Will the Rosenberg's Son Robert Ever Admit the Truth?





Mr. Radosh is author of Commies: A Journey Through the Old Left, the New Left and the Leftover Left and is a senior adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute.

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Dear Robert:

It has been fifty years since your parents’ execution, and it is understandable that as the son whom their actions betrayed -- along with their country -- you should still cling to the idea of their innocence. But in the decades since 1953, we have learned much about your father, Julius Rosenberg, and the contributions he made to the Soviet Union as an active espionage agent. We also know, contrary to what you claim in your new book, An Execution in the Family: One Son’s Journey, that your mother -- Ethel Rosenberg -- was not an innocent housewife as many of those who concede her husband’s guilt maintain. The Venona cables, which you discuss but never quote, prove conclusively that she was a knowledgeable accessory to your father’s espionage, and that she also recommended others to be recruited to the KGB. In a conspiracy case, that alone is sufficient for a person to be included in an indictment.

But you seem unable to grasp that the case against your parents was part of an effort to break an important Soviet espionage network, one that your father put together. Instead you insist on referring to it as a political trial meant to serve as a warning to the “progressive” Left, to strike fear into their hearts, as you put it in a recent interview, and to prove that “left-wingers were really agents of a foreign power.” As though this were not indeed the truth, at least in the case of active spies.

Why can’t you admit that the Venona decrypts conclusively prove that American Communists were indeed agents of a foreign power? The same decrypts show that your father put together a network of seven primary sources and two active liaison-couriers, as well as three others who carried out support work. All of these people were recruited, as was your father, from the ranks of the American Communist Party. Your father stole top secret military data, including the proximity fuse that years later the Soviets used to shoot down Major Francis Gary Powers’ U-2 plane. Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes refer to the fuse as “one of the most innovative advances of American military technology,” for which Moscow awarded your father a $1,000 bonus in March 1945.

Of course, we also know -- as Joyce Milton and I argued back in 1983 -- that the death sentence for your mother was intended by the prosecution as a “lever” to pressure your father to confess so they could move against his ring. But the government never expected to carry these executions out; indeed, even J. Edgar Hoover sent a memo opposing the execution of your mother. But as Communist true believers, they refused to confess, preferring martyrdom -- and making their own children orphans -- to telling the truth and saving their lives. Your uncle, David Greenglass, who also sought to stop the execution, put it accurately when he said that your parents “could have cleared themselves.” All they had to do was tell the truth.

I know that you have suffered greatly, and that as you reveal in your memoir, you have struggled to come to terms with what their trial means for our history. You make a start; but you fall far short of accomplishing your goal. You continue to give credence to myths that have long been answered. You insist that Venona is “devastating…to the government’s case,” when in fact, it establishes beyond doubt that your father was a Soviet spy. You say you now “accept the possibility” that he participated in what you call an “illegal and covert effort to help the Soviet Union defeat the Nazis,” forgetting that as a Communist his ambition was to overthrow the government of the United States, as well. You also denigrate the confirmation of the role your father played, provided by his KGB control Alexander Feklisov, writing him off in two pages as a “disreputable character interested in self-aggrandizement and financial gain.” However, any reader of his book knows that his motivation is only to honor and “to rehabilitate the name of” the Rosenbergs, whom he considers to have been genuine Soviet partisans.

Your contention that your father’s espionage for one of the bloodiest tyrants in history is understandable because he had bad eyesight and could not enter the U.S. Army, is sad, even desperate. I could understand if, like Feklisov, you argued that your parents were committed Communists who put their ideals into practice by stealing the military secrets of the imperialists to help their Soviet comrades. I would find that a rather poor excuse, but at least one that is honest. But instead, you continue to assert that the agencies that released the new evidence regularly practice “disinformation,” and are thus intent on creating “false leads to show my parents’ guilt.” In this way, instead of exculpating your parents’ crimes against their country, you continue them.

In the end the truth remains that your parents were traitors who betrayed their country and their sons for an illusion. They acted with courage, but for a cause that was corrupt. By recognizing this you would restore their humanity, and perhaps heal the wound you obviously still feel. Instead, you have chosen to continue the charade, pretending that their cause was noble and that they were heroes of an American “resistance.” Resistance to what?

For your own sake, I hope you are mentally prepared for the inevitable day when the KGB’s own archives reveal that your parents were guilty. Get ready, because it’s going to be soon.

Sincerely,

Ron Radosh

 


This article first appeared on frontpagemag.com and is reprinted with permission.


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More Comments:


James Erikson - 12/18/2003

Here's a good site with information on LeMay: "Curtis LeMay - Demented Cold Warrior"
http://www.geocities.com/lemaycurtis/


Josh Greenland - 7/6/2003

Kurt stated earlier that Robert Conquest's figures for the Soviet 1932-3 "famine/terror" ranged from 6-10 million.

My web search found that Conquest has claimed as many as 14 million were killed in the famine.


Josh Greenland - 7/6/2003

"Josh Greenland engages in a typical kind of bullying gambit here, which might be titled the "reversal of responsibility gambit."

"Mr. Greenland, it was not I who made a claim about Robert Conquest's unreliability, you did. I did not link him to Ukrainian fascists, you did. It is not my responsibility to defend him against these outlandish charges, it is YOUR responsibility to back up the charges you yourself made."

Nice try, Elia, but it's you who is trying to support claims that the Soviet Union murdered 30 million people, and you put Conquest forward as a credible source. It's up to you to show why Conquest is credible. Of course you haven't bothered, just asserted that he is credible. Sorry, not convincing.

"And especially, I know of no credible charge against Mr. Conquest along the lines of the substantial charges against Michael Bellesiles. For you even to hint at a comparison of the two men is scandalous.

"Since no credible charge against Robert Conquest exists I see no need to go into depth citing the sources he himself uses in his voluminous works"....

I think credible charges against Conquest exist, but again, if you want to convince me that he is worth taking seriously, you'll need to discredit those.

I did some looking on the Internet and most of what I found so far was discussion of the credibility of Conquest's Soviet murder figures. Of these, two general types of articles or essays exist: one type calls Conquest's numbers controversial and notes that many historians think they are too high, often penned by academics or people who claim detailed knowledge; the other are uniformly by anti-communists who assert that Conquest is credible and don't bother to deal with claims to the contrary (like you so far).

One essay claimed to have found 200 factual errors in Conquest's work.

And a few years ago, the Counterpunch newsletter claimed that Conquest had INVOLVEMENT with Ukrainian "nationalist" groups. I haven't yet found a mention from another source on that claim.

However, a couple of items indicate that an article in the British Guardian in 1978 exposed Conquest as working with an British intelligence agency whose initials were IRD that was targeted largely against the USSR and which regularly used forgery and falsification as part of its mission (much like our CIA). The last name of the author of the article is supposed to be Leigh. I could not get the article from the Guardian site itself.

I had forgotten that Robert Conquest had written the rightwing wacko book What To Do When The Russians Come. I'm sorry, Elia, but anyone who seriously thought the Soviets were going to invade the US in the 1980s was ignorant, seriously deluded, insane, a liar, or some combination of these. There is NO WAY the USSR, as impoverished as we at that time knew it to be, could have gotten an invasion force over huge and highly defensible natural barriers to attack the continental US, a country with a population equal in size to that of the USSR, equal or superior in technology, and much wealthier. This is just ludicrous, and discredits the guy to me as much as everything else put together. "Red Dawn" was an entertaining movie, but it was fiction. And if YOU believed in the "Red Dawn" scenario, sorry, you've got REAL problems, too.

"But regarding the questions at the end of your post, first, the 30 million dead estimate is for the Soviet Union alone. However, I did not say this figure was "accurate," I said it was "reasonable." No one can know a precise figure for reasons having to do with the very nature of the hideous regime that brought these deaths about. My specific numbers did not add up to 30 million only because I merely referred to SOME of Stalin's many crimes."...

Okay, so you've answered ONE of my FOUR questions (#1, are the deaths only for the USSR?). Let me ask #2 again: is the 30 million figure just murders under Stalin, or for the whole time the USSR existed?

"I did not mention the millions [killed in many other types of Soviet state murder.]"

Truthfully, I think you haven't mentioned them because I don't think you bothered to look into these sources you've thrown at me to make the effort to read, so you don't know how they break down the numbers that add up to approximately 30 millions murdered. (You did at least answer my question #4, which asked if you claimed all the non-farm belt killings were done in the Soviet prison system, with a "no.")

Do you even know if these include those who died on the battle field in military service to the USSR, or Axis soldiers killed on the battlefield by the USSR? (I'm re-asking question #3 here.)

"Or the anti-Semtici pogroms underway at the end of his life."

Elia, I have NEVER heard of pogroms perpetrated by the USSR. Who made this assertion?

"A vastly better funded effort to discover the victims of the Holocaust has never reached finality. How much less can we expect to reach an exact account when there has been so little interest in reaching it either in the West or in Russia iteself?"

What do you mean by finality? Isn't there a generally accepted number or range of numbers of people killed in the holocaust?

I find it hard to believe there would be no interest in determining how many of supposed many millions were killed in the USSR, or that no one is interested enough to bring still-living killers to justice, since efforts to determine death numbers and to try those responsible have occurred everywhere in the modern world where the perpetrators' regimes fell as completely as the USSR did. Maybe the interest is less than one would think because there just haven't been tens of millions of murders? And maybe the murders almost all occurred in the 1930s, dissipating much of the normal energy of vengeance over 50+ years? That we hear so much from the Ukrainians, and so little from anyone else, suggests to me that the at least partially Soviet-caused farmbelt famine was the biggest mass killing the Soviets did.

"Whatever that final count, it is in the many millions. I guess, given this, it is hard for me to see what you are quibbling about. The man was a collosal disease of human history."

There's a big difference between 3 and 30 million, Elia. Some good-hearted people claim that one murder is as evil as 1000 or 1,000,000, but I'm sorry, the more one murders, the worse one is, and 30 million is an order of magnitude worse than 3 million. Robert Conquest, the more rabid Ukrainian "nationalist" groups and the other hardcore anti-communist groups ARE saying that the Soviets are "just as bad as the Nazis" when they claim they killed a comparable number of people. But from what I've read, the 30 million Soviet (mostly or all under Stalin) murder figure is very hard to believe, for one, because no matter HOW good any regime was at keeping things quiet, killing 15% of its own would have been more obvious at the time than the Soviet killings were, AND, because it's difficult to accept that the USSR could have killed all or most of that figure before & during WWII and still beat the Axis, or that the killings happened during Stalin's reign and the USSR could have beat the Axis AND rebuilt itself after the war. That's 15% of its population in 1940, something like one out of every seven Soviet people. No, I just don't buy it.

I need to come back to the Soviet vs. Nazi death figures because this question was being fought out in the documents I looked in the web that included discussion of Robert Conquest. One Ukrainian source (repeated by Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe) bluntly asserted that Soviet murder figures were equivalent to Nazi ones, and those who did not agree with Conquest's figures were very unhappy with his and others' efforts to equate Nazi and Soviet murder figures.

And there are your words, Elia: "What ought to be controversial is that there can be any doubt at all about Stalin's horrors being co-eqaul with Hitlers, especially on an interchange for historians."

It's controversial even with the 30 million Soviet death figure because the numbers aren't equivalent. One essay stated that historians think that the Nazis killed at least 50 million, which sounds credible to me. So how is 30 million equivalent to 50 million? I can believe the Ukrainian "nationalists" would attempt to fool others into believing the Nazis killed only around 30 million, but are YOU trying to falsely pretend Hitler's people killed at least 20 million less than they did? I'd just like to know, Elia.


john horse - 7/1/2003

For a second opinion about the Rosenbergs, check out the NPR Talk of the Nation radio show on the Rosenbergs at http://www.npr.org/display_pages/features/feature_1302805.html
(real audio required).

Instead of hearing what Radosh says Rosenberg's son (Rober Meeropol) supposedly believes, hear it for yourself from Mr. Meeropol. Also on the show is Sam Roberts, author of The Brother: The Untold Story of the Rosenberg Case. Unlike what Radosh claims, based on his research Roberts has concluded that Ethel Rosenberg was innocent.

Please listen to the program and determine the truth for yourself.


Don Williams - 7/1/2003

"What to Do When The Russians Come: A Survivor's Guide" (1985) --
see http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0812862422/qid=1057023703/sr=1-13/ref=sr_1_13/104-6739449-4266336?v=glance&s=books
or search Amazon.com for "Robert Conquest"
-----------
(snicker)

Mr Conquest was a favorite of Reagan --since his books gave a ideological basis for Reagan's defense buildup. As a result,
over $3 Trillion of federal debt was dumped on the taxpayers by the Reagan/Bush1 massive defense budgets. The US defense budget was 7.5% of GDP while the second and third largest economies --Germany and Japan -- were only spending 3% and 1% respectively, even though they were located mere miles from "The Evil Empire".

Every year, US workers have to pay hundreds of billions just in interest on the Reagan/Bush debt and $Trillions are being stolen from the Trust Funds for Social Security/Medicare/Government employee retirement,etc.

As a result, US baby boomers entering retirement in a few years may gain a greater appreciation for the Ukrainian famine than they anticipate today.


Don Williams - 6/30/2003

That there were a large number of deaths under Stalin seems clear. What is not clear, to me at least, is how many of those deaths were intentional killings on his part, how many were accidental byproducts of poor economic policy, and how many were the result of disease (as Duranty argued.)

This was prior to the discovery of Penicillin --millions died of the Spanish flu circa 1918 --yet we don't say their governments "murdered" them.

One argument I've seen is that the amount of grain requisitioned from the Ukraine was not above what past harvests had provided and that people in the cities would have starved if not for the requisition. On the other hand, some of the grain was sold in one year in Europe when it should have been used to feed the hungary.
In subsequent years, grain sales were reduced, as I recall, by about 80%.

Perhaps Mr Markell can clarify how many of those 30 million?? were actually murdered?


Roxman - 6/30/2003

I don't see your point. Mr Markell is not responsible for the view of the United States government during World War II. The official view was that any allies were welcome, no matter how bad (although opinion within the U.S. government was certainly split during the war in its views on Stalin and Communism) in the battle against Hitler. I believe even Sir Winston Churchill was quoted to the effect that if Hitler declared war on Hell, he (Churchill) would be forced to utter a favorable comment on the Devil in the House of Commons!


Roxman - 6/30/2003

Doesn't speak very well for Time magazine, does it? To name the greatest butcher of the twentieth century "Man of the Year" defies belief!


Don Williams - 6/30/2003

You mistake true patriotism --love of the land and fellow citizens -- with sycophantic buttkissing of your favorite politican. I see no reason to respond to your first paragraph -- a barrage of false, incoherent accusations.

Re the "Whores of Israel", I think that is a fair description of a substantial group in Congress. The huge campaign donations given by supporters of Israel are well known. I explained in a post below why Sept 11 was provoked by Bush's unsavory support for Sharon's aggression -- see http://www.hnn.us/comments/13865.html .
Instead of feeling shame that their pandering to Sharon brought on the deaths of 3000+ Americans, Israel's whores covered up their responsibility in the news media and continued their behavior.
Consider the Resolution passed in May 2002,for example:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,51786,00.html

This has little to do with American Jews. This is a case of cynical Republicans, some of whom are closet anti-Semitics in my opinion, engaged in a ploy to court the Democratic Party's primary financiers away from it -- in order to damage the Democrats. Republicans who don't give a shit that their little political games brought on Sept 11 and and will probably bring on another attack.

It is one thing for the US to become engaged in a prolonged war with a billion Muslims as a matter of national defense. It is another thing entirely for Bush and the Republicans to let a shitty little country manipulate us into such a war merely for campaign donations.

_People who place their alligance to Israel --whether heartfelt or purchased -- above their duty to America are hardly in a position to question my patriotism.


Bill Heuisler - 6/30/2003

Mr. Williams,
Is masochism a problem? Tyros normally subtitute bluster and transferral for argument, but your sham has become shameless.
You dance around issues by comparing Bush to Stalin and the Depression to the systematic killing of millions of Kulaks. You defend the USSR/Stalin throughout by excusing evil, quibbling about victims and demonizing Le May and W (Your post on 6/25 at 9:26 for instance). Trying to place the US and the USSR on equal moral footing, you unconsciously expose a vast ignorance of history, a moral quietus and a twisted world view.

The "whores of Israel" comment was childish and disgusting, but your boot-licking, mind-reading rationale for Soviet nuclear obduracy was the ultimate abasement. You wrote:
"On the other hand, Russians rejected because no way to ensure US would live up to it’s promise after Russia exposed her secret facilities to inspection."

Your so-obvious wishful complicity is pathetic. At least Noam and Howard are honest about their peculiar affections.
Bill Heuisler


Elia Markell - 6/30/2003


Josh Greenland engages in a typical kind of bullying gambit here, which might be titled the "reversal of responsibility gambit."

Mr. Greenland, it was not I who made a claim about Robert Conquest's unreliability, you did. I did not link him to Ukrainian fascists, you did. It is not my responsibility to defend him against these outlandish charges, it is YOUR responsibility to back up the charges you yourself made.

And especially, I know of no credible charge against Mr. Conquest along the lines of the substantial charges against Michael Bellesiles. For you even to hint at a comparison of the two men is scandalous.

Since no credible charge against Robert Conquest exists I see no need to go into depth citing the sources he himself uses in his voluminous works (or sources in the Black Book of Communism, for that matter). They are there for you to inspect, which you clearly have not done, before launching your reckless accusations. This is not a court of law. But even if it were, you as accuser have the obligation to present your facts, not I as defender.

But regarding the questions at the end of your post, first, the 30 million dead estimate is for the Soviet Union alone. However, I did not say this figure was "accurate," I said it was "reasonable." No one can know a precise figure for reasons having to do with the very nature of the hideous regime that brought these deaths about. My specific numbers did not add up to 30 million only because I merely referred to SOME of Stalin's many crimes. I did not mention the millions of suspect ethnic or national groups he deported to frozen waste lands at various times. I did not mention the deportations and executions of millions of returning Russian soldiers in WWII who had been in German POW camps or had had any other contact with the infectious capitalist powers. I did not mention the regular slave labor disappearances that went on throughout his entire reign. Or the anti-Semtici pogroms underway at the end of his life. A vastly better funded effort to discover the victims of the Holocaust has never reached finality. How much less can we expect to reach an exact account when there has been so little interest in reaching it either in the West or in Russia iteself?

Whatever that final count, it is in the many millions. I guess, given this, it is hard for me to see what you are quibbling about. The man was a collosal disease of human history. The Rosenbergs had plenty of reason to know if this had they not closed their minds to the many sources of it -- for instance, Kravchenko's "I Chose Freedom," published in 1944 and a best seller for some time. That they turned a blind eye to this truth in the name of a utopian longing is a shame, not an excuse.


Josh Greenland - 6/30/2003

"Josh, if you are going to present yourself as qualified to condemn (and even smear as a fascist stooge) as solid and substantiated a historian as Robert Conquest, you'd better watch out how you also reveal your total ignorance of this topic. "

In other words, you don't know anything that might cause anyone to trust Conquest, so you go on the attack with bluster and ad hominems. Good going, Elia.

"Whatever "The Black Book of Communism" may SOUND like to you because of its title, it is indeed credible, has been widely reported on and evaluated favorably"....

So was Michael Bellesiles' fraudulent book Arming America. What SPECIFICALLY could you tell me that might make me believe this isn't another academic anti-communist hack job?

"Here is a review from that Ukrainian-fascist front, Publishers Weekly:"....

The Publishers' Weekly is a book trade rag that never gives a bad review. It also wrote favorably about Arming America. You aren't making the luridly titled "Black Book of Communism sound any more credible.

I'll restate the questions that you haven't yet answered:

You say that 30 million murder figure for Kurt's terrible "left wing cause" is accurate.

1) What government or governments are responsible for those murders? (Is this only about the Soviet Union or other governments as well?) You were never explicit about this.

2) What time period does this number cover? (For instance, if the numbers refer to the USSR only, are they for the whole time the USSR existed, or only until Stalin died?)

3) Does the 30 million figure of people killed by this government or these governments include enemy soldiers killed on the battlefield?

4) If you are talking only about the USSR, are you really claiming that the USSR killed 20-24 million of its people in its prison system?

And, can you see how it might appear to others that you are whitewashing the Nazis when you try to claim that Stalin killed an equivalent or larger number of people?


Don Williams - 6/30/2003

1) None of my comments smeared Robert Conquest
2) My points have not been to defend Stalin but to simply
note that our view of him today is much different from the
view held back in the 1940s --partly due to info not being
known at the time (or covered up ), partly because Americans
were grateful that millions of Russians were losing their lives killing millions of Germans and thereby saving the lives of millions of American soldiers, and partly because the US government projected a benign picture of him in it's powerful wartime propaganda to justify him as an ally. That was in the context in which the Rosenbergs et al
acted.
3) In my post above, I gave the explanation supplied by Ted Hall
for why he thought the US government should not have a nuclear monopoly. Earlier , I gave the pros and cons for that position==
and asked for further comments.

Mr Markell et al ducked the main issue -- they have NOT stated that they think we would be better off if the US had kept a monopoly on nuclear weapons over the past 60 years much less explain WHY they think we would be better off.

Certainly there was nothing in the atomic bombing of Japan -- or in LaMay's firebombing of Japanese cities -- to suggest to the Rosenbergs that the US government would have held back from conquering the rest of the world and creating a global empire if it had kept a nuclear monopoly. (I,on the other hand, did not the deep postwar cuts in the defense budget for 1945-48).

History indicates that global empires tend to become military dictatorships --e.g, the way the Roman Republic collapsed into the dictatorship of the Caesars after Rome conquered the rest of the Mediterrean. I can spell out the process in detail if you wish -- the destruction of the middle class by imports of cheap foreign labor/products, concentration of wealth,growth of corruption,etc.
The average Roman citizen suffered as well as the people in conquered provinces.

RE Your question that "We have learned that on at least two occasions the Soviet Union carefully considered Nuclear First Strikes: Against us during the Cuban affair and against China during a period of near-war. Is there a comparable body of evidence documenting crimes by the United States or the threat of a First Strike? If not, why not? "

there is evidence that the US military,esp Curtis LeMay -- recommended First Use of nuclear weapons on several occasions--only to be held back by Truman. It was always held out as a possibly in Europe to deter Russian armor at the Fulda Gap.
Consider also the following source: http://www.mcgoodwin.net/pages/otherbooks/rr_darksun.html
This site has a summary of points from "Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb" by Richard Rhodes. Some excerpts

------------
a) "18) LeMay of SAC wants a war plan and more bombers to allow a long-range first-strike bombing capability, capable of dropping 80% of atomic stockpile in one attack. Deployment of B36s, B50s, midair refueling, high-altitude radar-directed bombing. US nuclear stockpile consists of 56 Mark III bombs (i.e., Fat Man designs that could accommodate solid Christy or composite cores). NATO created April 1949. Cold War momentum gains. "

b) "Heavy bombing of N Korea includes SAC bombers and includes first use extensive use of napalm. US and Truman come close to using atomic bombs in Korea, having moved 9 Mark IV nuclear cores to USAF custody probably in Guam. One bomber crashes and explodes the HE component of a core-less atomic bomb, killing General Travis-- base is renamed Travis AFB."

c) "27) Evaluation of relative strengths of US and USSR have evolved from overwhelming superiority to mutual destructive capability. Concepts of preventive and preemptive war considered. Proliferation of targets and nuclear stockpile. Threats of nuclear confrontation. Curtis LeMay as CINCSAC contemplates provoking war while US is stronger, and pushes provocative reconnaissance actions to the brink (e.g., US Navy PB4Y-2 shot down 4/8/90; US-sponsored British night-flying B-45s). Bombs are not fitted out with PAL Permissive Action Links until the 1960s. LeMay seems to have plans for independent action contrary to US policy. "

d) "Cuban Revolution 1959. Cuban Missile Crisis October 1962 brings US closest to nuclear war ever (unknown to the CIA, the Soviets had 20 nuclear warheads at the time in Cuba for medium-range missiles that could be targeted as far north as Wash DC). Thomas Power as head of SAC and LeMay (chief of USAF) feel we lost by not using our nuclear weapons! Numerous examples of snafus in command and control which might have led to war, and the zeal of the SAC commanders hoping to provoke war. LeMay's belligerent attitude toward Kennedy, whom he believed to be as coward."



john horse - 6/30/2003

Thanks Hepatitus. I think you were right on target about Radosh. He is mean-spirited. He could have written about his version of the Rosenberg case without this call for Rosenberg's son to denounce his parents. Denouncing your parents was something done in totalitarian societies like Stalin's Russia. One thing I've come to expect from right-wing historians like Radosh and Horowitz is a certain degree of nastiness.


Bill Heuisler - 6/30/2003

Mr. Williams,
Smearing Conquest to defend Iosif Dzhugashvili's record seems an indecent waste of time. Your 1945 Time article referred to our ally as "Russia" and Ethel's kids were probably too young to read anyway. Surely Time Magazine is as effective a political and cultural waypoint as Reader's Digest is a literary abstract, and therefore your argument suffers by association. If you must posit moral equivalency among Roosevelt, Truman and Stalin find a better bible. In fact, read Koestler or Solzhenitsyn.

Numbers? Even Stalin's successor admitted he was a monster. Nikita Khrushchev gave his so-called "secret speech" in early 1961; he continued his denunciations of Stalin's excesses - purges, famines, gulags and millions of martyrs - at the Twenty Second Communist Party Congress in October, 1961. Svetlana admitted her father was madman and murderer. The Venona papers endlessly, document victims, brutes and busy enablers.

We have learned that on at least two occasions the Soviet Union carefully considered Nuclear First Strikes: Against us during the Cuban affair and against China during a period of near-war. Is there a comparable body of evidence documenting crimes by the United States or the threat of a First Strike? If not, why not? Glibly equating self-defense with murder and comparing a system that nurtures freedom to one that created the Gulag is absurd.

You seem passionate, but sadly out-of-your-depth. Where/how has such misguided fervor been spawned and nurtured? And why?
Bill Heuisler



Don Williams - 6/28/2003

Again, Markell et al overlook rosy view of Stalin put out during World War II by US government and government-steered mainstream press.


Elia Markell - 6/28/2003

Josh, if you are going to present yourself as qualified to condemn (and even smear as a fascist stooge) as solid and substantiated a historian as Robert Conquest, you'd better watch out how you also reveal your total ignorance of this topic.

Whatever "The Black Book of Communism" may SOUND like to you because of its title, it is indeed credible, has been widely reported on and evaluated favorably (though perhaps not by the "historians" crackpot enough to link Conquest to Ukrainian fascists) and has had a profound and devastating impact on discussions about communism in France and elsewhere in Europe. That is less so here, where, thank God, communism remained largely the infatuation of cranks and dilettantes, hence less need for the corrective the book provides (though not that much less, I would argue, because of the romanticizing of communism by many non-communists).

In any case, it is "The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression" by Stephane Courtois, Mark Kramer (Translator), Jonathan Murphy (Translator), Nicolas Werth, Jean-Louis Panne, Andrzej Paczkowski, Karel Bartosek, Jean-Louis Margolin (Harvard Univ Press, October 1999)

Here is a review from that Ukrainian-fascist front, Publishers Weekly:

In France, this damning reckoning of communism's worldwide legacy was a bestseller that sparked passionate arguments among intellectuals of the Left. Essentially a body count of communism's victims in the 20th century, the book draws heavily from recently opened Soviet archives. The verdict: communism was responsible for between 85 million and 100 million deaths in the century. In France, both sales and controversy were fueled, as Martin Malia notes in the foreword, by editor Courtois's specific comparison of communism's "class genocide" with Nazism's "race genocide." Courtois, the director of research at the prestigious Centre Research National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris and editor of the journal Communisme, along with the other distinguished French and European contributors, delivers a fact-based, mostly Russia-centered wallop that will be hard to refute: town burnings, mass deportations, property seizures, family separations, mass murders, planned famines -- all chillingly documented from conception to implementation. The book is divided into five sections. The first and largest takes readers from the "Paradoxes of the October Revolution" through "Apogee and Crisis in the Gulag System" to "The Exit from Stalinism." Seeing the U.S.S.R. as "the cradle of all modern Communism," the book's other four sections document the horrors of the Iron Curtain countries, Soviet-backed agitation in Asia and the Americas, and the Third World's often violent embrace of the system. A conclusionA"Why?"Aby Courtois, points to a bureaucratic, "purely abstract vision of death, massacre and human catastrophe" rooted in Lenin's compulsion to effect ideals by any means necessary. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Don Williams - 6/28/2003

Here is a February 1945 TIME magazine article re Germany's surrender which lists Stalin/Russia as one of the three main defenders of civilization. Again, where's the horns?

http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cold.war/episodes/01/1st.draft/


Don Williams - 6/28/2003

If you page down still further on the above site , you see
"HALL'S FINAL STATEMENT TO THE AUTHORS OF MARCH 24, 1997 " --
in which Ted Hall gave his views in 1997 as opposed to 1947.
An excerpt :

"During 1944 I was worried about the dangers of an American monopoly of atomic weapons if there should be a postwar depression. To prevent that monopoly I contemplated a brief encounter with a Soviet agent, just to inform them of the existence of the A-bomb project. I anticipated a very limited contact. With any luck it might easily have turned out that way, but it was not to be. Now I am castigated in some quarters as a traitor, although the Soviet Union at the time was not the enemy but the ally of the United States; the Soviet people fought the Nazis heroically, at tremendous human cost, and this may well have saved the Western Allies from defeat.

It has even been alleged that I "changed the course of history." Maybe the "course of history," if unchanged, would have led to atomic war in the past fifty years - for example the bomb might have been dropped on China in 1949 or the early fifties. Well, if I helped to prevent that, I accept the charge. But such talk is purely hypothetical. If we look at the real world we see that it passed through a very perilous period of imbalance, to reach the existing slightly less perilous phase of "MAD" (mutually assured destruction). .....
...In 1944 I was nineteen years old - immature, inexperienced and far too sure of myself. I recognize that I could easily have been wrong in my judgement of what was necessary, and that I was indeed mistaken about some things, in particular my view of the Soviet state. The world has moved on a lot since then, and certainly so have I. But in essence, from the perspective of my 71 years, I still think that brash youth had the right end of the stick. I am no longer that person; but I am by no means ashamed of him. "


Don Williams - 6/28/2003

The book "Bombshell=The Secret Story of America's Unknown Atomic Spy Conspiracy" by Joseph Albright and Marcia Kunstel makes for interesting reading. This site has two excerpts from the book which contain Ted Hall's explanation of why he gave Russia information on the atomic bomb (Ted Hall was one of the two main spies Russia had at Los Alamos --Klaus Fuchs was the other. My understanding is that Fuchs and Hall were unaware of each other. ). See http://www.bombshell-1.com/tedstm.htm (Page down past the BBC broadcast review to HALL'S STATEMENTS TO THE AUTHORS ON HIS MOTIVATION (January, 1997) . An excerpt:

"My decision about contacting the Soviets was a gradual one, and it was entirely my own. It was entirely voluntary, not influenced by any other individual or by any organization such as the Communist Party or the Young Communist League. I was never "recruited" by anyone. Nor was I prompted by any personal problems. I had grown up in a very loving family and had a successful and happy life.

During World War II, I shared the general sympathy for our allies, the Soviet Union. After they were attacked, everybody knew that they were bearing the main load in the fight against Nazi Germany. Their propaganda was characterized by a craving for peace far deeper than was apparent in the Western countries. I think this came about partly because the Soviet Union suffered devastation far greater than anything experienced in the West.

My political views had been shaped by the economic depression of the 1930s. With the New Deal Roosevelt had tried to restore prosperity, but this was only partly successful and it was not until the war that the depression really ended. What would happen when the war was over?

At nineteen I shared a common belief that the horrors of war would bring our various leaders to their senses and usher in a period of peace and harmony. But I had been thinking and reading about politics since an early age, and had seen that in a capitalist society economic depression could lead to fascism, aggression and war - as actually happened in Italy and Germany. So as I worked at Los Alamos and understood the destructive power of the atomic bomb, I asked myself what might happen if World War II was followed by a depression in the United States while it had an atomic monopoly?

In fact I was very optimistic. I didn't believe that there would necessarily be a depression or that a depression would necessarily lead to war. But it seemed to me that an American monopoly was dangerous and should be prevented. I was not the only scientist to take that view: for example Einstein and Bohr both felt keenly that the best political policy was to reach an understanding - the opposite of the Cold War. I remember reading that Bohr tried to persuade Roosevelt to send him to Stalin to work out a peace-directed alliance and policy.

I did not have an uncritical view of the Soviet Union. I believed the Soviet Union was a mixture of good and bad things, and hoped it would evolve favourably. But in any case there was no question of the Soviet Union ever having an atomic monopoly. "


Don Williams - 6/28/2003

Here is what TIME Magazine was telling America about Stalin in 1942 when they named him "Man of the Year":

An excerpt:
" The world reviled and caricatured the early Bolsheviks as bush-whiskered anarchists with a bomb in each hand. But Lenin, faced with hard facts and a war-beaten, superstitious, illiterate people, compromised with Marxism. Stalin, succeeding him, compromised still further, concentrated on building socialism in one state. Retained through the years of Russia's great upheaval was the basic conception that the ownership and operation of the means of production must be kept in the hands of the state.

Within Russia's immense disorderliness, Stalin faced the fundamental problems of providing enough food for the people and improving their lot, through 20th-Century industrial methods. He collectivized the farms and he built Russia into one of the four great industrial powers on earth. How well he succeeded was evident in Russia's world-surprising strength in World War II. Stalin's methods were tough, but they paid off.

The Present. The U.S., of all nations, should have been the first to understand Russia. Ignorance of Russia and suspicion of Stalin were two things that prevented it. Old prejudices and the antics of U.S. communists dangling at the end of the Party line were others. As Allies fighting the common enemy, the Russians have fought the best fight so far. As post-war collaborators, they hold many of the keys to a successful peace.

The two peoples who talk the most and scheme the biggest schemes are the Americans and the Russians. Both can be sentimental one moment, blazingly angry the next. Both spend their money freely for goods and pleasures, drink too much, argue interminably. Both are builders. The U.S. built mills and factories and tamed the land across a continent 3,000 miles wide. Russia tried to catch up by doing the same thing through a planned program that post-pioneer Americans would not have suffered. The rights as individuals that U.S. citizens have, the Russians want and believe they eventually will receive. Some of the discipline that the Russians have, the U.S. may need before the end of World War II. "

----------
As the New York Times cartoon said "Where's the horns"??


Josh Greenland - 6/28/2003

I was considering only Elia's gulag/other deaths figure when I wrote about 10%-12% of the Soviet total population number for 1940. 30 million would be 15% of the number of people in the USSR in 1940, which I understand was about 200 million.


Josh Greenland - 6/28/2003

"First, read the Black Book of Communism. It attempts to calculate these numbers, does so modestly, and arrives at a total of about 100 million for all communist regimes."

What exactly is the Black Book of Communism? The title suggests it does nothing modestly - or objectively.

"As for Stalin, estimates for the terror-famine of 1932-33 alone range from 6 to 10 million. See Robert Conquest's work on this."

My understanding from elsewhere on HNN is that Robert Conquest's Soviet killing figures are dismissed as too high by most historians.

I've read elsewhere that Robert Conquest is joined at the hip to Ukrainian groups whose oldest members are constantly dodging charges that they are Nazi collaborationist war criminals. Lets just say Mr. Conquest is not real credible.

"Anne Applebaum's recent "Gulag" contains some figures on the millions who perished in his slave labor prison system. In fact, there is nothing controversial about a 30 million estimate"....

Wait a minute. You just jumped from a 10 million top figure for Soviet-caused Ukrainian farm belt starvation and terror, to a 30 million killed altogether (by implication in the USSR though you aren't clear about that), and you toss it off with "in fact, there is nothing controversial"? What about the other 20-24 million? Are you suggesting that the gulags killed the equivalent of 10%-12% of the USSR's 1940 population? Pardon me, but I find this a bit hard to believe. If this happened before WWII, I don't know how the USSR could have fought off the Axis, and if it happened up to Stalin's death, I dont' know how the USSR could have won against the Axis and managed to rebuild after the war.

"What ought to be controversial is that there can be any doubt at all about Stalin's horrors being co-eqaul with Hitlers, especially on an interchange for historians."

What I don't understand is the need of so many anti-communists to minimize Hitler's actions by playing with death figures to make the actions of Communist governments seem to be as bad as or worse than his. It sometimes seems that you all want Hitler to be seen in a better light than he generally is seen in now.


Don Williams - 6/27/2003

In his post above, Mr Markell said:
"Walter Duranty of the New York Times won a Pulitzer for his reporting on the Soviet Union in 1932. He was busy that year and the next telling the world no famine was taking place in the Ukraine, even as he was telling officials privately he estimated ten million were dead. Meanwhile, refugees and honest reporters were telling the world of this horror unfolding. So you need to ask first, why Duranty was a hero to the liberal press that wanted to see him as a hero, why the Rosenbergs listened to such as Duranty (or the even more absurd and demented propagandists of the Party), and why any who claimed differently (and there were MANY) were so easily deligitimized when the Party and its duped intellectuals and fronts labeled them Nazi collaborators, which happened all the time with respect to Ukrainian refugees especially.

The only sense in which the Rosenbergs did not know of Stalin's crimes, in other words, is the sense in which they had already decided not to know because they did not want to know. "

*************
I think one sees a similar mindset in the Republican supporters of Bush. Any objective look at the economic impacts of Bush's act shows that he is bring disaster upon US citizens making less than $100,000 a year. Yet conservative pundits ignore this and refuse to talk about or acknowledge it.

How will elderly baby boomers cope 10 years hence when Social Security is unfunded by $7 Trillion, Medicare by $34 Trillion, and the Trust Fund "assets" consisted of $5 Trillion of Bush/Republican IOUs which Lawrence Lindsey acknowledged "are not real assets".


Elia Markell - 6/27/2003

I will answer this for you. First, read the Black Book of Communism. It attempts to calculate these numbers, does so modestly, and arrives at a total of about 100 million for all communist regimes. As for Stalin, estimates for the terror-famine of 1932-33 alone range from 6 to 10 million. See Robert Conquest's work on this. Anne Applebaum's recent "Gulag" contains some figures on the millions who perished in his slave labor prison system. In fact, there is nothing controversial about a 30 million estimate, though because of Communist totalitarianism's experise at hiding the truth and lining up apologists, a truly accurate total will probably never be possible. What ought to be controversial is that there can be any doubt at all about Stalin's horrors being co-eqaul with Hitlers, especially on an interchange for historians.


Josh Greenland - 6/26/2003

..."even if that cause murdered 30 million people or more."

Kurt, where do you get the 30 million figure from? And what exactly does it pertain to, just the USSR or all Communist governments? And if it's the USSR only, is that all people killed by it, or only people who are not enemy combatants?


Elia Markell - 6/26/2003

Your welcome, Kurt. And thanks also.


Don Williams - 6/26/2003

neither a fact nor a citation to factual data. Are you doing
your Ann Coulter imitation?


Bob Greene - 6/26/2003

As usual Don was giving the party line by reguritating every crackpot and screwball conspiracy fantasy of the loonie left.


Don Williams - 6/26/2003

as opposed to providing emotional arguments. After 50 years of Cold War, people have forgotten the US government's wartime support of Stalin -- and the US government's tight control of the media during the war.

They have also forgotten the enormous misery inflicted by the Great Depression and that the US government, owned by plutocrats , had repeatedly betrayed the common citizens of this country-- betrayed the people who fought this country's wars and the people whose hard work produced this nation's wealth.

PS See http://hnn.us/comments/14231.html
and http://hnn.us/comments/14232.html




Kurt - 6/25/2003

Thank you for the above comments, Don & Elia. Yours was a great exchange. Thank you Elia, for trying to reason and explain to us and to Don. I learned alot about Stalin, the Rosenburgs and the Cold War. Don, on the other hand, obviously was not interested in learning anything. Don starts out with a wilfull amnesia about the Rosenburgs. When that's explained, he quickly moves to moral equivalency arguments that the US supported Stalin & the communist gulags. When that's explained, he moves to more insulting "whores of Israel" argument. At no point does he show an interest in learning anything - even the obvious point that by the 1950's everyone should have known about Stalin's killing fields.
Ultimately, Don & Elia are talking on different plains. Elia is trying to understand history, while Don's purpose is to be true to a left wing cause, even if that cause murdered 30 million people or more.


Don Williams - 6/25/2003

See
http://hnn.us/comments/13865.html

PS If you're wondering why the Democrats have suddenly shut up about Bush's lying re the Iraqi WMDs, you might look here:
http://hnn.us/comments/14178.html

Maybe you would like to guess the real reason why the Judge ordered the Rosenbergs executed?



Elia Markell - 6/25/2003

Sorry, Don, your "whores of Israel" remark is where I bale. Should have earlier, probably.


Don Williams - 6/25/2003

See http://hallnonfiction.com/index.php/Mode/product/AsinSearch/630019888X/name/Why%2520We%2520Fight%2520-%2520The%2520Battle%2520of%2520Russia%253A%2520The%2520Nazi%2520March%2520Frozen/browse/746810/page/1

--described as "a known propaganda film used for recruiting in the United States during WWII."


Don Williams - 6/25/2003

Look at Ayn Rand's criticism of the 1943 US movie "Song of Russia"
--given to the House Unamerican Activities Committee in
1947. See http://www.noblesoul.com/orc/texts/huac.html

Maybe the atomic spies were an unintended side-effect of US wartime propaganda. Just as public statements from the many whores of Israel in the US Congress probably convinced Jonathan Pollard that it was ok to give our most important secrets to Israel.


Elia Markell - 6/25/2003


Don, the point you are trying to make, I take it, is that since the U.S. govt was trying to bolster's Stalin's image during the war, the Rosenbergs were entitled to carry out Stalin's detailed plans against this country from before the war, during the war, and to the date of their deaths eight years after the war -- and well into the time of the Cold War and virulent U.S. govt pr AGAINST Stalin. How could the Rosenbergs be so guillible about pro-Stalin propaganda during the war yet so impervious to anti-Stalin propaganda after the war.

In fact, the very article on Mission to Moscow to which you linked refutes the point you make:

"While the White House, Davies, and the OWI clearly tried to manage wartime culture via Mission to Moscow, domestic ally, the project fell far short of expectations. It was not successful at the box office and failed to persuade ordinary viewers and public opinion leaders alike. Noting Mission to Moscow's distorted view of the recent past, Suzanne La Follette and the philosopher John Dewey in the New York Times called the movie "totalitarian propaganda for mass consumption." A review by Eugene Lyons attacked the film as "Stalin-Worship."

In other words, if this lame U.S. effort to bolster Uncle Joe's image did not work even on ordinary Americans, how much less should it have worked on two well-educated Americans already deeply mired in a culture of paranoid antagonism toward the U.S. govt and its messages?


Don Williams - 6/25/2003

For example, look here: http://www.indiana.edu/~jah/teaching/archive/2001_09/teaching.shtml

1) Click particularly on the links to primary sources like the
1943 New York Times cartoon "What, No Horns?"

Consider the following direction to the Hollywood movie industry from the "Government Information Manual for the Motion Picture Industry," from the Office of War Information:
--------
"Here are some specific suggestions, which, if dramatized, would increase our understanding of our Allies and the United Nation Front. . . .

Yes, we Americans reject Communism. But we do not reject our Russian Ally. Where would we be today if the Russians had not withstood heroically the savage Nazi invasion of their land? Would we have the same confidence in eventual victory if we were not sure that the Russians would continue their stubborn struggle?"


Elia Markell - 6/25/2003

There are some problems with this latest post of yours, Don. First, by the time of World War II, tens of thousands of American Communist Party members had already abandoned the party because of what they KNEW about Stalin's purges, the Hitler-Stalin pact and many other things. In fact, the Party was notoriously bad at holding people who joined mainly because of how transparently deceitful they were.

The facts about Stalin in particular were there in the 1930s for anyone to see who was at all ready to assess them without blinders. Walter Duranty of the New York Times won a Pulitzer for his reporting on the Soviet Union in 1932. He was busy that year and the next telling the world no famine was taking place in the Ukraine, even as he was telling officials privately he estimated ten million were dead. Meanwhile, refugees and honest reporters were telling the world of this horror unfolding. So you need to ask first, why Duranty was a hero to the liberal press that wanted to see him as a hero, why the Rosenbergs listened to such as Duranty (or the even more absurd and demented propagandists of the Party), and why any who claimed differently (and there were MANY) were so easily deligitimized when the Party and its duped intellectuals and fronts labeled them Nazi collaborators, which happened all the time with respect to Ukrainian refugees especially.

The only sense in which the Rosenbergs did not know of Stalin's crimes, in other words, is the sense in which they had already decided not to know because they did not want to know.

Now, secondly, and more as an aside, let's not come down on FDR regarding the Jews and the Nazis, shall we. Stalin did nothing to save the Jews either, and the main camps were in his line of fire much sooner than the Americans got near them. I know you are flailing around at this point trying to find some equivalency left to equivocate about. But this one is weak, indeed.


Don Williams - 6/24/2003

All they knew of Stalin was that he was a wartime ally highly valued by Roosevelt -- an ally who had lost several million Russian soldiers fighting the Nazis while Roosevelt-- having intelligence on the Jews being killed in the Nazi extermination camps-- did nothing.

Maybe they gave Stalin the atom bomb because they saw Churchill and Roosevelt giving Stalin Poland at Yalta.


Elia Markell - 6/24/2003

Are you serious in asking this? Is it possible this statement of mine did not answer your question, Mr. Williams?

"[The Rosenberg ring's] aid allowed Stalin to deepen his hold on his empire and continue his unfathomable mass murders to the day of his death. To protect those who helped him help this monster, Julius acquiesced in the death of his wife and the orphaning of his children."

I guess I would've thought a "no" would only have been redundant. But your "no" you shall have. NO.


Elia Markell - 6/24/2003

Are you serious in asking this? Is it possible this statement of mine did not answer your question, Mr. Williams?

"[The Rosenberg ring's] aid allowed Stalin to deepen his hold on his empire and continue his unfathomable mass murders to the day of his death. To protect those who helped him help this monster, Julius acquiesced in the death of his wife and the orphaning of his children."

I guess I would've thought a "no" would only have been redundant. But your "no" you shall have. NO.


Don Williams - 6/24/2003

eom


Elia Markell - 6/24/2003

All of Don Williams ramblings amount to this claim. We were as bad as, if not worse than, the Russians, so who cares about the Rosenberg's treason?

To accept that notion, you first have to forget that Japan attacked the U.S. not the other way round (And of course, also, there's that pesky fact that Hiroshima had not yet happened when David Greenglass made his little sketches, so how that justifies Julius's betrayal of his country escapes me.)

To accept it you also have to conceal from your conscience such truths as the hundreds of thousands of U.S. POWs who came home to the GI Bill of Rights as compared to the hundreds of thousands of Russian POWS who went home (often screaming to be allowed to stay) to their deaths in the -50 degrees Celsius of Kolyma's gold mines, etc. Or the six million starved on purpose in 1932-33 in Ukraine, or the million or so dead in the purges, or the anti-Semitic pogroms Stalin was ginning up at the last moments of his life (and which the fake issue of anti-Semitism in the Rosenberg case did so much to distract everyone from).

To suggest that the U.S. is an equivalent horror to this because of its suppression of the Huk rebellion or because of the Beard thesis(!) is to suggest what no sane person can possibly take seriously -- not even, I'd be willing to bet, any sane Filipino today. If you can find one person in a hundred there who wishes the Huk back, I'll eat my hat.

The simple facts are these, Rosenberg aided the Russians not only in getting the a-bomb. He also ran a spy ring that aided the Russians in many other substantial ways. This aid allowed Stalin to deepen his hold on his empire and continue his unfathomable mass murders to the day of his death. To protect those who helped him help this monster, Julius acquiesced in the death of his wife and the orphaning of his children. A more hideous form of child abuse cannot be imagined. That he and Ethel are still the objects of romanticized cooing from left lunies like Susan Sarandon is a measure of pathetic ignorance and utter moral deadness.

The only question worth asking about the Rosenberg phenomenon is this: Would a couple who had spied for the Nazis still be the objects of such twisted apologetics from people who strutt about proclaiming their moral superiority?


Don Williams - 6/23/2003

My understanding is as follows:
1) The primary atomic bomb data was passed out of Los Alamos by two spies working independently: Klaus Fuchs and Theodore Hall (I seem to recall that there was a third guy -- a technican named David Greenglass --who also was a spy.)

2) If my memory is correct, Ted Hall was not discovered until years later and he had settled in England. I believe the excuse given by Ted Hall and others in the spy ring (e.g, the Cohens) was that they gave Russia the data for fear that the US government would eventually create a global tyranny if not countered by another strong power --Russia.

How valid, if any, was their concern??

3)Arguments in favor:
a) The US government was and is the only government to every deliberately burn several hundred thousand women and child alive in two nuclear attacks.
b) Leo Szilard and other nuclear scientists argued in favor of a demonstration not destruction of a city.
c) Neither Nagasaki nor Hiroshima were major military targets --the declassified minutes make clear that they were chosen for "psychological impact". My guess is that they were intended to break the spirit of Japan's warriors by showing the warriors that they could not protect their women and children. Hiroshima was also chosen because a ring of surrounding mountains would reflect /reinforce the blast.
d) Curtis LeMay also burned roughly 100,000 Japanese civilians alive in his firebombing of Toyko with incentaries. LeMay was quoted as saying

There are no innocent civilians. It is their
government and you are fighting a people, you
are not trying to fight an armed force anymore.
So it doesn’t bother me so much to be killing
so-called innocent bystanders.”
(Michael Sherry , “The Rise of American Air Power”, page 287)

General LeMay’s comments certainly make Bush’s criticism of Hamas bombers and “Weapons of Mass Destruction” seem ironic. Maybe Hussein should have stuck with civilized weapons like napalm.

e) The Strategic Air Command was created in 1946
f) The US continued the rapid build up of nuclear weapons even after World War II was over (Russia didn't dotonate a bomb until 1949 -- and that was about 3 years earlier than what US intelligence had predicted )

g) The US began a strong effort at "containment" in 1946 -- rigging the elections in Italy, attempted coup in Albania, suppression of the Huk resistance in the Phillipines --thereby giving the Phillipine people the benefit of decades of "democratic" rule under kleptomaniac Marcos, support of the Nationalists in China,etc.
h) The enormous corruption of the 1920s and the Great Depression had left few working people with any delusions about the benign nature of the US government. Charles Beard showed circa 1913 that the Founders created the US Constitution to protect the property of the wealthy. (Beard’s thesis survived unchallenged until the 1950s, after Beard had died. Arguably, liberals only attacked Beard’s thesis then because Beard had strongly criticized Roosevelt for provoking Pearl Harbor by shutting off Japan’s oil supply. A recent book by Roger McGuire supposedly reaffirms Beard’s argument but I have not yet read it.)

Progressives also remembered how Democrat Woodrow Wilson had betrayed the memory of Democratic Party founders Thomas Jefferson and James Madison by bringing back the Sedition Act -- and Wilson had imprisoned elderly socialist Eugene Debs merely because Debs had noted that the wealthy would get richer from WWI while the poor would die .


4) Arguments against the Rosenbergs:
a) Russians rejected Barauch plan (US to destroy it’s nukes after inspections shows no one else building them) On the other hand, Russians rejected because no way to ensure US would live up to it’s promise after Russia exposed her secret facilities to inspection.
b) Big post-war US cuts in defense budget (900M to 90M in few years)
c) Russian aggression in taking over Eastern Europe (although Poland was given to her by Churchill and Roosevelt at Yalta. On the the hand, Russia lost millions fighting Germans --US losses were minor by comparison)

History gives a mixed message. The Roman Republic became a fascist military dictatorship after it gained a global empire. On the other hand, Great Britain maintained her freedoms at home although she certainly repressed the people of India and other colonies.

So what do people think? I realize the arguments of the American Communists seem bizarre but Kissinger’s realpolitik seemed equally MAD. Did the Rosenbergs and their fellow spies stop the US rulers from conquering the world -- and ,as a result, descending into a fascist dictatorship? Or did the Rosenbergs threaten millions of Americans with death?


Elia Markell - 6/23/2003


You wish to pretend this all has nothing to do with the left as a whole. But while you may not have heard of the Rosenberg memorial, it was indeed widely publicized on the left.

As for Robert Meeropol, in fact, the only possible way for him to finally STOP "repudiating" his parents is to honestly face the truth about them and what they were. Even you make that clear in your reference to him as "pathetically clinging" to their memory. You fool yourself into thinking it is I who am obsessed and mean-spirited, yet I cringed at your description. Not because Robert is not somewhat pathetic, but because of the harsh and casual way you toss that fact off. In truth, what he pathetically clings to are his illusions about his parents (and their cause) not the truth of who they were. Those illusions are what makes his story more than personal, more than a matter of the past, but living now, and, yes, living on "the left."


Hepatitus - 6/23/2003

I don't "forget it", I never knew it. when "the left" held this warm reception they must have forgotten to tell me about it. "the left" is a favorite cardboard target around here, used to stand for whatever you dislike. The rosenberg case is not important at all except to a few obsessed people like yourself, and the rosenberg's son, who, somewhat pathetically, clings to the memory of his parents. As I say, it is mean spirited and ungracious to continue to demand that he repudiate his parents.


Elia Markell - 6/23/2003


You keep repeating this "50 years after the fact" as if it were Radosh who brought all this up recently out of pure mean-spirited spite. In fact, his open letter was in response to Robert Meeropol's recently published book, in which he again attempts to exonerate his parents and blame America for his woes. If Mr. Meeropol decides to put his life in the public line of fire, he should expect to get exactly this sort of reaction.

Also, it was the left that held a warm memorial in NYC for the Rosenbergs precisely on the 50th anniversary of their deaths just a few days ago, full of exactly the "fury" toward the rest of America which is so characteristic of it. When the left stop "flaying," Hep, perhaps those of us getting flayed will stop flaying back.


Elia Markell - 6/23/2003


You keep repeating this "50 years after the fact" as if it were Radosh who brought all this up recently out of pure mean-spirited spite. In fact, his open letter was in response to Robert Meeropol's recently published book, in which he again attempts to exonerate his parents and blame America for his woes. If Mr. Meeropol decides to put his life in the public line of fire, he should expect to get exactly this sort of reaction.

Also, it was the left that held a warm memorial in NYC for the Rosenbergs precisely on the 50th anniversary of their deaths just a few days ago, full of exactly the "fury" toward the rest of America which is so characteristic of it. When the left stop "flaying," Hep, perhaps those of us getting flayed will stop flaying back.


Hepatitus - 6/23/2003

I'm on the left, and I'm trying to remember the last time I mentioned the rosenbergs in any context..guess i better look for another "fury recharge."

I repeat--that radosh, 50 years after the fact, ist still demanding that the son repudiate his dead parents is wierd, mean spiritedm, and obsessive. Tells you all you need to know about the guy


Elia Markell - 6/23/2003


Actually, a public repudiation of his parents would be poetic justice, given THEIR public repudiation of him and his brother, all for the Jim Jones-like pleasures of martyrdom. And martyrdom for what? To protect the butcher of 20 million Russians and those willing to sell out their country for him. To protect the man who sent millions of others to waste their lives in slave labor for the Soviet fantasy. When the left stops using the Rosenbergs to recharge their fury at America, perhaps Radosh will then feel free to let them lie forever in their deservedly unquiet grave. But not until then, I hope.


Hepatitus - 6/22/2003

Let me get this straight--we should be concerned that the son pf the reosenbergs, who were found guiilty and executed 50 years ago, still maintains his parents were good people and innocent?

I don't know about you, but I'm REALLY upset about that! He should be made t publicly repudiate his parents--publicly, on Fox. He should have to weep, confess, and burn their pictures. Then he should convert to christianity and join the republican party. then we can at last have satisfaction

For pure mean spiritied-ness this really takes the cake

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