Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A fact the Left ignores: the KGB seriously infiltrated postwar America - Telegraph Blogs

Great timing, as I just started reading Whittaker Chambers this week.

= )

By Peter Whittle

Joe McCarthy’s anti-communist campaign during the post-war era in the US remain one of the great totemic events in liberal-Left mythology. Every time there is a revival of Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, solemn words are trotted out about how this metaphor for the appalling witch-hunts which ruined careers is a devastating indictment of irrational fear, blah blah blah.

Well, not exactly. The point of The Crucible is that there were no witches. But back in the real world, there certainly were spies. A new book, Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America by John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliev, tells us quite how many. It offers further proof that Soviet infiltration in the US was vast. The most important revelation in the book is the remarkable number of prewar and wartime Americans – over 500, from a great variety of backgrounds – who assisted Soviet intelligence.

One of their number, Alger Hiss, became a liberal hero, an innocent who was maligned by McCarthy’s obsession. As the book recounts, this view persisted despite persuasive evidence of his treachery. Academic chairs were set up in his honour. But this new book, having looked at all the fresh evidence, is damming. The files show that after the Yalta conference Hiss was secretly awarded the order of the Red Star during a visit to Moscow.

The book concentrates on the wartime period but The Mitrokhin files, which were released in 1992, and which dealt more specifically with the postwar era, came to the same conclusion.

Despite all this new information, available since the fall of the Soviet Union, it’s astonishing how the mythology persists. Of course the mania which characterised McCarthy’s crusade obviously didn’t help the anti-communist cause, but perhaps the fact that there was no victory parade for the end of the cold war has allowed the liberal-Left version of what happened during those years to remain intact.

If you doubt that it is has, try to imagine a Hollywood film which told the story of the treachery of Hiss. No, neither can I. Instead, we get George Clooney’s Goodnight and Good Luck.

A fact the Left ignores: the KGB seriously infiltrated postwar America - Telegraph Blogs

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