July 07, 2003

Books: Alan Furst: Dark Star

Alan Furst (1991), Dark Star (New York: Houghton Mifflin: 0006511317).

When I talk to practically any of my undergraduates these days, I have a nearly impossible task to do when I try to convince them that the twentieth century has, after all, ended much better than it might have been. The half-full undergraduates talk of how wonderful and advanced our industrial civilization is, and how human progress to this point was nearly inevitable. The half-empty undergraduates talk about poverty in the developing world, inequality, and injustice, and seem deaf to the idea that the world we live in is much better than the world that we seemed headed for during the second quarter of this century. The Great Depression. Stalin's purges. World War II. Hitler's genocides--they have read about these, but they are not *real*, and the idea that for decades people thought that the forces headed by Stalin or by Hitler were the wave of the future (or the last chance to stop an even greater evil) does not penetrate below the surface.

So the next time I teach a course on the entire politico-economic history of the twentieth century, I think I may assign Alan Furst's novel Dark Star, for it does a better job than anything else I have read to catch the atmosphere of the days when Josef Stalin seemed to be the lesser of two evils--and it is a very fine novel besides.

This is not my judgement alone. Historian Alan Bullock calls Dark Star "a classic.... Furst brings to life better than most historians the world of fear in which so many human beings felt trapped." Reviewing it for Time, Walter Shapiro sees it as a "classic black-and-white movie that captures the murky allegiances and moral ambiguity of Europe on the brink of war.... Nothing can be like watching Casablanca for the first time, but Furst comes closer than anyone has in years." And a third reviewer calls it "exceptionally fine... Kafka, Dostoevsky, and le Carre..."

Andre Szara is an Old Bolshevik, a hero of the Russian Civil War, a Jew, an intellectual, a long-time foreign correspondent for Pravda--hence he moves about Europe with ease, from Paris to Ostend to Prague to Berlin--and an occasional helper of the Russian espionage services. He is not a happy man in his role of always echoing back to Moscow its latest propaganda line: "Once... he'd persuaded himself that... a sentence singing hymns to the attainment of coal production norms in the Donets Basin was, nonetheless, a sentence, and could be well rendered. It was the writer's responsibility in a progressive society to inform and uplift the toiling masses--word had, in fact, reached him that the number one toiler himself had an eye for his byline..."

Szara, however, has survived by teaching "himself discretion before the apparat had a chance to do the job for him." His pen remained uncooperative and "stubbornly produced commissar wolves guarding flocks of worker sheep or Parisian girls in silk underwear, well, then the great characteristic of paper was the ease with which it burned..." But now in the late 1930s his options and his room for maneuver are closing down. Hitler is in the saddle in Berlin. The English prime minister dismisses the countries of central Europe as faraway places of which the English know little. In Russia, Stalin has decided that the consolidation of his power requires purge upon purge--with Jews and Old Bolsheviks highest on the list. And a sinister NKVD general has decided to use Szara as a tool for his own purposes of exposing pre-revolutionary spies within the Communist Party and of increasing the pitifully small number of Jews fleeing Europe the British allow to settle in Palestine.

So Szara tries to keep from being killed either by his own Russian side, by the German espionage services, or just by accident when Nazis go hunting Jews in the night for sport. Rotten as the Soviet Union is, and tyrannical as Stalin may be, it remains true that Szara's side is the good guy. But what if that great hope sees Hitler not as his adversary but his ally?

And what business does Szara ultimately find himself in? As the sinister NKVD general puts it, there has to be a great lowering of sights. Szara was "...like all of us... in the paradise business. We got rid of the czar and his pogroms to make a place where Jews, where everyone, could live like human beings and not like slaves or beasts.... And yet... paradise slipped away. Because now we have a new pogrom, run, like so many in history, by a shrewd peasant who understands hatred.... What do I offer my associates? A chance to save a few Jewish lives.... Is it dangerous? Oh yes. Could you die? It's likely. Will your heroism be known to history? Very doubtful. Now, have I successfully persuaded you to throw everything you value in life away and follow this pecuiliar, ugly man over the nearest horizon to some dreadful fate?"

Highly, highly recommended.

Posted by DeLong at July 7, 2003 09:49 PM | TrackBack

Comments

Of course we don't need fiction to get this story, nor in Dostoevskian style. We have Whittaker Chamber's "Witness", which is, in addition to being a valuable historical record, a literary masterpiece.

And when you've read it, you'll understand what Ann Coulter is writing about in her latest, "Treason".

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 8, 2003 08:21 AM

I think not. Anyone who signs up with Tail-Gunner Joe and calls George Marshall a traitor is not worth reading.

Posted by: Brad DeLong on July 8, 2003 09:08 AM

Ann Coulter is a garbage factory. Of course, widdle Sully Wully would shill for Garbage Ann.

Posted by: Rhoda on July 8, 2003 09:43 AM

PS - what a mean idiot you are!

Posted by: ps on July 8, 2003 09:47 AM

That George Marshall's greatness is not so widely and indisputably recognized as to render Coulter unknown says much about the inadequacy of the nation's teaching of history. As to Furst's treatment of the times, it is notable how many failed to take full measure of Stalin's evil until he began the purges; the mere murder of millions by deliberate starvation was tolerable, it seems; just making omelettes, don't 'cha know?...Any word as to whether the Pulitzer Commitee will be withdrawing Duranty's prize?

Posted by: Will Allen on July 8, 2003 09:49 AM

"PS - what a mean idiot you are!
Posted by ps at July 8, 2003 09:47 AM."
This is beautiful.
Great, elegant post. You know the comments take even longer than the site to load? Is there any way to change that? And even the WSJ thinks Coulter is an idiot (and possibly a scumbag). But hey, read her all you want and then go vote. I think you can also still get the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Posted by: John Isbell on July 8, 2003 09:52 AM

"Dark Star" really is excellent.

Posted by: jd on July 8, 2003 10:11 AM

How on earth did we get in a discussion of Ann Coulter?
Alan Furst is a treasure. All of his books are intriguing, informative, and a delight to read. There is a moral seriousness to his work that one reviewer described as making his novels acts of witness. Other than Dark Star , I think The Polish Officer and Red Gold are the best.
Of course, it's also good to read Koestler, Victor Serge, Joseph Roth and the historians of the 1930s . That time was, as Serge put it, "midnight in the century", and if people know nothing else about history, they should learn about this era.

And we use a post about Furst as an excuse to talk about Ann Coulter. What a testimony to the sheer breadth of American culture that it can produce a Furst and a Coulter. You could almost paraphrase Blake from "The Tyger". "Did he who made Furst make thee?

Posted by: Mike Duncan on July 8, 2003 10:28 AM

It is probably right to focus on Europe as the dominant power during the first half of the 20th century and Dark Star is a good focus on totalitarianism. However, imperialism in Asia, Africa and elsewhere should not be ignored as it is in so many high school world history classes. Between Japan and the European powers, much of the world's people were enslaved by other countries. One result of the collapse of Europe and Japan was to set the stage for the collapse of empires and the rise of sefl determination and nationalism. The legacy of imperialism still exists and needs to be discussed.

Posted by: bakho on July 8, 2003 10:29 AM

Predicting how any era will be viewed 200 years hence is a fool's errand, but we are all given to foolishness at times, so I predict that "The Gulag Archipelago" will be viewed as the most important literary work of the 20th century. What Solzhenitsyn began with "A Day in the life of Ivan Desinovich", he finished with "Gulag", and changed the course of history. The pen is mightier, indeed. Beyond the historical account, Solzhenitsyn's personal reflections on his time in the camps are priceless. One chapter, in which he describes the value in the suffering endured, how he was able to find elements of joy even when reduced to slave labor in Siberia's depths, illuminates the falsehood in seeing men and women as merely material beings.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 8, 2003 11:15 AM

Interesting comment. But, I would broaden it to include the series of works that expand the concept we have had of individual freedom within a nation-state.

Also, we do need more discussion of imperialism. Remember, George Orwell?

Lise

Posted by: lise on July 8, 2003 11:25 AM

Bakho -

"Between Japan and the European powers, much of the world's people were enslaved by other countries. "

Don't forget the Philippines, Cuba, Hawaii and the American Indians. Or is imperialism only "enslavement" when foreigners do it?

For that matter, we might add China's thuggish rule in Tibet or Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait.

Posted by: PJ on July 8, 2003 12:20 PM

PJ

That is the point. Imperialism has been recurrent hrough the century, though increasingly discredited.

Posted by: bill on July 8, 2003 12:30 PM

Bill-

I read Bakho's post slightly differently - that Europe and Japan (and NOT the United States, Iraq, South Africa, China, etc.) had poisoned the world with imperialism, though others were guilty. But I agree your reading is possible too.

Posted by: PJ on July 8, 2003 01:05 PM

I always hear people saying that students should be taught this, that, or the other but when it comes down to it students come away with very little of what they actually have been taught. Teaching more probably wouldn't help.

A better way would be to propose several scenarios as something of a debating game. Maybe schools should adopt a case study aproach to teaching history. Instead of giving it all away, we present, for example, the Athenian arguments for having an army or a navy. After class vote they could describe what happened and how it worked out.

Coming down through history, you could have votes on things such as whether or not to have a tax cut in 1997, whether or not to focus on missile spending or conventional military spending in 1992 (remember why Dukakis rode around in a tank?), how to handle the transition from a slave economy to a non-slave economy, etc. etc. etc.

I am surprised at how many people believe that the President's role in shaping the economy is irrelevant, that things are inevitably cyclical, and that policy is little more than a pork grab or political ploy.

Posted by: Saam Barrager on July 8, 2003 01:25 PM

I am suprised at how many people overstate the President's role in shaping the economy (as shown by nonsensical statements regarding the President "running the country"), and how little people appreciate that politics in this country is often merely a bidding process by which various factions offer their votes in return for favored treatment by whomever wins an election. How can one not observe the primary season in a Presidential election and not come away with the distinct impression that the whole process is merely a drawn-out auction?

Posted by: Will Allen on July 8, 2003 01:40 PM

I never did understand that extreme right and extreme left meeting up to an identical brutality.

I'm wondering-did any literature ever come out of the Nazi era- novels, poetry, etc.? I took a class in socialist realism once and that would convince anyone how awful it is- you can barely read those books.

Posted by: northernLights on July 8, 2003 01:47 PM

The whole right/left dichotomy always strikes me as largely false. It really is a matter of how much one believes that people need to have their lives managed by forcible diktat. The Nazis and the Stalinists, all their blatherings regarding the Volk or the Masses to the contrary, have an extreme fundamental contempt for their fellow men and women, which leads to extreme measures designed to enslave them, and murder any who might impede "progress". It is unfortunate that many who gave the Stalinists (or Maoists) the benefit of the doubt in the last century weren't thoroughly discredited in the manner that the vast majority of those who gave the Nazis the benefit of the doubt were. For instance, does anyone believe that a major American newspaper that had won a Pulitizer for singing praises for Hitler would have maintained the cachet of the NYT, like the NYT did after it sang praises for Stalin?

Posted by: Will Allen on July 8, 2003 02:15 PM

Prof. DeLong demonstrates Ann Coulter's point nicely. She wrote:

"Contrary to popular mythology, McCarthy never called Marshall a 'traitor', a 'Communist', or a 'coward'. He simply detailed Marshall's record"

And the record is not pretty. Even though warned about Mao Tse Tung's Communist beliefs, Marshall nevertheless acquiesced in supporting him over the Nationalists. Even The Marshall Plan (as passed by congress) was OPPOSED by Marshall, he wanted to give aid to the Soviets and their satellites too. Amusingly Stalin turned down the offer.

Why is an honest appraisal of the consequences of Marshall's stint as Sec'y of State out of bounds?

BTW, is anyone aware that Truman and Dean Acheson were infuriated by Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech, and considered inviting Stalin to the U.S. to rebut it?

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 8, 2003 02:36 PM

Patrick,
"BTW, is anyone aware that Truman and Dean Acheson were infuriated by Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech, and considered inviting Stalin to the U.S. to rebut it? "
No somehow Truman's biographer's never discoverwed that gem-Indeed in over 1000 pages, the major biography of Truman has no mention of this-Does this mean that Annie Coulter is a superior scholar? No, she is simply less than honest, disingenious, a liar.

In her book _Slander_ ,for example, she claims that the Times did not copver Dale Yarborough's death until later, thus exhibiting disdain for the working class stiffs that are Nascar fanatics-She even footnotes it- yet when one checks the footnotes, she has the Times coverage a day later than when it actually appeared. One could go on, but dealing with Coulter is a little like dealing with a prosecutor at Stalinist Purge trials-there is always another confession or manufactured fact that arises.


Posted by: Lawrence on July 8, 2003 04:14 PM

Could you site some sources for the Truman Acheson stuff, Patrick? I'd be curious to know where that can be found.

I oftentimes don't site sources, but this is contrary to what I understand. The Truman Doctrine was made in March of '47. The Berlin Airlift was a recognition of an 'Iron Curtain.' Containment was effectively a way to keep whatever was in the Iron Curtain to stay put. Why would Truman invite Stalin to the US to rebuff the idea of the Iron Curtain when Truman's foreign policy so explicitly recognized it? What am I missing?

Posted by: Saam Barrager on July 8, 2003 04:17 PM

Well, Patrick, if I had the reference I would point you to the demolition of Coulter's claims regarding the Churchill speech, but I'll limit myself to saying that Truman read it before it was given, and invited Churchill to his home state to deliver it. On the other hansd, I heard that Churchill was in fact a space alien.
Will, given the qualities you admire in the Gulag Archipelago, you will also admire Primo Levi - that is what strikes me in him, and then some. As literature, his advantage over Gulag is that rather than reading like a massive bureaucratic compendium broken by striking moments, he has a flowing narrative. Folks, read Gulag if you don't know what I'm talking about. It requires dedication. Your mission, Will, to equate Stalin with Hitler will not pass me by in the literature arena. If you like, we can go to email to discuss why I think what Levi describes is more hellish than the nec plus ultra you find in Solzhenitsyn. I will be mentioning selections and ovens, and perhaps medical experiments. OTOH, I won't mention Bush's grandfather's 20-year financing of the Nazis, until his bank was seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act. F***ing traitors, as Ms. Coulter so eloquently puts it.

Posted by: John Isbell on July 8, 2003 04:28 PM

Patrick, I urge you to cite claims made by Ms. Coulter as often as possible on blogs in the future (except right-wing ones). Also refer to her as an important political thinker. And be sure to sign your name every time. You have a wide range of possible claims to cite.

Posted by: John Isbell on July 8, 2003 04:44 PM

John, death by starvation is among the more hellish ways in which to be murdered, and this was Stalin's specialty. The disposition of corpses, although grotesque, is of secondary importance to the murders themselves. Sorry, any attempt to formulate a preference for Stalin's murderous ways to Hitler's, or vice versa, merely reveals one to be unconcionably relativistic regarding murder on a unfathomably titanic scale, and it is truly reprehensible. This was my point. As to Solzhenitsyn vs. Levi, I agree that "The Gulag Archipelago is difficult, and I mean no disparagement of Levi. Levi's account dealt with a regime that had already failed, however, whereas the Russian's dealt a blow, perhaps one of the primary blows, to a regime that still had a great deal of moral recognition in many corners of the world when it was published. Finally, since I don't hold grandchildren responsible for their grandparent's behavior, and this particular grandparent had legal sanction visited upon him for his misdeeds, your last point escapes me.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 8, 2003 04:49 PM

" Could you site some sources for the Truman Acheson stuff, Patrick? I'd be curious to know where that can be found."

Ann Coulter cites James Chace's "Acheson: The Secretary of State Who Created the American World" (p 147)

"I oftentimes don't site sources, but this is contrary to what I understand. The Truman Doctrine was made in March of '47. The Berlin Airlift was a recognition of an 'Iron Curtain.' Containment was effectively a way to keep whatever was in the Iron Curtain to stay put. Why would Truman invite Stalin to the US to rebuff the idea of the Iron Curtain when Truman's foreign policy so explicitly recognized it? What am I missing?"

That Churchill made his speech in March 1946, and the election of November of that year was a disaster for Truman, as the Republicans gained control of congress. He had to change his tune.

Perhaps you remember the scene in the movie, "Patton", where the General gets himself in hot water for a remark he made to a ladies club in England about it being the destiny of the U.S. and Great Britain to rule the postwar world. Patton's aide, sitting behind him, whispers to him: "Remember the Russians, General". That was the temper of the times.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 8, 2003 05:36 PM

I guess I'll limit myself to one point, Will, in discussing the hell that these camps were. I don't care about the impact of the ovens on the dead (quelle surprise). They had an impact on the living. You remember the living? Of course, in religious terms, the burning of the bodies was horrible for an Orthodox Jew.
Guards and prisoners in the gulag, by and large, were fellow Russians. There are moments in Solzhenitsyn that reflect this. That is not how the German guards viewed the Jews.
Unlike you, I won't call your take on human tragedy truly reprehensible, I'll just point this out. You made a claim about the hell Solzhenitsyn describes. I find Levi's hell worse, for those who were there, and I've just given some reasons why. I have more, for instance Russians could get packages from home. If you don't see that as an overwhelming difference, you have no empathy. Russians also were not covered in human ash every day, unless you know something I don't.
In number terms, Stalin killed more than Hitler.

Posted by: John Isbell on July 8, 2003 06:01 PM

Yes, John, I'm sure that Stalin's henchmen were ever so considerate of the religious needs of their victims. I made no claim as to which forms of mass murder were worse, but merely noted how distasteful it is that some see it fit to express preference for one over another, or be more tolerant of those who gave the benefit of the doubt to one murderous regime as opposed to another.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 8, 2003 06:22 PM

Patrick,
"Ann Coulter cites James Chace's "Acheson: The Secretary of State Who Created the American World" (p 147) I checked it out of the library- as a check on the edition it was published by Simon and Shuster 1998-
In the entire chapter "Risking War" no mention is made of inviting Stalin tio the U. S.

On page 146 Chace states:
He (Churchill) was doing a favor for Harry Truman, who introduced him and sat on the platform as Churchill gave the world a striking new addition to the vocabulary opf the Cold War...

"Truman, who read the speech on board the train from Washington, told Churchill, "It would do nothing but good."
(This is the iron curtain speech-this by the way agrees with all histories of the speech and period and is DISAGREES WITH COUL:TER
On page 147.
"Acheson and his guests argued the wisdom of Churchill;s word's...Though Acheson forcefully defended Churchill's point that Washington needed to be firm with Moscow he was deeply troubled by Churchill's call for an Anglo-American partnership that would be directed against Moscow" Most of p. 147 is taken up with a warm reception for Churchiull at the British embassy and Acheson's admiration for Churchill as a war leader. No mention is made of inviting Stalin to the US on the pages cited nor is it in the entire chapter-indeed Truman is potrayed as aggresively trying to pursue a more aggresive policy and prepare the American people for Soviet exansionism. Although tere were divisions within the administration about this in 1946-

All of this agrees with Truman's biographers and Churchill's memoirs. It appears that Coulter made this entire incident up.

Posted by: Lawrence on July 8, 2003 06:50 PM

From Patrick,
"Ann Coulter cites James Chace's "Acheson: The Secretary of State Who Created the American World" (p 147) I checked the book out of the library- as a check on the edition it was published by Simon and Shuster 1998-
In the entire chapter "Risking War" no mention is made of inviting Stalin tio the U. S.

On page 146 Chace states:
"He (Churchill) was doing a favor for Harry Truman, who introduced him and sat on the platform as Churchill gave the world a striking new addition to the vocabulary opf the Cold War..."

"Truman, who read the speech on board the train from Washington, told Churchill, "It would do nothing but good."
(This is the iron curtain speech-this by the way agrees with all histories of the speech and period and DISAGREES WITH COUL:TER
On page 147.
"Acheson and his guests argued the wisdom of Churchill;s word's...Though Acheson forcefully defended Churchill's point that Washington needed to be firm with Moscow he was deeply troubled by Churchill's call for an Anglo-American partnership that would be directed against Moscow" Most of p. 147 is taken up with a lunch for Churchiull at the British embassy and Acheson's admiration for Churchill as a war leader. No mention is made of inviting Stalin to the US on the pages cited nor is it in the entire chapter-indeed Truman is potrayed as trying to pursue a more aggresive policy and prepare the American people for Soviet exansionism. Although there were divisions within the administration about this in 1946-

As a "fer instance" when Truman decided to confront the Soviets over Turkey in 1946 Eisenhour asked Acheson in a whisper "Does the President know this could mean war." Truman pulled out a map and gave a lecture on strategy to the general saying something like we stop em here-The Soviets backed down- p 154

This is the President that Coulter accuses of Treason?!!

All of this agrees with Truman's biographers and Churchill's memoirs. It appears that Coulter made this entire incident up.

Posted by: Lawrence on July 8, 2003 06:57 PM

Will, I take it you will also object to the term genocide. That is your choice, but I feel that in that choice (if you make it) you are swayed by your ideology.
I indicated, in some detail, that there are different degrees of terrible suffering: your only response was one glib joke. This is precisely what a communist might offer me. Now I am arguing that aside from suffering, in mass death itself distinctions are important. That is why the word genocide exists. You may argue that there is no such thing as genocide, or you may argue that genocide exists but is in no way different from mass murder which is not aimed at ethnic extermination, the fact that a group is targeted for extinction being utterly irrelevant to the moral value of the act. But you can't see genocide as different from other mass murder without seeing Hitler as different too. As I do.

Posted by: John Isbell on July 8, 2003 07:27 PM

I wish to apologize for tghe double postings, I was editing.

Let me repeat Ann Coulter is a lier.

I also wanted to share with you one further piece from Chace's Acheson:

Later Acheson and his wife were traveling with Truman and Mrs Acheson brought up central Asia- The president then proceeded to lecture them on the history of central Asia much to the amazement of the Achesons- When asked how he knew so much
'Truman laughed and then told her why. "Well my eyesight isn't any good. I was never any good at playing games where you have to see what you are doing at a distance. I couldn't hit a ball if it hit me in the nose, so I spent myt time reading. I guess I read every book in the library. I got interested in this part of the world and ever since I've read everything I could find." p. 155

It was a diferent age-people went to THE LIBRARY AND READ, THE PRESIDENT READ BOOKS, how different from today when we read untruthful books about books and think we know something.

Posted by: Lawrence on July 8, 2003 07:43 PM

No Lawrence, I was making a sarcastic comment regarding the prospect of the Stalinist murderers being somehow more solicitous of the religious needs of their victims. In the same sarcastic vein, I am sure that millions of Kulaks, in the final throes of their gruesome misery, bellies distended, eating twigs and grass, took comfort that their suffering was induced to fufill economic, class-based, theories of murder, as opposed to religious or ethnic theories of murder. That one would would attempt to portray one as worse than another is positively grotesque.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 8, 2003 08:24 PM

Lawrence surely could learn a thing or two from Truman about reading books in the library. As he missed something important, following this that Lawrence did quote:

"[Acheson] was deeply troubled by Churchill's call for an Anglo-American partnership that would be directed against Moscow."

Comes: "To show that the administration did not necessarily endorse Churchill's views, {Sec'y of State James] Byrnes asked Acheson not to travel to New York to attend a reception for Churchill, and Acheson readily assented...."

Which is what Coulter mentioned in her book. As for the invitation to Stalin, it was offered by Ambassador Walter Bedell Smith in Moscow on April 4th. But, you'd have to be resourceful enough to flip back to p. 145 to find it.

And Coulter did not accuse Truman of treason, only of having traitors work in his administration. Did you notice that Chace admits Truman lied to the press about having foreknowledge of what Churchill was going to say in Fulton? That's on p. 148.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 8, 2003 08:33 PM

In short, Will Allen, you do not accept the term genocide. I note that among the insults you offer in lieu of argument you do not call me an imperialist lackey.
BTW, the person you have been debating, if you can call it that, on this issue over the past several posts is me. It's really not that hard to keep track of.

Posted by: John Isbell on July 9, 2003 06:33 AM

Well gosh, John, it certainly is the case that the misattribution of a name, while in the process of typing, renders everything invalid. As to the other nonsense, I made no claim regarding genocide, but merely contested the grotesque notion that one form of titanic mass murder was preferable to another.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 9, 2003 07:32 AM

"It appears that Coulter made this entire incident up."

Shocked, shocked the crowd is.

Posted by: Jason McCullough on July 9, 2003 11:32 AM

"Contrary to popular mythology, McCarthy never called Marshall a 'traitor', a 'Communist', or a 'coward'. He simply detailed Marshall's record."

I'm afraid Coulter is wrong. McCarthy, a slanderous demagogue, accused Marshall of being one of the leaders of a vast conspiracy to weaken the United States and hasten the triumph of the Soviet Union. He was accusing Marshall of treason, not incompetence. See the text of McCarthy's speech:
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1951mccarthy-marshall.html

Sam Tanenhaus puts it pretty well: "Truman's policies succeeded in spite of McCarthy, who came dangerously close to undermining the consensus that made those policies possible."
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/13910

I don't understand people who admire McCarthy.

Posted by: Russil Wvong on July 9, 2003 02:40 PM

Patrick,
Nice to see you looked up the quote-It was one the wrong page, typical of Coulter- To bad for her that it does not in the least support the statement that Truman invited Stalin to the United States to counter Churchill's speach-Which is what Coulter alleges. He was invited before the speech, and nothing was said about a public appearence-

Here is the entire quote:
"On April 4 Walter Beddell Smith, Eisenhour's wartime chief of staff who had succeeded Harriman as Ambassodor to Moscow, had a late night meeting with Stalin inviting tbe Soviet leader to the United States. Despite the tough talk Truman was still hoping for better relations."

No in the Chapter that covers the speech, in the previous chapter, nor in the book does it say, as you did, that:

"BTW, is anyone aware that Truman and Dean Acheson were infuriated by Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech, and considered inviting Stalin to the U.S. to rebut it? "

Indeed as I pointed out above Truman thought the speech was a good speech, invited Churchill to give it, travelled with him to the site and sat on the platform when he gave it.

Patrick, you now are parsing what was actually said as oppossed to what was claimed to have been said-Yes Acheson did not travel to New York, No Acheson was not fuming at the speech and niether was Truman. In the paragraph following he had warm and freindly dinner with Churchill, and in the paragraph above that, which I have cited previously defended the points raised in the speech. The invitation was a normal diplomatic invitation to consult, not to oppose Churchill's speech.

Coulter lied, and Patrick you are not telling the truth when you cite this particular passage.

Posted by: Lawerence on July 9, 2003 02:56 PM

Patrick,
This is typical of the lies and innuendo Coulter
alleges:
"Contrary to popular mythology, McCarthy never called Marshall a 'traitor', a 'Communist', or a 'coward'. He simply detailed Marshall's record."
And that record included support to the Communists in China..
Again a falsehood-You accuse someone of something that did not hasppen.

Posted by: Lawrence on July 9, 2003 03:08 PM

Some further comments on Ann Coulter and her style:
Footnotes are placed in one of her books as a form of plausible deniability, not as a means of verifying the truth of a statement. The footnotes lend an aura that what is being said must be true, look at the footnotes. The when one looks up the footnote one finds that it is not what is claimed but the exact opposite.

Example: in her previous book she sums up how out of touch the New York Times is with average people by claiming it delayed publication of Dale YTarborough's obituary by a day; there is a footnote that indicates yes indeed it was a day later, except when you check the previous days NYT you find the story.

As the string related to her latest book demonstrates, what she alleges exists, and what actually existed, are two different things. It is as though she believes that no one will check. Or perhaps she believes there are a sufficient number of deluded apologists, like Patrick, who can confuse things sufficiently that she can get away with it. To paraphprase someone else who dealt with McCarthy anmmd McCarthy clones like Coulter, "Have you no decency."

Posted by: Lawrence on July 9, 2003 03:23 PM

Another point on Coulter and Patrick:
How did they go from:

"To show that the administration did not necessarily endorse Churchill's views, {Sec'y of State James] Byrnes asked Acheson not to travel to New York to attend a reception for Churchill, and Acheson readily assented...."
Which is what Coulter mentioned in her book.

To:
Patricks
"BTW, is anyone aware that Truman and Dean Acheson were infuriated by Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech, and considered inviting Stalin to the U.S. to rebut it? "
Even the qoute Patrick cites does not support his and Coulter's claim.

There has never been any mention, then or now , other than the fact that Truman and Acheson agreed with the broad outlines of the speech. "Did not necessarilly endorse...??!!" Is a far cry from Truman and Acheson being "infuriated" at the speech, asnd then inviting Stalin to rebut it-Which is a completely made incident.

Posted by: Lawrence on July 9, 2003 03:47 PM

Mr. Wvong, thanks for reprinting that infamous slander of the man who Eisenhower, Churchill, and other giants of the age described as the finest they ever knew. Coulter does her shtick, just as McCarthy did his shtick, for prospect of personal gain. McCarthy's shtick was far more dangerous, of course, for it held the potential of discrediting legitimate anti-communists. Coulter is an irrelevancy, except for perhaps the danger she might pose to the Republican Party if she were to be embraced by it. That people like Sullivan and Horowitz are denouncing her latest book is indicative that the Republicans recognize the danger she poses. Not having any affinity for a political party, I can view the phenomena as the sideshow it is.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 9, 2003 03:49 PM

Wiil
Coulter is an irrelevancy, except for perhaps the danger she might pose to the Republican Party if she were to be embraced by it. That people like Sullivan and Horowitz are denouncing her latest book is indicative that the Republicans recognize the danger she poses.

Not really, Coulter is the Cat's paw. Even a casual acquantence with Horowitz would tell you he really, really wants to be a Stalinist prosecutor, but alas, we live in degenrate times. He is an actual link between the communist type of left wing rhetoric and modern Republican rhetoric.

Posted by: Lawrence on July 9, 2003 04:13 PM

"That people like Sullivan and Horowitz are denouncing her latest book is indicative that the Republicans recognize the danger she poses."

Interesting indeed. I've spent a fair amount of time arguing with Chomsky fans. From what I've seen of Coulter, she looks like a right-wing version of Chomsky: an extreme partisan with very little regard for honesty. An example of what Orwell described as "the gramophone mind." I don't like Horowitz much, but I'm glad to see that even he has his limits:
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=8793

Posted by: Russil Wvong on July 9, 2003 04:33 PM

First, Lawrence wrote:

"Patrick,
" Nice to see you looked up the quote-It was one the wrong page, typical of Coulter- To bad for her that it does not in the least support the statement that Truman invited Stalin to the United States to counter Churchill's speach-Which is what Coulter alleges. He was invited before the speech, and nothing was said about a public appearence-

"Here is the entire quote:
"On April 4 Walter Beddell Smith....had a late night meeting with Stalin inviting tbe Soviet leader to the United States."

Since when is April 4th "before the speech" Churchill made on March 5th?

Further, Coulter refers (but not in a footnote) to Joseph Shattan's, "Architects of Victory", in which he draws from Clark Clifford's "Counsel to the President":

" To disassociate his administration even further from Churchill's address, Truman instructed Under Secretary of State Dean Acheson not to attend a reception for Churchill the following week in New York. 'The president even sent Stalin a message emphasizing that he still held out hope for better relations,' recalls Clifford. 'He issued an invitation to him to make a similar speech in Missouri, "for exactly the same kind of reception", and said he would introduce Stalin personally as he had Churchill' "

So, it seems that all your claims that Coulter made this up, and that she is a liar are, inoperative?


Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 9, 2003 06:54 PM

"Patrick,
"This is typical of the lies and innuendo Coulter
alleges:
'Contrary to popular mythology, McCarthy never called Marshall a "traitor", a "Communist", or a "coward". He simply detailed Marshall's record.'
"And that record included support to the Communists in China..
"Again a falsehood-You accuse someone of something that did not hasppen."

It seems to be Lawrence spreading the falsehoods. The three words Coulter used do not in fact appear as charges against McCarthy in the speech that Russil Wvong provided for us. What IS in that speech is just what Coulter said is there, details of Marshall's record.

For the record, I don't buy all of those details being Marshall's fault. In fact, I'd say most were ultimately FDR's fault with assistance from actual traitors such as Alger Hiss, Lauchlin Currie, and the China specialists who supported Mao over Chiang. But some of the disasters of post WWII policy WERE Marshall's fault, and he's a legitimate target for criticism.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 9, 2003 07:15 PM

"The three words Coulter used do not in fact appear as charges against McCarthy in the speech that Russil Wvong provided for us. What IS in that speech is just what Coulter said is there, details of Marshall's record."

Uh, no, there's more than that: the word "traitor" may not appear, but McCarthy is clearly accusing Marshall of being a traitor. You disagree?

McCarthy:

"How can we account for our present situation unless we believe that men high in this Government are concerting to deliver us to disaster? This must be the product of a great conspiracy, 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.

"Who constitutes the highest circles of this conspiracy? About that we cannot be sure. We are convinced that Dean Acheson, who steadfastly serves the interests of nations other than his own, the friend of Alger Hiss, who supported him in his hour of retribution, who contributed to his defense fund, must be high on the roster. The President? He is their captive. I have wondered, as have you, why he did not dispense with so great a liability as Acheson to his own and his party's interests. It is now clear to me. In the relationship of master and man, did you ever hear of man firing master? Truman is a satisfactory front. He is only dimly aware of what is going on. ...

"It is when we return to an examination of General Marshall's record since the spring of 1942 that we approach an explanation of the carefully planned retreat from victory. ...

"What can be made of this unbroken series of decisions and acts contributing to the strategy of defeat? They cannot be attributed to incompetence. If Marshall were merely stupid, the laws of probability would dictate that part of his decisions would serve this country's interest. ...

"It is the great crime of the Truman administration that it has refused to undertake the job of ferreting the enemy from its ranks. I once puzzled over that refusal. The President, I said, is a loyal American; why does he not lead in this enterprise? I think that I know why he does not. The President is not master in his own house. Those who are master there not only have a desire to protect the sappers and miners - they could not do otherwise. They themselves are not free. They belong to a larger conspiracy, the world-wide web of which has been spun from Moscow. It was Moscow, for example, which decreed that the United States should execute its loyal friend, the Republic of China. The executioners were that well-identified group headed by Acheson and George Catlett Marshall."

McCarthy wasn't accusing Acheson and Marshall of making mistakes. He was accusing them of treason, and saying that Truman was their dupe. As I said, he was a slanderous demagogue.

Posted by: Russil Wvong on July 10, 2003 07:25 AM

John, you simply asked whether I "accept" the term "genocide". The question is nonsensical, since I am not in the business of "accepting" words. Now you ask whether "genocide" refers to a specific event. Well, the very existence of the word suggests a specific event, just as the word "hike" refers to a specific event. If you have a point to make please stop wasting time and make it. My comments have been strictly about the grotesque and reprehensible attempt to draw meaningful differences regarding the suffering of two groups, each comprised of millions, who have been ruthlessly slaughtered.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 10, 2003 08:34 AM

Once again Patrick your sourcing, logic, and defense of Coulter are at odds with reality.

You now cite a different source because the original source, cited by her in the footnote does not agree with the statement that
" Truman and Dean Acheson were infuriated by Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech, and considered inviting Stalin to the U.S. to rebut it"

This is not true because they agreed with the speech, were NOT INFURIATED, as the source you cite (Chace) indicates, and all other sources agree (except Coulter).

Of course even the text of the new quote you cite from Clark Clifford does not indicate they were outraged at the speech, nor agreed with Stalin. That is a lie. You conflate an invitation, which no one but Coulter and some new source you cite above says had anything to do with a "contra iron curtain speech," with support to Stalin. Not true.

Of course now we have to go to Shahan and find another quote. As I said earlier, with Coulter, there is always another confession, or another source, after the first one has been exposed as being false. Chace makes no mention of inviting Stalin to rebut Churchill. OK try this one?

Furthermore Chace, the source you originally cite, is clear about what was going on. Truman had forced Stalin to withdraw troops from Iran (Chapter 14). He wanted to see "how far Russia was going to go." (p. 145) In Chapter 15 (Risking War) the Truman administration is
confronting Stalin over Turkey (successfully). These are not the deeds of someone who was "outraged" over Churchill's speech and wanted Stalin to rebut it. These and the actions of an administration trying to use both force and diplomacy to contain a threat.

Patrick you have to ignore the entire text of the source she cites (Chace) in order to pursue the fantasy that Truman and Acheson were in bed with Stalin.

Russel Wong has rebutted your points on McCarthy . Since Coulter uses Chace I find this an interesting point about China:

Acheson's policy (1949) was: "To wait until the Communists had fully consolidated their power, to recognize Mao's new regime, and to try and prevent it form becoming subservient to the Soviet Union." p. 211
Precisely what Nixon did.

As far as Marshall, his advice to Chaing was not to go on the offensive against Mao since this would overextend his resources since he had niether the troops, nor the administrators to hold any territory he conquered. He did not "support the communists." He in fact gave very sound advice, after all he was possibly the finest military strategist of WWII. One would think someone like Chaing, might have at least followed some of his advice.

No one, not even the Republican's, advocated the one thing that Marshall knew would prevent the collapse of Chaing-The introduction of American troops into China. Instead, the Republican proposed aid top Chaing, the Truman administration felt it was throwing good money after bad, butr they reluctently agreed and $1 billion flowed to Chaing between 1945 and 1949. He still lost.
Then McCarthy, and now Coulter, accussed Acheson, Marshall and their dupe, Truman, of losing China. The lie here was that somehow Truman supported the Chinese Communists-

Posted by: Lawrence on July 10, 2003 12:24 PM

Ah. Here we are. You now state, Will, after much fudging, that the term "genocide" indeed refers to a specific event. I am glad to hear it, I myself find your position both true and moral. However, "the grotesque and reprehensible attempt to draw meaningful differences regarding the suffering of two groups, each comprised of millions, who have been ruthlessly slaughtered", in your words, is now yours. Welcome.

Posted by: John Isbell on July 10, 2003 01:53 PM

The hole is getting deeper and deeper thanks to your persistence in digging, Lawrence:

" Of course now we have to go to Shahan and find another quote. As I said earlier, with Coulter, there is always another confession, or another source, after the first one has been exposed as being false. Chace makes no mention of inviting Stalin to rebut Churchill. "

The two sources buttress each other. And you do realize who Clark Clifford was?

Here's Coulter in her own words on this:

"Most breathtakingly, in March 1946, Truman ostentatiously rebuffed Winston Churchill after his famous 'Iron Curtain' speech in Fulton, Missouri. Immediately after Churchill's speech, Truman instructed his secretary of state (sic)Dean Acheson not to attend a reception for Churchill a week later in New York. Acheson himself was 'deeply troubled by Churchill's call for an Anglo-American partnership that would seem to be directed against Moscow.'9....Truman apologized to Stalin and invited him to the United States for a rebuttal speech. He graciously offered the mass murderer the services of the U.S.S. Missouri for the trip. Paradoxically, much of this is recounted in a book about the Cold War titled 'Architects of Victory'--which hails Truman as one of those architects."

The only error in the above is that Acheson was not yet Secy of State, he was Undersec'y to James Byrnes. Notice that it took Coulter all of three sentences to go from her first source (footnote #9) to Shattan's 'Architects of Victory'. So for Lawrence to be correct that her first source had "been exposed as being false", it would have had to have taken place in those three sentences and BY HERSELF.

Give it up, fellas. You're wrong. Coulter is right. BTW, are we straight on the calendar thing, that April comes after March?

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 10, 2003 01:54 PM

" 'The three words Coulter used do not in fact appear as charges against McCarthy in the speech that Russil Wvong provided for us. What IS in that speech is just what Coulter said is there, details of Marshall's record.'

" Uh, no, there's more than that: the word "traitor" may not appear, but McCarthy is clearly accusing Marshall of being a traitor. You disagree?"

He clearly says in what YOU quote:

"Who constitutes the highest circles of this conspiracy? About that we cannot be sure."

Then he goes on to, as Coulter says, detail the record. BTW, I believe Marshall prefaced this speech with: "I realize full well how unpopular it is to lay hands on the laurels of a man who has been built into a great hero. I very much dislike it, but I feel that it must be done if we are to intelligently make the proper decisions in the issues of life and death before us."

But, I'm interested, what do you think were the most important accomplishments of Marshall?

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 10, 2003 02:07 PM

Uh, John, I have yet to make a meaningful distinction in the suffering between the two groups. When being subjected to murderous slaughter, the quality of one's suffering does is not dependent on the motivation of the slaughterer.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 10, 2003 02:38 PM

Patrick, if you wish to disagree with Churchill's and Eisenhower's estimation of Marshall, feel free, but if you don't mind, I'll defer to their expertise. In the following sentences:

"Those who are master there not only have a desire to protect the sappers and miners - they could not do otherwise. They themselves are not free. They belong to a larger conspiracy, the world-wide web of which has been spun from Moscow. It was Moscow, for example, which decreed that the United States should execute its loyal friend, the Republic of China. The executioners were that well-identified group headed by Acheson and George Catlett Marshall."

McCarthy clearly insinuates that Marshall is knowingly part of a conspiracy originating in Moscow. This is demagoguery of the most rancid kind, and that you defend it is unfortunate.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 10, 2003 02:52 PM

Will, read it carefully. Your interpretation is not the only one, it could be that Acheson and Marshall were merely dupes (after all, McCarthy said explicitly he thought Truman was) of the China hands, Lattimore, Service, Jessup and others.

I'll ask you the same question I asked Russil, what were Marshall's biggest accomplishments?

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 10, 2003 04:48 PM

Yes, like most good demagogues, McCarthy parses words carefully, allowing him some ability to claim "I certainly did not say that!". If McCarthy wanted to say that Marshall and Acheson were dupes, he would have clearly said so, as he did with Truman. Instead, he leaves the insinuation, although not outright accusation, that Marshall was a knowing conspirator. It is rancid, and again, it is unfortunate that you defend it.

As to his accomplishments, I would put foremost his clearing the Army of a lot of deadwood in the officer corp in WWII's opening. Marshall had keen insight into other's abilities, hence the fast promotion of Eisenhower. He was a superb manager, which is no small thing when conducting global industrialized warfare. Again, if it is your belief that Ann Coulter has better insight as to Marshall's performance than Eisenhower or Churchill, please state so plainly.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 10, 2003 05:10 PM

Will, as far as I can tell you are defining genocide (unusually) as a state of mind, that of the killers. Is this the case?
You also refer to "the quality of one's suffering": this was precisely where we opened our discussion, where you answered the various distinctions I drew between gulags and concentration camps with one sarcastic aside. Are you now saying that the quality of one's suffering is indeed important in assessing these crimes, not just the body count? That is my own belief.
Now we have started, I am reluctant to give up on you as a serious partner in this rather highly charged debate. But your views seem fluid.

Posted by: John Isbell on July 10, 2003 10:03 PM

No, I am saying once and for all that meaningful distinctions cannot be drawn between the suffering of Hitler's or Stalins's victims. That Hitler engaged in an attempt to murder a entire religious or ethnic group (Jews), and Stalin attempted to eliminate an entire economic class (Kulaks) has no impact on the people subject to slaughter. True, the Kulaks mostly were killed in their villages, and not the camps, but again murder by deliberate starvation is among the more hideous ways to die, so the fact that the Kulaks weren't shipped to camps is of little import. Yes, there were people in gulags who had better treatment than the typical Jew in a concentration camp, but such people were only a subset of Stalin's victims. I find it grotesque that one would attempt to say that one form of mass murder was preferable, because it did not entail an attempt to kill an entire ethnic or religious group. The act of genocide DOES refer to the motivations of the killer, but that matters not one bit in regards to the suffering endured by those several million murdered by a tyrant with other designs.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 11, 2003 07:34 AM

" As to his accomplishments, I would put foremost his clearing the Army of a lot of deadwood in the officer corp in WWII's opening. Marshall had keen insight into other's abilities, hence the fast promotion of Eisenhower. He was a superb manager, which is no small thing when conducting global industrialized warfare. Again, if it is your belief that Ann Coulter has better insight as to Marshall's performance than Eisenhower or Churchill, please state so plainly."

Actually Coulter agrees with you, Will. She wrote in "Treason":

" Marshall had been a superb military leader in World War II--principally by choosing General Dwight Eisenhower to lead Allied forces. But Marshall went on to serve President Truman in various capacities, including as ambassador to China, secretary of state and secretary of defnese, and as a policymaker. Marshall was the Zelig of disaster. He supported enormous concessions to Stalin at Yalta, including turning over Poland to the USSR. He helped consign a billion people to a totalitarian dungeon in China. He played a central role in Truman's firing General Douglas MacArthur...."

She doesn't mention that he was largely responsible for letting Stalin's troops take Berlin, and for the rapid demobilization of U.S. forces when the war ended. Forces that then were too weak to resist Stalin's consolidation of his empire in Eastern Europe.

Those are all fair grounds for criticism of Marshall, aren't they?

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 11, 2003 09:26 AM

Where did I say that criticizing Marshall was rancid? I said making thinly veiled insinuations of knowingly partaking in a conspiracy with Stalin is rancid. Why do you defend this? By the way, anybody who considers MacArthur's performance in the wake of the Chosin debacle to be acceptable, or not worthy of firing, with it's infectious defeatism and pessimism, hasn't really studied the Korean War.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 11, 2003 09:52 AM

" Where did I say that criticizing Marshall was rancid? I said making thinly veiled insinuations of knowingly partaking in a conspiracy with Stalin is rancid."

No, that is not accurate. Here is what you said:

" That George Marshall's greatness is not so widely and indisputably recognized as to render Coulter unknown says much about the inadequacy of the nation's teaching of history."

And repeated it:

"...the man who Eisenhower, Churchill, and other giants of the age described as the finest they ever knew. Coulter does her shtick.... Coulter is an irrelevancy...."

And, I'm betting you wrote the above without having read what Coulter wrote.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 11, 2003 12:21 PM

"He clearly says in what YOU quote: 'Who constitutes the highest circles of this conspiracy? About that we cannot be sure.'"

But McCarthy isn't saying that he's unsure about _Marshall_. He's saying that he doesn't know who _else_ is in the highest circles of this conspiracy, besides Acheson and Marshall. He's very certain about Marshall's being a leader of the conspiracy: "What can be made of this unbroken series of decisions and acts contributing to the strategy of defeat? They cannot be attributed to incompetence."

And as noted by Will Allen, McCarthy describes Acheson and Marshall as the executioners of China, not unwitting dupes of someone else.

To sum up: McCarthy accused Marshall of being a traitor. Coulter claims that McCarthy only criticized him for making mistakes. Coulter's turning into the right-wing equivalent of Noam Chomsky (admittedly, she's better-looking). As Will noted, her latest book has been criticized by _David Horowitz_.

"I'm interested, what do you think were the most important accomplishments of Marshall?"

#1: his contribution to victory in World War II, as Chief of Staff of the US army. When he became Chief of Staff in September 1939, the US had a tiny army--17th in the world, behind Bulgaria and Portugal. It was Marshall who was responsible for raising, training, and equipping an army of several million men.

#2: his contribution to the strengthening of Western Europe against Soviet expansion after World War II--particularly the European Recovery Program (aka the Marshall Plan). In particular, it was Marshall who convinced Congress and public opinion to support the billions that went into the ERP.

A Smithsonian article on Marshall:
http://www.lcsys.net/fayette/history/plan22.htm

Gordon Craig, reviewing Forrest Pogue's biography of Marshall: "... in Pogue's third volume he gives striking illustrations of Marshall's persuasive talents in 1943. At that time, there was a growing tendency in the country to regard the war as all but won, which was reflected in resentment against legislation affecting civilian manpower, increased pressure for deferment of armed service, and a threatened strike of the railway brotherhoods. A major part of Marshall's time was devoted to explaining to Congress and the press, and to business, labor, and private groups the enormities of the tasks that lay ahead and the importance of a truly national effort, and his success in this effort, ironically, by making him indispensable at home, helped defeat his hope that he would command the Allied forces that invaded Normandy. Franklin Roosevelt told him, 'Well, I didn't feel that I could sleep at ease if you were out of Washington.' ...

"In the case of the plan for European recovery, ... Marshall never doubted that Americans would support it if it were properly explained to them, and in Pogue's treatment of this greatest of his subject's achievements, he makes it clear that Marshall deserves credit, not only for the initial conception of what history remembers as the Marshall Plan and for writing the speech that announced it to the world in June 1947, but also for defending it, with his incomparable mixture of courtesy and authority, before congressional committees and helping to sell it to various groups and regions of the country by appealing, in Pogue's words, 'for American unity in a movement that served American interests by aiding Western Europe to survive.'"

Churchill: "During my long and close association with successive American administrations, there are few men whose qualities of mind and character have impressed me so deeply as those of General Marshall. He is a great American, but he is far more than that. In war he was as wise and understanding in counsel as he was resolute in action. In peace he was the architect who planned the restoration of our battered European economy and, at the same time, labored tirelessly to establish a system of Western defense. He has always fought victoriously against defeatism, discouragement, and disillusion. Succeeding generations must not be allowed to forget his achievements and his example."

Posted by: Russil Wvong on July 11, 2003 01:45 PM

Well, Will, I think your newest comment has brought me closest to understanding you. There's quite a bit in it. You start by saying "No", from which I infer that you believe genocide is not anyone's state of mind, it has objective reality: i.e., the mass murder of a race is a special case of mass murder. That's my opinion (and that of the dictionaries), correct me if it's not yours. Once again, you don't in fact quite say: your immediate reply is in fact limited to "No", after which you change the subject. You do add, at the end: "The act of genocide DOES refer to the motivations of the killer, but that matters not one bit in regards to the suffering endured by those several million murdered by a tyrant with other designs." I'm not sure if you're saying a genocidal tyrant has other designs, or that other tyrants like Stalin inflicted equal suffering. I can endorse the first reading, if for DOES you substitute the word ALSO, and to the phrase "other designs" you add "as well" (since clearly genocide was indeed one of Hitler's designs), but not the second. We can quantify suffering later, and in fact you begin that process. You see the trouble I am having with your language. I change DOES for ALSO because, objectively speaking, six million Jews were slaughted by Hitler and the term genocide refers to that, not just to what Hitler had on his mind, as I'm sure you agree. You also add a third remark about genocide: "That Hitler engaged in an attempt to murder a entire religious or ethnic group (Jews), and Stalin attempted to eliminate an entire economic class (Kulaks) has no impact on the people subject to slaughter." To which I say: if a person exterminates the Jews, that has an impact on the Jews. They no longer exist. That is one reason the term "genocide" exists, and has special status at the UN. The same applies for Tibetans, Armenians, Hutus, whoever. Also, since we are quantifying suffering (which only occurs before death, let us say), then the knowledge that your entire people, after 5,000 years, is being exterminated, does I maintain increase suffering. You are welcome to argue that it does not. Finally, I see a contradiction between your bare opening "No", to my question whether genocide is a state of mind, and your subsequent statement that "The act of genocide DOES refer to the motivations of the killer." Such seeming contradictions do not do credit to your argument on these thorny issues.
Now, suffering. Here are two things you say in your most recent comment:
1. "I am saying once and for all that meaningful distinctions cannot be drawn between the suffering of Hitler's or Stalins's victims."
2. "Yes, there were people in gulags who had better treatment than the typical Jew in a concentration camp, but such people were only a subset of Stalin's victims."
You have just drawn a meaningful distinction between the suffering of Hitler's and Stalin's victims (one in fact on which I base my argument, far upthread, that what Levi describes is more horrible than what Solzhenitsyn describes). You draw another when you invoke the precise nature of the suffering of the kulaks, and stress its horror. You are drawing distinctions in suffering: your "once and for all" has fallen by the wayside.
Once you open the door to comparisons of suffering, the world becomes a very complicated place. You were on much firmer philosophical ground denying the relevance of suffering altogether.
I am left with the contradictions in your position, now that you have finally enunciated it. It suggests to me that you have not thought these things through fully, which is perfectly reasonable, but in that case you should reserve your absolutist moral pronouncements about them for a time when your contradictions are resolved. But, all in all, I am delighted to see you noting that suffering can be different, and relevant, as I myself believe, and even perhaps recognizing the extermination of a race as an objective, and unique, phenomenon, not just a state of mind. But you are of course welcome to say that you have done neither the one nor the other, since these were not your positions at the start of our discussion. I'm still happy with a job well done.

Posted by: John Isbell on July 11, 2003 01:54 PM

John, it is painful to state the obvious, but if a poll were to be made of every Jew that entered a concentration camp were comprised, it is nearly certain that a subset could be found that on average received better treatment. That doesn't mean that it is meaningful to draw distinctions in their suffering, no more that it is draw distinction between the obesity of a man who weighs 650 pounds from one who weighs 651.Itis nonsensical, but in the context of mass murder, it is also grotesque.What I am saying is that to draw meaningful distinctions between the suffering the soon to be murdered victims Stalin produced and those of Hitler, is pointless and grotesque. If you actually believe that a Kulak who just consumed his child's corpse in an effort to obtain sufficient calories was suffering any less than a Jew in Hitler's clutches, because the Kulak knew that Stalin wasn't trying to kill every Ukrainian, well, this is a nearly psychotic break from reality.

Finally, the "no" I opened my last post with was not a specific response to ether of your questions, but merely a reatement of my position.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 11, 2003 02:39 PM

Patrick, there is nothing in my quotes that you reproduced that indicates that I have marked Marshall off-limits from criticism. I have labeled Coulter an irrelevancy because she fails to recognize indisputable facts, that McCarthy insinuated Marshall was a knowing conspirator of Stalin. To make such an insinuation immediately dismisses one from the arena of reasonable and civil discourse, and to deny that the insinuation took place, and thereby defend the demagogue who made the insinuation, places one in the universe of irrelevancies. Why do you defend this? Also, is it your opinion that Ann Coulter offers a more accurate assessment of George Marshall than Winston Churchill?

Posted by: Will Allen on July 11, 2003 02:58 PM

Patrick, since you seem to think highly of Whittaker Chambers' assessment of the times, in my opinion, rightly, let us note this assertion by him:

"In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that we live in terror that Senator McCarthy will one day make some irreparable blunder which will play directly into the hands of our common enemy and discredit the whole anti-Communist effort for a long while to come."

Posted by: Will Allen on July 11, 2003 04:13 PM

I wrote a long reply and I see it's been erased. I'll limit myself to saying that I wrote "Are you now saying", your reply begins "No, I am saying", and you're now stating that your opening is in no way a reply to my question. It depends what the meaning of "is" is.
You're really not worth the rest of what I wrote, sorry. I'll repeat my ending, I sincerely wish you moral growth.

Posted by: John Isbell on July 11, 2003 09:33 PM

John, it is unfortunate that throughout several posts, you have yet to explain how a kulak being murdered has had his suffering alleviated, except by some odd, near psychotic, imagination, that as he knawed on his child's fibula, he thought, "Well, gee whiz, at least all the Ukrainians aren't being murdered!" That you spent all your energies asking whether I "accepted" terms, instead of making a straight-forward case for assertions is unfortunate, but only you can be blamed for the waste of bandwidth.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 12, 2003 06:34 AM

" To sum up: McCarthy accused Marshall of being a traitor. "

When McCarthy was asked point blank, "Did you accuse Marshall of being a traitor," his answer was: "No".

And one year after the famous 60,000 word speech, he wrote: "If he...made mistakes, that is no disgrace. Only those who do nothing make no mistakes. To prove that Marshall made mistakes does not indict Marshall of being either incompetent or of following the Communist cause."

Now, as we've already seen, Coulter agrees with both Will and Russil that Marshall was a "superb military leader in World War II". The other accomplishment, The Marshall Plan is more problematic.

Coulter makes a case that Marshall's conception of it was flawed. Indeed, her sources indicate that Marshall wanted to make it some kind of international welfare plan that would include aid to Stalin and his slave states. She says it was the happy combination of Stalin turning down the offer and a Republican congress that would have never approved aid to the USSR, that rescued "The Marshall Plan", and made it what it is remembered for. Also, Marshall made no provision for aid to Nationalist China, and congress put that in.

So, again, we're left with Marshall the military genius, versus the diplomatic blunderer. The overwhelming force of the McCarthy speech was detailing Marshall's failures, and it is a strong case. In the summer of 1945 the U.S. bestrode the world like a colossus, victor in two theatres of war, the only country with atomic weapons. Only a few months later we were so weak we had to watch helplessly as Stalin assembled an empire that lasted until Ronald Reagan challenged it.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 12, 2003 09:47 AM

" Patrick, there is nothing in my quotes that you reproduced that indicates that I have marked Marshall off-limits from criticism. "

Of course there is, you said: "That George Marshall's greatness is not so widely and indisputably recognized...."

BTW, I'm aware of Whittaker Chambers' opinion of McCarthy, but that doesn't settle the matter. And his specific criticism, " we live in terror that Senator McCarthy will one day make some irreparable blunder", did not come to pass. McCarthy was more or less correct in what he said.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 12, 2003 09:53 AM

" Patrick, there is nothing in my quotes that you reproduced that indicates that I have marked Marshall off-limits from criticism."

Will, you said: "George Marshall's greatness is...widely and indisputably recognized..."

"Indisputable" means beyond argument or debate.

BTW, I was aware of Chambers' opinion of McCarthy, but he didn't blunder into any error. He was almost always correct in what he said. That anti-communism came to be regarded in some circles as declasse is the result of the mendacity of people like Edward R. Murrow. As the recent preposterous WSJ column of Dorothy Rabinowitz makes clear.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 12, 2003 03:52 PM

"When McCarthy was asked point blank, 'Did you accuse Marshall of being a traitor,' his answer was: 'No'."

Okay, time to start looking stuff up.

Patrick, I hope you've bookmarked this page, because it's time to give Coulter the full Chomsky treatment. Step one: hit the library and get some other books on Marshall and McCarthy. I suppose I should read Coulter's book, too; I'm gritting my teeth already, in anticipation of the lies, omissions, and half-truths. But if I could read "The Chomsky Reader" and "Deterring Democracy", I suppose I can make it through Coulter's book.

Regarding the Marshall Plan:

"Coulter makes a case that Marshall's conception of it was flawed. Indeed, her sources indicate that Marshall wanted to make it some kind of international welfare plan that would include aid to Stalin and his slave states."

My first recommendation to Chomsky fans is that they should _look at other sources of information_; I include a list of recommended books at the top of my Chomsky page. In this case, we can easily dispose of Coulter's argument (an "international welfare plan"!) by looking at a primary source, "PPS/1: Policy with Respect to American Aid to Western Europe" (May 1947):
http://www.geocities.com/rwvong/future/kennan/pps1.html

Specifically: "The problem of where and in what form the initiative for the formulation of a European program should be taken is admittedly a tremendously difficult and delicate one. It cannot be definitely predetermined by us. Presumably an effort would first be made to advance the project in the Economic Commission for Europe, and probably as a proposal for general European (not just western European) cooperation; but then it would be essential that this should be done in such a form that the Russian satellite countries would either exclude themselves by unwillingness to accept the proposed conditions or agree to abandon the exclusive orientation of their economies."

In other words, the offer to the eastern European countries was intended as a means of either embarrassing the Soviet Union (which is what happened), or forcing the Soviet Union to give up control of their economies. It wasn't an international welfare plan.

Posted by: Russil Wvong on July 13, 2003 03:42 PM

By the way, "Dark Star" is indeed a fine novel. Just finished reading it.

I also like Louis Halle's suggestion in "The Cold War as History": "From the beginning of the 1930's to almost the end of 1962 the populations of the West lived continuously in a terrible fear. The general economic breakdown of 1929-1930, which foreboded the breakdown of the social order everywhere, was followed by the rise of Hitler and the Japanese war-lords, to the point where it no longer seemed possible to stop them. The terrors of World War II were followed by those associated with the prospect of an imminent general breakdown of civilization and the obliteration of all that made life worth living, or even possible, under the Muscovite tyranny that was spreading from the East. The emotion of fear is not easily recaptured, and now a new generation is growing up that, one hopes, will be spared the experience. However, for those of the new generation who want to know, and for some of their elders who want to recapture the brooding terror that lasted for some thirty years, I recommend J. R. R. Tolkien's trilogy, _The Lord of the Rings_, Boston, 1954-1956, which enshrines the mood and the emotion of those long years in which we, in the West, saw almost no possibility of saving ourselves from the intolerable darkness that was overspreading the world from the East."

I think one of the hardest things for young people today to really comprehend is that in 1940, it looked as though Hitler had won.

Posted by: Russil Wvong on July 13, 2003 03:51 PM

" I suppose I should read Coulter's book, too"

This is the customary procedure, before spouting claims about it.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 14, 2003 09:00 AM

" I suppose I should read Coulter's book, too"

This is the customary procedure, before spouting claims about it.

BTW, Clark Clifford says "The Marshall Plan" was only called that because Truman felt calling it the "Truman Plan" would create political difficulties getting through the Republican congress:

" 'I've decided to give the whole thing to General Marshall,' {Truman] said. 'The worst Republican on the Hill can vote for it if we name it after the General.' ", which would seem to indicate that one of YOUR choices for Marshall's greatest accomplishments might not be valid.

He also says, that Acheson and Marshall disagreed about offering aid to the Soviet Union:

"Marshall insisted on it: he did not want the U.S. to be the one to draw a line of division between East and West. Had Moscow accepted his offer, it is probable that congress would never have approved the program...."

So, Coulter's version of this is supported by someone who was a participant.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 14, 2003 09:17 AM

Patrick, it does not logically follow that someone who's greateness is widely and indisputably recognized is immune from criticism. "Indisputably great" is not synonymous with "perfect". Pretending otherwise does not strengthen your argument. Chambers' made his remarks because he recognized McCarthy's demagoguery by insinuation for what it is. That you live in a state of denial regarding this issue is your misfortune. If you don't mind, I defer to the judgement of Churchill and Chambers, as opposed to that of Coulter. If you believe that it is Coulter who has a more keen insight regarding these matters, will just state so explicitly?

Posted by: Will Allen on July 14, 2003 10:47 AM

"This is the customary procedure, before spouting claims about it."

So far I'm spouting off based on your presentation of her arguments. :-) As well as reading reviews of the book. But you're right, it's no substitute for reading the book itself. It's just painful to read books when you can't trust the author to tell you the truth; that's my experience from reading Chomsky. So I'm not looking forward to it.

If you're so concerned about spouting off baselessly, may I recommend that you read Louis Halle's "The Cold War as History"? If I have to read Coulter to participate on this thread, I want some company.

"... which would seem to indicate that one of YOUR choices for Marshall's greatest accomplishments might not be valid."

Sorry, but I don't see how this follows. What on earth does the reason for naming the ERP have to do with Marshall's contribution to it?

"'Marshall insisted on it: he did not want the U.S. to be the one to draw a line of division between East and West. Had Moscow accepted his offer, it is probable that congress would never have approved the program....'"

And how on earth does this back up your earlier contention that Marshall intended some kind of international welfare plan, which is directly contradicted by PPS/1? As PPS/1 notes, offering aid to both Western Europe and Eastern Europe was a way to try to pry away Soviet control over Eastern Europe.

Posted by: Russil Wvong on July 14, 2003 12:48 PM

Weak semantic quibbling doesn't strengthen your argument either, Will. Coulter is disputing the greatness of Marshall (at least outside the strictly military sphere), you and others are crying that that is illegitimate. Note the lack of substance in those cries. An almost entire absence of specific points made in contradiction to Coulter's.

And even the one that was raised, by Russil, turns out to be dubious on the testimony of one of Marshall's contemporaries, Clark Clifford.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 14, 2003 04:44 PM

No, Coulter disingenuously denies that McCarthy impugned Marshall's loyalty to the United States. That McCarthy later said that Marshall was not a traitor doesn't absolve him of making an inexcusable insinuation. That you fail to acknowledge it also, despite the printed record, is also inexcusable. It harms your credibility.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 15, 2003 08:15 AM

"... even the one that was raised, by Russil, turns out to be dubious on the testimony of one of Marshall's contemporaries, Clark Clifford."

I repeat: how do Clifford's comments support Coulter's remarkable claim that Marshall and Truman regarded the ERP as an international welfare plan, rather than a way to contain Soviet expansion into Western Europe? You can see that Coulter's claim is incorrect by simply reading PPS/1:
http://www.geocities.com/rwvong/future/kennan/pps1.html

"When McCarthy was asked point blank, 'Did you accuse Marshall of being a traitor,' his answer was: 'No'."

Is this in Coulter's book?

Specific claims made by Coulter:

1. That McCarthy didn't accuse Marshall of being a traitor, only of incompetence. See the text of McCarthy's speech; McCarthy says himself that it's impossible for Marshall's mistakes to have been made only from incompetence. Coulter herself cites these words.

2. That Marshall and Truman didn't intend the ERP to be a way to contain Soviet expansion into Western Europe. See PPS/1.

3. That Truman and Acheson were infuriated by Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech. Truman read and approved the speech before Churchill gave it.

4. That Marshall supported the giveaway of Poland at Yalta. At Yalta, the Soviet army was already _in_ Poland.

5. That Chiang Kai-Shek could have won the Chinese civil war, if only he'd had more US aid. Stilwell and other US observers disagreed; when Stilwell tried to improve the military effectiveness of Nationalist units, Chiang would break them up, worried about their being used against him. When the "China hands" (such as John Paton Davies Jr.) tried to point out that the Nationalists were going to lose, they were accused of working for Moscow by Chiang's supporters in the US.

6. That McCarthy did expose Communist spies. According to Chambers' biographer, Sam Tanenhaus, there are only three Communists known to have filled important federal positions: Lauchlin Currie, Alger Hiss, and Harry Dexter White. Currie left the government in 1945; Hiss and White resigned in 1946. All of this happened before McCarthy's anti-communist crusade.
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/13910

7. That McCarthy didn't really victimize anybody. See Oshinsky's biography of McCarthy. It seems fairly even-handed; Oshinsky debunks several malicious stories about McCarthy's childhood, for example.

One claim that you make, not Coulter: that Marshall weakened the US by rapid demobilization following the war. There was immense pressure to demobilize; a democracy can make tremendous sacrifices during wartime, but once peace comes, people want to return home and get back to their lives. The Soviet Union, being a totalitarian state, had no such pressures, and could continue to maintain a huge army. And the Soviet Union had twice as much manpower as the US to begin with.

You also seem to think that Truman wasn't anti-Communist until after the November 1946 elections. This isn't correct. For example, Truman berated Molotov in one of his first meetings with him, quite undiplomatically; this is recounted in Peter Grose's "Rollback", for example. Tanenhaus: "Stranger still, [McCarthy] mounted his anti-Communist campaign well after the Democrats developed a strongly anti-Soviet policy, which dated back to the first months of 1945, when it had first become clear that the Yalta accords were breaking down. In February 1946 George Kennan had sent his famous 'long telegram' from Moscow warning that harmonious relations with the Soviets were not going to be possible. In September Truman fired Henry Wallace, his secretary of commerce, for making a pro-Soviet foreign policy speech." The Truman administration's anti-Communist policies continued: "In 1947 a federal grand jury heard testimony on the underground operations of the American Communist Party, which resulted in indictments in July 1948 against the top leadership of the Party under the Smith Act. These same sessions inspired the congressional hearings that led to Hiss's indictment five months later, shortly after Truman used the Communist issue to destroy Wallace's third-party bid in the presidential election of 1948. In the summer of 1949, weeks after the first Hiss trial ended in a hung jury, Dean Acheson, newly installed as secretary of state, had gone before Congress to plead for an enlarged budget, citing--among other factors--the peril posed in Europe by the 'internal Communist threat.' So intently did Truman try to combat communism that a later generation would accuse him of creating a 'national-security' state and of sowing the seeds of McCarthyism."

Kennan's 1946 Long Telegram:
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/coldwar/documents/episode-1/kennan.htm

I'll repeat the advice which I give to Chomsky fans: check other sources.

A couple minor criticisms of Coulter:

Coulter gets various facts wrong -- describing Acheson as Secretary of State, describing Marshall as ambassador to China, describing the population of China in 1949 as a billion people. Didn't she have a fact-checker?

Coulter also makes frequent inflammatory statements ("if x were y, Janet Reno would gas them," that kind of thing). Presumably critics are supposed to react to them, making them look hysterical and Coulter look level-headed by comparison. Part of showbiz, I suppose: it entertains the audience.

Posted by: Russil Wvong on July 15, 2003 11:35 AM

Will, it is you who is being disingenuous. And I repeat, there is no substantive criticism at all from you. You just keep insisting Coulter is mean. When you actually listed Marshall's accomplishments you gave nothing that Coulter disagreed with.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 15, 2003 06:19 PM

Patrick, you don't think it's substantive to point out that Churchill's view of Marshall ("the architect who planned the restoration of our battered European economy and, at the same time, labored tirelessly to establish a system of Western defense") is diametrically opposed to Coulter's ("the Zelig of disaster")? They can't both be right.

Posted by: Russil Wvong on July 16, 2003 11:53 AM

Not sure what happened to Patrick. At any rate, for other people reading this who want to know more about McCarthy, see David Oshinsky's "A Conspiracy So Immense: The World of Joe McCarthy" (1982). Recommended by Sam Tanenhaus, biographer of Whittaker Chambers.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0029237602/

Posted by: Russil Wvong on July 19, 2003 04:43 PM

Since I've been away I see Russil has produced many posts. I'll see how far I can get tonite, and try to completely respond over the weekend. First, I'm going to cherry pick some points from the several posts that I think can easily be disposed of. Then I'll go back and respond to the more substantive points.

" If you're so concerned about spouting off baselessly, may I recommend that you read Louis Halle's "The Cold War as History"? If I have to read Coulter to participate on this thread, I want some company."

This is a non-sequitur. I have said nothing about Halle's book, nor have I rudely slandered him. Nor would I do so without reading him. And if I were going to read him I would not enter into it with a bitter and obvious prejudice against it.

[After pointing out that Clark Clifford had cast doubt on Marshall's actual contributions to the plan with his name, I'd written:]

"... which would seem to indicate that one of YOUR choices for Marshall's greatest accomplishments might not be valid."

To which Russil responded:

" Sorry, but I don't see how this follows. What on earth does the reason for naming the ERP have to do with Marshall's contribution to it?"

Clifford credits Acheson for the actual plan, not Marshall. He says they only called it the Marshall Plan for domestic political reasons.

[I quoted Clark Clifford:]
"'Marshall insisted on it: he did not want the U.S. to be the one to draw a line of division between East and West. Had Moscow accepted his offer, it is probable that congress would never have approved the program....'"

" And how on earth does this back up your earlier contention that Marshall intended some kind of international welfare plan, which is directly contradicted by PPS/1? As PPS/1 notes, offering aid to both Western Europe and Eastern Europe was a way to try to pry away Soviet control over Eastern Europe.'

I don't know how it could be any more obvious: "[Marshall] did not want the U.S. to be the one to draw a line of division between East and West". Do you really think PS/1 is being candid, anyway?

" Patrick, you don't think it's substantive to point out that Churchill's view of Marshall ("the architect who planned the restoration of our battered European economy and, at the same time, labored tirelessly to establish a system of Western defense")..."

Of course, it's not "substantive", it's a eulogy delivered at the end of the man's life. A time for praise for a comrade.

For a substantive comment on Marshall you couldn't do better than some of what Churchill had to say when shooting down the ridiculous plan of Marshall for a cross channel invasion in 1943, or even maybe 1942 (with the same American troops that got mauled at Kasserine Pass?):

"MR CHURCHILL opened the Conference by saying that the Committee had met to consider the momentous proposal which Mr. Hopkins and General Marshall had brought over, and which had now been fully discussed and examined by the Staffs. He had no hesitation in cordially accepting the plan. The conception underlying it accorded with the classic principles of war--namely, concentration against the main enemy. One broad reservation must however be made--it was essential to carry on the defence of India and the Middle East. We could not possibly face the loss of an army of 600,000 men and the whole man-power of India. Furthermore, Australia and the island bases connecting that country with the United States must not be allowed to fall. This meant that we could not entirely lay aside everything in furtherance of the main object proposed by General Marshall."

Iow: "Boys, war is is no game for amateurs. Now pay attention...."

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 25, 2003 08:54 PM

Here's an interesting take by Charles Kindleberger:

http://www.trumanlibrary.org/oralhist/kindbrgr.htm

" by the way, in the spring of ‘47 when food was scarce, that the Germans were last in line. Food got terribly scarce worldwide and the Marshall plan I think was in large part a response to a very bad harvest. This view was not generally accepted. My colleague who taught International Economics at Harvard, Gottfried Haberler, would get furious with me when I said that balance of payments is often determined by the bounty of the harvest. He believes in more deep-seated forces. But I have expressed it elsewhere that the bad winter of ‘47 made us exaggerate the depths into which Europe had been driven by the devastation of war, and the recovery of the good harvest of ‘48 led us to exaggerate the efficacy of the Marshall plan."

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 25, 2003 09:01 PM

Russil's points 1,2, and 3 have already been answered by me (several times), but briefly:

1. There is no overt claim of Marshall being a traitor. When asked to clarify whether he was accusing Marshall of being a traitor, McCarthy said, "no". How clear can it be? You seem to be stuck on this false dichotomy of traitor or incompetent.

2. I don't remember Coulter including Truman in this, but clearly Marshall didn't see it that way. In addition to what I've produced from Clark Clifford supporting this, Coulter quoted from Marshall's speech at Harvard where he says:

"Our policy is directed not against any party of doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos…Any government that is willing to assist in the task of recovery will find full cooperation, I am sure, on the part of the United States government."

Which seems pretty clearly to support Coulter.

3. Not really true that Truman "approved it". But why did he deny having read it after the controversy broke? And I'm indebted to Lawrence (he's been pretty scarce lately, hope he didn't drown on the kayaking trip) for introducing Arnold Offner's "Another Such Victory" to the argument. On page 136, we can read:

" Privately Truman even complained to have been 'suckered in' and 'insulted' by the proposal of an alliance while he was on the platform."

Offner cites a diary entry of March 12, 1946,

"4. That Marshall supported the giveaway of Poland at Yalta. At Yalta, the Soviet army was already _in_ Poland."

Which would be the Alger Hiss defense: http://homepages.nyu.edu/~th15/yalta.html

"By the time of the Yalta conference, Russian troops had pushed the Nazis out of most of Poland, and in a matter of weeks they had occupied the entire country."

Which is disingenuous in the extreme. At Yalta, Churchill and FDR abandoned their wartime ally, the (democratically elected) government in exile of Poland, based in London. Rather than stand for the return of that government (and fair and monitored elections to follow after the end of hostilities) Stalin was allowed to get by with vague promises of elections. In the meantime he installed his own puppets.

FDR, then returned to the U.S. and blatantly lied to congress about what he had done about Poland. From his report, delivered in a wheelchair, to congress:

" The three most powerful nations have agreed that the political and economic problems of any area liberated from Nazi conquest, or any former Axis satellite, are a joint responsibility of all three Governments. They will join together during the temporary period of instability after hostilities, to help the people of any liberated area, or of any former satellite state, to solve their own problems through firmly established democratic processes.

[snip]

"One outstanding example of joint action by the three major Allied powers was the solution reached on Poland. The whole Polish question was a potential source of trouble in post-war Europe, as it had been some time before, and we came to the conference determined to find a common ground for its solution, and we did.

"Our objective was to help create a strong, independent and prosperous nation. That's the thing we must always remember, those words, agreed to by Russia, by Britain and by me, the objective of making Poland a strong, independent and prosperous nation, with a Government ultimately to be selected by the Polish people themselves.

"To achieve that objective it is necessary to provide for the formation of a new government, much more representative than had been possible while Poland was enslaved. Accordingly, steps were taken at Yalta to reorganize the existing provisional government in Poland on a broader democratic basis, so as to include democratic leaders now in Poland and those abroad. This new reorganized government will be recognized by all of us as the temporary government of Poland.

"However, the new Polish provisional government of national unity will be pledged to hold a free election as soon as possible on the basis of universal suffrage and a secret ballot. "

Coulter, and many others, are absolutely correct in this. Poland was handed over to Stalin.

"5. That Chiang Kai-Shek could have won the Chinese civil war, if only he'd had more US aid. Stilwell and other US observers disagreed; when Stilwell tried to improve the military effectiveness of Nationalist units, Chiang would break them up, worried about their being used against him. When the "China hands" (such as John Paton Davies Jr.) tried to point out that the Nationalists were going to lose, they were accused of working for Moscow by Chiang's supporters in the US."

Of course, this is exactly McCarthy's complaint. Stillwell was a disaster, he was relieved for his failure to cooperate with Chiang. The China hands had clearly been favoring the Communists over the Nationalists. John Paton Davies was predicting that the Communists would emerge victorious, so he (and John Stewart Service and others) went about making the prediction come to fruition. Patrick Hurley was very bitter about how he was undermined by these people.

"6. That McCarthy did expose Communist spies. According to Chambers' biographer, Sam Tanenhaus, there are only three Communists known to have filled important federal positions: Lauchlin Currie, Alger Hiss, and Harry Dexter White. Currie left the government in 1945; Hiss and White resigned in 1946. All of this happened before McCarthy's anti-communist crusade.
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/13910"

I guess this depends on your definition of "important federal positions". McCarthy's concern was the failure of security screening boards to identify people who were of questionable loyalty.

People such as Irving Peress who was a Communist and an officer working at Ft. Monmouth, NJ. Peress was even promoted while it was known about his Communist background. The problem was so bad at Monmouth (where Julius Rosenberg had worked, btw) that it was shut down and its functions transferred elsewhere. Coulter discusses this case in her book.

Another case Coulter features was the notorious Annie Lee Moss, who Edward R Murrow (Dorothy Rabinowitz still doesn't understand this) wrongly claimed was a case of mistaken identity on his famous TV program.

Moss was a member of the Communist party, AND worked in the pentagon code room. She was restored to her job after supposedly having been smeared by McCarthy. In 1958 she was still there, when her Communist Party registration was made public, with the same address, 72 R St, Moss gave to McCarthy's committee when she testified.

McCarthy also exposed John Stewart Service, who had actually been arrested and charged with espionage in 1945, for turning over top secret papers to Phillip Jaffe in the Amerasia case. Democratic insiders, including Thomas (the Cork) Corcoran manipulated the Justice Dept into dropping the charges, and Service was again at the State Dept when McCarthy brought up his case.

Similarly, McCarthy exposed Owen Lattimore's duplicity, and Lattimore was charged with perjury for his testimony.

William Stone had to resign his position with the State Dept in 1952 after having been exposed by McCarthy too. Stone was notorious for alerting Harry Dexter White's Soviet controller, Nathan Gregory Silvermaster, to his having been found out, during the war! Others McCarthy had a hand in exposing were Oliver Clubb, Edward Posniak, and Haldore Hanson.

"7. That McCarthy didn't really victimize anybody. See Oshinsky's biography of McCarthy. It seems fairly even-handed; Oshinsky debunks several malicious stories about McCarthy's childhood, for example."

How about you being more specific?

"One claim that you make, not Coulter: that Marshall weakened the US by rapid demobilization following the war. There was immense pressure to demobilize; a democracy can make tremendous sacrifices during wartime, but once peace comes, people want to return home and get back to their lives. The Soviet Union, being a totalitarian state, had no such pressures, and could continue to maintain a huge army. And the Soviet Union had twice as much manpower as the US to begin with."

Funny, when the Marshall idolators are pressed for specifics of his greatness they often cite his political skills. He supposedly helped keep the country's eye on the ball during the war. How did he lose this skill so suddenly?

" You also seem to think that Truman wasn't anti-Communist until after the November 1946 elections. This isn't correct."

You're right, it isn't, and I didn't say it.

" ....In February 1946 George Kennan had sent his famous 'long telegram' from Moscow warning that harmonious relations with the Soviets were not going to be possible."

And in March of 1946, Truman ostentatiously rebuffed Churchill's Iron Curtain speech, and extended an invitation to Stalin to rebut it at the University of Missouri. As Coulter has accurately pointed out in her book.

" In September Truman fired Henry Wallace, his secretary of commerce, for making a pro-Soviet foreign policy speech." The Truman administration's anti-Communist policies continued: In 1947..."

You mean after the disastrous election of 1946.

"…a federal grand jury heard testimony on the underground operations of the American Communist Party, which resulted in indictments in July 1948 against the top leadership of the Party under the Smith Act. These same sessions inspired the congressional hearings that led to Hiss's indictment five months later…."

About which Truman boiled. Called it a Red Herring, and poor Whittaker Chambers was almost indicted for perjury for exposing Hiss, by the Truman Justice Dept.

" shortly after Truman used the Communist issue to destroy Wallace's third-party bid in the presidential election of 1948. In the summer of 1949, weeks after the first Hiss trial ended in a hung jury, Dean Acheson, newly installed as secretary of state..."

Who testified as a character witness for Hiss, and defended him even after his conviction.

"...had gone before Congress to plead for an enlarged budget, citing--among other factors--the peril posed in Europe by the 'internal Communist threat.' So intently did Truman try to combat communism that a later generation would accuse him of creating a 'national-security' state and of sowing the seeds of McCarthyism."

Better late than never.

I'm not going to comment on the trivialities about incidental facts, that are properly the responsibility of the publisher's fact checkers. None of them bear on Coulter's thesis; that liberals don't want to root for America. About which, she is vindicated THIS WEEK, by many Democrats' horror at the successes of our troops in Iraq.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 26, 2003 04:00 PM

First of all, here's a panel discussion with Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes (authors of "VENONA: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America"), Phil Brennan, and Susan Estrich:
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=9080

Regarding point 1 (whether McCarthy accused Marshall of being a traitor or not), Haynes has this to say: "In the light of history both Acheson and Marshall in their role as leading policy makers in diplomacy and national security made mistakes and exercised poor judgment as well as achieving striking successes. Whatever one's judgment on the balance between their successes and failures, however, it is utter balderdash, indeed a vile and reprehensible smear to implicate them, as McCarthy did, in a Communist conspiracy and betrayal of the nation. It will also not do to insist that if one carefully parses with a defense lawyer's eye the words McCarthy used and resolving grammatical ambiguities in a certain way, then he did not exactly say they were traitors. Such lawyerly hairsplitting is an evasion. No one at the time had any difficulty understanding that McCarthy was accusing both Acheson and Marshall, and the Truman administration in general, of conscious and knowing assistance to Communist subversion and Soviet aggression."

Regarding point 2 (about Marshall and the ERP): you say "Clifford credits Acheson for the actual plan, not Marshall." Where does he do this? So far you've only provided the following quote: "'I've decided to give the whole thing to General Marshall,' [Truman] said. 'The worst Republican on the Hill can vote for it if we name it after the General.'" But how does this equate to Clifford's saying that Acheson should get the credit for the plan, not Marshall?

Here's what George Kennan has to say in his memoirs (volume 1, pp. 343-344). Note that Kennan played a major role in the planning of the ERP, and he discusses it in much more detail than Clifford does.

"Historically viewed, the authorship of the Marshall Plan lies, of course, squarely with General Marshall and President Truman. It lies with General Marshall for his service in seeking what he considered the best advice he could get, in enlisting that advice in the manner most calculated to assure its orderly preparation and presentation, in exposing it to the most qualified criticism he could find, and then in accepting before President, Congress, American public opinion, and the world at large responsibility for what was a bold and far-reaching act of statesmanship, by no means without great risks. As a man who never shirked responsibility for his mistakes, regardless of whose recommendation they flowed from, he deserves unstinted credit for his successes. But President Truman deserves that credit, too, for his perception and political courage in selecting as Secretary of State one of the most experienced, most selfless, and most honorable of America's professional public servants, in giving to that man his confidence and a wide latitude of action, and then supporting him in an individual initiative which, had it misfired, could have brought embarrassment and misfortune to the administration."

You asked whether PPS/1 was candid. Yes, totally. It was a secret document. (Note that its title refers only to aid to Western Europe. Clifford notes that Kennan had predicted the Soviet Union would reject ERP aid for Eastern Europe, as indeed it did.) Once again, as discussed in PPS/1, Marshall offered aid to Eastern Europe in his speech for political reasons--to make the Soviet Union look bad if it rejected ERP aid, or to pry away Soviet control over Eastern Europe if it accepted ERP aid. The purpose of the ERP, from the beginning, was to contain Soviet influence in Europe--by strengthening the will of the Western Europeans, completely exhausted by the war, to resist the power of the Soviet Union--which is what it did. You can read a detailed narrative in Kennan's memoirs, volume 1, chapter 14.

Time for bed. More later.

Posted by: Russil Wvong on July 30, 2003 11:41 PM

Sorry for not responding earlier, Patrick--I posted a partial response a couple weeks ago, but it never showed up on the server. I'll save my response before posting it this time.

[That's odd: the partial response I was referring to just showed up on the server!]

If you haven't been convinced that Coulter is an untrustworthy source of historical information by the evidence that I've presented so far, I doubt I'll be able to convince you. But I think it's worth presenting the evidence for other people to judge.

You said: "I have said nothing about Halle's book, nor have I rudely slandered him."

Well, I wouldn't use the word "slander", but you're expressing, let's say, an extremely critical view of Marshall's performance as Secretary of State. I'd suggest that getting information from sources besides Coulter and McCarthy--Halle's "The Cold War as History", for example, or perhaps Pogue's biography of Marshall--would be a reasonable thing to do.

1. Not sure why you think I've "rudely slandered" Coulter. By saying that she has little regard for the truth? You quoted Coulter: "Contrary to popular mythology, McCarthy never called Marshall a 'traitor', 'Communist', or a 'coward'." I don't see how a reasonable person can read McCarthy's speech and deny that he was accusing Marshall of being a traitor.
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1951mccarthy-marshall.html

As John Earl Haynes, coauthor of "Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America", says: "... it is utter balderdash, indeed a vile and reprehensible smear to implicate [Acheson and Marshall], as McCarthy did, in a Communist conspiracy and betrayal of the nation. It will also not do to insist that if one carefully parses with a defense lawyer's eye the words McCarthy used and resolving grammatical ambiguities in a certain way, then he did not exactly say they were traitors. Such lawyerly hairsplitting is an evasion. No on at the time had any difficulty understanding that McCarthy was accusing both Acheson and Marshall, and the Truman administration in general, of conscious and knowing assistance to Communist subversion and Soviet aggression."
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=9080

2. You argue that Marshall's offer of ERP aid to Eastern Europe as well as Western Europe supports Coulter's assertion that Marshall regarded ERP as an international welfare plan (!) rather than a means to contain Soviet expansion into Western Europe.

PPS/1 explains the rationale behind the ERP. And no, it was _not_ an international welfare plan: it was indeed intended to contain Soviet expansion into Western Europe, by restoring the economic health of Western Europe, thus preventing communist exploitation of European exhaustion and chaos.
http://www.geocities.com/rwvong/future/kennan/pps1.html

PPS/1: "The Policy Planning Staff does not see communist activities as the root of the difficulties of western Europe. It believes that the present crisis results in large part from the disruptive effect of the war on the economic, political, and social structure of Europe and from a profound exhaustion of physical plant and of spiritual vigor. This situation has been aggravated and rendered far more difficult of remedy by the division of the continent into east and west. The Planning Staff recognizes that the communists are exploiting the European crisis and that further communist successes would create serious danger to American security. It considers, however, that American effort in aid to Europe should be directed not to the combatting of communism as such but to the restoration of the economic health and vigor of European society. It should aim, in other words, to combat not communism, but the economic maladjustment which makes European society vulnerable to exploitation by any and all totalitarian movements and which Russian communism is now exploiting. The Planning Staff believes that American plans should be drawn to this purpose and that this should be frankly stated to the American public."

Yes, PPS/1 was candid. It was a secret document. Marshall established the Policy Planning Staff to get the planning of the ERP underway immediately--the situation was critical; without aid Britain and Western Europe were in danger of collapse; they would be easy prey for the Communists. Kennan and his staff had only two weeks to put together PPS/1.

PPS/1 also explains the rationale behind Marshall's offer of ERP aid to Eastern Europe as well as Western Europe: either the Soviet Union would reject it (which indeed it did), putting the blame for dividing Europe on the Soviet Union; or it would have to give up control over the Eastern European economies. Kennan discusses this in his memoirs (volume 1, p.342).

Kennan: "This, then, was the Planning Staff's recommendation to General Marshall. Copies went, I believe, to Mr. Acheson, to Will Clayton, to Ben (Benjamin V.) Cohen as counselor of the department, and to Chip Bohlen, then serving as special assistant to the Secretary. The following morning [May 24, 1947], General Marshall had a meeting in his office, at which all of these latter gentlemen, in addition to a number of other senior officials of the department, were present. Here, the general went around the circle, asking for comments on the paper.

"Several of the comments were critical. Doubt was expressed, in particular, that the Europeans would themselves be able to draw up an effective program. The extension of the offer to Europe as a whole was questioned: what, it was asked, would we do if the Russians accepted?

"When all the others had spoken, I was asked to answer the criticisms. This I did, along the lines already indicated. I thought the Europeans could get together on a satisfactory program; if they couldn't, there was nothing we could do for them anyway. As for the Russians: we would simply play it straight. If they responded favorably, we would test their good faith by insisting that they contribute constructively to the program as well as profiting by it. If they were unwilling to do this, we would simply let them exclude themselves. But we would not ourselves draw a line of division through Europe."

2a. Marshall's accomplishments.

Regarding the question of credit for the ERP, Kennan gives the primary credit to Marshall and Truman. From his memoirs, pp. 343-344:

"Historically viewed, the authorship of the Marshall Plan lies, of course, squarely with General Marshall and President Truman. It lies with General Marshall for his service in seeking what he considered the best advice he could get, in enlisting that advice in the manner most calculated to assure its orderly preparation and presentation, in exposing it to the most qualified criticism he could find, and then in accepting before President, Congress, American public opinion, and the world at large responsibility for what was a bold and far-reaching act of statesmanship, by no means without great risks. As a man who never shirked responsibility for his mistakes regardless of whose recommendation they flowed from, he deserves unstinted credit for his successes. But President Truman deserves that credit, too, for his perception and political courage in selecting as Secretary of State one of the most experienced, most selfless, and most honorable of America's professional public servants, in giving to that man his confidence and a wide latitude of action, and then supporting him in an individual initiative which, had it misfired, could have brought embarrassment and misfortune to the administration."

Regarding Churchill's tribute to Marshall, you said:

"Of course it's not 'substantive', it's a eulogy delivered at the end of the man's life. A time for praise for a comrade."

That seems like a rather weak motive for Churchill to be insincere in his praise of Marshall. If I may say so, you seem extremely skeptical of any evidence that contradicts your view of Marshall.

"'Boys, war is no game for amateurs. Now pay attention....'"

I have to say that IMHO, your interpretation bears no resemblance to the text which you quoted.

You think Marshall was a military amateur?! The Smithsonian article which I linked to earlier discusses Marshall's military career.
http://www.lcsys.net/fayette/history/plan22.htm

3. Regarding your statement that Truman was "infuriated" by Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech: "Not really true that Truman 'approved it'."

Chace: "Truman, who read the speech on board the train from Washington, told Churchill, 'It would do nothing but good.'" I think any reasonable person would say that this constitutes approval.

"But why did he deny having read it after the controversy broke?"

Your assertion was that he was _infuriated_ by it. He wasn't. You haven't presented any evidence that he was.

4. I'd said: "At Yalta, the Soviet army was already _in_ Poland."

You didn't respond to what I'm saying. Since the Soviet army was already in Poland, and the US and UK were not, Roosevelt and Churchill were in an extremely weak bargaining position. (As had been demonstrated during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, in which the Red Army watched as the Nazis destroyed Warsaw, while the US and UK futilely protested.)

"Coulter, and many others, are absolutely correct in this. Poland was handed over to Stalin."

No, Stalin already _had_ Poland. Stalin only responded to military force. And the US and the UK had no military forces in Poland.

Louis Halle, "The Cold War as History", pp. 63-64:

"... When the Red Army reached the gates of Warsaw [August 1944] the Warsaw Underground, in response to a call to do so broadcast over Radio Moscow, rose up against the occupying Nazis, moved by a natural desire to make the liberation of the capital a Polish accomplishment in the greatest degree possible. What they had not expected, however, was that the Red Army would choose this moment, when it stood within sight of the city, to halt its advance and encamp.

"Moscow maintained that there were sound military reasons for this halt, as there may well have been; but it is clear that there were also political reasons. By not moving to rescue the Warsaw Poles, who had risen only in the expectation of imminent rescue, the Russian leaders could be assured that the Nazis would have the time and means necessary to do a thorough job of annihilating an Underground that, once rescued, was prepared to turn on its rescuers.

"The consternation, at this point, not only of the London Poles, but of the British and American Governments as well, was complete. Churchill and Roosevelt pleaded with Stalin, if he would not come to the rescue himself, at least to facilitate the dropping of supplies into Warsaw from airplanes based in Italy by allowing damaged aircraft with wounded aboard to land behind the Russian lines. Stalin was candid in the reason he gave for his refusal. He had, he said, come to the conclusion that the Warsaw Uprising had been inspired by persons antagonistic to the Soviet Union.

"In their two months and one day the Nazis were granted the time to destroy Warsaw, razing its buildings and slaughtering its population. That done, they marched out to the west while the Red Army, assured that all effective opposition had been quelled, marched in from the east. What the Red Army found when it entered Warsaw was 'little but shattered streets and the unburied dead.'"

Halle on Yalta (p. 65-66):

"At the Yalta Conference in February 1945, and afterwards, both Churchill and Roosevelt fought, as they were morally obliged to do, for the re-establishment of Poland under an independent and legitimate regime. However, although they could propose it was only Stalin who had the power to dispose. A formula was agreed upon under which the Polish people were nominally given the right to self-determination by free elections. Moscow interpreted this formula to suit itself and, from now on, ruthlessly imposed its own solution without regard to Western protests."

5. I'd said that Coulter is wrong to believe that Chiang Kai-Shek could have won the Chinese civil war, if only he'd had more US aid.

Your response: "Of course, this is exactly McCarthy's complaint."

Chiang Kai-Shek's regime was corrupt, demoralized, and ineffective. Douglas Macdonald is no friend of the China Hands, so I think he's reasonably objective:
http://tinyurl.com/k57o

Macdonald discusses three cases of US intervention for reform--in China, in the Philippines, and in Vietnam--in his book "Adventures in Chaos." Here's his description of the weakness of Chiang's regime (pp. 78-79):

"American interest in a reformist intervention in China began during World War II. Chiang Kai-Shek's rule was based on balancing a variety of antagonistic coalitions in his party and among his generals. The majority of his forces consisted of relatively autonomous provincial armies, some led by potential rivals of Chiang, that had only a loose allegiance to him. He attempted to control these forces by manipulating supplies from the capital to the provinces, but this was never sufifcient to gain their loyalty. As World War II dragged on, he withheld resources from the provincial armies and tried to get them to do the bulk of the fighting, saving his loyal troops to protect his political dominance.

"This situation led to a military performance by the Kuomintang that was characterized by lack of cooperation, cohesion, and unity of command. Indeed, much of Chiang's time during the war was spent trying to get his generals to obey his orders. In addition, the conditions for the enlisted men, primarily impressed from the peasantry, were so appalling that desertion rates have been estimated at approximately fifty percent. Given his military weakness, Chiang avoided sustained offensives after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, assured of Japan's eventual defeat with American entry into the war; instead he husbanded his resources to protect his postwar political position. The provincial armies also wanted to protect their postwar position and showed an extreme reluctance to fight for the regime. In view of this lack of military cohesiveness during the war, the 'inexplicable surrenders' of the Kuomintang during the Civil War that French General Lionel Chassin noted are not that difficult to explain. To treat the armies the Chinese Nationalists had on paper as effective military forces was to treat euphemism as fact. In contrast, the armies of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), though poorly armed and supplied, grew in strength and expertise during the war.

"In the economic sphere, the Kuomintang resorted to deficit spending and high-interest, short-term loans to finance the war. This exacerbated inflationary pressures that were to reach startling proportions in the postwar period, leading to endemic corruption at all levels of society. Food, medicine, and other materials meant for the troops were stolen and sold by corrupt officials; bribes became necessary for even the most fundamental activities of government; the moral fiber of Chinese society was ripped apart. Though the Kuomintang attempted to bring this corruption under control, it invariably failed. An effective crackdown on corrupt officials would have undermined the narrow base of support of the regime, threatening Chiang's domestic power position. He therefore increasingly looked to increases in American aid as a way out of his dilemma.

"In the summer of 1944, in the face of a possible Kuomintang collapse due to the successful Ichigo ('At Once') offensive by Japan, President Roosevelt sent Vice-President Henry Wallace to promote internal reform and unification with the CCP. He followed this failed attempt with the Hurley Mission, sending General Patrick Hurley to negotiate unification, and backed Hurley's, and Chiang's, subsequent recommendation to remove General Joseph Stilwell and Ambassador Clarence Gauss, two men who had lost faith in Chiang's ability to provide leadership.

"Hurley replaced Gauss as ambassador, and General Albert Wedemeyer replaced Stilwell, in an attempt at a more persuasive approach toward the Kuomintang. They were to discover, however, that the more they backed Chiang, the less they could get him to do. Though personal relations 'improved' with the Kuomintang, no fundamental changes were brought about. It should be noted that almost everyone, including such later critics as Hurley, Wedemeyer, and General Claire Chennault, believed that the only possible options at that point were some kind of accommodation with the CCP and internal reforms by the Kuomintang to save Chiang's increasingly precarious hold on power. Negotiations over unification were still being carried out as the war came to a close."

6. I wrote that the only known communists in important federal positions (Currie, Hiss, White) left the government _before_ McCarthy's anti-communist crusade.

You wrote: "I guess this depends on your definition of 'important federal positions'."

Of course. But Haynes makes the same judgment:

"Let's get the dates straight. Joseph McCarthy did not emerge as an anticommunist spokesman until 1950. By that time the back of the domestic Communist movement already had been broken and anticommunism dominated both major parties. President Truman in 1948 set up a massive loyalty program to remove Communists from federal employment. Truman's Justice Department convicted the leadership of the CPUSA under the Smith Act, convicted Alger Hiss, and in 1950 arrested and later convicted the Rosenbergs, David Greenglass, Harry Gold, and Morton Sobell for espionage.

"Most importantly, Truman, Cold War Democrats and anticommunist liberals in 1948 smashed the bold attempt of the Communists and Popular Front liberals to carve out a major role in mainstream politics through Henry Wallace's presidential campaign and the Progressive Party. The expulsion of Communist-led unions from the CIO completed the destruction of the institutional base of Communist influence in 1949. Abroad, Truman enunciated the Truman Doctrine of aid to nations facing Soviet aggression, committed America to war in Korea to stop Communist aggression, and launched the Marshall Plan that restored European prosperity and contained the internal Communist threat there.

"McCarthy's anticommunism was a partisan bludgeon used for short-term partisan gain. His target was not an already crippled American Communist movement but Truman and the Democratic party."
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=9080

7. Regarding victims of McCarthy, you write: "How about you being more specific?"

Sure. I'll get Oshinsky's book out from the library again.

Kennan defends John Paton Davies Jr. at great length (Davies was working for Kennan on the Policy Planning Staff) in his second volume of memoirs.

Posted by: Russil Wvong on August 15, 2003 11:59 AM
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