McCarthy On Steroids

betrayal

Editors’ note: Frontpage offered Diana West equal space to reply to Professor Radosh’s points below. She refused.

Diana West, American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 403 pages; $26.99.

Many Americans at both ends of the political spectrum view history in conspiratorial terms. The late Senator Joseph McCarthy set the bar very high when he claimed to have uncovered “a conspiracy on a scale so immense as to dwarf any previous such venture in the history of man. A conspiracy of infamy so black that, when it is finally exposed, its principals shall be forever deserving of the maledictions of all honest men.” In that famous speech to the Senate on June 14, 1951, McCarthy condemned former Chief of Staff of the Army and Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense as a traitor who made “common cause with Stalin on the strategy of the war in Europe,” who “took the strategic direction of the war out of Roosevelt’s hands and – who fought the British desire, shared by [General] Mark Clark, to advance from Italy into the eastern plains of Europe ahead of the Russians.”

Diana West, who expands the scope of this conspiracy in American Betrayal, is McCarthy’s heiress.  She argues that during the New Deal the United States was an occupied power, its government controlled by Kremlin agents who had infiltrated the Roosevelt administration and subverted it. Like McCarthy, whom West believes got everything correct, she believes a conspiracy was at work that effectively enabled the Soviets to be the sole victors in World War II and shape American policies in the postwar world.

Writing sixty years later, she claims that the evidence that has come to light in the interim not only vindicates McCarthy’s claims but goes well beyond anything he imagined. Throughout American Betrayal, West uses the terms “occupied” and “controlled” to describe the influence the Soviet Union exerted over U.S. policy through its agents and spies. She believes she has exposed “the Communist-agent-occupation of the U.S. government” during the Roosevelt and Truman eras, and that her discoveries add up to a Soviet-controlled American government that conspired to strengthen Russia throughout World War II at the expense of American interests, marginalize anti-Communist Germans, and deliver the crucial material for the Atomic Bomb to Stalin and his henchmen. It also conspired to cover up the betrayal. In West’s summation: “The Roosevelt administration [was] penetrated, fooled, subverted, in effect hijacked by Soviet agents… and engaged in a “‘sell-out’ to Stalin” that “conspirators of silence on the Left…would bury for as long as possible, desperately throwing mud over it and anyone who wanted the sun to shine in.” According to West, it was only because Washington was “Communist-occupied” that the United States aligned itself with the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany.

But Ms. West writes without an understanding of historical context and lacks awareness of much of the scholarly literature on the subjects she writes about. Moreover, she disregards the findings of the sources she does rely on when they contradict her yellow journalism conspiracy theories. Consequently she arrives at judgment after judgment that is not only bizarre on its face, but also unwarranted by the evidence and refuted by the very authorities she draws on. As a historian I normally would not have agreed to review a book such as this one.  But I changed my mind after seeing the reckless endorsements of its unhinged theories by a number of conservative individuals and organizations. These included the Heritage Foundation which has hosted her for book promotions at a lunchtime speech and a dinner; Breitbart.com which is serializing America Betrayed; PJ Media which has already run three favorable features on West; Amity Shlaes, who writes unnervingly that West’s book, “masterfully reminds us what history is for: to suggest action for the present”; and by conservative political scientist and media commentator Monica Crowley, who called West’s book “A monumental achievement.”

West has evidently seduced conservatives who are justifiably appalled by the left’s rewriting of history, its denials that Communists ever posed a threat, and its claim that Communist infiltration was a destructive myth created by witch-hunters intent on suppressing dissent. For these readers, West’s credibility derives from her aggressive counter vision. For those who have not read the important works of Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes, Christopher Andrew, Alexander Vassiliev, Allen Weinstein and others, what she has written may seem a revelation, as she herself claims. But for anyone familiar with the historical literature, the core of what she has written is well known and what is new is either overheated, or simply false and distorted—the sort of truculent recklessness that gives anti-communism a bad name.

One of the most unsettling aspects of West’s use of previous authorities who provide the only reliable information in her book is the way she attacks the very writers who pioneered in exposing Soviet espionage and infiltration, while also disregarding their conclusions when they don’t agree with hers. In a typical instance, she writes: “[Christopher] Andrew and [former archivist for the USSR’s foreign intelligence branch Vasili] Mitrokhin seem fairly hip to the problem, but then soft-soap its cause.”  Even more preposterously she writes of those of us who drew attention to the guilt of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg that we view it as a matter of personal conscience and not “an issue of national security.” This is absurd and anyone who has read The Rosenberg File or the many articles I have written since about the case would know it. She attacks Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassiliev, among the greatest scholars of Soviet espionage, for their failure to connect “treachery with its impact,” by which she means that they failed to come to her wild-eyed conclusion that Soviet espionage was not only a clear and present danger but succeeded in making America a puppet of its Kremlin masters. As a result, she writes, “The recent confirmations of guilt often show up as mere technicalities…The reckoning eludes us.”

Finally, throughout her book she attacks the rigorous scholarship of John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, whose groundbreaking books on the Venona decrypts are unrivalled in exposing the true scale of Soviet espionage in the United States, and Soviet control of the American Communist Party. Haynes and Klehr have also co-authored a classic study about the efforts of liberal and left historians to cover up the infiltration and its extent in a book titled In Denial: Historians, Communism and Espionage. Ignoring this record, West claims that Hayes and Klehr minimize the evidence they were the first to expose. What is really bothering her is that they do not buy her preposterous conclusion that “American statecraft was an instrument of Soviet strategy.”

Ignoring or denigrating these brave and accomplished scholars, West proceeds to construct a conspiracy thesis resting on five claims she believes establish a vast plot by Soviet agents and their American pawns to shape the outcome of the Second World War and in the process benefit the Communists at the expense of the West. In this review, I will focus on each of these claims in turn and show that they are groundless, and worse.

Agent 19

A key assertion for West is that FDR’s closest advisor, Harry Hopkins, was actually the Soviet agent known in the Venona decrypts as “Agent 19,” sometimes “Source 19″. The decrypts were Kremlin messages to their American agents that were deciphered after the war. The identification of Hopkins as Agent 19 is the linchpin of West’s conspiracy case. She places Hopkins at the center of major military and foreign policy decisions, and interprets his objective in each instance as advancing Stalin’s goals for Communist world domination.

That Hopkins was the most pro-Soviet of Roosevelt’s close advisers and believed that Stalin could be a working partner in wartime as well as during the peace that would follow has been discussed so often as to be conventional wisdom. But it is one thing to point this out and analyze its implications, and quite another to claim that Hopkins was an actual Soviet agent, a claim that is also not original with West, although it is, in fact, not true.  (When I sent her a collegial email questioning this assertion, and requesting that we get together to talk about it, she became huffy. “Dialoguing is one thing,” she emailed back; “issuing directives is another.”)

In her book, West cites a 1998 article by the late Eduard Mark, an Air Force historian, who claimed that Hopkins was the agent in question. His conclusion was based on a Venona decrypt by “Source 19” that described a top secret conversation between Churchill and FDR in late May of 1943 about plans for the invasion of Normandy, then more than a year away. According to Mark this proved that the code name belonged to Hopkins.  As West notes, “By process of painstaking elimination, Mark determines that it is ‘probable virtually to the point of certainty’ that ‘Source 19’ is Harry Hopkins.” She says this was also the view of the late Eric Breindel and the late Herbert Romerstein, as well as Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin.

She even chastises John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, co-authors with the KGB defector Alexander Vassiliev of Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, for being “agnostic” about the claim, “which has the unfortunate effect of eliminating the story, even the suggestion of the story, from their influential works.”  In fact, Haynes and Klehr are not only not “agnostic,” they flat out deny that Agent 19 was Hopkins because Agent 19 was actually a State Department official and well-known Soviet agent Laurence Duggan. Duggan worked on the State Department’s Latin America desk, and while he did pass on secret information to the Soviets, his role within the administration was minor compared to Hopkins’ who worked in the White House. Klehr and Haynes base their identification of Duggan on the numerous entries in the Vassiliev papers, which have been readily available online since May 2009. These papers show numerous entries in the KGB papers Vassiliev copied and brought with him to London, that identify Source 19 or Agent 19 as Duggan.

West acknowledges that Vassiliev found “little about Hopkins in the finite number of KGB files he was allowed to view and copy,” but concludes – without evidence — that it is in those Vassiliev did not have access to that Hopkins was identified. She then scolds Haynes and Klehr for not giving the controversy over Agent 19 the “merit [of] a footnote.” Perhaps they didn’t because there no longer is any controversy. At a conference on Soviet espionage held a week before his untimely death, West’s source, Eduard Mark, publicly stated that he now acknowledged that Harry Hopkins was not Agent 19, and that the conclusion he had reached in his 1998 article was false.

Lend-Lease Aid to the Soviet Union

West also insists that Lend-Lease aid was a crucial “rogue operation” orchestrated by Hopkins and the NKVD for the purpose of getting not only war supplies to the Russians, but “the materials that go into making an atomic bomb…up to and including uranium.” (Her emphasis.)  A significant part of her book is devoted to “proving” that Lend-Lease helped make the USSR “the true victor of World War II.” She refers to Lend-lease as “the plunder of atomic secrets … spirited out of the country on a U.S.-government sponsored flight.” The reference is to a shipment of uranium to Russia in 1943, allegedly orchestrated by Harry Hopkins as Agent 19. To her, this proves that the Lend-Lease Act “was a slam-dunk victorious Soviet influence operation.” Or, as she refers to Lend-Lease at the end of her book: “All that American booty pirated by Harry Hopkins for Mother Russia.”

These claims, which lie at the heart of her conspiracy theory, are demonstrably wrong, and show that she even fails to understand the nature of the unrefined uranium the Soviets actually received under Lend-Lease, which was not strategic in terms of making an atomic weapon. General Leslie Groves, who was in charge of The Manhattan Project, signed off on the shipment, as has been well known for more than 60 years, because he feared that if he rejected the requests it would tip-off Moscow that uranium was a highly sensitive commodity, something he was certain they did not yet know.

Even if they had known, the Soviets would have faced an insurmountable problem in using the shipped ore for bomb making. The problem they would have faced was in separating bomb-grade U-235 (which makes up only 0.7 percent of natural uranium) from U-238 (99.3%), a difficult technical engineering challenge. Until the Soviets could figure out how to separate the isotopes, which they eventually did through the post war espionage at Los Alamos we are all familiar with, the uranium ore they received would be useless for making a weapon. While separating uranium ore was a daunting technological issue, mining uranium ore and refining it into metal was easy, and the Soviets, like other nations, did so for industrial purposes vital to the prosecution of the war, such as producing steel alloys for arms. Even after the Soviets learned how to separate the isotopes, the amounts of unseparated uranium needed were huge, because so little of natural uranium is U-235. The shipment sent under Lend-Lease was a tiny fraction of what was needed to extract enough U-235 to build a bomb, even if the Soviets had the know-how, which at the time the shipments were made they did not. In fact, as we now know, the first Soviet A-Bomb, detonated in 1949, and copied from our “Fat Man” weapon, was a plutonium based bomb.

All of this information and more can be found in David Holloway’s definitive study, Stalin and the Bomb: The Soviet Union and Atomic Energy, 1939-1956, which West seems not to be aware of. “In April (1943),” Holloway writes, “General Groves gave the Soviet Purchasing Commission an export license for 10 kilograms of uranium metal….  A later request by the Soviet commission for eight long tons each of uranium chloride and uranium nitrate was turned down.”

As Holloway notes, the Soviet files offer no evidence that Igor Kurchatov, who led the effort to build the first Soviet A-bomb from information provided by the espionage at Los Alamos, ever used any of the material that came in the Lend-Lease flight. He cites evidence from Soviet archives that show that as late as 1945, their labs desperately needed uranium. Holloway writes: “Certainly Kurchatov’s need for uranium remained urgent. V.V. Goncharov, a chemical engineer who joined Laboratory No. 2 in 1943, has written that in 1943 the laboratory had only 90 kilograms of uranium oxide and 208 kilograms of metallic powder, and that these had been brought from Germany.”

In a letter of Sept. 29, 1944 Kurchatov complained to NKVD chief Lavrenti Beria about “the uranium problem.” The “state of affairs,” he wrote, “remains completely unsatisfactory.” Moreover, the “question of separation [of the isotopes] is particularly bad.” He believed, as Holloway writes, that “the Soviet leadership was not treating the uranium problem as a matter of high priority.” Had the Hopkins flight provided the material that Diana West says gave them the material for the bomb, all this concern would have been unnecessary.

Technical questions aside, in concocting her conspiracy theory of Lend-Lease as a Soviet plot to help Russia win the war and build an atomic bomb, West refuses to consider a range of political realities that had nothing to do with Kremlin agents.  Lend-Lease aid to Russia was premised on the assumption that it was better to have Russia as an ally in the war against Nazi Germany than fight the war alone. The entire point of Lend-Lease was to give military support to the Russian and British war efforts. The purpose of Lend-Lease (profoundly self-interested for the U.S.) was to prevent a Russian defeat so the Soviets would continue to assume the brunt of the war against the Nazis, wearing them down and saving American lives in the process.  Moreover, Lend-Lease aid was far more important in helping the British war effort than the Russian one.

In advancing her theory of Lend-Lease (while ignoring this Everest), West relies heavily on Richard Rhodes’ Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb. But revealingly she makes no reference to this passage from his text: “Until the Anglo-American invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, the Soviet Union fought Germany essentially alone on the European continent … Had the USSR lost that fight, hundreds of German divisions bulwarked with Soviet resources would have been freed to turn west and challenge Britain and the United States [emphasis added].”

Rhodes then goes on to quote Averill Harriman, a stalwart anti-Communist who negotiated the Lend-Lease deal with the Russians. It is a passage that West also ignores: “To put it bluntly,” Harriman said in a speech to the American people, “whatever it costs to keep this war away from our shores, that will be a small price to pay …. The United States agreed to furnish Lend-Lease and the Soviets did not doubt that they had earned it — at Leningrad, at Stalingrad, at the monstrous enclosures in the western USSR where the Germans…confined Soviet prisoners of war completely exposed without water or food. At least 4.5 million Soviet civilians and combatants had been killed by 1943; at least 25 million…died before the eventual Allied victory. From the Soviet point of view, Lend-Lease was the least America could do when the Russian people were dying; anything the Soviets could grab…must still have seemed less than a fair exchange.”

Did Truman Know About the Venona Decrypts?

This third West claim pertains to the opening years of the Cold War. But if Harry Truman, who became president in 1945, knew about the Venona decrypts (first de-classified in 1995), yet failed to pay attention to the evidence they provided of Soviet infiltration, it would bolster West’s claim that Truman was so anxious to avoid offending Stalin that even when confronted with hard evidence of Soviet treachery, he chose to do nothing about it.

To make her case, West relies on the book by Jerrold and Leona Schecter, Sacred Secrets: How Soviet Intelligence Operations Changed America. The Schecters first claim that on June 4, 1945, Truman had a fifteen-minute meeting with Gen. Carter W. Clarke and Col. Ernest Gibson of Army Intelligence, who informed the President that army code-breakers had been attempting to read Soviet cables from Moscow to Washington since 1943. Truman was worried, according to West, that making the decrypted cables public or dealing with what they revealed would “damage FDR’s place in history.” West further comments that Truman saw the revelations only as “a partisan political problem” that Republican hawks would use to bash Democrats, adding, “the sensational body of information which belonged to a betrayed nation, remained on political ice at all costs.”

The problem with this fanciful indictment is that in June 1945, the code-breakers had not fully decrypted any of the intercepted messages. Consequently, General Clarke and Colonel Gibson would not have had much to report about the contents of the cables the code-breakers were working on.  Truman could not have had such an alarmed reaction to information they were unable to give him at the time.

West then shifts the time frame five years forward, relying on an interview with Oliver Kirby, an American cryptanalyst who worked on the Venona project. Kirby gave the interview to the Schecters in the late 1990s. Kirby told them that both Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White were “positively identified” in decrypts in 1950, and that he brought this information to General Omar Bradley. According to Kirby, Bradley reported that Truman “was most upset and agitated by this,” saying that if the operation became known “it could take us down.” West then writes: “In other words, President Truman took in and grasped revelations that according to Soviet secret cables, the most senior-level, trusted, and powerful government officials had been working on behalf of the Soviet Union, and then he, as president, did nothing about it.” He pretended the whole thing was a “fairy story.” No evidence, she writes, has “emerged to contradict Kirby” whose “assessment of Truman’s visceral aversion to Venona’s revelations comes from notes he made at the time…” She concludes that Truman made “consistent efforts to quash any and all information pertaining to the Communist infiltration of the U.S. government….”

Once again, West shows that she does not know how to evaluate the reliability of a source or assess the evidence produced. The Schecter interviews with Kirby occurred nearly a half century after the events alleged to have taken place. Even worse, Kirby’s account is third-hand. He claimed that General Clarke told him this at some unspecified time, and acknowledges that he himself was not present at any meeting between Truman and Bradley.  Nor is there any documentation to show that such a meeting ever took place.

Reading about this supposed meeting in the Schecter’s book, Harvey Klehr checked the White House logs. They showed that in June of 1945 Clarke did meet with Truman, but they say nothing at all about what was discussed. I also contacted Jerrold Schecter, the authority West depends on.  He emailed me:  “The Kirby notes you refer to were simply that Truman knew of the project to decode Venona but the details of the code breaking came much later. She has taken this out of context it appears to me.”

Most importantly, Kirby’s version contradicts the NSA’s own account of the Venona project chronology. The Schecters say, and West accepts their claim, that Truman was told in June 1945 that the U.S. was “reading secret Soviet messages.” The NSA official history says that at that time, they had made progress in decoding the cables, but did not have any significant readable text. Cryptanalysts had deciphered a few messages, but the underlying Soviet code had not yet been broken. Consequently, the cryptanalysts had at that time only a few cover names and isolated words, no clue as to what the subject of any of the cables were. That came only after 1946, when Meredith Gardner began his work on Venona, and made the necessary progress in breaking the codes. A year before this breakthrough Clarke had nothing of substance to tell Truman, which means that Kirby’s claim about Truman’s alleged reaction is without foundation. Indeed, the Schecters themselves write that “Clarke did not show any messages to the president; he could only report that the efforts were under way and initial results were promising after two years of work.” As in her use of source material elsewhere, West ignores these crucial facts.

There is, in addition, a 1949 FBI memo indicating that Omar Bradley had decided not to inform Truman about the Venona program, which was at the time top-secret. The FBI had by then told Truman about information contained in the messages, but not that it was information that came from decoded Soviet cables. Truman’s well known distrust of FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, as Klehr and Haynes have written, “denied the president any assurance that the information was reliable and may have misled him about the seriousness of the problem [of Soviet espionage].”

Kirby told the Schecters that Clarke had long conversations with Bradley and Secretary of Defense James Forrestal about Venona. But contrary to West’s claim, Kirby acknowledged to the Schecters that he had no notes of this meeting. There is nothing in either Bradley’s or Forrestal’s own papers that would corroborate Kirby’s story.

In short, a third key element in West’s vast conspiracy theory is so much hot air.

Should the United States have joined Germany to Fight the Soviet Union?

Bizarre as it might sound, this is the fourth pillar of West’s argument. In her effort to paint the Roosevelt administration as a puppet of Soviet intelligence, she argues that towards the end of the war, the American government turned down the opportunity to arm German soldiers willing to form a new army to go to war against the USSR. American leaders were so pro-Soviet, in other words, that they missed one final opportunity to halt the Red Army’s advance into Eastern Europe, thereby delivering these countries to Stalin’s tender mercies and precipitating the Cold War. As she writes, “There existed many German anti-Nazis, even many high-ranking ones…who wanted to end World War II early; that’s the basic concept…we ignored them…Our best interests, once again, were subverted for Soviet ends.”

Her case rests on a story told by FDR’s old friend and former Governor of Pennsylvania, George H. Earle. She spends pages relating how Earle contacted German intelligence chief Admiral Wilhelm Canaris in 1943, and tried to persuade him to accept U.S. “peace feelers.” Although this is another well-known episode, West organizes the material to make the reader believe that it was ignored when first made public years ago, and that her own book is finally revealing its momentous significance.

In presenting her case, she has facile answers to the obvious difficulties that confront her scenario. She writes, for example, that the US could have supported the opposition to Hitler and backed a coup against him, thus producing “the defection of the German army and negotiate its surrender to the Allies.” She suggests Canaris and others had the ability to overthrow Hitler, close the death camps, and thwart Soviet conquests in Europe and Asia.

It is apparent that West is unfamiliar with much of the research that has been done on World War II, or the fact that her counterfactual speculations are not regarded as realistic possibilities by any reputable historian of the era. She does not seem to know the context of the decisions that FDR, Churchill and the generals in the field made, or appreciate the factors they had to take into account. Or more likely she prefers to ignore them because her theories could not survive the encounter.

In one paragraph she writes that the “German underground movement was resolutely and operationally anti-Communist just as much as it was anti-Nazi. In Communist occupied Washington — and London, too — this particular wing of the Anti-Hitler resistance was viewed as the enemy just as much as Hitler was.” She adds: “common cause with the Communist regime superseded all, even German surrender.” In explaining Washington’s failure to take advantage of the conditions for anti-Soviet collaboration with Germany, she writes later in her book, “a point of secret penetration and subversion had been passed beyond which appeasement was a fundamental principle.”

West has read historian Laurence Rees’ World War II Behind Closed Doors: Stalin, the Nazis, and the West, British Book Award Book of the Year for History in 2009 and also the basis for a BBC television documentary which was aired on all American PBS stations. West cites Rees in her text, and clearly much of her account comes from his own findings and work. But she has ignored all the evidence Rees assembles in his book, and all the arguments he makes that refute her conclusions.

When I myself read about George H. Earle’s advice to FDR in West’s book, it sounded very familiar, until I realized I had read the same account, with the same quotes and detail in Rees’ book.  Rees gives a nuanced account of how Western leaders dealt with Stalin and the Nazis that shows that they went out of their way to placate the Soviet tyrant, if necessary by hiding the facts of the massacres conducted near Katyn Forest, a suppression that has been known for decades.  But Rees does not share West’s conspiratorial mindset, or her claim that the suppression, which Churchill demanded, was the result of machinations by Soviet agents. In fact Rees reaches conclusions quite the opposite of West’s, something readers of West’s book would be unaware of.

Rees asks an important question that West might have paid attention to: Could Western leaders have “prevented the Soviet dominance of Eastern Europe by acting differently during their partnership with Stalin?” One possible way would have been the Earle-West proposal.  But this is Rees’ judgment of such a course:

It would have been a disastrous course of action. Perhaps the Red Army would have been forced back, but at a terrible cost in Allied lives. Even more importantly, the Europe that would have then existed after the war would have been a good deal less stable than the one we were actually left with. That is because, even after Stalingrad, the German army was still a fearsome fighting machine. If the Western allies had fought alongside the Germans and then reached some kind of uneasy peace with the Soviets — who would, of course, have felt betrayed by the West, probably fueling a future conflict — who would then have disarmed the German army? Germany would have been unoccupied by the Western Allies and still immensely powerful. So, thankfully, Roosevelt filed Earle’s plan in the bin.

This is the consensus of every historian of the war. The decision not to consider an entente with Hitler’s army against Stalin was a clear-headed affirmation of U.S. interests, not a betrayal, as West virtually screams.

Consider the political difficulties of reversing the course of wartime history at this late juncture. For four years, the Soviet Union had been portrayed as an ally to western publics, praised for its sacrifices and efforts in behalf of “freedom,” while the Germans had secured a place in the public mind as evil incarnate. Could Western leaders turn this equation inside-out while the war was still hot? These are the kinds of questions that never occur to West because she is entirely focused on explaining the decisions of the Allies in terms of the Soviet “occupation” of Western governments: “World War II could have been ended years earlier had Communists working for Moscow not dominated Washington, quashing every anti-Nazi, anti-Communist attempt beginning in late 1942, throughout 1943 and 1944, to make common cause with Anglo-American representatives. Their main condition, Allied support on keeping Russian troops out of central and eastern Europe, was an instant deal breaker—the anti-Red line- neither the Communist-occupied British government nor the Communist-occupied American government would dare to cross.”

To West, Roosevelt and Churchill were seeking to liberate Europe for the Soviets, because of the Communist occupation of their governments. This construct is a conspiracy theory that has run off the rails and is utterly oblivious to the realities on the ground.

The Issue of the Second Front

The final piece of West’s conspiracy puzzle is the decision to open a Second Front on the continent of Europe, which Stalin had been demanding from the moment Hitler broke his pact with the Kremlin and invaded the Soviet motherland. Let us assume for a moment that a cross-Channel invasion had been mounted in 1943 (before the Axis armies had been decimated in North Africa, Sicily and Italy) instead of at Normandy in 1944. In that case, as Rees argues, the Allies might indeed have reached Eastern Europe earlier in the fighting and Soviet influence would have been lessened. West, as we have seen, attributes the failure to Soviet agents who prevented Roosevelt and Churchill from following this course, allowing Stalin to take control. But Rees also writes (in a passage West also ignores) that “the cost in human terms for the Western Allies would have been enormous.”

The U.S. lost roughly 420,000 soldiers during the war and Britain lost 450,000, while the Soviet Union’s military death toll was an estimated 8 million. Forget the fact that the Allied armies, learning by doing, were not ready for an invasion of Europe a year before D Day. West doesn’t even consider the question of whether Churchill and Roosevelt would have been willing to sacrifice so much as one million more dead British and American soldiers to keep Eastern Europe out of Soviet hands at the war’s end, let alone whether the American and British publics would have stood for such a sacrifice and policy.

Another point that West fails to consider is the continuing fear shared by both FDR and Churchill that at any point in the fighting, the situation she envisions might be reversed and Stalin might seek a separate peace with Nazi Germany, and move towards a rapprochement as he did during the Nazi-Soviet Pact. In March 1942, when the Allies were facing major military setbacks, Churchill wired FDR that the “gravity of the war” forced him to conclude that Britain and the U.S. could not deny Stalin the frontiers he wanted in Eastern Europe, even though it might contradict the goals of the Atlantic Charter. It was not Soviet agents who led Churchill to this judgment, but the military reality on the ground.

Instead of weighing these fears, West turns to another anecdote telling how George Elsey found confidential files in the Map Room that showed FDR naively thinking he could trust Stalin, and instructed Hopkins to tell Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov that FDR was in favor of a Second Front in 1942. She believes that this was a smoking gun proving that FDR was “making common cause with the NKVD.” But here’s what Hopkins actually told Molotov: “I can tell you that President Roosevelt is a very strong supporter of a Second Front in 1942, but the American generals don’t see the real necessity of the Second Front. Because of this I recommend you paint a harrowing picture of the situation in the Soviet Union so that American Generals realize the seriousness of the situation.”

An obvious explanation of this (one by the way that Rees provides) is that FDR wanted to give Molotov the impression that he supported the Soviet request for a Second Front, but was frustrated by his recalcitrant generals. Thus while giving the Soviets the impression that he was their friend, and cementing the alliance that saved so many American lives, he kept his options open. Molotov came out of the meeting expecting a Second Front that same year, which as FDR already knew he would not get. The reality, which West closes her eyes to, is that FDR denied Stalin’s wishes without giving him cause to seek another accommodation with Hitler.

Contrary to West’s shallow and erroneous interpretation of this event, when the Second Front did not materialize on Stalin’s timetable (as Laurence Rees notes), Stalin came “to believe that Roosevelt had added outright duplicity to the mix,” and that “he had been betrayed.”

In his book The Cold War: A New History, John Lewis Gaddis, the pre-eminent historian of this conflict, agrees that Stalin’s goal was to dominate the continent of Europe in the same way Hitler had before the war. But in 1947, Stalin said, “had Churchill delayed opening the second front in northern France by a year, the Red Army would have come to France…We toyed with the idea of reaching Paris.” If FDR and Churchill were really Stalin’s errand boys, as West suggests, why would they not have delayed the Normandy invasion and allowed the Soviets to reach Western Europe?

Gaddis also agrees with Rees and other major WW II scholars that “the greatest Anglo-American fear had been that the Soviet Union might again cut a deal with Nazi Germany…which would leave large portions of Europe” under totalitarian rule, “hence the importance Roosevelt and Churchill attached to keeping the Soviet Union in the war.”

This meant providing all possible assistance in food, clothing, and armaments, even if flying them in by desperate means and at a great cost: running convoys to Murmansk and Archangel while avoiding German submarines was no easy thing to do. It also meant not contesting Stalin’s demands for the restoration of lost territories, despite the awkward fact that some of these…had fallen under Soviet control only as a result of his pact with Hitler.  Finally, forestalling a separate peace on the European continent as soon as was military feasible, although in London and Washington that was understood to require postponement until success seemed likely at an acceptable cost.

I quote Gaddis at length to indicate that the decisions reached by FDR and Churchill were not the results of being run by NKVD conspirators who had infiltrated Western governments, but because they needed to win the war against Hitler, which they realized would be impossible to accomplish without Soviet military strength.

Even the most minimally informed reader will recognize the most obvious chink in West’s conspiracy theories: the failure to explain how the anti-Bolshevik Churchill, whose hatred for the Soviet regime went back to 1917 when he sought to crush it in its cradle, became a Soviet dupe.

At Yalta Churchill did agree to the division of Europe with a Soviet sphere of influence in the East in exchange for a promise by Stalin to accept British hegemony in Greece.

True, the way the agreement was sold to western publics was outrageous. Stalin was presented as a leader who wanted democratic regimes in his own sphere. But the Yalta agreements were concluded in order to win the war while minimizing casualties, and, in any case, merely registered what had already occurred on the ground. It was most certainly not the conspiracy that West conjures. Western leaders hoped, foolishly perhaps, that Stalin might keep his word to allow free elections in the Baltic States and Poland. But as Stalin told Molotov when signing the Yalta accords, “Do not worry. We can implement it in our own way later. The heart of the matter is the correlation of forces.” That correlation of forces is something West simply wishes away.

In agreeing to these arrangements Churchill was hardly a patsy let alone an unwitting tool of Kremlin agents. As the historian of Yalta, S. M. Plokhy, writes in Yalta: The Price of Peace, at the same time Churchill was defending the agreement to the British parliament, and facing his critics, “he was haunted by memories of Munich as he considered and reconsidered what had happened.” Churchill realized, however, that there were limits to what he could do to rein in the Soviet dictator. “Great Britain and the British Commonwealth,” Churchill said, “are very much weaker militarily than Soviet Russia, and have no means, short of another general war, of enforcing their point of view.” The reality, as Stalin said, was that “whoever occupies a territory also imposes on it his own social system.”

One of the first rude awakenings about Yalta was Stalin’s treatment of American POW’s in Soviet territory. West writes about “how they were being preyed upon by Russian thugs and prevented from coming home — but it wasn’t ‘appropriate’ for their commander-in-chief to send another crummy cable about this unconscionable outrage to the Soviet dictator, whose army…[was] still being fully fitted out by the magnanimous American taxpayer via Lend-Lease.”

Actually, as Plokhy shows, the Soviets treated American POW’s fairly well. Nevertheless, contrary to West, FDR “lost his temper with Stalin and sided completely with his representatives in Moscow, who by now were sick and tired of Soviet ways of doing things.” He sent stern messages to Stalin inspired by Averell Harriman, no pro-Soviet stooge, who was angered by the dictator’s behavior. FDR said to Anna Rosenberg Hoffman, his unofficial advisor on labor matters, “Averell is right: we can’t do business with Stalin. He has broken every one of his promises he made at Yalta.”  He said this on March 24; a few weeks before his death.  I looked in vain for that statement in West’s book.  What is in West’s book is a condemnation of FDR for not doing more, for not scheduling retaliatory measures, and for not taking the advice of those who advocated turning against the Soviets although the war was not yet over. FDR was, to the very end, she writes, “America’s Dupe Number One.” No wonder the statement to Anna Hoffman does not appear in her book.

West also does not show any awareness that Harry Truman instituted a stern opposition to Stalin’s Eastern European policies culminating in the Truman Doctrine which drew a line in the sand opposing further Soviet expansion, and led to a Cold War that ended with the collapse of the Communist system. West doesn’t confront this little development because it would be inexplicable if America was a Soviet occupied state run by Stalin’s agents.

Conspiratorial theories of history are easy to create once you are prepared to ignore the realities on the ground, or regard those who do take them into account as part of the conspiracy too. This is the path that Diana West has taken in her misconceived and misleading book. Why did the U.S. and Britain not prevent the totalitarian USSR from taking over Eastern Europe after it had defeated the totalitarian Nazis?  It had nothing to do with the Rubik’s Cube of diplomatic and military considerations, a calculus that had to take into account the willingness of the American and British publics to continue to sacrifice and their soldiers to die.  No, it was a conspiracy so immense, as West’s hero Joe McCarthy might have said, that it allowed Western policy to be dictated by a shadow army of Soviet agents. It is unfortunate that a number of conservatives who should know better have fallen for West’s fictions.  It is even more depressing that her book perpetuates the dangerous one dimensional thinking of the Wisconsin Senator and his allies in the John Birch Society which have allowed anti anti-communism to have a field day in our intellectual culture.

Ronald Radosh is an Adjunct Fellow at The Hudson Institute and a columnist for PJ Media. He is author or co-author of over 15 books, and writes frequently for The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, and Commentary.

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  • LolKatzen

    If the US had entered the war in 1939, yes, things would have turned out better. But the sentiments of the people at that simply would not have allowed it.

    • wildjew

      That is where FDR failed. He should have been educating the public throughout the nineteen thirties like Churchill did his public even if the public would not listen. They needed to hear the truth.

      • EarlyBird

        People don’t fight for abstractions. To the average American in ’39, as terrible as what was happening in Europe, it was happening “over there,” and Americans’ biggest concern at the time was finding work. It took Pearl Harbor and the subsequent declarations of war to get Americans stirred to fight and die.

        • wildjew

          People don’t fight for abstractions. You mean like Bush’s war against terrorism abstraction and Obama’s war against violent extremism abstraction?

          • EarlyBird

            Yes. When it comes down to it, you don’t get people to risk their lives for ideas, but to fight for something tangible. The fact, for instance, that evil Islamists are taking over parts of desert nations doesn’t get young men to join the army. The idea that those Islamists are trying to kill us at home, does.

          • wildjew

            Oh it’s “Islamists” that want to kill us. Not Muslims?

          • cjkcjk

            9/11 was not an abstraction.

          • wildjew

            9/11 was not an abstraction but wasn’t what Bush defined as the enemy after the attacks an abstraction? Terror. War on terror. Terror is something that causes great fear or panic. That is what Bush told the nation we were at war with; terrorism. Bush’s dutiful toadies, Rush Limbaugh and others, propagated Bush’s abstraction for seven plus years even after Americans elected a Muslim president. Didn’t Bush, Limbaugh and others help Americans to elect a Muslim. Now Obama says we are at war with violent extremism. That’s not an abstraction?

          • cjkcjk

            I was there and 9/11 was the direct reason for going to war PERIOD.

          • wildjew

            You are in denial. You live your life in total delusion. I was also there and I was there to hear all the many lies George W. Bush told the nation about the enemy. And 9/11 was the direct reason Bush took America to war against an abstraction. Bush wasted Americans lives fighting an abstraction.

          • cjkcjk

            You’ve just revealed yourself as either a liar or someone with a zero for a memory.
            9/11 was the direct reason why Americans were MASSIVELY in favor for war, PERIOD.

  • LolKatzen

    Good piece. Agrees with everything I’ve read about the era, certainly.

  • derekcrane

    Actually, West has replied to this critique of her book and promises a more extensive response soon:

    http://www.dianawest.net/Home/tabid/36/EntryId/2608/If-Frontpage-Will-Lie-about-This-What-Wont-They-Lie-About.aspx

    • T.A.

      This “reply” does not respond to a single criticism of fact that Radosh gives. It is an emotional rant, nothing more.

      • derekcrane

        Give the woman a chance. She was given less than three hours notice of Radosh’s review. It was a long review and requires a few days to properly write a reply.

  • blawrence

    Well done, Professor Radosh

  • TienBing

    There is a difference between a critical but un-hostile critique, and a critical and hostile critique. I believe a major source of negative reaction and hostility to Mr. Radosh’s review of Ms. West’s work is not only the condescension dripping from every paragraph, but the obvious hostility. Many including myself think it unwarranted and don’t understand it.

    One could point out inconsistencies, exaggerations, or unsupported theories without attacking those who agree with Ms. West, or implying that Ms. West and those who are swayed by her thesis and arguments are unhinged.

    Despite Mr. Radosh’s assertion that in regards to the issue of communist influence and infiltration of the US government “the science is settled” – he settled it, there remains many areas of information and interpretation that are still unsettled and contentious.

    I am not a scholar of FDR, but it seems that there was a turn in our government towards being “communist friendly” and support for the Soviet Union that cannot be explained or dismissed by invoking coincidence or merely dismissing them as the necessity of the times. It didn’t just happen.

  • CurmudgyOne

    Why does anyone expect consensus on history, in the first place? There is not now, never will be, and never was agreement on anything political. And, everything is political.

    • Benjamin Kerstein

      Consensus on history may be difficult (though it does happen), but error, misinterpretation, and conspiracy theory are not an issue of consensus, they are an issue of truth or untruth.

  • Jacquelin

    True, when it comes to PR, McCarthy couldn’t sell tricks on a troop train, but he was a voice in the wilderness, and Washington was a VERY Leftist place in those days. He was FAR more right than wrong, and he smelled a real rat. “Anti-McCarthy” seems a little(lion king games) simple. Please pursue the dialogue between Ron and Diana as the heat of today subsides. The Left never eats their young until the war is won. Diana is far too noble a warrior to be dealt with this way. Our cause is too endangered for infighting. I’d welcome a few sluggers and rabble rousers right now.

    • davids64

      Yeah, DC was “very left” in those days. That is true.

      The problem is in the desire of some on the wacko-right to conflate “left” with “communist”. All rational and serious people understand that one can be “liberal” or “leftist” and not be a commie. Ms. West lacks the intellectual sophistication to understand that difference, I suspect.

      • poptoy1949

        I respectfully disagree with your last written sentence.

  • Benjamin Kerstein

    I think Horowitz and Radosh are doing precisely the right thing in trying to discredit nutcases like the two of you.

  • Benjamin Kerstein

    For the sake of argument, let’s say the review is self-important (I don’t think it is), how does that make it in any way inaccurate?

  • Judy K. Warner

    Much of Radosh´s work has been in the service of exposing communists and the harm they have done to America. He is a historian who followed the facts where they led.

    When he began researching the Rosenberg case he thought he would show they were innocent. But his research showed they were guilty beyond a doubt. Therefore he changed his mind. I repeat, the facts Changed His Mind. His book demonstrating the Rosenbergs´ guilt lost him many friends, cut off career paths, and brought down on him all the hatred the left is capable of. He followed that book an expose of Communist influence in Hollywood and a takedown of books on Amercian history written by leftists, among much else.

    To accuse him of being lukewarm about communist influence in America is ludicrous. As a fellow Red Diaper Baby who changed because of the facts, I can attest that it is incredibly difficult to conclude that your friends, your family, the whole world you grew up in is wrong. Once you´ve done it and you realize the implications of that world you don´t go back; you recoil in horror.

    Ron Radosh came to his beliefs because he engaged in honest research and didn´t flinch from the implications. To say now that he´s afraid of West´s conclusions or her research is bizarre when you consider his life. But his path might tell you something of the importance to him of finding the truth based on facts, not what you want to believe.

    • davids64

      Good points, Judy.

      The PROBLEM is that the wacko right (as opposed to the SANE right), doesn’t care about factual accuracy. They ONLY want to hear what they already have predetermined to be true, and any and all contradictory evidence MUST be a conspiracy!

      Unfortunately, with the rise of the TeaParty in recent years, this trend is accelerating. Pseudo-conservative anti-intellectualism will mean the death of the Republican Party in the USA.

  • Christine Brim

    Diana West is answering the Radosh critique in a series of posts – the next one from this afternoon is linked below – Each one is also educational in itself on the broad topic of the evidence supporting her book – see here on Hopkins: http://www.dianawest.net/Home/tabid/36/EntryId/2610/If-Frontpage-Lies-about-This-Theyll-Lie-about-Anything-Pt-2.aspx

    Also, note that the book is as of this hour, #5 in History & Theory and #8 in Commentary at amazon.com. You owe it to yourself, if you haven’t read it yet, to pick up a copy and make your own judgment on this ground-breaking work.

  • Benjamin Kerstein

    Yes, shame on Mr. Horowitz for criticizing a completely deranged conspiracy theory without a shred of evidence to back it up. How dare he imply that the president was born in the place everyone from the state of Hawaii to the judicial system says he was born in. Horrible indeed.

    • sendtheclunkerbacktochicago

      There is a ton of packaged evidence that has been presented to our Representatives. Congressman Stockman and Yoho and Barletta have just recently viewed the evidence and they will be pursuing an investigation. So please refrain from talking about a subject you know NOTHING about. Folks like you, the uninformed voters, are the reason this Fraud and Phony in Chief can get away with fraud and crimes. You should be ashamed of yourself.

      • Benjamin Kerstein

        Your “ton” of evidence does not seem to amount to much, based on your previous posts. All of the official evidence indicates that you are barking mad. I presume that you believe all this evidence is tainted as the result of a conspiracy, which is also barking mad, though I despair of convincing you of that fact.

  • EarlyBird

    People tend become isolationists after foreign adventures don’t go so well. Consider that Americans along with other Great War combatants had to scratch their head as to what all that carnage really accomplished. The Europeans’ empires were realigned far more than the European states themselves.
    The US entered the post-Vietnam “malaise, and now the US is pretty exhausted by the Iraq debacle and the grinding mission in Afghanistan. We’re in an isolationist mood right now.

    • wildjew

      Why do people tend to scratch their heads and become isolationists after a terrible war? Do you scratch your head and become an isolationist? I look for answers. I pray to God for wisdom. Why didn’t Churchill scratch his head and become an isolationist after the Great War. Here’s a good quote. See if you can ‘make heads or tails’ of it:

      “Of war, he (Churchill) wrote in 1930, “we now have entire populations, including even women and children, pitted against one another in brutish mutual extermination, and only a set of blear-eyed clerks left to add up the butcher’s bill.” War’s utility was altogether another matter. He told Colville that those who complain that wars settle nothing were speaking nonsense, because “nothing in history was ever settled except by war.” War, in spite of its horror, was the answer when the questions were framed in terms of liberty and the preservation of the West’s most humanistic traditions.”

      • EarlyBird

        Oh thank you Wise Warrior. I in no way expressed that idiotic sentiment that “war solves nothing.”

        I was answering a very limited question as to why Europeans and Americans were reluctant to fight another European war, after the Great War which didn’t change much about Europe at all. “What did we all fight and die for?” THAT is what they were “scratching their heads about.” Decisive wars people understand.

        • wildjew

          Do you know why we had to fight another war with the “Hun?” Look to General Pershing for answers. He was furious at Wilson. Pershing complained that Germany did not know they were defeated because Wilson wanted a strong Germany to preside over a peace conference in Paris. Pershing wanted to destroy the German army. Pershing lamented Germany did not know they had been licked. Thus the “stab in the back,” and the rise of Hitler. We should not believe revisionists like Patrick Buchanan who said the Treaty of Versailles is the reason for the second world war. Pershing knew better. FDR and Churchill did not repeat Wilson’s folly. You destroy the enemy. You don’t let the enemy or their army come back for another fight. Speaking as a Jew, I would have obliterated Germany. FDR and Churchill were too soft on Nazi Germany.

          Nations, like individuals, have moral obligations. “You shall not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor,” applies to nations as well as individuals. Isolationism in America while our neighbor (ally) bled at the hand of the Nazi murderer was evil and immoral. You don’t think God stirred up the “Japs” against sleeping America (who stood idly by the blood of our neighbor) at Pearl Harbor?

      • EarlyBird

        Responding to your post stuck in moderation:
        “Do you know why we had to fight another war with the “Hun?”

        Because we didn’t destroy the enemy in WWI AND added to Gemans’ humiliation with the Treaty of Versailles.

        It’s not either-or, it’s both. To my knowledge, WWI is the only major war where a peace treaty took place where the “loser” had never had its land invaded, and so the Germans rightfully didn’t “feel” like losers in that war. Add to that the draconian terms of the Treaty, and they felt humiliated and betrayed by their own government. Buchanan (regardless of your obvious bones to pick with him), is hardly the only to make the connection with the Treaty. Hitler nursed that wound on his rise to power.

        “Speaking as a Jew, I would have obliterated Germany. FDR and Churchill were too soft on Nazi Germany.”

        Germany was functionally obliterated. If you are saying that you would have used atomic weapons to incinerate countless thousands of individuals when it was not necessary to defeat that enemy, as it was the Japanese, to get revenge for the Holocaust, that’s between you and God.

        The rest of your post is just moralizing and arguing against someone who doesn’t disagree with you. I am not arguing that the pre-WWII isolationists were correct. I’m saying they were human to be reluctant to go to war.

  • ulyssesmsu

    I’m always perplexed by statements like this–”He is author or co-author of over 15 books . . . ” Doesn’t Mr. Radosh know how many books he has written? Is it 16, or is it 20, or is it 100? Why say “over 15″?

    On a more serious note, TY, Mr. Radosh, for this excellent review and brilliant synthesis of numerous and diverse historical sources.

  • semus

    Stop mischaracterizing McCarthy.

  • Stonewall

    According to M. Stanton Evans & Herbert Romerstein, in their book Stalin’s Secret Agents, there was a vast left wing (Communist) conspiracy directed against the United States, just as Diana West has said. Here is an excerpt from Evans and Romerstein.

    “With the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, conflict between the new Soviet rulers of
    Russia and the non-Communist nations was fore-ordained and… would last for
    generations. The hostility stemmed… mainly from the belief of Soviet commissars Lenin and Trotsky that their victory would be the precursor to a Red revolution elsewhere, and that the new Communist state would lead the way in making this happen. Soviet methods of secret warfare were developed to advance this revolutionary vision. Generally speaking, what the new disclosures tell us about all this is that Communist covert actions against the United States and other target nations were relentless and effective, far more than most historians have imagined. The Kremlin used such tactics in systematic fashion,
    made them key elements of state policy, and devoted enormous resources to them…As the record further shows, a main object of Moscow’s subliminal onslaught was to plant secret agents in the United States and other Western nations, with emphasis on official agencies that delt with military, intelligence, or foreign policy issues. From these positions, pro-Soviet operatives were able to engage in policy sabotage, spying, and other species of subversion that advanced the interests of the Kremlin… It’s evident from now-available records that Communist penetration of our government – and our society in general – was, over a span of decades, massive. Hundreds of Soviet agents, Communist Party members, and fellow travelers were ensconced on official payrolls, beginning in the New Deal era then increasing rapidly during World War II… As the record further shows, Communists and fellow travelers on official rosters in case after case were agents of the Soviet Union, plighting their troth to Moscow and striving to promote the cause of the dictator Stalin… In sum, as shown by a now substantial mass of data, a powerful and devious enemy had by the middle 1940s succeeded in planting myriad secret agents and sympathizers in offices of the U.S. government (and other posts of influence) where they were able to serve the cause of Moscow and betray America’s national interests.”

  • Stonewall

    Ron Radosh says: “The Soviets would have faced an insurmountable problem in using the shipped [U-238] ore for bomb making. The problem they would have faced was in separating bomb-grade U-235 (which makes up only 0.7 percent of natural uranium) from U-238 (99.3%), a difficult technical engineering challenge. Until the Soviets could figure out how to separate the isotopes, which they eventually did through the post war espionage at Los Alamos we are all familiar with, the uranium ore they received would be useless for making a weapon.”

    Weapons grade Plutonium-239 is created by bombarding U-238 with a beam of neutrons, so the technical engineering challenge of separating bomb-grade U-235 from U-238 ore was minimized since they could go the Plutonium-239 route instead – and produce the same type of “Fat Man” nuclear weapon we used on Nagasaki. This is exactly what happened on August 29, 1949 when the Soviet Union exploded their first atomic bomb – a Plutonium-239 implosion fission device. It didn’t take the Soviet Union very long to develop Plutonium-239 nuclear weapons due to the shipment of U-238 by FDR, as detailed by Diana West, and their espionage network.

  • DrMaxHathaway

    Why is this traitor and communist-tool being allowed to impugn the established factuality of the history recited by the marvelous detective work of Diana West…?
    Let him write his treasonous tripe for the daily beast

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/AnneMarie-Dickey/1722922502 AnneMarie Dickey

      I swore an oath to defend the Constitution from people like you. Here, in a very short space, you have advocated the mass murder of anybody who does not agree with you, including journalists, lawyers and scholars…while incredibly calling other people “traitors” who think this sort of thing is a bad idea. You do not want democracy, because you do not want debate or disagreement. You want authoritarian rule. In short, you are a Sans-Culotte. A Parisian Jacobite. A Herbertist. You would purge our Republic with fire and blood, and in doing so turn us into exactly the sort of thing you claim to hate.

      There is nothing conservative about your claims of “…the kill-list would not stop with the fake Journalists, fake lawyers, fake professors and all the other quacks. We have to be ready and willing to fight fire with fire. If some don’t have the stomach for what needs to be done, then they should step out of the way.”

      This is the sort of thing you heard in The Reign of Terror in 1793, and Moscow in 1921. You heard it in Havana, Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh. It is radical lunacy that ends in firing squads, tumbrel rides to the guillotine and mass murder in the Vendee’.

      I know you for what you are, and you the enemy of everything I stand for and everything this country has resisted since 1775.

      • davids64

        Thank you, Annemarie.

        I think it is quite clear to everybody what a REAL American believes. “Doctor” Max is most certainly NOT a real American.

  • DrMaxHathaway

    The critical lesson from Diana West is that history is repeating itself.

    Now, we have a president who is a communist plant, imposter, and a total fraud — the post-turtle of all post-turtles, a man elevated beyond belief by others to a position he completely lacks the faculties to carry out unless the misson is suicide and destruction, in which case he’s a wild success.

    This daylight robbery and mass murder by Obama and his co-conspirators does not even need cover when a complicit national press corps black-washes all questions of Obama’s legitimacy and polcies and black-outs everything the public needs to know about our traitor-in-chief.

    In the last ervolution one of the rallying cries was kill all the lawyers. In the next it should be: KILL ALL THE JOURNALISTS, then kill all the lawyers, followed by the professors.

    • Benjamin Kerstein

      It’s unfortunate that the word “fascism” is thrown around so easily, because when a real live fascist such as yourself comes around, it’s difficult to think of precisely what to call you.

      • Silence Dogood

        Yes, DMH went overboard. He should have said deport or imprison all the Marxist Journalists, deport or imprison all the Marxist lawyers, and deport or imprison all the Marxist professors.
        Marxism is a violation of the American Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights – Marxism is levying political war against them. So let the trials for treason begin – under a new non-Marxist government – which, of course, will take some time.

        • Benjamin Kerstein

          So, basically you want a Stalinist purge in reverse.

          • Silence Dogood

            Stalin purged with mass starvation, gulags and bullets through the head. I would purge with the power of the pen – amending our Constitution with anti-Marxist law – and then enforcing the Constitution with prison or deportation.

          • WordsOfTheNorth

            You are a leftist troll, slandering conservatives as paranoid maniacs. Go back to Salon or Slate.

          • Silence Dogood

            Stalin purged in violation of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. I would purge in defense of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

          • DrMaxHathaway

            Sweep the deck clean

        • DrMaxHathaway

          Deporting does no good—we want to make example of these degenerates. And FYI: the kill-list would not stop with the fake Journalists, fake lawyers, fake professors and all the other quacks.
          We have to be ready and willing to fight fire with fire. If some don’t have the stomach for what needs to be done, then they should step out fo way.

      • 57nomad

        “because when a real live fascist such as yourself comes around, it’s difficult to think of precisely what to call you.”….said Kerstein calling someone a fascist.

        Physician, heal thyself.

        • Benjamin Kerstein

          Well, killing all the journalists, lawyers, and professors is generally how the fascists started out. Then they moved on to everyone else who disagreed with them. Good luck with that.

          • 57nomad

            Yeah, that’s true and my remarks were just some self-entertainment. Nonetheless, calling the poster a fascist wasn’t called for. I’ll withdraw my comments if you’ll amend yours.

      • DrMaxHathaway

        I am not the type who will sit there in a circle-jerk with traitors like you who pretend to engage in intellectual discourse with degenerates whilst they plot, plan and scheme to overthrow western civilization adnrepaand it with their totalitarian utopia.

    • roma8989

      ladies and gentlemen, meed Diana West’s little helper……;-)

  • sybarite123

    In this corrupt world as we have come to know it, I am inclined to accept Diana West’s theses as correct. Moreover McCarthy is in the process of being vindicated. Many Leftists may and have crucified these ‘Crusaders’ but that is always the fate of Prophets, isn’t it? In parallel fashion, those raising alarms about Islam today are being attacked as “Islamophobes”. A retired Catholic priest in Canada.

  • cjkcjk

    Eisenhower was a dope who gave the Nazis at least 3 more months of time to commit genocide than they should have had.

    • tagalog

      Yeah, Ike COULD have listened to Montgomery or Patton, both of whom advocated for creating salients that the Wehrmacht could take advantage of, as in the Bulge or Operation Northwind down in the Vosges.

      Remember, the armies in Western Europe didn’t have a port to unload supplies in until Antwerp was liberated and the port rebuilt. When was that, November 1944, maybe October at the earliest? Supplies were being transported by truck from the beaches of Normandy. They were running out of gas repeatedly. The Allied advance was stalled. Advancing on a broad front was the most sensible thing to do. Eisenhower was right.

      • cjkcjk

        Gee, why didn’t they capture Antwerp earlier?
        Ike was a dolt.
        The Bulge was a perfect opportunity to capture hordes of German troops and supplies , but good ole Ike chose a frontal meat grinding attack, what a doofus
        Guess which major American commander in WWII was about the only guy to not see combat in WWI?
        That’s right dumbazz Ike.

  • Mittymo

    Mr. Radosh,

    Assume that France, Britain, & the U.S. had no business being in WWII & that Stalin (as part of his goal to dominate Eastern & parts of central Europe) entangled them as pawns as part of a Machiavellian plan to accomplish that.

    Now, I know you hate conspiracy theories, but this one isn’t that hard to put together. Stalin couldn’t have achieved his goals on his own.

    Stalin planned to subvert eastern & parts of central Europe. The only obstacle to achievement of his goals was Germany. Plus, Germany aligned with another of Russia’s long-standing foes, Japan.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Lake_Khasan

    Stalin couldn’t risk a two front war with both Germany & Japan. As a consequence, he designed a cunning plan to involve the U.S. in the war.
    First, Stalin’s agents got Britain to make a foolish pledge to defend Poland. Then, he plotted with Hitler to jointly invade Poland. But instead of invading simultaneously according to their plan, Stalin delayed his invasion by 2-weeks. Britain then declared war on Germany.

    When Russia invaded Poland 2-weeks later, Britain & France ignored the attack. (Were Russian agents helping to shape British & French policy? Or were those countries merely relying on promises by FDR’s emissary, Wm. Bullitt?)

    http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=8065

    Next, Stalin’s agents within the U.S. government got FDR to goad Japan into war.

    “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it
    was planned that way.” ~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of
    the U.S.

    “How can we maneuver them [the Japanese] into the position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves.” Diary of Henry L. Stimson, Secretary of War under FDR.

    FDR told Churchill he would get the U.S. into the War by becoming
    progressively more provocative until either the Germans or the Japanese
    made a fatal mistake that would give him the opportunity. See “Cruise
    of the Lanikai,” by Kemp Tolley, p-274, quoting from British documents
    declassified in 1971.

    In the summer of 1941, FDR met with Churchill, & together, they crafted the Atlantic Charter. The Charter detailed the aims of the Allied powers concerning the war and their goals for the post-war world (similar to the role of the victors
    crafting the Treaty of Versailles). Under the Charter, Britain and U.S. would have an equal role in planning the post-war consequences for the vanquished.

    Why would FDR help plan the goals for the war & the consequences for the losers unless he had plans to involve America in that war?

    http://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/history/item/4740-pearl-harbor-hawaii-was-surprised-fdr-was-not

    http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1930

    http://www.conservapedia.com/Harry_Dexter_White

    As Stalin put it: Britain bought us time, the U.S. gave us the money & diversion we needed; but we did the heavy lifting.

    http://www.hnn.us/articles/126978.html

    See “Stalin’s Secret Agents” by M. Stanton Evans & Herbert Romerstein

    Many believe Britain & the U.S. should have let Germany & Russia fight to exhaustion & potential collapse. (See “The Unnecessary War,” by Patrick J. Buchanan.)

    Britain’s most respected military analyst, Sir Liddell Hart pointed out that Hitler’s logical route of expansion was to the east, against her natural enemy, Russia. Hart also believed Britain should let Germany and Russia fight it out to the point
    of exhaustion and bring about the downfall of both dictators.

    “I urged in 1941 that we should allow those two dictators to exhaust each
    other. I stated that the result of our assistance would be to spread
    Communism over the whole world…. The consequences have proved that I
    was right.” Herbert Hoover, 31st President of the United States

    See “Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956,” by Anne Applebaum.

    • BRobCleveland

      Huh? Germany invaded France and attacked Britain, and declared war against the US and sank our ships BEFORE we invaded at Normandy. How is this a claim that those three countries “blundered into WW II” when the Germans waged war against them all?

      This is complete nonsense!

  • moderate Guy

    Ronald, my boy; next time you should really read a book before attempting to critique it, rather than relying on a synopsis from New York Times book review.

  • MLCBLOG

    I used to really like her, but I respect Mr. Radosh more. Looking forward to the read.

  • http://tinatrent.com/ Tina Trent

    You’re wildly simplifying known arguments and facts.

    Read Justice Doenecke.

    • wildjew

      “On the eve of the GOP gathering, (Wendell) Willkie had called for immediate U.S. aid for Britain, adding that he was “in accord with the national administration” on the issue— a clear thumb in the eye to Republican isolationists. Enraged by his remarks, some fifty Republican members of Congress signed a letter urging the convention to choose a “leader with a past record consistently supporting Republican policies … and whose recognized position and recent pronouncements are a guarantee to the American people that he will not lead the nation into a foreign war.”

      “Willkie’s avowal of bipartisanship infuriated Republican leaders. Most prominent Republicans in Congress and the party hierarchy strongly opposed Lend-Lease, and they hoped that Willkie, as titular head of the GOP, would do the same. Nothwithstanding his defeat, he was still extremely popular with a significant segment of the American people….”

      “Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941″ by Lynne Olson

  • Mike

    The depth of delusion amongst those who only see evidence that confirms their worldview of endless conspiracies is truly astounding. Wow. The US is fine. These paranoid theories about the collapse of America have been spinning since day one and are nothing more than industries drummed up to cultivate fear for profit. Talk radio and the Internet have just given amplified them, not given them more substance. Everyone chill…go outside, take a walk, enjoy life…

  • bobster1985

    One relevant point that Radosh leaves out is that in addition to needing Stalin’s help in defeating Nazi Germany, the Allies wanted the USSR to also join the war against Japan. Until July 1945 the Atomic Bomb was untested and it seemed inevitable that a bloody invasion of the Japanese home islands would be needed to end the war in the Pacific. Having the Red Army fighting the very capable Japanese troops would save countless American lives in Asia as it did in Europe. Getting Stalin’s promise to join the war against Japan was one of FDR’s main goals at Yalta.

  • Jerry Rosen

    It is also the case that LIndbergh and Ford were vociferous Jew-haters. Ford had published the infamous “Protocols of Zion” (a forged a and plagiarized by a Russian official of the Czarist secret police); I don’t doubt that the same sort of people who refused to lt Marian Anderson (a black0 sing at the DAR’s Constitution Hall felt no little sympathy for the Nazis intentions for the Jews — which was at the time to ostracize, demonize, and expel them after confiscating their property — and not yet to physically destroy them (although the Krystallnacht of November 1938 was a pretty could harbinger of the joys to come).

    • tagalog

      “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

      • Jerry Rosen

        I know that. I was just trying to save typing.

  • Thomas Cleaver

    Radosh’s complaint about West’s “scholarship” reminds me of a comment once made a few years back by a German friend of mine who lived through the “twelve bad years”: “Hitler wasn’t voted into office by the Nazis, but by the conservatives who believed him when he told them he was one of them, a lie they discovered too late.” American conservatives need to learn the lesson themselves: there is a vast difference between “conservative” and “right wing.” The former is an honorable political philosophy that has contributed much over the course of history. The latter is the province of loonies and know-nothings, and the result of their efforts was described by Richard Hofstadter way back in 1954 in his seminal essay, “The Pseudo-Conservative”: “The pseudo conservative is a man who, in the name of upholding traditional American values and institutions and defending them against more or less fictitious dangers, consciously or unconsciously aims at their abolition.”

    West and her book remind me of what was said of John Stormer’s 1964 missive “None Dare Call It Treason” – call it “None dare call It reason.” I am constantly amazed at how persistent some stupidity really is. One would think actual, for-real conservatives would figure out the looney right wing once and for all.

    • davids64

      “for-real” conservatives? What a tiny minority THEY are!! How often will a person permit himself to be called “RINO” before he gives up on his supposedly “conservative” political party?

  • P Gustaf

    TLDR

  • duke492

    I am disappointed that Diana West- and her allies, such a M. Stanton Evans- did not accept your offer for a debate in these pages. I would be interested to hear the different sides regarding these details. But even if we grant your points, they do not justify the tone of your review. That tone- which is the default editorial posture of the Wall Street Journal, among others- does far more damage to the anticommunist cause than any errors that you might identify in Ms. West’s book.

    We are not dealing with conspiracy theories, and you do immeasurable damage to our cause by using that terminology. There is no doubt of a communist conspiracy to subvert the philosophy of the United States; and there is no doubt that, to an alarming extent, they have succeeded. How else to you explain the fact that we have twice elected as President a man who, from his youth unto this day, has deliberately sought out hardline Marxists as his closest friends and advisors, and who has appointed them into key political positions?

    I agree that the substantial points of her book are not new. But they are new to her. Her fresh approach to these questions reminds me of my own reaction when I first discovered these facts 40 years ago. Her spiritual posture in response to these facts is much closer to the response which they deserve- much closer than you have managed to attain, for all your academic mastery of arcane details. You say that she needs to view these facts in their historical context. I will see that point, and raise you one: history must be viewed in its philosophical context. History is about God’s proving to man that His Word is true, the Word which He has revealed to the apostles and the prophets.

    In 1964 I graduated from high school in a very conservative rural community in the heart of Georgia. After graduating from the US Naval Academy in 1968, and finishing first in my class in nuclear power school, I served five years in the nuclear submarine force, where one of my jobs was to verify any orders to fire our nuclear missiles. I was never taught the history and philosophy of communism. The magnitude of that failure, and the implications of the fact that it could happen, justify even more alarm than Ms. West has expressed in her excellent book. When she describes the reactions of American military officers to her attempts to tell them the truth about Islam, she is describing an incredibly powerful spiritual delusion that has descended upon our nation.

    My original obligated service was coming to an end in 1973, and the events of that year shook my world to its foundations. The Arab oil embargo, our impending defeat in Vietnam, the Watergate Hearings- it was no longer clear that the good guys always win. It was not even clear that America is the good guys. That is precisely the goal of communist conspiracy. They call it the period of demoralization, the period before the final revolutionary violent overthrow. They don’t mean merely that the target population is discouraged; they mean that the communists have destroyed the philosophical beliefs which gave meaning to the lives of the target population, the beliefs which motivated them to defend their institutions. They had certainly succeeded with me.

    Was there are was a communist conspiracy? As I tried to determine the answer, I had a strange experience. I would read one argument, and consider the point proved. But then I would read a counter-argument, and find that equally persuasive. Upon closer examination, I found that the facts were not at issue. How can two men argue the same set of facts, and plausibly defend opposite conclusions? At first I thought it was something in the structure of the language. I wasted a lot of time on that, as young men sometimes do when they are a little bit too smart. But I finally arrived at the understanding which is exactly the right amount of smart: it is about philosophical presuppositions. Such presuppositions are seldom stated explicitly, and are never adequately examined.

    I quickly realized that the arguments of philosophy cannot be resolved by human reason and experience. The master debater can, without compromising his integrity, argue either side of a properly framed question. Such answers as may be must be found in religion. The only way to test a religion is to believe it and live it, so that’s what I did. Resigning my officer’s commission, I spent the next three years living in my Volkswagen van along California Highway One, the coastal highway. I accepted every invitation to visit any spiritual commune, and believed whatever I was taught, without quite committing myself to any. I was looking for that teaching which is common to all. The only people who wanted no part of my universal religion project were the fundamentalist Christians. I soon came to regard them as the most narrow-minded people in the world. But I listened to them, and understood one thing: if these people should turn out to be right, everyone else is dead wrong. Five years of intense religious study and spiritual experience in meditation finally convinced me that in fact they are right. Like most people, I was converted to Christianity by a spiritual experience; but before that, I was led to believe many wrong things by spiritual experiences. The proof of Christianity is historical. We submit our claims to the ordinary methods of historical investigation. A good book about Christian apologetics is “The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict”, by Josh McDowell.
    One problem we perpetually encounter in these debates is the fact that most Christians are not intellectuals, and most intellectuals are not Christians. But those few Christians who are intellectuals routinely perform at the top of their class- Isaac Newton, for example.

    I am currently reading a book which speaks to some of your points about Stalin and Hitler: “The Chief Culprit: Stalin’s Grand Design to Start World War II”, by Viktor Suvorov. The author was a top Soviet intelligence analyst who defected to the West after discovering these facts (the facts in his book) in Soviet archives.
    This is already too long, and I am running late. I hope that my off-the-cuff remarks have served some useful purpose. I will end with a quote from Tal Brooke in his book, “One World.” When man tries to determine truth by the power of his own reason, and then tries to keep the truth by the power of his own will, “he is playing chess against a being with an IQ of about half a million, who has been playing the game for millennia.” When Jesus was tested by Satan in the wilderness, he never argued with the Devil. He simply quoted scripture verbatim. The only truth that man can know is the truth which is revealed by God.

    • haiku artist

      I also having been a lifelong liberal (Princeton undergrad) and student of every philosophy, religion and new age belief under the sun, accepted finally the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It took years upon years of owning and operating a second-hand bookstore to overcome my left wing political bias and the heavy deception of spiritual counterfeits. The Holy Spirit (of truth) can reveal the reality of scripture even to intellectuals who invite the resurrected Jesus into their lives.

  • WOOF

    We here at WOOF can see important distinctions between Zinn
    and West, including the fact that West is much better looking and uses
    footnotes. We are also amused to see our beloved mentor WFB Jr. held up as a finer sort of conservative—one who abjured the extreme invective of Joe McCarthy, even though in reality Buckley remained unapologetically loyal to Joe and wrote some of his speeches—including some of those we see nowadays held up as examples of the sort of extremism Buckley would putatively have eschewed.

    But WOOF also maintains a stout and undiminished respect for Ron Radosh, and we understand his concerns. Confessedly, we here at Watchdogs of Our Freedom hang out on Crackpot Alley by preference; it’s our turf. But we aren’t prepared to de-friend any conservative over differences of degree or nuances of belief. We remember that WFB introduced and maintained conservative “fusionism” at NR, and we refuse to decry Radosh for his principled analysis—even as we persist in adoring Diana West. She writes well, she’s good looking, she’s brave, and she’s on our side—why can’t we just all stick together and guffaw at Zinn? Much more fun and nowhere near as cannibalistic!

  • Eli Rabett

    Having blown down West’s strawhouse, you erect your own wrt the aims of anyone a millimeter to the left of you.

  • philbest

    Yes, I would like to know what Radosh would say about M. Stanton Evans’ book on McCarthy. If Radosh is using “McCarthyism” as a pejorative, he has evidently been content to let the Leftist lies about McCarthy stand.

    Stanton Evans is one guy whose opinion on Diana West’s book, I would love to get.

    I haven’t yet read West’s book, but I have believed ever since reading Evans’ “Blacklisted by History”, that there is a lot more pushback against the Left-defined history needed yet. I can quite believe that the USA of the 1930′s was riddled with Communist sympathisers, including in the Democrat Party mainstream. The seduction of the politics of “equality” is strong for the economically illiterate, which most of the Democrats from the White House down, certainly were.

    Even now, there is evidently myriads of people on the “libbewal” Left who are incapable of learning from the lessons of history, and think enforced equality to be a credible political option.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eric-Paddon/100001252965548 Eric Paddon

    ereading this asinine “review” I am struck by how Radosh tries to spin away the notion of how refusal to listen to potential peace feelers from anti-Nazi Germans wasn’t “realistic”. What he conveniently leaves out is that this is attached to the broader question of whether the *unconditional surrender* policy was a mistake that needlessly prolonged the war by (1) undermining anti-Nazi resistance to Hitler within Germany and (2) serving Soviet interests more than American interests. And for him to say no scholar has ever questioned the wisdom of the “unconditional surrender” policy is not true (Thomas Fleming for instance in “The New Dealers War”). It’s debatable to be sure, but for Radosh to presume there is a goose-stepping uniformity on unconditional surrender and that West is therefore a “kook” for bringing up the subject is just a flat-out rubbish. What’s even more laughable is how he tries to spin away the idea that approaching anti-Nazi Germans (notice how Radosh tries to instead rhetorically depict the idea in his headline as if he is trying to suggest to the casual reader that West was calling for an alliance with Hitler against Stalin!) by suggesting how that would have been bad for American credibility because they had been depicting the Soviets in such heroic terms leading up to 1943. Well, DUH! That’s the point of West’s work that such a policy depicting them in this fashion had already been going on thanks in part to the efforts of the Soviet spies and propagandists inside the Administration, that oh, gee whiz, Radosh is clearly interested in minimizing the role of since he doesn’t think there’ s any “conspiracy” going on involving these 500 plus agents that had any signficant impact on the policy judgments of the administration. Talk about trying to have your cake and eat it too!
    This review is a fraud from start to finish beacuse it presumes airs of pretentious superiority it isn’t entitled to possess based on the fact that even if one can take issue with some of West’s points (as even I can), the deeper questions she raises are ones we need to think about and are not worthy of being consigned to “kookdom” by a preening egotist like Ron Radosh.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eric-Paddon/100001252965548 Eric Paddon

    In addition to that, Radosh’s section on the Second Front Debate is a joke from start to finish. As West noted in her rebuttal, she did not talk about a cross-channel invasion in 1943 instead of 1944 which is what Radosh is doing and furthermore she does *not* fault Churchill on the eventual strategy since she only echoes a point one could find back in a work like Robert Nisbet’s “Roosevelt and Stalin-The Failed Courtship.” Churchill ultimately believed Normandy could be done without sacrificing the Italian campaign, and West also notes how the misguided ANVIL campaign was even more devastating to the Churchill perspective ultimately. Just like Nisbet, West’s depiction is not of Churchill as a Stalin stooge but as someone who has more sense of the long-term ramifications and is ultimately thwarted by the prevailing pro-Stalin mindset that existed in the FDR delegation. The only time Churchill ever comes up for any criticism is in relation to the Katyn cover-up but West merely reports matter of factly what Churchill did without passing specific judgment on him, personally.

  • Nick

    “Perhaps they didn’t because there no longer is any controversy. At a conference on Soviet espionage held a week before his untimely death, West’s source, Eduard Mark, publicly stated that he now acknowledged that Harry Hopkins was not Agent 19, and that the conclusion he had reached in his 1998 article was false.”

    Shouldn’t that read: Mark stated in a private setting that he now thought that Hopkins was not Agent 19, something which no one who was not there at the time could have known. Mark did not have time to state this publicly, because of his untimely death a week later. So there was no way in the world that Diana West could have been aware of Mark’s opinion on this matter. But I’d still like to criticize her, so I’m going to pretend that it’s not at all unreasonable of me to expect her to be aware of what was said during this private conversation. (Btw one of the other parties involved denies that this private conversation ever took place, but let’s not worry about that.)

  • Michael Johnson

    Communism is a conspiracy if nothing else. It is a conspiracy with global dimensions and designs. It is a travesty that there is so much competition in conservative politics to be the big dog. Diana West’s book has ample supporting documentation. Where documentation is missing because of government secrecy classification or obfuscation, Ms. West uses logic and common sense and the perspective of time to come to a tentitive conclusion. The burden then shifts to the U.S. Government, the Russians or historians prove her wrong.
    There is in law a concept called constructive fraud. It arises when fraud can’t be proved but certain hallmarks are present. Constructive fraud is legally deemed fraud and carries all the legal ramifications and sanctions as when the intent to commit fraud is proven. It must be so with conspiratorial ideologies as Communism and religions as Islam which codifies deceit in the Koran. In such cases it is foolish and suicidal to give the benefit of doubt or require all that is unknown to be known before reaching a working conclusion. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and acts like a duck it is deemed a duck regardless of what lable is given. “American Betrayal” and it’s author, Diana West has done more for the understanding of the past and present century than a mountain of academics.

  • Herzl Balfour

    Herzl Balfour

  • Herzl Balfour

    Radosh should make clear that the Soviets put pressure on the Americans and British to open a second front against Germany in France during 1942 and 1943, and that Roosevelt and Churchill resisted this pressure. The U.S. Communist party and other Soviet sympathizers in the U.S. and Britain also pressured the Western powers to begin a second front during this period, but to no avail. West’s conspiracy theory that Roosevelt and Churchill held back on an invasion of France until 1944 in order to enable the Russians to conquer Europe is contradicted by the fact that Russia wanted the Anglo-American alliance to move more quickly onto the European continent, not more slowly as West claims, in order to relieve pressure on the Russian forces on the Eastern front. If Roosevelt and Churchill had really been Soviet stooges as West insinuates, they would have ordered the invasion of France in 1942, before U.S. and British forces were ready. But the fact is that they resisted Soviet pressure for an early invasion.

  • rod masom

    What’s really instructive for me about this hit piece on Diana West is the complete ABSENCE of any discussion of the book heavily cited in Diana West’s “American Betrayal” entitled “From Major Jordan’s Diaries” by, I believe, Major George Racey Jordan, which is truly ASTOUNDING! It’s never been adequately answered by anyone as to it’s thesis, including this scabrous attack by Ronald Radosh on Diana’s book. In it, which I read many years ago, Jordan marshalls quite a bit of evidence that FDR and Harry Hopkins heavily, almost slavishly, would NOT deny anything to Stalin’s murderous forces, including copious amounts of just about everything needed to win this war, i.e., tanks, jeeps, ammunition by the tons, munitions of ALL kinds, and also including heavy water and other types of materials used in making atomic bombs, etc., and all to a depraved dictator like Stalin, twenty times WORSE than Hitler, and by the time we shipped all this stuff to Stalin, pretty much FREE OF CHARGE, HE AND HIS DEMONIC ARMIES AND ADMINISTRATION HAD ALREADY MURDERED SOME SIXTEEN MILLION RUSSIAN KULAKS! Are you kidding me, Radosh? This was the absolutely WORST type of ally to have. And have you no decency, sir?