticized and fought by many on the Left and the Right, which you claimed was not happening.

          • joe

            Zinn’s garbage (A People’s History of the United States) was published in 1980. 1980 – that’s 33 years ago. Good Lord! – how long does it take for these gung-ho intellectuals to have some positive effect on the direction of our educational institutions. Your heroes were driven from the sandbox. It’s far to late to boast about how valiant were their failed efforts. Like I said before, I’m too old to buy into the myth you’re attempting to circulate. It’s time to paint our enemies boldly with the blackest brush available. I’m sick of giving quarter to our enemies in the name of intellectual snobbery and tolerance.

          • Chez

            I see. So because Horowitz’s tireless efforts have not produced the desired results, he “quit the battle”. Quite a testimonial.

          • joe

            No, valiant but failed efforts is the testimonial to which I refer. Zinn’s tripe was written 33 years ago. That’s not far from the time that Horowitz was still a lefty. So I know he knows better than most how damaging this pedantic excursion can be – since at one time he was one of them. I don’t know who all of the enablers of leftism were three decades ago. They were legion, and they’ve done untold damage to the fabric of our republic. My point, consistently, has been that Horowitz could devote his time better to attacking those on the left rather than hair splitting with those on the Right. I know you understand that. You’re just taking potshots about “testimonials “. Whatever.

          • Chez

            First, he’s a “hypocrite” for not attacking Zinn. Then, he’s “laudable” for doing so. Then, you accuse him of “quitting the battle”. Now, you call his efforts “valiant.” I do say, your dialectics have much to be desired.

            David Horowitz has done more for the cause of academic freedom than any other soul in America…and all you can do is whine about him not doing more. Where’s the gratitude?

          • ziggy zoggy

            We don’t have to lie to blacken them.

          • Richard Hiltbrunn

            The problem Benjamin, is that Zinn’s book is quoted and promoted much more than most any conservative or moderate history. That is a win for the left, even if a few on the left, middle, and right criticize him. The effect of the pass that Zinn has received by many. for many years, has had a strong effect on a lot of students.

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      • ziggy zoggy

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  • Teleologicus

    Diana West’s book is a polemic. It is not a work of academic history. Polemics are designed to get and hold attention, inflame emotions, provoke thought, create collective action, generate or amplify political change etc. There is such a thing as polemical license. Academic historians understandably are alarmed and appalled by this Dionysic commotion and default reflexively to their Apollonian mode to set the record straight. It is a good thing to set and keep the record straight. I am grateful that there are scholars willing to devote their lives to this frequently humble and rewarding task. We cannot do without such people and their labors.

    Perhaps it is the very nature of academia and scholarship and its Apollonian style that causes so many of its acolytes to react instinctively with shock, fear, horror, disgust and loathing with the Dionysic mode in the form of polemical partisan propaganda. Maybe such a confrontation with intellectual passion and wildness is really for them like an encounter with the Absurd. They seem in any case to become disoriented, to lose their bearings, and to struggle to right themselves and regain control by doing what they know how to do and do best, namely setting the record straight. But this cannot possibly succeed in such cases, for political polemic, partisan propaganda, is not about setting the record straight. It is about lighting a fire under people and stoking it for all it is worth. This is very disturbing to a certain type of mind whose instant urge is to damp the flames, quiet the commotion, restore the reign of dispassionate and disinterested reason and, above all, disperse the mob that has begun to gather.

    Those of an academic, Apollonian cast of mind should pause to consider whether there is not at times also a need for the clamor and messy bustle of the Dionysic here on this darkling plain where ignorant armies clash by night. Polemicists like Diana West are not engaged in classroom exercises or works of scholarship. They are trying to sound an alarm, wake the sleeping populace, ringing a fire bell in the night. They are above all trying to attract attention and to get people thinking about what is going on. Diana West has succeeded admirably in this. It is a mistake and a confusion to critique her book as though it were a history book. It is not. It is a book of partisan propaganda, and a very good one at that. We need more like it. The more people who read it, the better.

    Is it the Sacred and Inviolable historical truth? Is it the last word in historical scholarship on the topics it addresses? Of course not! How absurd even to think such a thing. That is not what it is for. My impresssion is the the Frontpage writers attacking -for that is not too strong a word- Ms. West and her book are doing so because they have mistaken a brilliant work of propaganda for a scholarly historical contribution. They are therefore barking up the wrong tree.

    • Sue Sponte

      Yes it’s a polemic, a deeply flawed one, the merits of the critique of which you completely avoid with your bromides.

      • Richard Hiltbrunn

        Flawed in some parts, but flawed, in interpretation, for the most part. The facts should still be known. By and large, those facts have been left unsaid for a long time, by most on the conservative side. I don’t think we need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ Jason P

    With all due respect, Mr. Harf, your points raise more questions than they answer.

    You claim that without our entry into the war Stalin would have conquered all of continental Europe (4 & 5). Do you mean this with or without Lend Lease? I read conflicting claims. Radosh says we had to help Stalin to keep the USSR in the war. You say we had to enter to limit his power. In (6) you entertain the view that without our entry Hitler would have dominated.

    • Andy in FL

      I was thinking along these same lines. In the absence of US aid to the Soviets and/or no US entry into the war in Europe, I think Rommel would have been reinforced and resupplied thus enabling his advance to Cairo and thence to Basra and elsewhere, perhaps north for a meet up with the 4th Panzer Army. Think Rommel was out of action after El Alamein? Just look at the forces Kesselring threw into Tripoli in response to operation Torch. A German victory in Egypt would have enabled the Germans to advance and eventually capture British oil supplies in Basra which would have choked the British war machine. This was Churchill’s greatest fear. It may have also enabled a German/ Japanese hook up. With the British out of action in the Mediterranean, Wehrmacht forces, including army and air in Italy and the surrounding areas, would have been freed from this theatre to be thrown against the Soviet front.

  • Benjamin Kerstein

    My thanks to Mr. Herf for this excellent piece.

  • Charles Martel

    Do you honestly think that using liberal tactics such as calling those disagreeing with your point of view Nazis is going to deflect the criticism? Fortunately those tactics are about worn out and no longer effective.

    McCarthy has been proven mostly correct. Did he make a few mistakes, certainly. His overall assessment of our situation was correct as written about by Ann Coulter, Whitaker Chambers, and shown in the Verona file.

    • Le Fox

      Yes, because Diana West clearly deserves defending because she is the Messiah!

      Big deal. She got criticized, she needs to deal with it and grow up. There have been better books done by better authors. Her? She doesn’t need criticism, because everyone is just Communist Pinko scum, dammit!

      Don’t you think calling those with a different point of view communists make you more noble? Because that is what Diana West did, and look at her little fans ready to lick up the slobber.

  • Bill Tracy

    Well its official, we have an all out war against Diana West being waged by FrontPageMag. My question is why? If the goal is to kill the book I think the publicity you are providing will do just the opposite. And why the seeming vitriol and sense of urgency in these attacks and sudden removal of the positive review? I found her previous book to be excellent and very important reading. I haven’t read this book but I certainly will now. And if it is as bad as these attacks make it out to be I think I will be capable of figuring that out all by myself, and so will everyone else.

    • ziggy zoggy

      Bildo Trashy, why the projection?

      • http://www.catwyp.com/ ColdHeartedPatriot

        Piggy Poggy, what projection?

        • ziggy zoggy

          ColdFartedPooter,
          the all out war. You sock puppet trolls have declared war on valid criticism of a monumentally $hitty book and its demented author.
          Pinch your cheeks and hold in what’s left of your brain.

          • http://www.catwyp.com/ ColdHeartedPatriot

            Piggy Poggy, hyperbole we much? Sounds like you have a real hard-on against this book. Getting the bonfire ready?

          • ziggy zoggy

            I have a hard on against sock puppet trolls. West refuses to revise her mistakes or even discuss them. I don’t need to burn a book nobody will read.

          • http://www.catwyp.com/ ColdHeartedPatriot

            So you claim no one has read her “monumentally $hitty book.” And yet there are mistakes…..hmmm. How were they discovered? Did Radosh lay his head on the book and let the “mistakes” seep in thru osmosis? And do you swallow all of Radosh’s seepage?
            Or perhaps in the heady excitement of your troll-boner, you simply spurted out an accidental generalization.
            Also, I got your sock puppet right here.

  • http://www.clarespark.com/ Clare Spark

    The debate between professional historians and Diana West, an amateur, is no sideshow, but will determine whether our nation survives, perhaps whether we live or die. I wrote about pseudo-moderation vs. moderation yesterday. See http://clarespark.com/2013/08/08/neocons-academics-melodrama/. “Neocons, acadademics, melodrama.”

  • Matt McLaughlin

    Please, the whole rocket program was (ex?)-Nazis. It wasn’t until 1980 the USA threw out its first Nazi. Minimization here in attempt to make the USA Jew-happy.

  • jtrollla

    I am extremely discouraged to see Diana West self-destruct, and also surprised at her petulance. She is a credible opponent of Islam and she should stick to that. She obviously is in way over her head in AMERICAN BETRAYAL.

  • catorenasci

    Is this turning into some sort of reductio American version of the Historikerstreit with the popularizer West cast in the role of the actual historian Ernst Nolte? While ‘historian’ is no longer my day gig, I’ve read fairly widely in the 20th century European and US literature bearing on these issues. From this, I have long concluded that the stubborn, sticky conglomeration of the facts make understanding this period in clear, clean terms, nearly impossible. Although I’m no fan of the National Socialists or their handiwork, I am inclined to think Nolte had the better of the argument in the Historikerstreit and that his view of a European civil war (the title of his famous 1987 book – though I read the 2000 edition with the intro essay on the controversy after a decade and letter from Furet) is useful.

    West, and I think most of conservative writers of some stature who have been receptive to her so far, are, I think, very much pushing back against the left’s historical revisionsim and have, in the process, pushed beyond what the sources support. The influence of communists and fellow travelers in the US was much greater than the common narrative would have it, or even than the old ‘consensus’ view of the ’60s saw. I suppose that someone who wrote a book intended to be popular, which summarized, but did not over-interpret, the findings from the various serious historians who have pioneered the understanding of Venona and Soviet espionage and influence, probably couldn’t sell the book, and thus we’re left with the sort of out-running of the evidence American Betrayal represents.

  • Phil

    West argues that it was a Soviet-German war and we should have let it go the full fifteen rounds and then dealt with whichever was still standing. A key question, then, is who the winner might have been and in what condition he would have confronted us. I wouldn’t characterize this as isolationist, just neutral. Both regimes were repulsive.

    What does Prof. Herf have to say about the outcome of the war had we stayed on the sideline? He says two contradictory things in close proximity:

    “Had Roosevelt not intervened in the war, it would likely have ended with the Red Army on the coast of France.”

    “One implication of West’s argument is that the United States should not have intervened in World War II in Europe and thus should have stood by passively as Nazi Germany dominated Europe.”

    So who’s on the coast of France, the Reds or the Nazis?

    • Jukka

      As an American Finn whose abroad family was forced out of Karelia, I find it impossible to go the full dhimmi about the Red Army in Europe or be so cavalier about “what might have happened.”

      You see, what happened, happened. There are people still alive today who lived through it. My father (long ago passed) went to volunteer with the Finnish Army in 1939, he felt that strongly about the matter. Also we hate/d the Nazis as much as we hated “The Neighbor.” That’s the problem with being a tiny independent republic constantly overrun by clashing empires. Finland was not yet 21 when Stalin rolled in after Molotov and Ribbentrop had carved up the Baltic states between USSR and Germany.

      But what’s history and living memory for me and my family is a game for elites in their ivory towers. Reading West’s book, I got the feeling that that’s exactly what it is for her. Something remote enough from her intended audiences that she can say pretty much anything…and if questioned, play the amygdala card. I suppose today’s younger readers, raised on a steady diet of ever more jittery and flashy mediated content, expect that. God knows they never learned any real history in their schooling, nor critical thinking.

      People can build careers making outrageous assertions about history, and winning over readers who don’t know shite from shinola. But in the end, history is supposed to be about people. Not ideas. To exploit people’s lived experience in this way is exactly what the Leninists did. Finland fought a terrible civil war over that.

      The hysteria of West’s supporters, who cannot stand to see any of her facts questioned, belongs more on the left than in the pages of FPM. I’m seriously bummed to see it here. It feels more like screechings and turfwars of Kos, Puff Ho, DU, etc. My father, the Karelian American freedom fighter, was a conservative and a Republican, and later he fought in the South Pacific in the USN. He was such a calm man, who could express his political views in calm, reasoned, and manly terms.

      We are conservative but open minded Republicans way back; I was raised that way. I am so sad and sick and sorry to see what conservatism and the GOP have become.

      Communism and fascism are no longer the big problems. Religio-political fundamentalism/orthodoxy and emotive outbursts are. The stoic, tolerant, mature calm of conservatism has been replaced by something that looks very much like cultural Marxism, or any other form of jihad.

      In a way, West’s supporters are like my Marxian lefty/progressive friends: they truly do believe in Communism’s power. I was taught that in the trenches on the Mannerheim Line, the brutalized Finns stood up beyond any reasonable expectation of resistance by singing over and over:

      They are so many
      Our land is so tiny
      Where will we room
      To bury them all?

      In other words, refusing to believe in the power of the Red Army.

      It is time to bury the USSR and Communism and look to the future. Anything else just keeps it alive. Can we have a conservatism in the west that can exist outside of the Marxian dialectic of anti-Communism? I’m starting to wonder…and despair.

  • TienBing

    Teleologicus gives the best analysis of the brouhaha Radosh and Horowitz have generated over Diana West’s book that I have read. It explains much.

    The attacks on West’s book are for the most part mere nitpicking at details. Quibbling over the true identity of agent 19 for example; was he this advisor or that advisor? – as if that was really a major issue. Maybe IF West was wrong, it could demonstrate that she used a poor source to identify a specific Soviet agent, but since both suspects were advisors that had impact on US policy, it is a minor error. Her overriding point is that the US government at the highest levels was infiltrated by Soviet agents and US policy was heavily influenced by communists for communist goals since the 1930s. She further posits that the infiltration was more widespread and the effects are more consequential than we acknowledge. In light of what we do know about soviet infiltration and influence on US policy, her thesis is not particularly controversial and at worst a mere embellishment. The antagonism displayed by Mr. Radosh and Mr. Horowitz puzzles me. They could have printed their original reviewers piece, then supplemented it with a more critical analysis of their own, pointing out how and why in their estimation, some of her assertions were extreme – based on their research. This could have been done without the insult, sneers, or rancor. Instead they picked a fight.

    • Flicker

      Exactly. Something is wrong here. When someone attacks with undue rancor, he is mad about something else, disingenuous about his true intentions, and unable to make a simple and clear argument. This is the demoncrats’ tactics. This is what was done to all the Rep presidential candidates for 2012. I expect to find that West is right.

      • ziggy zoggy

        So if somebody criticizes poor scholarship and pre-formed conclusions that means they have anger issues?

        • Flicker

          No, what I’m saying is that when someone does something you don’t want them to do, and when you can’t form a cogent argument, you bluster and ridicule and call the person an idiot.

          There’s something powerful in West’s book her critics don’t want anyone to contemplate, lest people should realize it’s true.

          • Flicker

            I mean, look what they did to Snowden. It seems pretty apparent that what he said was by and large true, so those who want to hide what he said point at the peripheral points, pointing wildly and shouting (metaphorically speaking) in order to distract from the substance of the message.

          • ziggy zoggy

            Radosh, Horowitz and Herf made exceedingly cogent appraisals of West’s book. The only bluster and ridicule comes from her sock puppet troll supporters.
            And Snowden is a traitor. He could have leaked his wad to Fox News and Congress but he chose to blow America’s enemies.

    • ziggy zoggy

      West thinks the Soviets controlled American policy during WW11 and even a bit afterward. That is a major issue.

      • TienBing

        It is an issue worth exploring.

        • ziggy zoggy

          It is an issue worth deploring.

      • TienBing

        The question is to what extent? Or: Where does influence leave off and control begin?

        I would stop shy of saying that the Soviets directly controlled American policy. I would say that communists and Soviet sympathizers, in high positions within the US government, acted in collusion if not always organized conspiracy, to manipulate decisions to reflect both Soviet interests and long term communist goals.

    • Julius O’Malley

      A succinct and excellent analysis of this sorry saga. Thank you.

  • stone7

    Historians rarely mention American lend lease to the WWII Soviets. And when they do, there’s never a number attached to it. They’ll say something like it was critical to the Soviet defense or something similarly vague.

    The fact is, there would have been no post WWII Soviet Union without lend lease.

    If this isn’t domination what is? When you convince some one to save your bacon, do you not dominate them? It’s a matter of perspective I guess.

    Only if we knew a real dollar amount would we be able to clearly see this issue.

    Historians tell us that Roosevelt called Stalin ‘Uncle Joe’, but they never tell us what Stalin called Roosevelt. Was it dumbass?, maybe sucker?, or maybe Uncle dumbass?

    • ReyR

      “[Stalin] treated the President respectfully, as an elder.” –
      From “Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin: The War They Waged and the Peace They Sought” by Herbert Feis (1967). This is not the original text, though. I translated it back to English from the Russian version.

    • ReyR

      “The fact is, there would have been no post WWII Soviet Union without lend lease.”
      Hmm. You could have written a shorter and more powerful sentence. Like this: “The fact is, Russia lives by our mercy”.
      A fact indeed.

      • stone7

        You’ve done your job. You’ve nullified my comment. But it took two full blasts.

        It’s my comment, my grammar. And I did say it was a matter of perspective.

        • ReyR

          I’m known to be a very slow thinker, but I like to entertain myself in a petty way whenever I can. That is, whenever my homeland is slighted. I wish I had a bit more time for this hobby, though. Paid trolls and academic historians make me green with envy.

  • Shari Goodman

    The battle to defeat totalitariansim will not be won by engaging in intellectual debate or scholarly research as indicated by the Left’s successful rise to power in the United States. By demonizing and marginalizing Diane West, you fail to see the forest for the trees. Inadvertendly you have handed the Left a win and damaged the Conservative quest in the process.

    • Solo712

      This is a patently silly way to argue. The issue is not who finds comfort in Diane West’s ideas but whether the historical picture she paints is true and accurate. It isn’t. The ‘conservative quest’ can and should do without hysterical bloviation. Ask Conrad Black who wrote a brilliant, sympathetic biography of F.D.R. without compromising historical truth.

      • Teleologicus

        I won’t deny that it, i.e. polemical partisan rhetoric, is, technically speaking, a patently silly way to argue. It has only to be noted that, from a certain perspective, human beings are patently silly creatures. Our documented behavior, as opposed to our professed ideals, has always left much to be desired. In matters of political disagreement we tend to be at our worst. We do well enough to avoid overt physical violence in such disagreements. Politics is a dirty business. It is by no means a pure search for truth. It seems that our Leftist antagonists have long understood this and governed themselves accordingly. That is one of the reasons Barack Obama is president. The fantasy that political propaganda and partisan polemic can and should be some sort of scholarly enterprise whose principal aim is to avoid error is a figment of the academic imagination. The world does not work that way. People are not like that. Professors are not like that.

        The ‘conservative quest’ is a quest for political power to preserve and advance conservative values. Political power is acquired by ‘raising the consciousness’ of the voters. It is necessary to wake them up, get their attention, arouse emotion, incite indignation, bring them to a boil so they will vote the incumbent bums out and vote our bums in. This is not achieved by scrupulous attention to detail, historical accuracy, footnotes, citations and proclamations from experts in a specialized field of study. It is done, in a nutshell, by riling enough people up to vote the way we(conservatives) want them to vote.

        I have read Diana West’s book. I have some familiarity with the topics and the era it covers. I certainly do not concur with all of her theories, which are most certainly subject to debate. But there is a great deal in her book that is factually, indisputably true, and of which many,perhaps most Americans, have been blissfully unaware. My objection to attacks on her book is that they seem to want to discourage potential readers from examining it themselves. They seem to claim that EVERYTHING in the book is wrong or misguided. This is false and misleading. There is much valuable information in Diana West’s book. The picture painted of it by Professor Radosh and others is seriously and puzzlingly misleading. It is one thing to indicate areas of disagreement and to note alleged errors of fact or differences of interpretation; it is quite another to trash the entire work by representing it as a tissue of lies and falsehoods with absolutely no redeeming value whatsoever. Like other posters, I am surprised and dismayed that Frontpage, of all sites, is waging this jihad against a book that is unquestionably worth reading, if for no other reason than to see for oneself what all the fuss is about. The controversy has long since taken on a personal, nasty, ad hominem tone that is decidedly unedifying.

        The bottom line for me is that Diana West, like the infamous Senator McCarthy, though she is mistaken about some things and gets carried away on others, is on the whole much more right than wrong. She is strong medicine for what ails us, but diseases desperate grown are by desperate means relieved or not at all. Her intended audience is the general public, not a conclave of scholars, professors and academics. And the general public desperately needs to know some of the information she makes available.

        • TimeTraveler303

          Thank you for your considered message. I agree that Ms. West’s book is intended to awaken at least some people who may be totally unaware. It is not a “history book.”

        • Flicker

          Well put. Thanks. The vicious ad hominems along with the broad condemnation of the book make me sure it’s something that should be read.

          • ziggy zoggy

            What ad hominems?

  • Guest

    that’s simply an evasion, a poor debater’s trick.

    • joe

      Yep. You got me. I’m a poor debater. I’m so chagrinned.

  • Guest

    Are you sure Hoover had that opinion? I just read a bio of him I don’t think so.

  • george mack

    Sorry, can’t see how, if numerous German military and political leaders should have been put before a war crimes court, the same does not aply to the Soviets.

    • ReyR

      They would, had the US won the war. Unfortunately, we won it. Not that we had any choice: Russians never fancied American justice, let alone the idea of confronting her. We may be too partial, but we don’t like that her blindfold is on one side only. Things have changed precious little since then: we still dislike American justice. That’s why keep the Perimeter system. Just in case American justice becomes emotionally unstable. Again.

      • cjkcjk

        The real hypocrites are the evil liars who preach moral equivalence like yourself.

        • ReyR

          A hypocrite is someone with double standards and no true moral values, like America of the recent decades. This is exactly why it is collapsing, and exactly the reason of your bitterness.

          • cjkcjk

            Not bitter, just pointing out the truth about you people.

          • ReyR

            … while your nation is collapsing.

          • cjkcjk

            No argument there, but at least we reached a height to collapse from!
            Piss poor backwardass dirt dwellers like you people never ever got out of the slime. LOL.

          • ReyR

            …bragged a dhimmi wasp whose entire vinyl “property” could be lost in the bathroom of my three-story brick house. It’s about time sickly dumpster divers like you learned to respect their betters.

          • cjkcjk

            Hey there third world loser & family, I thought I was supposed to be the angry one?!!! LOL!
            Do icebacks like you & family even have green cards?
            Proud (snicker) Russian? LOL!

          • ReyR

            Simple Simon, I have no time for you. It’s a good thing that you are going to rot in your obamized wilderness. Unfortunately, your ilk have been moving over here in their hundreds, we already have too many of so called expat communities, even where I live, and our feds are doing nothing about this. That’s what truly makes me angry. At least you give me hope, Creepy Joe Kook, such as you will stay put, because you’re a patriot. Take care.

          • cjkcjk

            Simple Simon says the FOOL who equates the Soviet Unions actions with that of the USA .
            Your ilk & family deserve to live under Soviet style rule.

          • ziggy zoggy

            Enjoy your government bread and Arctic Winter, comrade.

          • ReyR

            Said ZZ: “Yeah, well look who is in the White House and look at who controls all government agencies. We’ll be lucky if we survive this – and he has three more years to drive us under.”
            Sometimes I wonder if my shepherds have more sense than you lot. My dogs at least know when they should bark and when to keep mum..

          • ziggy zoggy

            Not heartless? I’m guessing you are d!ckless, though.

          • ReyR

            My only consolation is that the scum pouring over here now are not half as bad as the ballast that left us for the stateside back in the nineties, and they also bring some cash as they arrive. On the other hand, bozos like you will face the blissful future hand in hand with green-carded losers that we were lucky to get rid of. Proletarians of all countries, unite – in the impoverished Disunited States.

          • cjkcjk

            Go back to your third world sh*thole you proud (snicker) Russian. LOL!

        • ReyR

          A hypocrite has double standards and no moral values, like yourself, a confused dhimmi.

          • cjkcjk

            Those fool hypocrites who preach moral equivalence like you are the true self-aggrandizers.
            I guess that’s all you third rate peoples have though.

    • http://libertyatstake.blogspot.com/ Joseph G Figliola

      The only way to get what you say you would have wanted was to take Patton’s advice and declare war on Stalin in 1945. (i.e. ‘Kick the Red Army’s butts back to Moscow where they belong.’) There might be a parallel universe where this alternate history unfolded. Perhaps you should get started on discovering it.

  • Jsjk

    All I can say is — Birchers and ZOGs — they share so much in their “thought processes”. (Needn’t bother arguing with these “true believers” — they’re fantasists).

  • AlexanderGofen

    The USSR was a hell much earlier then Germany became a hell under Hitler, and the USSR remained a hell long after Hitler’s Germany defeat.

    The USSR was already a hell in the 1920s. How and why did Roosevelt and Churchill dare to diplomatically recognize that monster at all in the early 30s?! If nothing else, this alone proves that already in the 1930s both Britain and the US were under heaviest Bolshevik pressure and lost their bearings completely. However that was only the beginning. As soon as Sovetskich were allowed to set their foot in the West, the West was trapped (incapable even to fathom the kind of villainy it is going to deal with).

    Read the Icebreaker of Victor Suvorov. Read “American Betrayal” of Diana West – and make your mind on your own.

    When a pack of historians [in civilian uniforms] suddenly jumps in to answer a call, and Front Page suddenly retracts a review merely for being uninformed, you know, the party is very displeased…

    http://www.resonoelusono.com/HarshLetterToMembers.htm

    http://www.resonoelusono.com/2008vs1917.htm

  • http://www.clarespark.com/ Clare Spark

    I defended professional historians from populist muckrakers here: http://clarespark.com/2013/08/09/melodrama-and-its-appeal/. “Melodrama and its appeal.” It was a follow up to the yesterday’s blog on real moderates versus pseudo-moderates.

    • Solo712

      “Unmaskers” indeed ! I have noted that since Margaret Thatcher told Gorbachev that “Stalin was Hitler’s senior partner in their alliance [sic]” WWII history has become a sacred truther territory. BTW, I don’t buy the argument that West’s lack of academic training in history has anything to do with her proclivity to melodrama. It’s a more general problem. I think it was E. J. Hobsbawm who said that ideology is to historians what poppies are to heroin addicts. And then, as you say ,there is the Internet, a tool whose primary purpose seems to be to replace literate civility with scatterbrained fascination.

  • Rüdiger Plantiko

    “We historians” against Diana West. This “argument”, which is present between the lines in a vast part of this article, is suspicious in itself.

    The times of academic bastions are over. Everybody is entitled to speak out facts. If you have facts against West’s theses – let them speak. But don’t believe that it suffices to put your opinions against facts (“the isolationists are inconsequent”, “the German army staff was the incarnation of evil”, “Diana West contradicts the claims of the whole scientific community”, her conclusions are “grotesque” – if so: what are the *facts* disproving here. I am not interested in your scientific medals and honours).

    Apart from claiming a privilege of speaking out truthes for the “scientific community”, which is not a fact but the rhetoric argument “by authority”: the demonization of the whole staff of the German army (as in “argument” #2) doesn’t sound very scientific to me. Unbelievable that there weren’t bad guys and good guys as well, as in every other group.

    • glennd1

      So, if Diana West was to write a book on physics that defied what is accepted by most physicists, you wouldn’t take into account that she has no formal education in physics? Do you take into account the credentials and expertise of people when evaluating the truth of their claims? Sure, it’s not the only criteria you should use, but it is still important, yes?

      You see, we can’t all spend the painstaking years it takes to really become an expert in any subject. So, we rely on the credibility of “experts” to seek truth. Our protection comes from diversity of thought within the discipline itself – scholars who all possess the requisite basic knowledge and experience in a subject who disagree with each other wrt facts or interpretation.

      None of that is actually replaced in the internet age. What’s sad is that many people are making a buck of positioning themselves as “experts” on subjects who simply haven’t the requisite background of knowledge and experience to do so, but can write convincing polemic.

      Me? I’m interested in the academic debate on the topic, rather than the snarling paranoia of Ms. West. You? Well you are free to follow her and Robert Spencer – and the moron who now apes him, Pam Geller. Or folks like Lew Rockwell and Tom Woods and all the people on the web who ape the pose of legitimate academics and seekers of truth in order to flack for their priors.

      Fyi, there are many great books written by lay people on all kinds of topics that address and even challenged status quo beliefs in academia. In a different discipline, see the writing of Charles Mann in 1491 and 1493. His approach is an intellectual tour of what the great minds in anthropology and related fields believe about the development of indigenous people’s in the Americas. He asks questions, but reserves the right to argue for those who have the standing to do so.

      West could have done the same, and rested more strongly on the authority of others and less so on her hypothesis. But instead, she “jumps the shark”. It doesn’t concern you that respected historians find this line of reasoning a joke? What other work of historians do you reject? Why should we listen to any historian at all if instead we can just digest the ramblings of anyone with equal credulousness. Do you see the rathole of nonsense one can slip into by following your line of ‘reasoning’?

      • Rüdiger Plantiko

        Your physics analogy is lame, since physics are an exact science. But anyway – yes: If she had good arguments why Einstein was wrong, I would have a look at them. It could simply be checked whether the arguments are (a) right, or (b) wrong. In physics, there is no third option.

        History differs in at least two ways from physics:

        (1) you don’t need 2 to 4 years+ to understand the basics of the discipline. As your lay study examples show, everybody can contribute facts from own research in archives, old newspapers, correspondences and the like. They don’t even need to bend in humility before the history professionals, as you suggested being necessary – they can contribute their own interpretation of the facts: since the process of interpreting facts is not objectivable anyway (i.e. history not being exact science), the professionals don’t have a monopoly on their interpretations.

        (2) as Jeffrey Herf’s article shows – as well as in Diana West’s book – facts are always mixed with opinion, with interpretation (the author always being sure to have convincingly linked the facts with his interpretations, leaving the judgement to the reader). A basic premise of Herf’s essay is, for example, that all the German WWII officers where satanic, 100% Nazi, fanatically evil men, with no exception. This is an opinion which as he says is shared by the “scientific community” on the issue – argueing against such an opinion would be “grotesque”. If there are contradicting facts, like the well-known attempts of Canaris, Boeselager et al. to collaborate with the USA and to throw out the Nazi regime – then these facts have to be downplayed and squeezed until they fit to the opinion: “These guys were Nazi too, they only wanted to save what could be saved, in the face of the imminent destruction of Germany” – “Stauffenberg, White Rose etc. were not the ‘good’ resistance, like e.g. the ‘Red Chapel’ was.” – “They had no chance anyway, they were too weak and too few” (true, because they got no help from outside their totalitarian country).

        Even more, a nation’s history is “public domain” of the citizens. The narrative that you have of your own country’s history is a common property, contributing to the national identity. If these studies don’t leave the University to be shared and discussed with everybody, there is the danger of academic inbreeding and false paradigms ulcerating in the areas protected from the public (see Horowitz’ studies on indoctrination by leftist ideology in Universities).

        I consider Diana West’s book as a contribution to this continuous national identity-building process. Open for discussion, of course. But from critics, I expect to invalidate her facts, not simply devaluating her research because she is “only” a journalist. She has worked diligently – and only by disproving her facts, you could really counter her conclusions. For example: When the smoke is gone, I expect an answer from Diana West concerning Radosh’s arguments about “source 19″.

  • ameryx

    This seems like fun! May I play?

    As a historian of modern German history, including the Nazi era, I would add the following by drawing on a vast and excellent scholarship by historians of Germany and Europe that West appears to have ignored.

    Oh, good, so we can rely on what is to follow, backed as it is by Genuine Scholarship ®.

    the attempted anti-Nazi coup of July 20, 1933

    . Oh, dear, in trouble already. Prof. Herf doesn’t even get the right decade for the coup that failed on July 20, 1944.

    American entry into the war in Europe had everything to do with the defense of American national security and, initially preventing the defeat of Britain in 1940.

    Well, happily we are in the right decade, unless of course we are among the persnickety types who think the first year of a decade is the one that ends in ‘1’. Still and all, we have to contend with how America’s entry into the war, which followed Japan’s attack on December 7, 1941 prevented Great Britain’s defeat in 1940.

    Mere amateur that I am, I cannot boast of Genuine Scholarship®. Perhaps Prof. Herf will enlighten us on a time machine that America had. [Our]* Or perhaps his students should petition for a refund.

    Or perhaps FPM will disappear the errors the way they did the original review of Diane West’s book.

    * Corrected misspelling

  • reader

    Jeffrey, your arguments strike me as non-sequitur. The fact that Soviet official historians and Goebbels said what they said does not mean that Stalin did not maintain a vast network of illegals and was not bent on occupying Europe and more if he had a chance.

  • http://www.MARVINFOX.com/ Marvin E. Fox

    I would like to see a criticisms of Germany and its socialist conquest of the Eurozone countries of todays world. An explanation of why Germany ‘s economy went from negative to flourishing from the year 2000 after it formed the Eurozone would be interesting. Socialism has been more successful since it changed its methodology from making war to making politics. however successful in the short term, It appears the long term results will be the same in both cases.
    Marvin Fox

  • RCraigen

    What’s going on? My earlier comment on this thread was, I believe, perfectly civil, but it seems to have been wiped. Is it because I linked to Diana West’s rebuttal of the earlier piece and referred to Radosh’s apparent tactics of lining up people with credentials to bolster his argument … proof by badge-flashing … ?

  • hrwolfe

    I first had a lot of hope concerning Ms. West’s book. I am very familiar with quite a bit of the content and have been hopeful that somebody would put into lay terms all that DID go on in the 20’s-50’s concerning Soviet espionage in the US. If the American people had a better grasp of how badly we have been compromised in the past they may be more vigilant today and have less of a cow concerning the Patriot Act, though not to give the Government Carte Blanch but this seriously needs attention. As an unemployed Mold Maker I spent $15.00 and $5.00 for parking plus gas from Corona to West LA (about 70 miles and back) to see Ms. West talk on her new book. At first I was enthused but as the talk went on things popped up that I was unfamiliar with then she mentioned a Historian that she was having a problem with. At the moment I hoped to myself that it was NOT Ron Radosh. After the talk I was chatting with some of her family and one person would not name Mr. Radosh but he said if he blinked twice, and he did. Radosh has a lot of credibility with me and now I am very sorry for her effort to be for naught. A true telling of the period’s history is very much needed, condensed and annotated for blue collar readers, not some conjecture by a reporter, which she continually referred to herself as. She was amazed she was of the few who saw what she feels she uncovered. Another author did a similar thing with his book the Imperial Cruise. James Bradley, author of Flags of our Fathers and Flyboys also wrote The Imperial Cruise. I read Flyboys and though he tells a very good accounting of the events on the island of Chichi Jima’s during WWII, you can sense something brewing underneath. I did not read Flags because of this but I came across his Imperial Cruise and skimmed it in the book store than saw him talk about it on a u-tube piece. Again he claims to be the only one to put all the dots together to see that Teddy Roosevelt’s diplomacy put the US on an irreversible course to WWII with Japan. I think this is preposterous but when somebody claims to be the only one to see it, I get suspicious and that is how I felt after Ms. West’s talk about her book. I do hope all ruffled feathers get smoothed and we can all move forward, sometimes you want it so bad but you can not speculate to achieve truth, which is what we are all about.

  • George Ford

    David Horowitz,

    You allow this sentence to be published on your site?

    “West’s argument about Soviet domination over American policy evokes disturbing parallels to the Nazi interpretation of World War II.”

    You have lost me.

  • narciso

    Oddly other figures who were more familiar with that period have come to similar conclusions, re Hopkins;

    http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/coldwar/interviews/episode-6/de_toledo2.html

    • glennd1

      Nope, not true, he does not call him a Soviet spy, he calls him an agent of influence. Also, nothing in the interview contravenes anything said by Radosh and Herf. Goose step much?

  • narciso

    As did the late Herbert Romerstein and Eric Breindel, were they wrong.

  • DogmaelJones1

    No, it’s David Horowitz, Jamie Glazov, and others against the truth they want to “rewrite.” Perhaps they should adopt new names: Winston Smith1, Winston Smith 2, Winston Smith3, and so on. Radosh? He can play O’Brien.

    • $1420579

      So, let’s see, You accept the reasoning of a non-historian (who isn’t an academic either), who is not a recognized expert on this topic over that of actual historians of repute who are recognized experts? Out of hand? And accuse those critics of being Orwellian when in fact they are offering substantive criticism of West based on facts? Tell me, do you have a secret collection of Nazi trinkets that you play with when nobody is around?

  • DogmaelJones1

    What? Another of my comments removed? If you don’t care for what I have to say, and are so sensitive about it, then please remove me from your mailing list. God, you people are beginning to behave like thin-skinned Muslims.

    • T.A.

      I wouldn’t worry about something like that. Software does strange things sometimes. Once I found a comment I had placed, only it appeared as if it were made by someone else. I doubt it was the result of a conspiracy against me though.

      • glennd1

        Yeah, not true. Disqus does not misplace comments – but it allows moderators to do whatever they want them. I have had comments deleted here because they were critical of FP or contained content they just didn’t like, and have also seen entire comment streams deleted here. Don’t blame software gremlins – it’s moderator gremlins…

  • devilof76
  • Elpi Nipni

    David Horowitz,
    Is it an open season on Diana West? come on, “experts” join the hunt. especially if you are David’s friends.
    I admit that I did not bother to read above commentary because it’s like reading the New York Times so why bother since there is no chance to find the truth there.
    Diana West, on her part, has warned the reader that the book might change his perspective, it seems that these “scholars” simply cannot handle the book’s view.
    The response to this book is an indication of how we are going to deal with Islam, the next great enemy of America [see Stacklebeck]. Only this enemy is now protected by the likes of Radosh, Herft and now Horowitz of all people.
    I am not a scholar but I am no ignoramous either. One’s accomplishments can not be counted by the number of books he has written in order to get his point across. Diana West did it by writting two invaluable books [as far as I know]. The “Death of the Grownups” that was only a preparation for The “Betrayal of America”.
    If one does not learn from history, one is bound to repeat it.

    • glennd1

      You actually are an ignoramus, prima facie. You didn’t even read the critique, yet you reject it? Radosh and Herf are scholars on the subjects and have dedicated their lives to the topic. West studied in English as an undergrad at Yale – yet you’ll reject their commentary in favor of Radosh?

      Tell me, are you a big Pat Buchanan fan too? Do you find that the sound of Wagner stirs your loins?

      • Westisthebest

        Oh, you just don’t understand. They’re not scholars, they’re “scholars.” Get it? They just dedicate a good portion of their lives to studying topics seriously. Ron Radosh took her apart in expert fashion until there was nothing left but a greasy spot.

        • $1420579

          Ah yes, the dreaded scare quotes. Such sophistry passes for wisdom on many a website these days. I find examining the other beliefs supporters of weird ideas hold. It’s very interesting how this is related to Nazi apologists like Buchanan and others. Many an “anti-communist” also seem to have a problem with our semitic friends. I’ve heard the line of reasoning from some strange folks in the past who excuse German anti-semitism behind being anti-Bolshevik.

          Just like in the libertarian movement, you find those who are overly critical of Lincoln at a certain point reveal themselves as New Confederacy types, who really are white separatists, who really are racists. But hey, 99% of the time they are just “anti-statists” who love Ron Paul and Lew Rockwell, who made common cause with such lowlifes in the ’90s. Many a cretin dresses up their hate in faux history – on the right and the left.

          Just sayin’…

      • Flicker

        People spend there lives studying physics, geology and meterology, and end up declaring that the earth is disastrously heating. They have the credentials, the professional respect and the published works. That doesn’t make them right. And it doesn’t take an equally hard-boiled scientist to understand the poor science and trickery they employ, either.

        After a certain point their reputation is more important than their honesty. And if their whole ouevre is based on poor preconceptions, and the unwillingness to face, and their need to dance around, a single terrible truth, you can expect them to react swiftly and vehemently to any alternative that exposes their biases.

        This happens all the time, even in the so-called hard sciences, the hallmark of which is supposed to be their provability. Why should it be any different in the field of history which is far more subjective?

        You don’t have to read every word of an article to know what it intends to portray. And conspiracies do exist, otherwise no one would have bothered to write laws against them. But there are things that no one wants to admit, and a subversion of the US by the USSR long ago (or the muslims today) may easily be one of them.

  • bj affordable

    I believe it was George Santanaya who said the following:- “Those who don’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.

    Tell that to a leftie and observe the blank look on their face.

    • Westisthebest

      What in the world has that to do with the article?
      I guess you just couldn’t think of anything else to say. Poor Johnny One-Note.

  • Taimoor Khan

    Holocaust was a brutal event which should be condemned by one and all. However, there have been genocides and massacres in history, some perpetrated by the ethnic group who was the victim in holocaust. To make holocaust a very special event in history was done by American zionists to further their interests in the middle east. I won’t spell holocaust with a capital “H”, and it should never be done.

  • Hallgard Vormann

    Being delighted to see such a skilled historian on FPM and having one of Herf’s books in my bookshelf (Reactionary Modernism)… this is not quite as impressive as I have seen him before.

    “West’s argument about Soviet domination over American policy evokes disturbing parallels to the Nazi interpretation of World War II.”

    Another name for that is guilt by association. It is like saying that all the Nazis did was wrong, and if you agree with them on any point you must be wrong and maybe a Nazi as well.

    Pointing your finger does not refute the argument. I was hoping that Herf would refute West’s claim with plain facts on this point, but he fails. Instead he throws in a logical fallacy.

    “[…] the German general staff and officer corps distinguished itself not only by its criminality in fighting a racial war of extermination on the Eastern Front but also by its fanatical determination to fight the war to the very last day.”

    Painting the German general staff and officer corps with a broad brush as criminals when the vast majority was never charged with anything at all despite plenty of opportunities, can’t be serious.

    And forgive me if I am wrong, but I thought the general staff, like the British or American was actually *supposed* to try to win the war. Or is Herf suggesting that the general staff first should demand soldiers to put their lives on the line, and then try to annihilate their own troops?

    One of the main reasons why there was stubborn fighting from the German side until the last day was the asinine demand of unconditional surrender. Even if Stauffenberg had succeeded in killing Hitler, there might have been a civil war, a broken front, and maybe Goebbels in charge – and Germany would still have to unconditionally surrender. In fact, they had no choice but to fight to the last day – “so oder so”. The United States would have done the same thing.

    “West’s suggestion that the United States or Britain should have had anything to do with the German army after its participation in the Holocaust and these massive crimes is grotesque.”

    Yet they didn’t have any qualms collaborating with Stalin after he had starved 6 million Ukrainian farmers to death in a genocide of his own. Did that somehow slip Herf’s mind?

    “One implication of West’s argument is that the United States should not have intervened in World War II in Europe and thus should have stood by passively as Nazi Germany dominated Europe.”

    1914: We must intervene to prevent Imperial Germany from dominating Europe.

    1940: We must intervene to prevent Nazi Germany from dominating Europe.

    2013: Germany dominates Europe.

    I guess the two world wars made all the difference. :)

  • Crusader Niels

    You guys don’t have to take my word for it that the Soviet Union was created and fully under the control of jews. Even Churchill admitted it as well. http://www.mosaisk.com/revolution/Winston-Churchill-Zionism-Versus-Bolshevism.php

  • barrycooper

    I have not read the book, but it is clear that both the IMF and UN were mdwifed into being by Soviet agents Alger Hiss and Harry Deter White. I also have no reason to doubt Whittaker Chambers claim that FDR said something close to “go to hell” when he accused Hiss in the late thirties.

    I used to come to this site a lot, but am seeing too frequently what to my mind is pedantry which misses the bigger picture, combined with a failure to grasp that our greatest enemies currently draw government paychecks. Al Queda has alwaysbeen no more than an operative pretext. This conclusion is clear once you grasp that it is IMPOSSIBLE that Tower 7 fell due to “the combustion of office furnishi.gs”, as the final official report tried to claim

  • Philo Vaihinger

    Churchill did what in 1940 and 1941?

    Oh, my.

    Diana West isn’t the only crackpot with a megaphone.

  • Elpi Nipni

    Front Page Magazine,
    I was a loyal reader of your publication for so many years. I held you as my primary source of the TRUTH. How foolish of me. It does not matter what excuse you use for removing my comment about the WITCH HUNT you are conducting against Diana West. The fact that you have removed it — I wear it as a badge of honor for i must have hit a nerve

  • pingspi

    I am made curiouser and curiouser by Mr. Radosh’s, Mr.Herf’s, and others’ anxious arguments against Ms. West’s book of revelations concerning the persistent misrepresentations of twentieth century events in many contemporary histories. If Ms. West’s book is so self-evidently wrong what is the danger in our reading it?
    I believe there are various sorts of people whose thought is skewed by personal weakness, and who will follow a devil to hell if he promises relief from their doubts and comfort for their insecurities. Such people are not only found among leftists.

  • Flicker

    I don’t get the drama in all this. If West were so wrong, why would people be so vehemently cock-sure nasty within their criticism of her work? Now I’ve got to read her book, because when people are so snearing in their ad hominems, there must be something true that they don’t want known but can’t adequately refute.

  • T.A.

    Is it my imagination, or do we have a LOT more conspiracy theorists on this thread than we usually see?

  • Some guy in FL

    As the author is no doubt aware, the year was actually 1944: “the leader of the attempted anti-Nazi coup of July 20, 1933″

  • Boleslaw Bierut

    and good to remember America did not come to European war on the whim of FDR but rather as a result of Hitler declaring war on America.

  • Ernst Lindenberg

    So why didn’t Roosevelt do anything to help Finland in winter 1939-40 when this tiny democratic country was viciously attacked by Stalin’s Red Army? Instead the documents have shown that Roosevelt’s cabinet aided Stalin by sending him important material during that winter.

    • Anon

      A bit recursive, but:
      because

      America did not come to European war on the whim of FDR but rather as a result of Hitler declaring war on America


      Also it did not help that US land army was downsized post WWI and only started rebuilding during initial stages of WWII

  • Peter B

    This is not meant as an exhaustive analysis of either West’s book or her critics’ arguments. Professor Herf makes some valid criticisms of West’s work, but neither he nor Radosh are completely in the right either.

    The fact that international or national socialist propaganda made a particular claim is certainly two strikes against it, but doesn’t ipso facto make it false. Many of the bad things the Nazis said about the Communists, and vice versa, were true. It isn’t unknown for propagandists to say things that are true; it has even happened that they tell truths accidentally while being ignorant of relevant facts. So part of the job of historians is to sort that out. The relevant question about West is: did she do so, or does her ideology drive the narrative?

    It is a truism in strategic and tactical planning that one doesn’t plan for the enemies intentions but for his capabilities, and there are certainly facts that buttress West’s claims of Soviet capbility of exerting influence on US planning during and after WWII.

    There was indeed a Soviet conspiracy: The CPUSA was a wholly owned subsidiary of Soviet intelligence; its members both performed espionage themselves, and acted in support of professional operations run by the NKVD and GRU.

    Soviet agents entered the Federal Government in large numbers with the New Deal, some entering the Federal Civil Service and others coming in as non-Civil Service staff during Roosevelt’s long presidency.

    Some of these agents were in a position to exert real influence. Alger Hiss’s virtually unlimited Yalta acess to an ill and failing Roosevelt certainly comes to mind. Harry Hopkins I will discuss in a minute.

    The questions then become: Did the USSR run some of these agents as agents of influence, or was their role purely intelligence gathering? That is the sort of question that might be answered fairly objectively from Soviet archives, though given their extent and current difficulties of access, an absence of evidence certainly doesn’t constitute evidence of absence. The really critical question, “If they were intended as agents of influence, was their influence successful?” is a very difficult one to answer.

    Certainly, General George C. Marshall’s troubling assertion about Harry Hopkins needs a very full treatment: “Hopkins’s job with the president was to represent the Russian interests. My job was to represent the American interests.”

    Unfortunately, with Harry Hopkins, West’s work does show weaknesses of the kind that often lead amateur historians into errors that a professional historian, with years in the field wouldn’t make. (Professionals have their own errors, and some of those have been exposed by amateurs.)

    West relies on Eduard Marks’ analyis of Gordievsky on Akhmerov etc., and on Marks’ assertion that Hopkins was indeed the agent referred to in Soviet archives as “Source 19.” But according to Radosh, Marks retracted that claim (IIRC Radosh said in a presentation at a conference) near the end of his life — a point which West doesn’t address. While she paints a very worrisome picture of Hopkins’ ideology, the assertion that Hopkins was not merely a fellow traveller but a conscious agent of influence is important to her thesis. West needs to either acknowledge the point and deal with its implications for her argument or demonstrate that Marks’ retraction of the claim was erroneous.

    That being said, West was also accused, I think by Radosh, of making a mistake regarding Iskhak Akhmerov, whose WWII tour of duty in the USA began too late to have made him Hopkins’ putative contact or controller. But in this, Radosh may himself be sloppy at best. West actually follows Breindel and Romerstein, who believe that Akhmerov and Hopkins connected during Akhmerov’s first US tour in the 1930s.

    Another weakness of Radosh’s critique lies in the issue of Hopkins and secret uranium shipments to the Soviets.

    Radosh shows that General Groves, who headed the Manhattan project, responded to Soviet pressure for nuclear material by sending weak and contaminated uranium. But Radosh fails to anwer West’s further, and apparently well documented claim: that Lend-Lease was used as cover by Harry Hopkins to supply the Russians with further nuclear related materiel, including industrial scale quantities of the aluminum tubing critical to a uranium enrichment plant, in a secret operation which Groves didn’t know about.

    Lend-Lease itself is a thorny issue. West asserts that the whole program heavily favored Soviet interests. Certainly without Lend-Lease supplied equipment, the post WWII Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe would have been much harder. On the other hand, it sure as hell benefited the Western Allies to have the USSR killing Germans and shredding the Nazi war machine, and that could not have been achieved without Lend-Lease.

    While West rightly mocks the Western dupes who believed that Stalingrad meant that “the OGPU doesn’t exist,” the Soviet victory there cost the Germans, according to Wikipedia “…from 500,000 to 850,000 casualties (killed, wounded, captured) among all branches of the German armed forces and its allies, many of them POWs who died in Soviet captivity between 1943 and 1955. Of the 91,000 German POWs taken at Stalingrad, 27,000 died within weeks and only 5-6,000 returned to Germany by 1955. The remainder of the POWs died in Soviet captivity.”

    The battle of Kursk – which West doesn’t even mention – cost the Germans another 45,000 killed or MIA and over 100,000 wounded, plus over 700 tanks. Between those two battles alone, the Axis lost over a million men who, without the Eastern Front, would have been available for the war in the West.

    Herf makes a convincing case that the anti-Nazi underground in Germany could not have delivered the goods that would have made West’s arguments about the European campaign more plausible.

    While West also downplays the real American strategic interests in Europe and the Pacifice, she does raise some very interesting questions on whether Soviet influence both in Tokyo and Washington might have influenced the launching of the attack on Pearl Harbor. That attack brought the US into the war much sooner than would otherwise have been the case; that was indeed to the USSR’s benefit. But I think that West fails to appreciate that it really did take the US years to produce the hardware and train enough men for the European and Pacific wars. A later American entry into the war would have delayed that, too.

    West is correct in asking what influence the USSR’s extensive penetration of the US had on the conduct and outcome of WWII. She is also correct that the the Western Allies on the one hand, and the USSR on the othe had fundamentally different war aims, that the USSR intended to supplant the Nazis and in fact succeeded in doing so in post WWII Europe.

    But maybe Roosevelt’s and Churchill’s approach was correct, too: the Nazis had to be defeated, and it couldn’t have been done without the USSR.

  • RCraigen

    Cute title, Mr. Herf. I have to admit it took me some time to catch the reference to a brief Jonah Goldberg pieceRadosh v. the Historians“, in which Jonah Goldberg weighs in on Ron’s side, or rather pointing out that Radosh was catching some grief for writing in favour of his book Liberal Fascism. In fact, Radosh’s review was faint praise, pulling out one of the brushes he is using here to paint Ms. West — of Goldberg’s book he writes, “…he strains and pushes his evidence too far”.