When you compare meticulously researched commercial histories with the extended blogs that pass for academic ones, you come to a startling revelation: Just about everything we’ve been taught about our history is wrong.
In the former category, we have Diana West’s epic American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character. In the latter group, you have just about everything assigned on a syllabus.
Do yourself a favor. Read American Betrayal first. The “just about” qualifier in the first paragraph pretty much extends to key dates and events, eg., “Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”
As West shows, the rest of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s four terms in office were equally infamous. For example, here’s another quote from FDR that you don’t hear nearly as frequently as the last one, this one also relating to World War II: “I would rather lose New Zealand, Australia or anything else than have the Russian front collapse.” This odd loyalty to a difficult ally may have had something to do with the advisors FDR surrounded himself with. “Several of the best friends I have are communists,” FDR told U. S. Rep. Martin Dies, D-Texas, the first chairman of the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities.
“Expert estimates now peg the number of Americans assisting Soviet intelligence agencies during the 1930s and 1940s as exceeding five hundred,” West claims. Neither FDR nor his successors could even admit there was one.
“What do you do with the disturbing evidence, brought forward by Jerrold and Leona Schecter and reinvestigated and affirmed by the late Robert Novak, that Harry S. Truman, for example, was informed as early as 1950 that findings from the Venona Project confirmed both Assistant Treasury Secretary Harry Dexter White and former State Department official Alger Hiss as Soviet agents?” West asks. As she shows, Truman continued to call such cases “red herrings.”
Nonetheless, the denial of the threat posed by the Soviet Union, not to mention its acolytes in influential government jobs in this country, as documented by the FBI Venona intercepts of Soviet cable traffic, had real world consequences.
“I’m thinking of one crew from the famous Doolittle Raid, who, after their stunning bombing run over Tokyo on April 18, 1942, landed their B-25 at a Red Army Air Force base in Vladivostok,” West writes. “Dangerously low on fuel, having had to launch prematurely from the USS Hornet after the aircraft carrier had been sighted by a Japanese fishing craft, this crew, under Capt. Edward J. York, hoped to refuel and continue on to their designated Chinese base to reunite with the rest of the raiders as planned.”
“For the next miserable year, this American crew was interned by the Soviet government.” Yet, they were lucky: They got out.
“When political advantage is of greater concern than national security, the restorative action is reconcealment to try to make it all go away,” West avers. Tens of thousands of American troops found this out the hard way.
“There is the May 30, 1945, Kenner Memorandum, named for Gen. Albert Kenner, Eisenhower’s surgeon general at SHAEF headquarters,” West writes of just one of the multitude of primary sources she drew on in writing this book. “This memo states that twenty thousand Americans remained under Red Army control.” Disturbingly, Ike himself fired off a cable on June 1, 1945 that read, “It is now estimated that only small numbers of U. S. prisoners of war still remain in Russian hands.” The evidence behind this rosy estimate that followed his advisor’s definite assertion 24 hours earlier remains a mystery to this day.
Where did they actually go? Flash forward to June 16, 1992. Russia’s first non-communist president Boris Yeltsin, in a White House visit, said, “Many things have been revealed after the examination of the archives of the KGB and the Central Committee of the Communist Party but that work is continuing both in the archives and in the places where the POWs were.” Note the use of the past tense.
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.
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Diana West will speak at the Accuracy in Academia author’s night on July 17, 2013. This event is part of The Frank A. Fusco Conservative University Lecture Series this year, made possible by a generous grant from The Frank A. Fusco and Nelly Goletti Fusco Foundation.