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Friday, December 1, 2017


by Hugh Murray
“On Friday's broadcast of HBO'S 'Real Time,' host Bill Maher declared:
“While discussing the allegations against Alabama Republican Senate nominee Judge Roy Moore during his opening monologue, Maher said, 'I've got to defend my tribe here a little bit, liberals vs. conservatives. Because certainly, sexual harassment is absolutely the one thing we see now is totally, truly bipartisan, maybe the last thing that is. But no liberal defended Harvey Weinstein or Kevin Spacey, who might be going to jail. Anthony Weiner is in jail. Louis CK, we hear, this week, did horrific things. Compare that to Trump and Roy Moore. We arrest our alleged rapists. They elect them.”(This item is by Ian Hanchett, posted on Breitbart 10 Nov. 2017)

Weiner did something illegal and was convicted in court. That is why he is in jail. What did Trump do? Or even Judge Moore? What has been proved? Indeed, what did Bill Maher write when Bill Clinton was president?

In his 1996 book Does Anybody Have a Problem with That?, Maher titles a short chapter “[Bill] Clinton Should Sleep Around.”:
“So far, Bill Clinton has been a big disappointment to me,...You see, …,I was sure we were finally getting a good old-fashioned, screwing around Kennedy Democrat in the White House – and wouldn't that be better? It would be in the eyes of all men out there, if they're honest with themselves.
“Because, to us men, the president isn't just the president, he's the tribal chieftain. He's the warrior with the greatest prowess, the longest spear, and as our chieftain, we look up to him to live beyond the strictures of normal man, as chieftains do. 'Bathe her and bring her to my tent' – that's what power is all about. All the men in America didn't agree with John F. Kennedy's politics, but they all respected him as a cocksman...
“...And please don't think it's infidelity itself that we admire, but the man is the president,...,and if he can't get some decent tail, what hope is there for the rest of us?(p.21)
“...Not to mention that many foreign leaders simply won't respect a president who isn't getting something on the side. We look at the world through American eyes, but in Latin America, to say nothing of Italy, if your president doesn't have a scandal, it's a scandal.”(22)

That was Bill Maher in a monologue that first aired 8 August 1993, in the first months of Bill Clinton's residency. Of course, Bill did sleep around, and more famously, stood in the Oval Office while intern Monica Lewinsky serviced him. True, Bill in his testimony swore he did not have sexual relations with that woman; and that lie was sufficient to get Clinton impeached, but insufficient to get him convicted and ousted from the White House.

In 2017, Maher seems to be reversing his earlier view. Today, we are in the midst of a wave to expose sexual predators. Each day's news contains new names of gropers, nudists showing all before before an unappreciative audience of one, masterbaters performing before shocked and disgusted guests, deep throat kissers, propositioners all aimed at ensnaring an attractive young lady (or in a few cases, a lad). Each day prominent names are besmirched with tantalizing accusations, men of power are apologizing, yet still being fired. Familiar names from Hollywood, TV, films, and now a Democratic Senator, and a Democratic Congressman, smeared with dirt. So, despite Maher's assertion of early November 2017, Democrats do elect alleged sexual predators. But in 1993 that is precisely why Maher was praising the Democrats – he wanted another John Kennedy, another cocksman in the White House. And how many times was Ted Kennedy, the “Lion of the Senate,” re-elected? Ted not only had a reputation as a player, he was also known as a poor swimmer. Only the meanest fanatics would criticize him for choosing his political career over collateral damage left in a sunken automobile.

In the early 1960s at university I wrote my MA thesis on the Scottsboro rape case, which began in Alabama in 1931. After the first trials, 8 young Blacks were sentenced to death, and the 14-year-old, to life imprisonment based on the testimony of 2 young white women. The cases went up and down to the US Supreme Court twice, and there was huge international interest and protest about the case, as the main defense team was led by the Communist front International Labor Defense. (Interestingly, the 2 leaders of the Scottsboro Defence Committee in the UK in the late 1930s were American Paul Robeson and Johnstone Kenyatta. Johnstone later became better known as Jomo, the leader of the Mau Mau uprising in his native Kenya. His son, Uhuru, was just reelected Kenyan President.) There were years of litigation about Scottsboro, and finally an illogical compromise. None of the 9 were executed, and some got out sooner than others. When one reads about the case, it seems clear that the women initially lied about the rape. At the 2nd trial, one of the women repudiated her earlier claims and testified there was no rape. To me, and to most who study the case, it appears that the women lied about the rape. Women do make up stories.

During the Senate hearings to confirm Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, National Public Radio reporter Nina Totenberg assured her radio audience, women do not make up stories. In effect, Anita Hill must be telling the truth. I thought, what BS! Thomas called the hearings a “legal lynching,” the identical phrase used by the Left of the 1930s to condemn the Alabama legal proceedings. If Hill had been so harassed, why had she followed Thomas to another job? Despite the feminist assault on the character of Thomas, he was confirmed and is still a Justice on the US Supreme Court.

The feminists did not give up. They continued their assault on the American judicial system, and many states enacted rape-shield laws. They vary from state to state, and they do not shield from rape. After an alleged rape, and the accused is found, his name can be publicized, but the woman's name is not disclosed to the public. The feminists contend that just exposing her name would expose her to ridicule and further humiliation. The alleged rapist should be humiliated by the media. But what if he is innocent? What if she has made false claims against him and others in the past? Is there any proof to support her claim. And to make the charges of rape after 40 years, as the woman has done in the case against Judge Moore in Alabama, how does she prove he did it? And after 40 years, how does Moore prove himself innocent? In cases where the rape-shield laws prevent publication of the woman's name, publicizing the man's name may encourage many women to come forth with similar charges against him, especially if he has money and they may get some. If her name were also in the media, one might learn more about her possibly unsavory, or criminal past that places her charges in a different perspective. I am a staunch opponent of feminist inspired rape-shield laws. And as bad as they are on the state level, they are far worse on many university campuses. There, the man may have no right to confront his accuser. Essential rights of the defendant have disappeared under feminist pressure, so the scales of justice on campus may be tilted overwhelmingly against the accused male.

Let me state clearly, rape is a crime and should be punished. But in the Alabama Senate race, the allegations against Republican Judge Moore are often flimsy to begin with – he was in his 30s dating teen-age girls. But some say the girls were 18 or 19 at the time. Is that a crime? Many men marry women a decade or two younger than they. Some men wait till they have accumulated more capital before marrying, and that can take time. Different is the allegation of the woman who speaks of an incident when she was 14. But why was she silent for 40 years? If in the year 2033 Monica Lewinsky were to first claim that she and Bill Clinton had it on in the Oval Office, many would rightly be skeptical. Moore is innocent until proved guilty. What is the proof by the woman? The burden of proof is and should be on her.

As much as I disagree with Judge Moore on gay rights and the 10 Commandments on public property, I view the Washington Post “expose” as a Democratic ploy to smear Moore. Worse, these Alabama political inspired accusations have sparked a witch hunt. Soon, if a TV emcee hugs a contestant who just won a prize, that may become grounds for a lawsuit and a firing. A man placing his arm round the shoulder of a woman to protect her from the cold, might come to mean sexual harassment or even pre-rape. To ask a woman out on a date; she declines. Perseverance, men were once taught. He asks again. Now, that might constitute harassment or even stalking. Have the man registered as a sex offender for asking for a date! We are entering a period of the witch hunt, often led by women who dislike men.

Angela Lansbury got flack by stating that some of the blame belonged on the women who dressed inappropriately. I think the issue is more complex. I think that both men and women should go after what they want. And both have the right to reject what the do not want.
Going back to Hollywood and Weinstein. I suspect that many a starlet who first enters a film studio wants to ask, “Where is the casting couch?” And male actors too. They are young, beautiful, and want to get in the films while they look good, and the couch may be the fastest track to stardom. Is this only Hollywood and the rich? No way. This is universal. I just read a book that includes an incident from Mao's Cultural Revolution. A naive young city gal is forced to move to the countryside and live among the peasants; she learns that one way to get lighter work-loads and a trip to the city is to “befriend” a party leader. She did not, she was not raped, but she received no privileges. I suspect this is a common feature throughout history and throughout the world.

But how can the woman show whom she is interested in? Here Lansbury's remark about clothing is important. For the woman in the West, how much do you reveal? And to whom. In public, it is hard to cover, open, cover, to each person. But charm can be used to entice the ones you want, a look of disgust to dissuade others.

Men in the West often used touch, sometimes protectively, for many women, and a little more caressingly for the special ones. Is this now to be a crime of harassment? To ask for a date – harassment? A 2nd time, stalking? To look too closely at the breast, pervert? A word about how good she looks, harassment, sexist, etc.

We must stop the march of the feminists and their attempts to build walls between men and women. America is now engaged in a witch hunt, a hunt led by the witches.

Sunday, November 26, 2017


(Berkeley, CA: Soft Skull Press, 2016)
Rev. by Hugh Murray

Many universities have a junior-year-abroad or similar programs on the premise that living and studying in a foreign country will broaden the knowledge of the students who partake. Scott Savitt left Duke U. in North Carolina for a year of study at Beijing Teachers U. in China's capital in 1983-4?. His long-time girl friend had just died and he needed a change, and newly opened China certainly filled the bill. Scott brought his guitar, and his music provided entree to meeting many Chinese students, hungry for contact with Westerners. With help from his new Asian friends, Scott learned Mandarin, no mean feat. When he suggested taking one Chinese friend, John, off campus to a restaurant, he was shocked to discover there were no private restaurants at that time in Beijing. Beginning with some of Mao's reforms, there were ration cards and assigned places where each individual could eat; they were assigned to eat in the campus cafeteria. That was basically it.
To get around the restrictions, John invited Scott to his home for a meal, where the American met John's mother and older sister. During the Cultural Revolution John's father, a professor of literature, was soon among those categorized by Chairman Mao as one of the “stinking intellectuals.” Mao hoped to rid the New China of such decadent and Western influences, and the Red Guards were called upon to enforce Mao's judgment. They apprehended the professor, placed a dunce cap on his head, paraded him in the streets so all could mock the intellectual. While being interrogated, John's father “died.” John's sister, another suspect from such a tainted family, was also taken into custody by the Red Guards. She was questioned, but then “fell” from a 3rd floor window. She survived, but suffered brain damage and was no longer capable of speaking. (One wonders how John, coming from such a disreputable family, was ever admitted into BTU?)
At the end of the school year (1984?, why does the author refuse to reveal dates?), Scott returned for his senior year at Duke. He graduated but chose not to follow his father's wish to continue on to law school and then join the elder Savitt's firm. Instead, Scott took a job teaching English at BTU. Scott would earn $200 a week for teaching 5 hours in class, mainly to Chinese teachers of English. He was probably younger than most of his students. This left him with considerable free time and much more money than most of his colleagues or older students. Through one of his colleagues, he met another who had written underground poetry and essays stressing a free spirit. Like the underground samizdats of the old Soviet Union, literature not approved by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was circulated secretly among interested groups.
Lisa told Scott her story – during the Cultural Revolution she and her parents were sent to the countryside. Though she was at first enthusiastic, she realized that the local peasants were so poor that they resented the newcomers, who would have to be fed from their meager supplies. She was a teacher and taught the children and others who were illiterate. The school drop-out rate was high, as few could see a reason to learn the thousands of Chinese characters. What good would it do to know that? Lisa was literate, but she was also assigned to hard labor. Like elsewhere in the world, she learned that a young woman might gain easier assignments and be allowed trips to the city if she had a relationship with CCP officials. Lisa refused, and received no privileges. She told her story to Scott, who took proper notes.
One day after class, Scott returned to find his room ransacked and his notes missing. He learned quickly that Lisa, a colleague, had suddenly been assigned to teach outside of Beijing at a military university. In winter, bundles up, no one could tell he was Western, so he traveled to the military university, and got into her room when her roommates were elsewhere. She had tried to build a sheet-tent inside the room for privacy, and now, under that 'tent,' Lisa and Scott had sex. He quickly left and returned to Beijing. Lisa was stuck in the hostile, military environment. Perhaps, some of her roommates were too politically reliable, too involved with the CCP. Perhaps, they had overheard the liaison under the tent. Later, Scott heard that Lisa had been denounced as a traitor and had hanged herself.
Meanwhile restaurants were opening and hotels, with foreigners, were hiring young musicians to play Western music – a source of income for those seeking meaning and money beyond Party discipline. During some student protests in the next few years, Scott heard of one at the U. of Science and Technology in Anhui Province. Scott now had an extra job reporting for Asiaweek, and went to the UST to interview a famous dissident, Prof. Feng Lizhi. Feng was a native of Beijing, and had joined the CCP in the 1940s. In the 1950s, Chairman Mao called for people to openly criticize things, to let a Hundred Flowers Bloom. Feng said he and his wife wrote something mildly critical, and that was the greatest mistake of their lives. Mao reacted by cutting 99 of the flowers and smashing them so only the true CCP flower would flourish. Because of their letter, Feng and his wife did 20 years in labor camps. As a scientist, he was eventually rehabilitated and allowed again to teach at university (but not in Beijing). However, Feng continued to press for 'liberal' reforms, one of which would be as abhorrent to most American university administrators today as it was to CCP university administrators in the 1980s. Feng proposed free speech zones on campus where presumably more conservative voices might be heard and debated. More ironic, the ideological descendants of Mao's Red Guards shut down free speech, even denounce the very idea of free speech, in many American universities today, with the support of the “progressive” university administrators.
Scott interviewed Feng, and with publication of the article, the professor became better known both inside and out of China as a dissident. Scott continued his contacts with reformers and dissenters, as he followed protests that sporadically erupted during his stay in the 1980s. The culmination of this was the massive protest in Tienanmen Square in Beijing during the spring and summer of 1989. Scott, now working for United Press International (UPI, then the major competitor to AP), rode his red motor scooter from the UPI headquarters in the Embassy District to Tienanmen Square, back and forth, making contacts with protestors whom he knew, writing stories, and in the office getting them sent round the world.
Scott Savitt's story is fascinating. But he seems to be lost in the forest, observing only the nearby trees. Bluntly, had the regime not cracked down, would the Peoples Republic of China have survived? Shortly after the Chinese protests, in the fall of 1989 demonstrations erupted in Leipzig against the government of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). The Communist German government chose not to suppress these demonstrations. Consequently, the Wall fell, and the GDR crumbled out of existence. Had there been no crackdown against the protestors in Tienanmen, would China have continued to exist as a single generally, unified nation state?
Furthermore, during the Tienanmen protests, there were reports of violence directed against African students in China. How widespread was this? How democratic was the “democracy” movement? What else might have been unleashed if the central government had collapsed? Scott ignores all such speculations. His picture of his personal activities is terrific, and heroic, but also limited to one person's experience. His red scooter could not stop any tanks, and they could easily have shot him dead had they decided to. He had chosen to get those stories to the UPI office and to the world, riding through great danger.
Scott lucked out in 1989. He was not apprehended for any activities concerning the protests or his publications about them. At the end of the 1990s, he pushed further to establish the first independent English-language newspaper in the Chinese capital, Beijing Scene. This required much work and dedication, both from himself and his crew. Despite bureaucratic difficulties, the project grew, and advertising revenue increased. In time, he enticed a newly arrived ABC (American born Chinese), a graduate of Columbia U. School of Journalism, away from a job as editor of a Chinese paper to his. He was delighted with her ability and with her. They became an item. Sharline produced her first cover of Beijing Scene on January 2000.
Beijing Scene was a success, even after the pay-offs which grew parallel with it. Scott had lived in Beijing enough years to know that to get such a newspaper off the ground, he would have to grease many hands, and by 2000, some grease reached $50,000. But, perhaps it was simply running a page-1 photo of workers resting while remodeling, smoking cigarettes, after removing a large picture of Chairman Mao at the entrance to the Forbidden City. Was the newspaper implying that the party of Mao should be replaced? Or, perhaps Scott had simply failed to bribe another important official. Who knows? Without notice, the offices of BS were raided, and all the expensive equipment – computers, color copying machines, everything, was carted off. Before they could cart Scott off, he jumped out of a low level window and escaped the area. But not long after, while driving with his pet dog, Scott was caught, interrogated, and incarcerated in a small, windowless cell. Finally, after a month of feeding mosquitoes, he was handcuffed, escorted to the airport, placed on the plane (only then were the cuffs removed), and he could see Sharline on board. He returned to the US after 17 and a half years in China.
In addition to the discomfort in the prison cell, the open hostility of the Chinese interrogator, and the fear that his incarceration might last much longer, there was the intimidation. When first questioned, the policeman demanded names of those involved with Beijing Scene. Scott refused. The cop ordered that Scott's dog be brought in – the pet had been in Scott's car when he was stopped by authorities. When Scott again refused to name others, the policeman ordered a subordinate to take the dog away. Soon Scott heard the high-pitched, piercing cry of the animal as its neck was twisted till death. Scott revealed what I had not heard before: “During one of Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution anti-pest campaigns, dogs were targeted...and ordered killed on sight. Posses of men with clubs roamed city streets, seizing and beating to death in front of their horrified, traumatized owners...Bounties were paid for dead dogs delivered to government headquarters.”(246)
When Scott left that country, he concluded that “all of China is a big penal colony.”(266) It is not surprising that while Scott lay on the prison floor, he had nightmares. What is surprising is the form the nightmare took – he dreamt of his days in New Haven, visiting Yale campus, and then awaiting a bus following a late music or tennis lesson. But surrounding Yale and many ivy league universities lies Black ghettos. A white teen awaiting a bus in a Black area; a symbol of vulnerability, danger, anticipating possible humiliation, theft, violence, even death. Scott pretends he knows the trick, “show no fear,”(267) and nothing will happen to him. But to Black racist thugs, that “trick” does not dissuade, nor does it help countless white victims of Black crime in every big, Democratic dominated city in the US. Yet, Scott himself wakens from his dream “unnerved by the bizarre parallel between my dream and reality.”(267) Was it so bizarre? Or was it unnerving only because liberals, and the politically correct should never compare violent totalitarianism to the far more visible violence (especially when it comes to vulnerable whites) in Black ghettos? The problem of Black racism and crime is so taboo in the US that liberals can only confront it in their nightmares.
Scott's book is enhanced by photographs, but lacks an index, and aside from the Tienanmen protest era, he utterly neglects to give dates. This is a loss. When he notes the enormous change in a year or so, many more autos, private restaurants, chances for musicians to get paid for gigs in hotels, he does not state when that year was. (I calculate it was 1984-85, but I am using guess work.) He describes a trip to a mountain where a young boy stares at him, and the father explains, the lad has never seen a foreigner. Friends of mine taught at Nankai U. in Tianjin in 1989-90, and traveled to the countryside on occasion. Some adult country folk approached them wanting to feel the wife's hair, and others, the husband's hair on his arms. Whites were quite rare is many areas of China. Scott observed that no one celebrated Christmas in 1986-87. When I taught in China, 2006-2008, Christmas was not a holiday for the Chinese, but foreigners at university had the day off. Moreover, there was also a special program that night for the foreigners, with a meal, singing, and entertainment. I was in a city of about 2 million people, and the emcee proudly announced that over 80 foreigners were present at the city's gathering. To myself, I laughed. I had been living in an apartment building in the Midwest near a university, and there were probably 50 foreigners just in that one single building. Also, the years I was in China, in December in the malls, one could hear Christmas music, clerks wore Santa caps, Christmas trees, all kinds of symbols of the Christmas season were prominently displayed. True, there was only one church (and one mosque) but aspects of the Christmas spirit were visible. I do not mean that Savitt was inaccurate in his observation; but suggest that change had occurred over the decade – another reason dates are inportant.
Scott should have mentioned the dates of the anti-dog crusade under Mao. Had it been one of the years of severe famine, that may have made the extermination of dogs more understandable (if not excusable). If people are starving by the millions, perhaps food should not go to the dogs. Overall, one can learn much from Scott Savitt's book of personal experiences in China.
One area where I strongly disagree with Scott's assessment – when he asserts that “all China a big penal colony.” That judgment followed his month in a sweltering prison under extreme pressure. I doubt if most Chinese see it that way, and I certainly do not. There are differences, clearly, between the US and China; China is a one-party state. Also, think of the recent incident in China when 3 American basket ball players were arrested for shoplifting. They were facing 5 to 10 years in prison. LeVar Ball, father of one, dismissed the theft – shoplifting is inconsequential, “no big deal”. I find it amazing that someone can basically find little wrong with stealing. And that father is not alone – far too many of our liberal judges let so many thieves off with no punishment. My views on some aspects of justice are closer to those of the Chinese and the pre-WWII-America than they are to Ball's father.
Savitt judged China a huge penal colony. He arrived in 1983 as a student. Two years later, he returned as a teacher earning $200 a week. Later he supplemented by reporting for Asiaweek, and then worked full time for UPI. An entrepreneur, he scraped up funds to establish Beijing Scene. By the year 2000, he was bribing people with sums of $50,000. That sounds like a marvelous success story. All of that in China! Does that sound like a penal colony to you? Or a land of opportunity?  But Scott was a man who played high-risk odds, which is often the case for those who rise quickly. He literally risked his life during Tienanmen on his red scooter riding on the narrow parallel road as the tanks were driving on the wide avenue beside it. Scott got away with getting around Chinese laws and formalities. In 2000, the authorities cracked down, and they cracked down hard. Scott lost everything. By American standards, it was unjust. Perhaps, by most standards. But most Chinese would not rise so quickly and arouse such notice and gain such influence and break so many rules in the process. Enormous penal colony? For all China? I do not see it.
Mao led China into and through many disasters of his own making, I would contend. But after Mao, even with considerable corruption, many were given some economic freedom, and they have performed miracles in a short time for a nation of some 1 billion 4 hundred thousand. I admire that. Furthermore, I probably had more freedom in my class teaching in China than I would have had in a pc American university. Admittedly, since I left, China seems to have taken up a more expansive foreign policy abroad while seemingly (I am not there) restricting some freedoms at home. Building islands in the South China Sea, disputes over islands with Japan, and land with India, narrowing what is allowed in Hong Kong, pressuring other nations to curtail trade with Taiwan, and at home banning google, facebook, and other social networks, banning gay net TV serials, pulling down crosses from churches, harassing various religious believers. Not good signs, but hardly a penal colony. True, one party rule might revert to the horrors of the Cultural Revolution – that is possible. But it is more likely that America will lose the right to free speech and freedom of assembly, even the right to self defense, under politically correct left-wing Democrats and “moderate” Republicans.

Scott Savitt showed great bravery in his friendships with protestors during the Tienanmen Square demonstrations, and before and after those events. He had a girl friend during Tienanmen who was working for the wife of the American Ambassador. He was trying to change the government of China. Was he affiliated with the CIA? Possibly. But most Americans, when abroad, carry our concepts of justice with us. One need not be CIA to simply exude individualism, initiative, criticism, - “why this way and not that” attitudes. One must admire Scott's bravery and his success in being himself, a free-spirited American, and how his example might inspire Chinese and others. He also produced a good book. 

Friday, October 6, 2017


UNDERCOVER GIRL: The Lesbian Informant Who Helped the FBI
Bring Down the Communist Party (Watertown, MA: Imagine Books, 2017)
Rev. by Hugh Murray

This is a case in which the author clearly dislikes the chief protagonist of her book, and this reviewer dislikes the author. Lisa E. Davis is a politically correct academic and a lesbian, who asserts that one high point of her life was “meeting Fidel Castro.”(Inside back page) By contrast, Angela Calomiris, a small woman with butch features, lived in Manhattan's bohemian Greenwich Village, beginning in the 1930s, she joined the Photo League and then the Communist Party in the early 1940s, and from 1942-1949, was an informant on the League and the CP for the FBI. In 1949 she blew her cover when she openly testified in court against the leaders of the American CP, who were charged under the Smith Act for advocating the violent overthrow of the American government.
Davis relates that those who disliked Calomiris described her as “ruthless,” “conniving,” as a woman who turned in a lesbian to the police or FBI.(p. 2) A few pages later Davis describes Angela as “fair-minded, cold-blooded, charming, and a phony – always intelligent, who knew how to deceive and please and hang tough. A complex, probably troubled person.”(8) At the trial, Angela was labeled “fink,” “stool pigeon,” and “rat.”(12) Author Davis condemns Angela thusly: “But she chose badly, and ended up on the wrong side of history.”(12) Because Angela exposed the Communist efforts to sabotage and overthrow the US Government?! Davis should ask herself, where is the USSR today? I contend Angela Calomiris chose the right side of history, unlike Lisa Davis and Fidel Castro.
Academic Davis basically rejects the findings of the Venona files – that Alger Hiss was a Soviet agent, and whether Whittaker Chambers once had a gay crush on Hiss is unimportant compared to the fact that Chambers helped expose the Communist spy rings inside the US Govt.(10-11) Davis also writes sympathetically of the atomic spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who most Americans at that time believed were rightly executed. Davis grasps at left-wing straws implying the judgment against the couple was wrong. Although for decades he maintained his innocence, Davis ignores the belated confession of Rosenberg co-defendant Morton Sobell (NYT, 21 Sept. 2008) Davis ignores the speech of Vladimir Putin of early 2012 in which the Russian leader thanked the Western scientists who had helped advance the development of the Soviet A-bomb with suitcases filled with secret information.(Reuters stories, Jan. and Feb. 2012) Davis condemns Roy Cohn for being in the closet, and certainly fails to commend him for his part in the prosecution of the Rosenberg spies. Davis even includes play write Tony Kushner's imaginary confrontation of the Rosenbergs to announce the imminent death of the AIDS infected, closeted, anti-Communist Cohn.(10) Davis does not include the the verdict of Judge Irving Kaufman that the treason by the Rosenbergs led to the Korean War, which would cost 35,000 American lives. We know today that Stalin gave Kim Il Sung the green light to invade South Korea in 1950. Would Stalin have allowed that war if his government had not already exploded an A-bomb in 1949? And Stalin had the bomb in 1949 rather than 1959 because of the suitcases of scientific files provided by Western scientists and others in the Soviet spy networks. Indeed, we might thank the Rosenbergs and their comrades for the Kim Il Sung dynasty that still rules North Korea today.
Davis views it differently. “The McCarthy era spawned great controversy – the special bitterness toward informants.”(13) That bitterness was evident for Communists and fellow travelers, but clearly not for most Americans, as demonstrated by Davis' own book. After testifying to expose the dangers of communism, Angela was interviewed on major radio programs, like that of Eleanor Roosevelt, Mary Margaret McBride; interviewed and discussed in major newspapers and mentioned on national broadcasts of Walter Winchell. In the early 1950s Angela, with the help of a ghost writer, Caroline Bird, produced Red Masquerade, the story of her membership in the Party and various front groups, like the Photo League. The book was published by Lippincott, a major company, and was widely, favorably reviewed. It was of a genre of the times, like Herbert Philbrick's I Led 3 Lives, which became a television series (and a favorite of the young Lee Oswald). Matt Cvetic's I Was a Communist for the FBI was transformed from book to the screen, and nominated for an Academy Award as best documentary of 1951. Angela hoped her book would become a film, too. But it did not. Angela's story was somewhat unique, in that hers was the story of a woman, whereas most of the other informer stories were of men. Of course, during her time in the spotlight, Angela sought to keep her sapphic tastes secret.
Davis is right to stress that in testifying against the CP, Angela risked being exposed as a lesbian. The conservative and mainstream media did what they could to portray her as an all-American girl doing dangerous work for patriotic reasons. But even during the trial, the CP defense team tried to insert the issue in order to discredit the witness. Directing questions to the 33-year-old witness like, are you married, do you have children, and stressing the Miss Calomiris, were meant to raise the queer issue in the juror's minds. Judge Harold R. Medina sought to shield Angela, and upheld prosecution objections to cut off certain lines of questioning. Angela was on the witness stand for 5 days, so the Party attorneys had ample opportunity to try to pierce the shield, but Judge Medina protected the witness and would later speak of the sacrifice she had made in coming forth (and not coming out).
Like witness Herbert Philbrick, Angela perjured herself when she denied that she had been paid for her years of service by the FBI,(55) and in interviews after “her” book was published, she lied by denying it was ghosted – she asserted she merely had some help in writing. Author Davis even exposes that, horror of horrors, when looking for employment, Angela “padded” her resume.(167) Yet, after the trial, after the interviews and the publication of the book, Angela moved on, developed her business skills and died with a small real estate empire in Province town valued at $900,000. Quite a climb for a girl whose dad died when she was 7, and whose mom then sent her to an orphanage. Despite the hostility of Davis toward her subject one must commend Davis for restoring to the public the life of Angel Calomiris, and including the closeted side not revealed in the 1950s. Now Angela can be understood, not only as an anti-communist, but as a lesbian too.
Davis' political views intrude throughout her book. Eleanor Roosevelt is quoted saying she disliked Communists because they lie; to which Davis retorts: “Anti-Communist might tell bigger lies.”(48) Davis then exposes Angela's lies about not receiving payment from the FBI for her years of information. Davis does write that J. Edgar Hoover was furious about this lie, because it placed his organization in a bad light, unwilling to help those who were helping his security organization. Davis then makes a generalization that what set communist lesbians apart was “these women had a social conscience.”(61) Other lesbians apparantly lacked that conscience, and Angela's anti-communist stance, probably made her anti-conscience in Davis' measurement. Davis extended her assessment when she wrote that the Communist Party was “the conscience of the American Left for at least two decades.”(64) So one is not surprised when, describing the simultaneous trials in 1949, of the Communist leaders at which Angela testified, the Alger Hiss trial for perjury (re spying), and the Judith Copland trial (treason), Davis calls them all “heresy” trials.(76)
When the prosecution and the Anti-Communists praised Angela's great courage in testifying against the CP leadership, Davis tries to avoid this compliment. Davis notes that Angela did receive a mailed death threat upon conviction of the Party leaders, that for a time she had 24-hour police protection, and at one point was beaten as she emerged from a subway exit. Angela thought the assailant was a member of the International Workers' Order. Angela had named names, including members of the IWO. Davis diminishes this, asserting that Angela's testimony was anti-labor. Davis refers to labor reporter Victor Riesel as “the notorious columnist for Hearst's ...[newspapers] and a militant anti-communist.”(149-50) She neglects to mention that Riesel had been blinded by goons working for corrupt unions. And a young, leading-man in California, when he opposed the communists in a Hollywood union, was threatened that someone would throw acid in his face so destroy his image and career if he did not yield to the radicals. Ronald Reagan did not yield then or later.
Davis does connect some of the attacks upon Hollywood star Judy Holiday to Angela's expose of Holiday's police woman girl friend, who was also a member of the CP. Thus, Davis disagrees with Arthur Laurents' assertion that the gay issue did not surface in Hollywood's anti-Communist purge.(156) But the police woman named by Angela was exposed as a Communist, not as a lesbian.
A few things Davis could have mentioned but did not are still interesting. She writes that the CPUSA had taken up the challenge of Harlem Renaissance poet Claude McKay to raise the cause of the most exploited and oppressed section of the world's working class. McKay was a West Indian author, whose “If We Must Die” inspired many. He attended the 4th Congress of the Communist International in Petrograd in 1922. With Stalin's urging, the CPUSA did make Black civil rights a major item in its agenda by 1930. But McKay would become disillusioned with the Communist movement, and in 1944 would be baptized as a convert to Roman Catholicism.
Davis mentions Commonwealth College in Arkansas, which like Highlander Folk School in Tennessee, was meant to be a left-wing institution in the South. Indeed, it was at Highlander that Rosa Parks learned the tactics that she would apply when she refused to yield her seat in 1955 on a Montgomery bus, which led to the bus boycott and the reinvigoration of the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King also attended Highlander for training and tactics. Though most of the teachers and participants of these institutions were on the Left or would become so, one alum of Commonwealth went on to become the governor of Arkansas. However, Democratic Gov. Orville Faubus is best known not for his left-wing past, but for his efforts to prevent the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, which provoked Republican Pres. Eisenhower to send troops to guarantee the entrance to the schools of the 9 Blacks. That was the first time federal troops had been used to defend Black rights since Reconstruction.
Davis' book lacks an index, making it harder to follow chronologically some aspects of her story, particularly about Judy Holiday. Davis sprinkles her concluding chapters with put-downs of Angela (161, 168, 175, 177, 181) Davis quotes Angela on a point that all should ponder: Angela “accounted for her lack of remorse at betraying people she had worked closely with...'The Party doesn't believe in friendship,' she told them. 'There aren't any friends there.'”(163)
There is another reason why I dislike the author's approach in this book. I recall Elia Kazan, who produced some wonderful films of my youth, like “On the Waterfront” with Karl Malden, Eva Marie Saint, and Marlon Brando, and “Streetcar Named Desire,” and “East of Eden.” In 1952 before the House Un-American Activities Committees Kazan had named names of former comrades. Decades later, the Hollywood Left demonstrated its hatred of Kazan, the fink. When in 1999 the Academy Award was to present the elderly Kazan with a special award for life-time achievement, left wingers in the audience, like Ed Harris and Nick Nolte, sat in their seats and refused to applaud or stood and turned their backs on the whistle blower who exposed Communists in the industry. To the Left, Kazan was an informer. To most Americans, he was a hero. And Angela was a heroine.
I wonder if Ms. Davis has ever personally faced the issue. I recall after my arrest in the first lunch-counter sit-in in New Orleans in September 1960, I was interviewed by the police Red Squad. Seven of us had been arrested, but I think only the two whites were so interviewed. I refused to say how many members were in the NO CORE chapter. Or how many attended meetings, etc. I admitted that I had read The Communist Manifesto, and said I favored income tax.
In 1962 I was called up for the draft. Many of us in a room, and we were handed forms to fill out. Most filled them easily and quickly. I had to take longer. One was a question about arrests. I had been convicted in the 1960 sit-in, a felony, that was still being appealed through the courts. I filled that in. The other problem question concerned subversive organizations: the KKK, the CP, and many front groups. Perusing the list, I suddenly recognized a name – the Jewish Culture Clubs. I realized that during the CORE training institute in Miami in August 1960, we had some connection with the Jewish group. Once, when we were to integrate a beach, they booked the picnic table next to ours, as a buffer, to avoid trouble with possible militant racists. Also we had had a dance at their meeting hall. The first was a public beach, so I did not worry about that, but the dance was at their hall. Should I mark it down? If I lie, the fine mentioned on the form was about $2000, an enormous amount at the time. It was only a dance, - indeed, that is where I first learned the twist, a new dance of that era. Then, I also realized photographs were taken. So I decided to mention this and put it on the form. When I handed it to the officer, he looked, and asked in surprise, “But you're not even Jewish?” He told me I would have to talk to the FBI regarding my felony, but their representative was presently speaking with the Black Muslim who opposed induction. I sat and waited. The FBI man said they could not draft someone with a felony conviction, but he would speak to the DA about dropping the charge. Bottom line, in several weeks I got the answer – the new NO DA, Jim Garrison would not drop the charges, and the case was being appealed up to the US Supreme Court. I was not inducted.
In early 1963 I was teaching 5th grade at a private school in NO, and after classes, played tennis with a colleague. Thus, I arrived home later than usual. My mother greeted me, “Humph! I thought they had rounded you up.” I rushed to the TV to find what she was referring to. The Louisiana Un-American Activities Committee was engaged in an anti-red raid, and arrested 3 “subversives.” James Dombrowski, head of the Southern Conference Education Fund, an integration organization (I was on its mailing list), Ben Smith and Bruce Walzer, two attorneys who defended unions, integration, and other “subversive” types, were the 3 rounded up. Jack, a friend from Tulane and a junior member of the Smith firm, was also wondering if the ax would fall on him. I spoke with him and mentioned that I had known a member of the CP going back to CORE and 1960. If called to testify, what should I do? Happily, I was never called before LUAC.
Nearly 2 months after the round-up, I was teaching 5th grade when Mrs. Flagg, who taught another 5th grade class directly across the hall from mine, came to my door. She asked me to come to her classroom for a few minutes. I rarely left my class unattended, but assumed there was an unusual problem. It was a new school, and we had no cafeteria. Mrs. Flagg's class was then having lunch and free time, so it was quite noisy in her room. One of her pupils had brought to school one of the new transistor radios, and she wanted me to listen. We craned out necks over the boy and his radio. I listened a short time, but had to return to my class.
I re-entered and shut the door. I announced that Pres. Kennedy has just been shot in Dallas. Immediately, the pupils cheered and applauded. One girl was the exception; she put her head on her table and cried. I was shocked by their reaction, and gave an impromptu history lesson. “You think this is the end of integration. At the end of the Civil War some thought, if we can only kill Lincoln, the North will yield, and the South will be allowed to secede successfully. They did kill Lincoln, and the result was the North grew angrier, harsher, and the consequence was Radical Reconstruction. Killing Kennedy will probably make the North even more determined to impose integration. I, like my pupils, assumed Kennedy had been shot by a segregationist.
The school canceled later classes and let us all out early. That afternoon, I received a phone call from Shelly Zervigon, wife of Carlos, one of the early CORE activists. She told me she had heard on the news that Kennedy had been murdered by a Lee Oswald, a communist from New Orleans! I was stunned. Who was he? Many thought I was a communist from NO. And in October the round up had already begun. In November 1938 Herschel Grynszpan shot and killed a German diplomat in Paris, and shortly after, Kristallnacht, the round up of thousands of Jews and burning of many synagogues in Germany. If that happened because of the assassination of an embassy official, what will happen with the assassination of a President? I began to think, this is it. I am going to go out and drink (it may be my last chance), and try to find out info on this Oswald. I drove to the French Quarter and drank and asked. No one seemed to have heard of LHO. Finally, I did hear about one person who may have spoken to him. I was told Bob Heller, a Tulanian and former CORE activist, may have spoken with Oswald when Oswald was distributing pro-Castro literature in down-town NO. At that time, that was the only name I knew that might have had a connection to LHO.
After school on Tuesday 26 November 1963 two FBI men came to visit me at home. In the summer of 1963 I had picked up a Fair Play leaflet in the Tulane U. library on a table, with no one around. On it was a PO Box address. I thought a fellow grad student had printed it, went to his desk, showed it to him, but he knew nothing about it. We discussed writing to the POB, but both of us were suspicious. I joked, it could be an FBI ploy. We decided to do nothing till we knew more. Now, the FBI was asking me about Oswald. At the time, I had no idea we had attended the same junior high, and possibly the same high school. I knew only one name of a person who someone thought had met Oswald. I told the FBI Heller's name. And if I had known 20 people who had encountered Oswald, I would have named all 20. Some years after, I became a critic of the Warren Commission's report and conclusions about the assassination. Had I withheld information, it would have been more difficult to be a critic. The FBI did then go to interview Heller. Later when I encountered a Northerner on Tulane campus, Phil Good always would point at me and yell “fink.”
In 2008 I was teaching at Hebei Normal U. in Shijiazhuang, China, when one night I received an email from my boss: be careful, there had been an incident at Disco City; try to come back early (or something like that). I assume the same email was sent to all the foreign faculty. I had never been to Disco City, but was curious. Phone calls here and there. With the help of a friendly Chinese woman who had a car, a Brazilian of Chinese extraction who knew English and Cantonese, but was studying Mandarin and was also a business man, and one of my students to help translate, we set out. I was told there were 3 victims, an American, an African, and an Asian. First stop, the hospital. We found the room where one of the foreigners was being held. The door was locked, and brown paper on the windows blocked all views, but the strong odor of medicine gave the impression that the injury was serious. I tried to use my foreign privilege, with my student translating to the nurse telling her I'm and American and want to see the American in the room. The nurse did not yield; she would not allow us to see the injured party.
From there we drove to the jail for illegal aliens. I was surprised that a young Bangladeshi, who had lived in the same building as I, and with whom I had chatted in English on occasion was in trouble. He had arrived on a visa to study Chinese, but overstayed his visa, got a job in another disco, and had a girl friend who happened to be one of my students. All this was news to me. In the jail he told me at Disco City the three foreigners were together and one had made a play for a pretty young Chinese gal, who happened to be the girlfriend of a local Mafioso. When the 3 exited the disco, they were met by 6 Chinese with knives. The East African had been badly wounded (it was he who was in the hospital room). The American had received only a slight cut on his hand, and he was more worried about being deported as China was expelling many non-essential foreigners in preparation for the 2008 Olympic Games. The Bangladeshi ran away and escaped injury. But as there were so few foreigners in Shijiazhuang, a city of about 2 million, authorities had no trouble apprehending him. We raised some money to help pay his fines, and his parents had to pay for his flight home.
Upon returning to my flat, I received a phone call from my boss. Where was I that afternoon? Who was I with? I had never before received such a call; indeed, I had been given great freedom in teaching my classes. But I refused to give names in this instance. I don't think there were any negative repercussions for me or my student; I was treated well. Overall, I probably had more freedom in teaching at that university in China then, than I would have had at most narrow-minded, politically correct universities in America.
I was working as a minor bureaucrat in the police building (I did not work for the police, however). I was shocked when young men would enter the building wearing t-shirts, “Off the Snitch.” Kill the informer! I assume they reside in the neighborhoods that are crime-ridden with high murder rates.

Bottom line – despite Davis' terms, “fink,” “stool pigeon,” “rat,” or the more positive ones I prefer, “whistle blower,” “informer,” “reporter,” I do not think there is a simple formula one can use concerning informing. Sometimes it is right; sometimes wrong. And unlike Davis, I think Angela Calomiris did the right thing in informing on the leadership of the CP, and more, I think she, and not they, were on the right side of history.      

Thursday, September 14, 2017


FORGOTTEN ALLY: CHINA'S WORLD WAR II, 1937-1945 (Boston, etc.; Mariner Books,
Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, c. 2013)
Rev. by Hugh Murray
What's wrong with this book? In the Index one can find a listing for Chiang Kia-shek's “paranoia over Soviet Union,”(p. 431) but there is nothing in Mitter's Index concerning the assassination plots against Chiang by the chief US military leader in China during most of WWII. General “Vinegar” Joe Stilwell's plots included having Chiang jump from an airplane with a defective parachute or have him die from food poisoning with a botulism that would not show in an autopsy. These “plans,” even though not implemented, should have been included in the book. Also missing is the comment to Stilwell by the beloved Pres. Franklin Roosevelt concerning the Chinese leader, “If you can't get along with Chiang and can't replace him, get rid of him once and for all.”(Richard Bernstein, FP, 3 Sept. 2015) Mitter has truly mistitled his book: The Forgotten Ally, should have been The Betrayed Ally. And Mitter wrongly concluded that different approaches and policies were “character driven squabbles [which] would lead to one of the postwar tragedies in American politics: the sterile debate on 'Who Lost China'”(Mitter, 354)
What makes Mitter's book so important is that he is so representative of the mainstream history establishment. A professor of History and Politics at Cambridge U. in England, Mitter's volume will become the quick reference work on WWII China for many years. But his Leftwing bias is so clear and evident, yet so ubiquitous in academe that he us unaware of it and how it distorts his history. I hope to expose some of his biases.
There is a strong argument to be made that American “aid” to the Republic of China during WWII was destructive to Chiang and his Nationalist government, - that Roosevelt and Gen. George Marshall were willing to sacrifice China to entice Stalin to join the war against Japanesean. China, like Poland and eastern Europe, would be served to the Soviets by the West. The big difference, the Soviet troops were in Poland and eastern Europe, so the West “gave” the Soviets what they had already conquered. In China, FDR and Marshall were willing to give Stalin what his troops had not won, inviting them in at the war's conclusion.
In the 1930s Marshall had risen quickly in the US Army, being promoted over more senior officers. His work with the depression program, the Civilian Conservation Corps, had gone well, and he rose in the ranks. In part this may have been because his politics were more amenable to the Roosevelts, for in the US, the elected officials are the ultimate authority. Marshall served a stint in China, where he disliked the Nationalist regime, and so did his protege, Joe Stilwell.
In 1927 Chiang had turned against his allies within the Nationalist Party, and sought to destroy his erstwhile Communist colleagues. Simultaneously, Chiang was also fighting against local war-lords, trying to unify the nation. In 1931 the Japanese invaded several northeastern provinces, and established a puppet state to represent the Manchu minority, restoring the last Chinese emperor, Pu Yi, as the head of the new nation of Manchukuo. Chiang was too weak to do much about that or further Japanese inroads into northern China. In 1937 a minor incident on a bridge outside of Beijing with shots fired between Chinese and Japanese soldiers escalated. This time Chiang did not yield, and the 2nd Sino-Japanese War had begun.
The Imperial leaders of Japanesean were furious that China refused to follow the rising sun in its determination to expel Western colonialists and oppressors from Asia. Japanesean attacked Shanghai in the largest battle since the 1916 Battle of the Marne of WWI. China still would not surrender. Japanesean decided to be ruthless in its next major campaign, known today as “the Rape of Nanking (Nanjing).” Chiang was basically alone in his fight. He had had help from German military advisers, but in time they were recalled as Germany, Italy, and Japanesean joined in an anti-Comintern Pact. Stalin provided some minor help, and in the 1939 undeclared war – USSR and Mongolia vs. Japanesean and Manchukuo, the Soviets quickly smashed the Japanese defenses, and peace was restored.
Chiang was basically alone in trying to stop the Japanese with regular armies. The communists were limited to the north or their center in Yenan. They could only use guerrilla tactics against the Japanese. Chiang's army might delay the Nipponese invaders, but the Nationalists were not as well equipped, or trained, and they usually succumbed. Finally, some Nationalists, fed up with the loss of life and lands, decided for an alternative approach. Wang Jingwei, had once been the number 2 man to Sun Yat-sen, leader of the Chinese Revolution that had overthrown the Qing Dynasty in 1911. In 1940 Wang and several other prominent Chinese, left Chunking, the new evacuated Nationalist capital, for Hanoi, Indo-China (then under the Vichy French, collaborating with the Axis). From there they flew to Japanese occupied cities and soon established a collaborationist regime in Nanjing. For them, the fight against Japanesean was over. The fight against the West and the communists would continue. With the defection of these Nationalist leaders, Chiang was even more alone.
That changed in December 1941 when the Japanese attacked Hawaii. America entered the war. Chiang had an ally. Or did he? FDR's favorite Gen. Marshall appointed Joseph Stilwell to be the US military attache to China, and Stilwell was suddenly 2nd in command of the Chinese army. Although Stilwell had not been know for his generalship, he took some of Chiang's best-trained troops on a risky venture in Burma, and then abandoned them! Stilwell turned up in India and appeared before the newsreels. Chiang's troops were not trained for the jungle warfare where Stilwell had led them. There were serious losses by the Allies there, Chinese, Indian, and British troops. Soon Stilwell complained that Chiang was not fighting the Japanese, but instead keeping his troops for a later conflict against the communists. But some of the troops about whom Stilwell complained were in areas where they were also holding important junctions threatened by the Japanese. Mitter fails to ask a very basic question about Stilwell, - was he an enemy of the Nationalist Government?
Mitter writes: “During the summer of 1943 Stilwell fantasized about taking command of all Chinese troops, including the Communists, with Chiang and the Nationalist military leadership left as ciphers only.”(302) Note, he does not mention the Red leaders as ciphers. Was Stilwell and enemy of the Nationalists?
An answer to that question might be gleaned by reviewing a hand-written letter Stilwell sent to a friend on 6 April 1946. By then, WWII was over, Stilwell was in the US, and the Soviets had taken Manchuria at the end of the war as agreed to at Yalta by FDR and Stalin. The Soviets expropriated much portable, industrial material back to the USSR and later would give many confiscated Japanese weapons and some American lend-lease supplies to the Chinese Communists entering Manchuria. Both the USSR and the USA recognized the Nationalists as the official Republic of China, and America tried to get Nationalist (KMT) troops to Manchuria before the Reds got there. The Soviets blocked some American ships from the ports, but eventually the KMT troops disembarked and won some, and then some more of the cities of Manchuria. Suddenly there was open civil war between the Reds and KMT. The Reds were not nearly as well trained at this point, and the KMT was winning victory after victory when Stilwell wrote the letter. He wrote: “Isn't Manchuria a spectacle? ...It makes me itch to throw down my shovel and get over there and shoulder a rifle with Chu Teh.” (Barbara Tuchman, Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45, p. 527) Chu Teh was then the military leader of Communist forces. He would later command the Chinese “volunteers” who crossed the Yalu River to drive the Americans from North Korea. Tuchman adds that the Stilwell letter was published in the newsletter of a pro-communist journalist in January 1947. (Tuchman, 527, ftnote) Sen. Joseph McCarthy, in his book critical of Marshall, reported that the same letter was also published on 26 Jan. 1947, in photostat, in the New York Daily Worker (organ of the Communist Party, USA). (McCarthy, America's Retreat from Victory, p. 62)
Stilwell did not take his rifle to Manchuria in spring 1946, and he died a few months later. However, Gen. Marshall came to the rescue of Stilwell's communist friend. “Both Nationalist armies combined to take Szup'ing and push north...in June 1946...Only another cease-fire order on 6 June – agreed to as a result of great pressure from Marshall and later described by Chiang as his 'most grievous mistake' – saved Lin Piao's [communist] headquarters and permitted the central Manchurian front to stabilize...for the remainder of 1946.”(Edward L. Dryer, China at War, 1901-1949, pp. 324-25) At the same time that Americans were demanding Communists be excluded from the governments of Italy and France, Gen. Marshall was demanding that Chiang form a coalition government that included the Reds. Marshall threatened to cut off all American aid if this were not done. Neither Chiang nor Mao really wanted a workable coalition. Marshall then did cut off all aid to the KMT, the official government of China. Marshall, who was then Pres. Truman's Special Envoy to China would boast, “As Chief of Staff I armed 39 anti-communist divisions, now with the stroke of a pen, I disarm them.” (McCarthy, 90) With Marshall's friends in the US State Dept., Chiang was unable to get the proper license to purchase ammunition or weapons in the US. The State Dept. got Britain to fall in line, so Chiang could get no ammunition or replacements or new weapons. Marshall did more to harm the KMT. When Gen. Wedemeyer was suggested as the new Ambassador to China, Marshall received word from Zhou En Lai, the representative of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in many negotiations. Zhou objected to Wedemeyer, and Marshall then withdrew support for the general. Instead, John L. Stuart was appointed Ambassador to the Republic of China. Stuart had been a missionary, a university professor, a man who had called for the removal of Chiang, and a teacher of Zhou En Lai. So the new Ambassador to Chiang was a man more sympathetic to the radical rebels than to the official government of China. Marshall had a lot in common with Stilwell.
Though the KMT had been winning the civil war in China when Marshall first imposed the embargo, as the year went by, the Reds, with help from the Soviets, began to push the the KMT back from what Dreyer considered its high point with the capture of Yenan in March 1947. (Dreyer, 319) Meanwhile, China became an issue in American politics. While a big “Get America Out” rally in California featured labor leader Harry Bridges, Black singer and celebrity Paul Robeson, and Hollywood actors like Edward G. Robinson, the newly elected Republican Congress had other ideas. It passed legislation to provide considerable funds to the KMT. Left-wingers and Soviet agents in the Treasury Dept., Commerce, and State, obstructed and delayed delivery of the aid until it was too late. When US Ambassador to China Patrick Hurley had resigned in November 1945, he warned that “a considerable section of our State Dept. is endeavoring to support Communism generally as well as specifically in China.” (Tuchman, p. 523-24). Gen. Wedemeyer, who succeeded Stilwell, reported that the KMT could win the civil war with American help, but as this contradicted Marshall's view, the Wedemeyer Report was suppressed for several years. Gen. Claire Chennault, who led the Flying Tigers in China, had worked well with Chiang, and was critical of the communists and of Stilwell. The left wing had been extremely critical of the US during the Spanish civil war for not aiding the Republic against the rebels of the Falange, because the Republic was the legitimate government, - the left now reversed itself, demanding no aid to the legitimate government of China, Chiang and the KMT. Mitter dismisses these debates as personality squabbles, which led to the horrors of McCarthyism. Mitter accuses Hurley and the right wing of distortion (370), and concludes that the civil war “went badly for the Nationalists in large part because of Chiang's ... judgments.”(369) Observe Mitter's non-judgmental phrase, “...when the Korean War broke out in 1950.”(371) I would argue the question as to whether China became Communist or Nationalist was a major one, and there is good reason to suspect deception and treason in the American community led to the betrayal of Chiang and the victory of Mao.
Mitter describes how Chiang in 1937 was the recognized leader of China – recognized even by Stalin's USSR. Mitter notes how the early years of war in China received world-wide publicity. The Spanish Civil War was still on-going, and suddenly there was another war against cruel imperialism. If Guernica became a symbol for the world of the horrors or war, soon that picture was to be joined by newsreels of bombing when the Japanese invaded Shanghai, and even more so , Dec.-Jan. 1937-38 when Japanese troops were given free reign to loot, rape, and kill in Nanking, the city that had been the capital of Chiang's China. Although Mao in his out-of- the-way Yenan hoped to use guerrilla tactics, Chiang, with difficulty, maintained a regular Chinese Army to fight the Japanese invaders, even if they were usually loosing ground and battles.
In December 1941 the Japanese did not simply attack Pearl Harbor; they attacked the (American) Philippines, British Hong Kong, the Dutch Indonesia, Siam, the Malay States, the “Gibraltar of the East” Singapore, and Burma. By February 1942, all of SE Asia was controlled by the Japanese or their allies. How could Chiang receive any American supplies? Either on a Burma road (which was soon closed because of the Japanese), or by air over “the hump,” the Himalayas.
The Americans also supplied Chiang with two military figures – one of whom proved disastrous; the other helpful. “Vinegar” Joe Stilwell was theoretically 2nd in command of the Nationalist Army, directly under Chiang. Stilwell quickly developed a contempt for Chiang whom he called “the peanut” in his diaries. The other American advisor, who unlike Stilwell, stressed the role of air power in the war was Gen. Claire Chennault, whose Flying Tigers would become legendary in the Asian war. Because the Japanese' occupation of coastal China now extended to all of SE Asia, Chiang's Nationalists were isolated; getting supplies to them was a major problem. Of course, after Pearl Harbor, Germany had declared war on the US, and Gen. Marshall and the American leadership decided Europe would be the primary target, so most supplies and lend lease materials would be headed for Britain or the USSR rather than China. Stilwell was in charge of US lend-lease to China, which he used to force Chiang to do as the American general wanted. In many ways Stilwell (and perhaps Marshall and FDR) viewed Nationalist China more as a satellite than as an ally. Mitter concluded that FDR's appointment of Stilwell in China would lead “to the four-year duel between Chiang and that American general...”(242) In the clashes, although “Stilwell had no previous direct experience in generalship,...he had a powerful friend in George C. Marshall.”(250) On 6 February 1942 Marshall sent a message to China – “American forces in China and Burma will operate under Stilwell's direction...but Ger. Stilwell himself will always be under the command of the Generalissimo [Chiang].” (250) Stilwell thought that meant he was in command.
In the spring 1942 Stilwell engaged in a battle for Burma. As things went badly, he ordered the Chinese troops under his command to withdraw to India. Chiang was appalled that a foreign commander of Chinese troops would send them to another country rather than back to China. Chiang counter-manded Stilwell's orders. Then Stilwell and his small entourage arrived at Imphal, India, where he was interviewed by American journalists. Chiang was aghast that Stilwell, the commander, would abandon his troops. Many of those “best” Chinese troops became lost in the thick Burmese jungles, and lost to later fighting in China. Even Stilwell had described this as a “risky” adventure (255); Mitter writes of this episode as “the Burma debacle.”(260) Not only did China lose access to supplies when the Japanese captured and retained the Burma Road, but Stilwell's “highly risky gamble was much more likely to fail than to succeed. It led to the death or injury of some 25,000 Chinese troops along with over 10,000 British and Indian troops (with only 4,500 Japanese casualties). Retreat might” have saved many for the defense of China.”(260)
Again and again the Nationalists are depicted as incompetent and corrupt, and Mitter, either quoting Western observers or adding his own judgment, reinforces these negatives. For some Westerners, Chiang Kai-shek became “Cash my check.” Others found Chiang personally honest, but one who allowed corruption in his Army. Zhisui Li trained as a physician in the West, but with his wife was enthusiastic to return to the new China with his wife in 1949. On the way back, they stopped in Hong Kong where a friend introduced them to a man, reputed to be a high CCP official. The friend told Li to give a gift to the official for “a smooth return...you might land a good-paying job in a medical college in Beijing...give him a Rolex watch...” The idealistic couple refused to give a bribe. After some problems upon entry to the Peoples Republic of China, Li eventually became the personal physician to Mao. “In 1956, when I told Mao the story [about the request for a bribe], Mao laughed uproariously. 'You bookworm,' he chided me. 'Why are you so stingy? You don't understand human relations. Pure water can't support fish.'”(Zhisui Li, The Private Life of Chairman Mao, p. 41) It appears that the corruption denounced by leaders of the CCP in recent years began at the birth of the PRC with Mao's attitude.
As in other theaters of fighting in WWII, the changes in the popular image of Chiang would follow the pattern of another leader who fought against both Axis aggression and communism. On 25 March 1941, Prince Paul, Regent of Yugoslavia, agreed to adhere to the Tri-Partite Treaty, effectively bringing his nation into an Axis alliance. Because many officers were Serbs and opposed to the Germans, they staged a coup on 27 March. Hitler, preparing for his Operation Barbarosa against the USSR, did not want an anti-German Yugoslavia behind his lines. On 6 April 1941 Germany invaded Yugoslavia and was soon joined by several Axis allies. By mid-April, Yugoslavia had surrendered. Later that same month, Draza Mihailovic, an officer, gathered others together to begin a resistance to German occupation. Only after the Germans attacked the Soviet Union 22 June 1941 would any communist think of forming an underground against the fascist occupation and collaborating governments in the now dismembered Yugoslavia. The leader of the communist partisans was Josip Broz Tito, and he and Mihailovic forces at first agreed to cooperate. However, when sabotage provoked massive retribution by the Germans, Mihailovic's Chetniks were opposed to large-scale sabotage, except under special circumstances. Tito was for it. By year's end, there were skirmishes between the Chetnics and the communists.
Yugoslavia, unlike some European nations, was a multi-ethnic state with simmering feuds and hatreds. With defeat, Serbia was reduced in size; an independent Croatia created; and parts of the Yugoslavia were occupied by Hungarians, Italians, and others. There were Slovenians and Muslims, and Jewish and German minority groups. Mihailovic and the Chetniks did at time collaborate with the puppet government in Serbia; sometimes, Tito's Partisans also collaborated. However, more important for the future of both Tito and Mihailovic were some of the personnel of Britain's MI6 and the newly formed American Office of Strategic Services (the American intelligence agency). At the decoding area in Benchly Park in the UK, we now know several important figures were Communists and Soviet agents. Also, in the rush to create an American agency, Bill Donovan was chiefly concerned about recruiting people opposed to fascism, rather than worrying if they might have far-left backgrounds. With the help of Communist and Soviet agents inside Britain's MI6, and similar agents inside Donovan's OSS, soon MI6 and the OSS were reporting that Tito's partisans were doing all the fighting in Yugoslavia against the Germans and fascist collaborationist regimes, while Mihailovic either did nothing or was himself collaborating. When Mihailovic's guerrillas did fight, the MI6 crowd attributed such resistance to the Reds. The stage was being set for the betrayal of Mihailovic; by early 1943 Churchill, believing the distorted MI6 reports, gave up on Mihailovic, and at war's end,when Tito and the communists came to power, Mihailovic was executed. Many said that was a political decision of the court. In 2017 a Serbian court quashed the treason conviction of Mihailovic. Others maintain that was a political decision.
So initially, Mihailovic is portrayed as a national, patriotic hero fighting against the German oppressors. But when the communists backed Tito, a change in reporting about Mihailovic occurred.
A similar pattern can be observed in the treatment of Chiang and Mao. At first, Chiang is hailed as the Chinese leader standing up against brutal, Japanese aggression. But then he is portrayed as corrupt, inefficient, unwilling to fight the Japanese, always in retreat. By contrast, Mao was building a new egalitarian society where everyone pulled together for the same goals; and his forces led guerrilla campaigns against the Japanese and collaborators. Dreyer argued years later that all hoped to avoid battle with the Japanese, but all had to fight them if and when the Japanese attacked. But only the Nationalists maintained an army of 4 million to oppose the Japanese. Mitter even acknowledges that Chiang's armies held down about 500,000 Japanese troops who might have been assigned elsewhere.(379) such as a major invasion of India. Others place the number of Japanese stuck in the China quagmire at 700,000 to a million; it was a war that Japanesean simply could not seem to win because of the resistance by Chiang.
Mitter includes discussion of the repression in China under Wang's Axis-Nationalist regime in Nanjing; Chiang's anti-Japanese regime in Chunking; and Mao's communist territory in Yenan. In war time, of course, the first two imposed repression. Here's how Mitter describes what was occurring in Yenan: “The communist terror was different. The purpose...was not to line anyone's pocket. Rather, it envisioned – and achieved – one clear aim: it would bring together radicalized ideology, wartime isolation, and fear to create a new system of political power. The war against Japanesean was giving birth to Mao's China.”(295) The History Channel in 2017 showed a special on Mao which provided an example. After arriving in Yenan after the Long March, Mao had posters announce requests for criticism. Next day, some critics posted their views on the wall. Mao found the author of the main critique, had him arrested. Mao then watched as the man's knees were bent in various, unnatural ways, meant to cause as much pain as possible. Mao did not touch; just watched. Additional pain was inflicted upon the critic. Eventually, the fun was over and Mao had the victim killed. Thus, Mao was forging unity among the radicals.
In WWII America was clearly more interested in defeating Hitler and fascism in Europe, deeming them a greater threat than Imperial Japanesean. The US and Britain had much in common, and when FDR and Churchill met in the Atlantic, sailors of both nations sang Christian hymns, shown in newsreels, reinforcing the common bonds. There were no similar bonds with Stalin's USSR. But like Churchill, FDR would make a deal with the devil to defeat Hitler. Lend lease and military supplies were sent to Britain and the Soviets while American servicemen in the Pacific might be 3rd on the priority list. We did not want Britain or the Soviets to collapse.
But we did not want the Republic of China to collapse either! America sent Stilwell to be the number 2 military figure in the Republic of China! We were turning Chiang's China into a satellite. Could you imagine Roosevelt sending an American general to be the number 2 military figure in Stalin's USSR? Although we were giving much more to Stalin, Americans could not even stop when American aid was being re-labeled in the USSR so it appeared to the recipients as Soviet home aid. Stalin was given a free hand. FDR's Administration even asked Hollywood to produce films sympathetic to Stalin, so “Mission to Moscow” and other films glorifying Stalin's Soviet empire were produced.
Even if the remarks by FDR to Stilwell, to get Chiang to do what we want or eliminate him- even if this conversation were another Stilwell fantasy, it would not alter the way the US treated the leader of the Chinese Republic. China was snubbed as a satellite, and as the war wore on, and the influence of the left-wingers in the American bureaucracy waxed, their smearing of Chiang prepared the way for the disarming of the KMT and the victory of the communists in 1949.
After four years of fighting the Japanese alone, with America as a new ally, Chiang was left to deal with an inept general who recklessly wasted Chinese troops on ventures that weakened China and permitted Japanesean to launch a major assault into China in 1944. There is also good reason to believe leftists and communists were inside American intelligence organizations working inside China, providing information to the “peasant rebels.” So “hero” Chiang of 1938 was transformed into the corrupt, inept, un-willing-to-fight the Japanese, fascist-tainted Chiang of the mid-1940s. That is why Chiang deserved to abandon Chinese claims to Outer Mongolia (which was by then the Soviet satellite of Mongolia), and deserved to have the Soviets plundering Manchuria at the end of WWII. And of course, that is why Chiang did not deserve any weapons for his KMT during the civil war against the peasant reformers of Yenan led by Mao.

Like others, I think Chiang with American help could have defeated the Communists in the civil war following WWII. Deception and treason crippled Chiang's chances to win. The results – China under Chairman Mao for decades with millions of Chinese starved, tortured, or executed. And the other legacy of that era – the Kim Il Sung dynasty in North Korea. What a legacy of the Left?  

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


AGAINST JOSEPH MCCARTHY (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2017)
Rev. by Hugh Murray
David Nichols' book shows that one of the top priorities of Eisenhower's first term as president was to curb and destroy Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy. Nichols occasionally intersperses his main theme with snippets of what else was happening in the world – such as the defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu in Indo-China(247), and the decision by the US Supreme Court overturning 50 years of precedents in favor of segregation, to declare “separate but equal,” un-Constitutional.(262)
Nichols argues that McCarthy had subverted the Constitutional protection against self-incrimination by accusing those who invoked the 5th Amendment before his investigating committee of being subversives.(45-46) To elaborate on this idea, Nichols quotes Albert Einstein who urged his colleagues not to speak at the McCarthy hearings “even if it meant 'jail or economic ruin.'” McCarthy retorted that anyone advising such is “an enemy of America.” In the next sentence Nichols reveals his own view...”McCarthy continued his demagoguery...”(46)
What Nichols does not discuss is that in 1945 a leading Soviet agent, Pavel Sudaplatov, was urging one of his underlings to befriend Einstein. Margarita Konenkova, wife of a prominent sculptor, accompanied her husband to America where her husband, Sergei, was to sculpt a head of the prominent scientist. This gave Margarita entree to Einstein, and they did become an item. Although Einstein was not part of the Manhattan Project to build the atom bomb, he knew many of the scientists involved, and they occasionally sought his advice. According to the National Geographic Channel series “Genius,” a biography of Einstein, Margarita is shown copying his notes to give to the Soviets.
Sudaplatov, in his 1995 memoir, stated that he wanted Margarita to also get close to J. Robert Oppenheimer, “the father of the A bomb,” who headed the Manhattan Project. She did not, but that may not have been necessary. Oppenheimer's landlady was a member of the Communist Party; so was his mistress; so was his brother; his sister-in-law; so was his wife. According to the FBI, Oppenheimer himself had been a member, but was told by the party to drop out so as to pass security for the Manhattan Project. The FBI had sources alleging that Oppenheimer simply became part of the party's secret apparatus. Some also alleged that he knew Steve Nelson. It is not disputed that he hired Communists for the Manhattan Project. In a recent PBS 2-hour documentary, “The Bomb,” the narrator does disclose some of the Communist affiliations of those close to Oppenheimer, but not the possibility that he remained a secret member of the Party. The documentary was sympathetic to Oppenheimer, while making his antagonist over building the hydrogen bomb, Edward Teller, into a villain disliked by most other scientists.
In 1943 the FBI bugged the home of Steve Nelson, labor leader, and veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (that fought in Spain against Franco and the Falange). By the early 1940s, Nelson, a secret member of the CP, was residing in California. Thanks to the release of various government documents, we now know some of the workings of the spy networks. In March 1943 the FBI bug revealed that Nelson met with atomic scientist Joseph Weinberg.  Nelson instructed Weinberg  to gather and send him information from other Party members working with him on the atomic bomb project at the Univ. of California, Berkeley.  Nelson also told Weinberg to inform the comrades working there to destroy their CP membership books, and refrain from using liquor.(Herbert Romerstein & Eric Breindel, The Venona Secrets, p. 255)
            In April 1943 Nelson received another visitor, a member of the Soviet Embassy in Washington DC.  The Soviet official instructed the America Communist to establish an espionage network in the American atomic program.  The Soviet counted out specific amounts of cash to fund the project, and told Nelson where he should place reliable Communists for this “special work” in conveying to the Soviets what the Americans were discovering in the US atomic program.(R & B.,p. 259) One writer suggested that this is how the FBI first learned of the Manhattan Project – from a Soviet official!

Today, we know that the Rosenbergs were guilty of espionage, as was Klaus Fuchs, but only much later did we learn of the role of Theodore Hall. How many others were involved in this? A Reuters story received almost no headlines when it appeared in January-February 2012. In January Russian leader Vladimir Putin, in a public address, praised the Western scientists who provided atomic secrets to the Soviets so that the Communist regime could develop its own nuclear bombs.  Putin emphasized that the Soviets were provided “suitcases” filled with material; “suitcases full” he stressed.  American spying on behalf of the Soviets was not paranoia; it was a reality.  And the consequence of that spying aided Stalin to develop nuclear weapons faster, and helped in other areas of military advance. To this day, do we know the full scale of spying on behalf of the USSR? On behalf of Stalin?
And how does Nichols handle the Oppenheimer case? “Another threat to Eisenhower's anti-McCarthy operation had surfaced on April 8 [1954]...the AEC [Atomic Energy Commission] had stripped J. Robert Oppenheimer...of his security clearance...following the war, he had become an advisor to the AEC.”(225) Related was an 18-month delay in America's development of the hydrogen bomb. Atty. General Herbert Brownell thought “the only possible criminal action against Oppenheimer would be for perjury.”(226) Brownell believed that Oppenheimer was guilty only of bad associations. At that time, a major theme of Eisenhower's fight with McCarthy was over the notion of “guilt by association” and how damaging this was to innocent people and freedom.
The New York Times, working with the Eisenhower Administration, reported on “Oppenheimer's questionable associations, his hiring of alleged communists or former communists, his contradictory testimony to the FBI about attending communist meetings, his failure to report in timely fashion on an attempt by the Soviet Union to secure scientific information from him, and his opposition to the development of the hydrogen bomb.”(226-27) The Administration feared McCarthy would exploit Oppenheimer's h-bomb opposition; the Wisconsonian did declare Oppenheimer's suspension was long overdue. McCarthy also claimed that he had delayed his own investigation of the h-bomb delay at the behest of the Administration “because of security measures involved.”(227)
Of course, there had been Communists and Soviet agents inside the US government. Perhaps, in many cases they simply performed their jobs as any other bureaucrats. But at other times, with their advice invariably coinciding with Soviet policy, their proposals could be disastrous from the American perspective. In 1951 McCarthy had published a book in which he contended that American policy in China after WWII was based upon advice coming from the reports of communists, socialists, and other left-wingers. This resulted in the denial of American aid to Chiang Kai Shek, which led to the collapse of his Nationalist forces and the victory of the Communists under Mao Zedong. Among those whom McCarthy sharply criticized was the former American Ambassador, Gen. George Marshall, for his role in the Asian debacle. Eisenhower, who served under Marshall in Europe, resented McCarthy's attack upon his old mentor. Moreover, Eisenhower felt himself vulnerable about some of his actions in Europe during the rosy days of US-Soviet cooperation.(144, 213)
How was Eisenhower managing the issue of communists in government? His Atty. Gen. Brownell, cleaning up the office from the past Administration, rummaging through old papers, discovered documents showing that Harry Dexter White was a Soviet spy. White had been Under Secretary of the Treasury during the Roosevelt and early Truman presidencies. Brownell conferred with Eisenhower, discussing the evidence and suggesting that he should go public with the information. Eisenhower agreed. Brownell, in a public speech, declared White a spy. And although the FBI had reported his activities in detail to Pres. Truman, despite the derogatory reports, Truman nominated White to be Executive Director for the US of the International Monetary Fund. Moreover, Truman failed to inform the Senate Banking Committee of the FBI report, so White was confirmed in the new post. On 30 April 1946 Truman had written a letter commending White's distinguished career with Treasury. White died in 1948.(85) With Brownell's expose of Truman's promotion of a communist spy, Truman fired back. He accused Brownell of playing politics, trying to divert attention from the Administration's failures on the economic front. Truman then asserted that White had been fired by his Democratic Administration. White House Press Secretary James Hagerty explained that Mr. White had not been fired, but had resigned from the Treasury Dept. To this, Truman blasted, White had been fired by resignation. Hagerty responded by reading from Truman's letter of 1946 praising White. Nichol's adds: “Truman's combative denials, even when false, made such a sharp-edged attack on a former president seem unseemly.”(86) But was this not a major problem for McCarthy? When he charged a respectable person with subversion, even when true, it was “unseemly,” “low,” “boorish,” “bullying”? Look at how Herblock portrayed McCarthy in the cartoons? Indeed, the New York Times' editorial feared Brownell's revelations about White might provoke “a reckless renewal of McCarthyism.”(87)
The House un-American Activities Committee planned to subpoena Truman, who continued to defend his general anti-communist actions. HUAC, under pressure from Eisenhower, relented on the subpoena, and Brownell now simply charged the previous Administration with “laxity” in the case of White.
At a press conference, Eisenhower, pretending to be ignorant of the White story, asserted that he would not have issued a subpoena for former Pres. Truman. Furthermore, it was “inconceivable” that Truman had knowingly appointed a Communist spy to high office.(88) “In spite of testimony by J. Edgar Hoover [and a statement by former Secretary of State James Byrnes] contradicting Truman's account...,Truman had won the public argument.”(91) Would Truman have won this argument if Eisenhower had been willing to be truthful and to support the facts being exposed? Was Ike so afraid of being labeled a McCarthyite that he was willing to allow a pass on Truman who promoted a Communist spy to a higher ranking post? When the buck stopped with Truman, Ike lied and dropped the issue. Essentially, Ike White-washed it.
Were there other communists in government? Spies? Were some providing advise based upon communist principles? Scientist Oppenheimer was undoubtedly one of those who helped delay American development of the hydrogen bomb. He did not lose his security clearance until April 1954. So Oppenheimer served in the US government under FDR, Truman, and Ike. But which government was he most desirous of serving?
In Eisenhower's State of the Union speech of January 1954, he announced that 2,200 federal employees had lost their jobs, implying the sweep out of communists was a success. (Oppenheimer was still on the payroll.) But Eisenhower had changed the methods of firing government employees. When pressed for more information about the discharged employees, the Administration finally provided statistics: 29 for loyalty concerns; 430 for security concerns, the rest for sexual perversions, alcoholism, or false statements on the job applications.(138) The new administration explained a government job was not a right but a privilege, and those who might be subject to blackmail would be dismissed. The assumption was that homosexuals, if not communists or spies, might be blackmailed into providing information to an enemy, and therefore should not work in government. However, the government provided no evidence of any of the fired homosexuals or alcoholics secreting information to an enemy.
But in many ways Eisenhower continued the personnel and policies of the Truman era. The fight over Charles Bohlen's appointment as ambassador to the USSR, was not simply about sexual rumors, as Nichols relates. Bohlen was considered another of the Acheson, soft-on- communism crowd of bureaucrats that had led to communist victories throughout much of the post-WWII world.
The culmination of Eisenhower's attempt to crush McCarthy centered around the Army-McCarthy hearings of 1954. McCarthy had received a memo alleging that 34 workers at Ft. Monmouth Army Signal Corps base in New Jersey were subjects of FBI investigation. H Stanton Evans in his Blacklisted by History writes: “...but one of many leads about the Army Signal Corps that would reach McCarthy in the spring of 1953 and later. Based on such tips, the committee launched...a series of investigations...These interlocking probes would run from the late summer of 1953 through the spring of 1954. when they would be brought to a sudden halt by stunning Army charges of malfeasance against McCarthy and his counsel Roy Cohn...”(Evans, p. 523) Some working at Monmouth would take home secret documents – an amazing 2,700 security documents signed out at one time.(Evans, 510) Earlier in the 1940s Julius Rosenberg had worked as a Signal Corps inspector along with fellow spies like Morton Sobell. The Signal Corps remained important for its research and development in radar, missiles, anti-aircraft, and other weaponry. Some working there were convinced that security at Monmouth was lax and some employees should be fired. Furthemore, not all questions about Monmouth concerned the past; a recent defector from East Germany claimed that the East European laboratory where he had worked often received data secreted from Ft. Monmouth.
McCarthy held closed hearings and various witnesses invoked the 5th Amendment rather than answer questions about communism and even espionage. McCarthy was convinced that there was more subversion to uncover at the installation, and some worked at Monmouth, like Gen. Kirke Larton agreed with the Senator. This group of about 10 army men tried to fire those they deemed security risks, but when the cases went higher – to the Pentagon, the firing decisions were reversed by the federal Loyalty Board, and the “risks” reinstated. Gen. Larton even praised Sen. McCarthy during these hearings. Also attending some of these hearings was John Adams, Army counsel, who disapproved and deemed them a witch hunt.
Because of his efforts to cleanse Ft. Monmouth and his praise for McCarthy, Gen. Larton soon discovered that he was passed over for an expected promotion. Then he would find his army career at an end. Others, too, felt the pressure from on high. Army attorney John Adams viewed many of the “risks” as innocent victims, while judging Gen. Larton as demoralizing the work-force at Monmouth with his super security concerns. When an Army dentist at Monmouth, who was a member of the Communist Party, received a promotion, McCarthy wanted to know who was responsible. He called Army Gen. Ralph Zwicker, in charge of the Fort, and berated him when he did not answer the main question - “ Who promoted Peress?”
Some complained that McCarty was humiliating an officer of the US Army, and that is impermissible. The stage was set for Ike's counter-attack: the Army-McCarthy hearings.
And with them, the anti-subversion hearings a Ft. Monmouth came to a halt. The Army, in silent collaboration with Pres. Eisenhower, counter-attacked with charges against McCarthy. It was clear that the main thrust of the Army's counter punch would be the implied unnatural relationship between McCarthy's counsel, Roy Cohn and a committee investigator who had recently been drafted, David Schine. Cohn contended that Schine was essential for the committee's work and pressured the Army to give the draftee more week-end passes during basic training in New Jersey. Cohn sought other privileges for his young colleague, but when the Army refused all Cohn's demands, according to army officials, Cohn threatened to destroy the Army.
Liberal Republican Thomas Dewey, also involved in the assault against McCarthy, suggested attorney Joseph Welch to lead the prosecution for the Army. The hearings were to be televised. At a time when on television the “I Love Lucy” show could not even mention the word “pregnant” to describe Lucy's condition, the word “homosexual” was as taboo as the act was illegal. Innuendo was used by Welch. With Roy Cohn on the witness stand, Welch probed into what work was accomplished on those week-end passes. What was he and Schine doing? On the stand, complaining about a doctored photograph introduced into evidence by Cohn, Welch wanted to know if the picture had been altered by pixies. McCarty interrupted to ask Welch for his definition of a pixie. Something akin to a fairy, Welch replied. McCarthy interjected that Welch might be an expert on that. Both sides invoked the anti-gay jabs, but the heart of the Army position was that McCarthy had humiliated an Army general because Cohn could not get more privileges for his friend, Schine. Some began to wonder what Cohn might have on McCarthy, that he allowed Cohn to make such demands on the Army. During the hearings, the Army held one witness in reserve – a chauffeur of Schine. This driver maintained that on the weekend pass days, he would drive the pair from New Jersey to New York City; he also witnessed Cohn and Schine having sex in the back seat. But as the hearings were having the desired effect, McCarthy's popularity in polls was plummeting, the Army case raced forward without the driver.
To stress the point, liberal Republican Sen. Ralph Flanders of Vermont gave a speech in the Senate calling McCarthy a menace, comparing him to Hitler, and emphasizing that the core of the Army-McCarthy hearings was the “personal relationships” between Cohn and Schine. Cohn's “passionate anxiety” to retain Schine as a staff employee. Flanders also asked what hold Cohn had on McCarthy.(277) Flanders was implying, in the euphemisms of the time, that all three were gay. McCarthy's stock continued to fall, and later the Senate would vote to condemn him.
There were issues that seemed to be resolved when the Senate condemned McCarthy. To defend his side, McCarthy sought to subpoena information where much of the planning for the hearings occurred. He was alleging that Schine was a hostage of the government that sought to derail his hearings on subversion at Monmouth. That at that meeting the government concocted a smear campaign against McCarthy and his employees. He wanted to see what happened at that meeting, and even some Democratic Senators thought that a proper request. President Eisenhower basically said no and invoked Executive Privilege to prevent any information going to Congress concerning advise to the President or his advisors. The major media celebrated the President's strong defense of the Executive branch and its powers.
Also, McCarthy had requested that government employees should inform him if they found something suspicious at work. In effect, McCarthy was asking for whistle-blowers. Eisenhower responded by wondering if such a call was itself a broach of security.(251) McCarthy asserted that Eisenhower was more worried about McCarthy moles in government than about Soviet agents. But Eisenhower's Executive Privilege won the day over McCarthy and his potential whistle-blowers.
Evans, in his book on McCarthy, notes the hypocrisy of the liberal media – it supported the Executive Privileges under Eisenhower when challenged by McCarthy, but when Pres. Richard Nixon invoked Executive Privilege, with one of the same attorneys, James St. Claire, who had worked it out for Eisenhower, - however this time, the Congress AND the media demanded the Nixon records, and even the Nixon tapes. Advisors to Nixon would not, should not, receive the protection to advise the President with the knowledge that their advise would not be made public. And today with President Trump, the liberal media support all the leaks provided by entrenched liberal bureaucrats against the new nationalist Administration. Apparently, the role of the whistle-blower and Executive Privilege depends less on the Constitution and more on whose ox is gored.
Nichols does show conclusively that Eisenhower was actively involved in the attack on McCarthy. Though both sides were willing to use the gay issue to their advantage, Eisenhower and the Army would use it most effectively against Cohn and Schine, and thus against McCarthy. While Nichols presents a record hostile to McCarthy, the Evans' book provides a different interpretation of the Cohn-Schine trip to Europe to purge American propaganda libraries, which did containe many works by Communists and those on the left, but little by authors on the right. Evans also attacks the Edward R. Murrow hit-piece on McCarthy, that Nichols mentions in his book as one of a series of events in the anti-McCarthy crescendo of mid 1954.
Nichols proves that Pres. Eisenhower was no bumbling, senile golfer ignorant of American politics. Eisenhower was leading the troops against McCarthy, but doing so behind the scenes. He viewed McCarthy as a threat, and after the televised hearings, got the Senate to condemn McCarthy and break his power. However, as a new book, this one fails. Nichols writes as if he were still in the 1950s. Since then there have been more revelations of how the Soviets did penetrate the American government. He ignores such exposes so that he can continue to write, as did liberals of the earlier era, that Hoover and McCarthy and others were paranoid, on witch hunts, destroying freedom, bullying, boorish, unseemly, even lower class. Now, we know there were witches who provided important information to our adversaries. Because of the new material, an author should reasses the conflict between McCarthy and Eisenhower and the other liberals. With new information, McCarthy seems prescient; his liberal opponents blind, bumbling, deceptive, and vindictive. Nichols refuses to reboot. His book was outdated on the day of its publication.

Communists in the American government were not all “spies” providing secret documents. They might simply provide bad advice – advice meant to promote Soviet interests rather than those of the US. And some did steal secrets. Today, we know there was much more subversion than we wanted to believe back then. Suitcases of documents! McCarthy may have been closer to the truth than Gen. Marshall, President Eisenhower, and the New York Times. Nichols fails to consider this possibility. Or should I write, probability?