Untold History of the USSR


The Untold History of the United States, by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, weighs in at 750 pages, an elephantine encyclopedia of neo-communist demonology. None of it is “untold” and on every page one hears the sound of a barrel being scraped. David Horowitz rightly called it “unbelievable crap,” but some readers might profit from an examination of the places where the book most needs stool softener and a polygraph test.

This must be the only book endorsed by Bill Maher, Daniel Ellsberg, and Mikhail Gorbachev, which makes sense. The only hero is former vice president Henry Wallace, the Progressive Party candidate for president of the United States in 1948. He’s portrayed here as a kind of American Gorbachev, the only hope to save the United States which, by setting off atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, “once again, proved itself unready to provide the kind of leadership a desperate world cried out for.”

The authors tout Wallace’s “Century of the Common Man,” but fail to note that, as one observer put it, Wallace’s Communist backers confused the Common Man with the Comintern. That organization does not appear in the book, which contains material about the USSR, Stalin, Communism and such.

The Nazi-Soviet Pact does appear but consider the treatment of the 1939 alliance that started World War II. It was an “unsavory deal,” Stalin struck with Hitler because he feared a “German-Polish alliance” to attack the USSR. It was actually to divide up Europe and crush the democracies, but that’s how Stalin and his echo-chamber spun it.

True to form, Untold History lists only two atrocities for Stalin, the massacre of Polish officers in the Katyn forest and “having the Red Army stop on the banks of the Vistula while the Germans put down the Warsaw uprising.” Nothing about the genocide noted in the Black Book of Communism and, more recently, Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. The authors even include a photo of Russians mourning Stalin, who at the time of his death in 1953 was about to unleash terror on Soviet Jews, then slandered as “rootless cosmopolitans.”

As Ronald Radosh and Joyce Milton noted in The Rosenberg File, American Communists Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were responsible for giving nuclear weapons to the worst mass murder in history. Here they are only “accused atomic spies.” Stone and Kuznick tout “the legendary Communist-backed Abraham Lincoln Brigade,” but ignore the real story of this Stalinist militia as outlined in Cecil Eby’s Comrades and Commissars.

Stone and Kuznick are not eager to explain what American Stalinists were up to during the Nazi-Soviet Pact. Readers will not learn that they worked in concert with pro-Nazi organizations against the allies, particularly Britain. They picketed the White House and called FDR a “warmonger,” a charge the authors apply to virtually all U.S. Presidents, particularly Reagan, whose chapter is subtitled “Death Squads for Democracy.” No moral equivalence here. In Untold History, the USSR is the peaceful regime.

After World War II the USSR “had no blueprint for postwar Sovietization of Eastern Europe and hoped to maintain friendly and collaborative relations with its wartime allies.” Further, the Soviets “had gone out of their way to guarantee West Berliners’ access to food and coal from the eastern zone or from direct Soviet provisions.” So the heroic Berlin airlift touted in American schools was all for nothing.

The USSR oppressed half or Europe for nearly half a century, smashed reform in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, and later invaded Afghanistan. Yet CIA director William Casey’s picture of a “hostile, expansionist USSR” was “an image that didn’t accord with the facts.” And in the1983 the Soviets “mistakenly took a Korean Air Lines passenger jet for a spy plane.”

Thus, the Soviets make “mistakes” and are evaluated by their alleged aspiration for a better world. The United States, on the other hand, commits crimes and is evaluated on the authors’ vision of its record. The USA emerges here as an evil empire eager to spread tyranny and crush the poor by any means necessary. But consider the untold backstory here.

Hollywood leftists, Richard Grenier once observed, charge that America and capitalism are evil – except for their three-picture deal, except for their bank account, except for their Bel-Air mansion, except for their BMW and Mercedes-Benz. So despite JFK, Wall Street, and The Untold History of the United States, Oliver Stone does after all believe in American exceptionalism.

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  • Chezwick

    When I was at the ripe old age of 15, I discovered the Communist Manifesto, I imbibed it with enthusiasm and then graduated to Bukharin, Victor Serge, Trotsky, Lenin,…I even read Mao's little red book.

    Within a year after that, I was reading Solzhenitsyn, Sakharov, Djilas and other dissidents….and I forever shed my adolescent illusions about the Left. It would take me another 2 decades to break with liberalism en toto, but during the interval, I was an absolute hawk against Soviet expansionism.

    I'm wondering, what prevented Stone and his fellow-travelers from a similar awakening? How can a grown, rational man or woman possibly believe that the Soviet enterprise and its corollaries in China and elsewhere were anything but evil?

    • Eugene William Howe

      They beleive because they don't have to live under their rules. They live under ours and get rich then complain the system don't work..

      • Spider

        Yes – And they also have had freedom their whole lives which they never appreciate because thay have always had it.

        • tagalog

          Also because they believe that, once their collectivist fantasies have come true, they will be among the nomenklatura and not among the average citizens.

          • mlcblog

            Like O and his cronies.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            "Also because they believe that, once their collectivist fantasies have come true, they will be among the nomenklatura and not among the average citizens."

            They're collectivists and successful pro-regime artists are always among the elites in totalitarian regimes. As atheistic collectivists, they think of the losers as necessary sacrifices for the sake of the "evolution of humanity." That is when they think of them. It's an abstract problem in their minds.

    • Edward Cline

      Chezwick: They don't make the intellectual progress you do, sir, because the Stones, Kuznicks, and their ilk WANT their fantasies to be true. That wish serves as a mental blood clot that stalls their minds and puts their brains on critical stasis. Showing them evidence of their lies and half-truths is fruitless, as fruitless as showing a gorilla a calculus equation and expecting it to nod in understanding and chalk out his own new rocket fuel formula. It isn't going to happen. Their minds are dead.

      • Chezwick

        Some very descriptive metaphors, Ed.I like your style.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "They don't make the intellectual progress you do, sir, because the Stones, Kuznicks, and their ilk WANT their fantasies to be true. That wish serves as a mental blood clot that stalls their minds and puts their brains on critical stasis. Showing them evidence of their lies and half-truths is fruitless, as fruitless as showing a gorilla a calculus equation and expecting it to nod in understanding and chalk out his own new rocket fuel formula. It isn't going to happen."

        They consider evidence of past and present failure as evidence of the power of negative thinking. It just makes them more angry that you refuse to visualize Utopia along with them.

    • JacksonPearson

      You at least broke away, however Oliver Stone hasn't, and in all probabilities, never will. Stone has been financially successful making films, and believes his communist thinking got him there, otherwise he'd be a zero.

      When the soviet union finally broke apart, many millionaires and billionaires behind the scene moved to Black Sea resorts. Meanwhile, the majority of the peasants had to go scurrying without government aid to somehow make a living. The soviet breakup exposed the falsity, and that everyone are not the same or equal under Communism philosophy.

    • Fritz

      I've wondered about such thinking myself, and you can add Micheal Moore to that list, but it isn't unique to celebrities, communist sympathizers, and Castro groupies, many radical environmentalist somehow think that they will be at the top of the totem pole once the "new order' is established. In reality if their heroes really did take over they would be among the first stripped of their property, hauled off to the proverbial Lubyanka, beaten, tortured , tried and convicted as "socially dangerous" persons, then shot in a basement somewhere.

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    Boycott any project oliver stone is involved with.

    Let OS become box office poison.

    • guest

      Extradite him to NoKo.

      • SCREW SOCIALISM

        He'd get a heroes welcome.

        And he'd live a sheltered life of an elite, not one of the North Korean proletariat living in the dark at night and starving.

  • Mary Sue

    Afghanistan is the one thing we should have let the soviets HAVE.

  • Hank Rearden

    When everything turns to cr*p anywhere in the world, and people are standing on the highest ground they can find, holding their babies over their heads while the water rises to their chins and snakes are biting their legs, and there is no hope, what are the eight words anybody, anywhere in the world wants to hear?

    "Hold on, the Americans are on the way."

    Oliver Stone is spiritually a hideous, misshapen old troll, trying to jump out and steal the souls of our children by getting them to lose faith in the country.

    • Drakken

      I plainly and loudly call him and his ilk for what they are, TRAITORS!

    • tagalog

      Oliver Stone got his mind filled with poison in Vietnam and afterward, and it's skewed his view of America beyond reason. There's no question that he's capable of making entertaining movies, but he is compelled to make movies that consistently impugn the United States. That seems pathological to me.

  • STEVEN CHAVEZ

    Remember the SOVIET BREAD LINES? They would line up for blocks not knowing what they were in line for and all this up until the 1990's.

    Remember our SOUP LINES in the Great Depression?

    QUESTION: What's the difference between those Bread and Soup lines of yesterday to the 50 MILLION FOOD STAMP USERS TODAY? Imagine if they had to stand in lines instead of modernizing to a card?

    STRANGE how the shoe is on the other foot but not so strange that those who loved the Soviet Union more than their own country, are the ones who put that rotten shoe on us!

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "QUESTION: What's the difference between those Bread and Soup lines of yesterday to the 50 MILLION FOOD STAMP USERS TODAY? Imagine if they had to stand in lines instead of modernizing to a card? "

      It's much easier to remain privately satisfied (not motivated to change oneself) today even if their mouths still verbally demand more and cry about injustice.

      It's much easier for the leftist press to describe them as victims and create their own narratives because we never actually see the masses unless they want to gather to destroy property and cry together in front of the cameras. We don't get to see the actual mooching. They are never made to feel the reality of what is happening. Reality is distorted beyond recognition in order to fit the leftist delusions.

      That's all I can think of in 1 minute.

    • tagalog

      The lines in the Soviet Union were caused by a command system failing to receive the feedback it needed to order production and distribute food. In the end, the Russians revolted against Communism because the bread shelves in the stores were literally empty, with nothing to sell.

      In the United States, our metaphorical "bread lines" are caused by government refusing to believe that a free market can respond to demand with greater supply. Interestingly enough, our free market is responding without regard to the government, with the last week and a half of increasing record-level stock market values showing that the market will act without government involvement. We need to encourage and reward that tendency.

      We can make the large food stamp list become shorter through the ordinary workings of the free market system. We should do all we can to make that happen.

  • mlcblog

    The content in this book (thank you for reviewing it so I don't have to read it, though I would have rightly suspected what was in it) makes me sick to my stomach. Literally. I remember with what unbelief followed by nausea I first read the anti-American propaganda of The Nation and especially in I.F. Stone's little pamphlets. It was beyond me how they could turn and twist the truth of our lives into such ugliness and how they did not understand our government, how it was designed — for moral men, and how they never gave the US a break, only heaped scorn and hatred on our country. It still makes me physically sick.

  • Roger Dane

    “There are none more blind than those who will not see… and none more deaf than those who will not hear!” While that is a scriptural reference is also appears to be psychologically accurate and does portray those who believe as Stone and Kuznick. They are, strictly speaking, mentally ill but I find that not a sufficient defense. In their efforts to harm or destroy American, aided and abetted by those who buy their products, they have entered into the halls of “treasonous propagandists” and should be so treated. But, again, if one looks at Tokyo Rose and her acquittal we have to wonder.

    Aside from never seeing a movie by Stone or buying anything either are associated with we must make every effort (as done here) to “educate” those most susceptible to these lies, our progeny and theirs. Kids and grandchildren need to be sat down and carefully educated time and time again. We have dropped the ball in the educational system that has been infiltrated by these types and, obviously, the results are generations of American children who really believe America is bad. More than sad, almost criminally evil, our schools are the battleground and we have lost many skirmishes and major campaigns. I do not know how to take them back but I would never allow any kids of mine to attend public schools today. Home schooling seems one way but is it sufficient?

    Stone and his friends are foul examples of what freedom and the capitalism they resent can allow… and their illogical and unbalanced presentations disgust. They are war criminals.

  • http://www.clarespark.com clarespark

    Oliver Stone's various pseudo-histories are widely present in the counter-culture and in "alternative media" that regularly denounce "American exceptionalism." They tell the American story with the same head shaking and tears or screams. I found a way to tell the story quite differently, and without airbrushing those acts that we now may think of as reprehensible. See http://clarespark.com/2013/02/27/american-excepti…. "American exceptionalism retold."

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "I found a way to tell the story quite differently, and without airbrushing those acts that we now may think of as reprehensible."

      That's the only valid way to teach history. Discuss all of the salient facts and do your best to analyze without bias, or at the very least explaining your justified biases (moral judgments).

  • WhateverMan

    For Soviet foreign policy decision-makers, pragmatism took precedence over ideology. Without changing its official anti-Zionist stance, from late 1944, until 1948 and even later, Joseph Stalin adopted a pro-Zionist foreign policy, apparently believing that the new country would be socialist and would accelerate the decline of British influence in the Middle East.[1]

    The USSR began to support Zionism at the UN during the 1947 UN Partition Plan debate. It preferred a Jewish-Arab binational state. But if this proved impossible it indicated that it would support partition and a Jewish state. On 14 May 1947, the Soviet ambassador Andrei Gromyko announced:

    "As we know, the aspirations of a considerable part of the Jewish people are linked with the problem of Palestine and of its future administration. This fact scarcely requires proof…. During the last war, the Jewish people underwent exceptional sorrow and suffering….
    The United Nations cannot and must not regard this situation with indifference, since this would be incompatible with the high principles proclaimed in its Charter….
    The fact that no Western European State has been able to ensure the defence of the elementary rights of the Jewish people and to safeguard it against the violence of the fascist executioners explains the aspirations of the Jews to establish their own State. It would be unjust not to take this into consideration and to deny the right of the Jewish people to realize this aspiration." [2]
    It followed this policy and gave support to the UN plan to partition the British Mandate of Palestine, which led to the founding of the State of Israel.

    On May 17, 1948, three days after Israel declared independence, the Soviet Union legally recognized it de jure, becoming the first country to grant de jure recognition to the Jewish state.[4][5] In addition to the diplomatic support, arms from Czechoslovakia, part of the Soviet bloc, were crucial to Israel in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

    • reader

      Yeah, cutting and pasting takes considerable intellectual prowess from a progressive. We all can appreciate it. Of course, what Stalin hoped to do is establish a communist frontier in Israel. However, Ben Gurion outsmarted him by disbanding the communists. Stalin would become enraged and hang practically all Czech officials engaged in arms smuggling to Israel. Not to mention his last unfulfilled preparations for the genocide of the Jews in the Soviet Union one the eve of his very timely death. Oh, it was so close – but not to be – was it, Jew hating troll?

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      God Bless Czechoslovakia.

      Czechoslovakia knows from WW2 what it is like to be thrown to the wolves – that is why they support Israel.

    • nightspore

      So what's the point of this comment? To justify the Soviet Union? Does this mean it was not a totalitarian state? That's the trouble with commenters like WhateverMan; they're so intent on winning the immediate argument that they lose all sense of proportion, and end up sounding just plain wierd.

  • rivkah f.

    I have met people who spent grueling years of unspeakable punishment and humiliation, starvation, beatings, solitary confinement, slave labor in the Gulags of the USSR when its leaders were Brezhnev and Andropov, heirs of Stalin. That period of history is blotted out of our consciousness since the fall of the Soviet Empire. It is no wonder that Stone & company can peddle their lies, when no one talks about the horrors of the Soviet regime. And worse … these charlatans get rich doing it.

  • Omar

    We need to have an Untold Story of the USSR. We also need to have the Untold Story of Marxism, Islamism, anti-Americanism and totalitarianism. This proposed anthology would discuss the history of totalitarianism which would include (but not limited to) how King Philip II of Spain (aka Mr. Spanish Armada) tried converting everyone to Catholicism by force (and how he inspired Fidel Castro to try and conquer the Western Hemisphere. It is also interesting to note how Philip II is revered as a "hero" by much of the far-left in Latin America), how King George III of Britain was a secret Communist who secretly funded the French Revolution (which created the first Communist movement and regime in the world. George III secretly supported the French Revolution to get revenge on King Louis XVI of France for supporting the American Revolution and U.S. independence) and the subsequent Jacobin Communist dictatorship in the "Reign of Terror" (and also how George III, Robespierre and the Jacobins were the first anti-Americans), how Joseph Brant (the head of the Iroquois Confederation who supported the British and their colonial state in the former 13 colonies) wanted to destroy George Washington (and the Patriots) and become Governor of New York, how Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana (dictator of Mexico during the Mexican-American War) was a Communist totalitarian who wanted to conquer the United States and Central America, how the last queen of Hawaii was a Communist totalitarian who wanted to impose absolute, xenophobic rule on Hawaii, how Vladimir Lenin murdered the entire Russian royal family (including their son who had hemophilia) in cold blood, how Stalin ended up murdering more people than Hitler, How the Nazis and the Communists were totalitarian allies in the years leading up to World War II, how Stalin secretly destroyed the Republican forces in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, how Nazi Germany helped inspire the contemporary totalitarian alliance between the Communists and the Islamists around the world, how the separatist movement in Puerto Rico is really a far-left Communist totalitarian movement that wants to destroy democracy in the U.S. island territory (the separatist movement also wants to destroy the conservative pro-American statehood movement that seeks to make PR the next state of the Union) and transform the island into a Communist totalitarian dictatorship allied with Cuba and its allies), how Communist China illegally stole Tibet's sovereignty based on lies and propaganda about "serfdom" in order to commit genocide against the Tibetan people, how the far-left and radical Islamists worked together to instigate the 9/11 terrorist attacks and many other atrocities committed by the radical left and the Islamists throughout history. It is time that America and the free world become victorious in the war against tyranny and oppression.

  • tagalog

    It's not that the story of the USSR is untold in all its horror.

    It isn't even that people don't believe the stories.

    It's just that they don't care.

    In The Black Book Of Communism, the authors point out that no one becomes morally indignant about Soviet crimes the way they do about the identical (but less overwhelming in terms of numbers) crimes of the Nazis. They don't seem to come up with much of an answer. The best they seem to do is answer this question by asserting that the Nazis are universally condemned as bad while the Soviets are seen as trying to make a better society. Not much of an answer.

    If the authors of The Black Book of Communism couldn't come up with a better answer, maybe that's the correct one; maybe the conventional wisdom is that all those 80,000,000 to 120,000,000 murders are acceptable because their intentions were alleged to be good.

    How shall we lovers of liberty and the law respond to that widespread view, so widespread that there will NEVER be an outcry against the Soviet murderers like the one against the Nazi murderers? Even the Russians only want to forget; in fact, some of them want to rebuild the monuments to Stalin and his minions and honor their names. Dzherzinsky's statue is back up in front of the Lubyanka already.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "In The Black Book Of Communism, the authors point out that no one becomes morally indignant about Soviet crimes the way they do about the identical (but less overwhelming in terms of numbers) crimes of the Nazis. They don't seem to come up with much of an answer. The best they seem to do is answer this question by asserting that the Nazis are universally condemned as bad while the Soviets are seen as trying to make a better society. Not much of an answer."

      The Nazis failed to place apologists in all areas of Western society. That's the simple and most salient answer. The Soviets hated the Nazis and succeeded in infiltrating Western societies and governments.

      The Soviets won the propaganda war. The socialists and communists are still reaping the benefits. The Nazis quickly lost the global propaganda wars.

    • Maxie

      You might like reading "Last Exit to Utopia" by Jean Francois-Revel a French writer who goes into this dichotomous attitude toward the evils of the Nazi's and those (ongoing) evils of Communism.

      • tagalog

        I'll check it out. Furet wrote The End of An Illusion, but it's a bit more general. Those French intellectuals were pretty sharp when they made objective observations of the rise and fall of Communism.

  • Donald DaCosta

    When all is said and done Mr. Stone and his ilk enjoy the freedom of speech that their American brethren shed their blood for. He either has no awareness of that or does not care. That he is rich beyond belief allows him to flaunt his anti-American ideology without concern for how that might effect him within his circle of like minded friends and supporters. He likely feels that he is spreading his "superior, intellectual insight" to enlighten the" ignorant, indoctrinated masses." He thinks it is true and that makes it so, all evidence to the contrary. Nobody is required to listen or believe unless they are equally as paranoid as the "hate America" crowd.

  • Maxie

    Stone is is afflicted with Marx-iti$ and like all Lefties is absolutly incapable of admitting error of any kind. The ideology is so dismally flawed with a record of death and misery that to admit any wrongdoing would be to bring down the whole the dismal house of cards. It's a malignant pathology.

  • Ghostwriter

    I read "The Untold History of the United States,"or to be more truthful,a little bit of it. And much of it was like what was said in the above article. It's more America bashing. America is at fault for EVERYTHING bad in the world and those who thought the Soviet Union was evil were foolish at best,demagogues at worst. I'd rather read the worst book ever written than read that book again.