"One of the weak sides of republics,
among their numerous advantages,
is that they afford too easy an inlet to foreign corruption."
The Federalist No. 22, by PUBLIUS (Alexander Hamilton).
"I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.
"Do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk, ice cream? Ice cream, Mandrake? Children's ice cream!...
"You know when fluoridation began?...1946. 1946, Mandrake. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? It's incredibly obvious, isn't it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual, and certainly without any choice. That's the way your hard-core Commie works."
The Manchurian Candidate (1962) is based on Richard Condon's 1959 novel of the same name. It is director-producer John Frankenheimer's chilling, brilliant, film-noir Cold War thriller about brain-washing, conspiracy, the dangers of international Communism, McCarthyism, assassination, and political intrigue. The time period of the provocative, sophisticated film is set in the early 1950s during the height of right-wing McCarthyism - a time of tense political paranoia with the overriding, reactionary fear that Communists (Russian and Chinese) were scheming to take over the US. Frankenheimer followed this film with another political conspiracy thriller, the starkly black and white Seven Days in May (1964), also with a plot centered on a conspiracy to take over the government.
Communists worked, often successfully, to undermine American security before and during the Cold War. The idea of Communists taking control of the United States government era might seem silly decades later. But in the 1930s through the 1950s, the concerns about communism were deeply felt, on both national and local levels. It was a different world in the 1950s. Commuism was finishing up its initial waves of killing millions and continuous geographical conquest.
Gary Kern noted in 2003 that toward the end of World War II, the operant factors in FDR's decision-making were: "the President’s supreme confidence in his own powers of persuasion, his profound ignorance of the Bolshevik dictatorship, his projection of humane motives onto his Soviet counterpart, his determined resistance to contradictory evidence and advice, and his wishful thinking based on geopolitical designs — mindsets supported and reinforced by his appointed advisors. Taken together, these factors produced a false view of US-Soviet relations and inspired policy that had only superficial contact with reality.
"Mission to Moscow, a movie based on a book of that title by Joseph E. Davies, America’s second Ambassador to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics [was] Produced in 1943 with the President’s blessing, possibly even at his explicit request, [a] blatant piece of propaganda ... designed to drum up public enthusiasm for a political shotgun wedding: It colored Stalin as a simple, practical man with whom one could do business; rhapsodized about Soviet construction, government, and politics; and justified the Soviet blood purges, the Moscow show trials, and Stalin’s two-year pact with Hitler, which had ended when Hitler turned the tables on Stalin and invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941."
The US Government had grown concerned about reputed fascist and Communist subversion in the late 1930s. The war in Europe--and the Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact of 1939--gave J. Edgar Hoover's Federal Bureau of Investigation an opportunity to move against individuals and organizations suspected of working with the Russians. The KGB and GRU ran parallel "legal" and "illegal" intelligence networks in the United States. One set of operations was run by intelligence officers working under legal (usually diplomatic) cover in the "residencies" located clandestinely in Soviet diplomatic missions, trade, and media organizations. Other KGB and GRU networks, in contrast, had no apparent connections to Soviet establishments and were run by "illegals"--Soviet intelligence officers usually living under false identities.
During the latter part of the war, the KGB gradually took over assets and networks originally established by the GRU and the Comintern (particularly after Stalin dissolved the latter body in May 1943). A general re-division of labor among the Soviet services appears to have given political tasks to the KGB, while focusing the GRU more on military collection; both collected scientific and technical data.
Hoover's FBI monitored the CPUSA during the war but did not always share its leads with other agencies. In April 1943, FBI agents began to collect solid information on current KGB activities and personnel. US Government agencies ran a wartime security system that was porous for Soviet agents and yet opaque for American counterintelligence agencies charged with protecting secrets. FBI Director Hoover allegedly knew nothing of the super-secret Manhattan Project before Steve Nelson inadvertently informed him in the spring of 1943.
US perceptions of the Soviets began shifting after the war had been won. Two defections in autumn 1945 galvanized US counterintelligence. Igor Gouzenko, a GRU code clerk in the USSR's Ottawa Embassy, revealed to Canadian authorities that the Soviets had indeed penetrated the Manhattan Project and other agencies. A few weeks later, Elizabeth Bentley gave the FBI details about spies in the State and Treasury Department, OSS, the Pentagon, and even the White House. Both Bentley's and Gouzenko's accounts dovetailed with the story that Time magazine editor and former GRU agent Whittaker Chambers had told FBI agents in 1942 and again, in detail, in May 1945.
A Canadian Government White Paper on the Gouzenko affair in July 1946 confirmed the gist of press speculation about Soviet wartime espionage and gave the Western public its first official account of the extent of the problem. This confirmation of the essential truth behind the rumors diminished public tolerance for Communism at home and abroad.
In July 1948 Elizabeth Bentley and another ex-Communist agent, Whittaker Chambers, presented convincing evidence of widespread Soviet espionage in America during World War II. r Whittaker Chambers charged that Roosevelt administration figures Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White were secret Communists. Harry Dexter White, a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, died suddenly a few days after denying Whittaker Chambers' August 1948 charges before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Republican congressmen and candidates cited the stories as further evidence of the Roosevelt and Truman administrations' softness toward Communism and neglect of national security.
Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, a Republican, commanded national attention in February 1950 after a speech in Wheeling, West Virginia. He held a piece of paper in the air and claimed to have the names of 205 cardcarrying Communists in the State Department. He later reduced the number to 57, then upgraded it to 81. McCarthy did not keep a copy of the speech. Those who criticized the government's loyalty campaign as an overreaction wondered if some defendants were being scapegoated; they seemed to sense that the public was not being told the whole truth about the investigations of such suspects as Julius Rosenberg and Judith Coplon. McCarthy's first investigation of the "Voice of America" and the US information program abroad proved the ineptness of the McCarthy - Roy Cohn - David Schine team. The inquiry was one of the most disgraceful, scatter-brained, inept, misleading and unfair investigations in Congressional annals. Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy had become a major liability to the cause of anti-communism.
"From the start, the record shows, Sen. McCarthy has played into the hands of the Communists. He has made the going tougher for the many others who long before had been fighting to stop the spread of communism at home and abroad. He has distorted the present-day picture of communism out of all semblance to reality. And, thereby, he has spread a blanket of confusion over an area where clear thinking is most imperative." [Woltman, "The McCarthy Balance Sheet," World-Telegram & Sun, 12 July 1954]
The blast from Woltman was the third major attack in 1954 on McCarthy's credibility. Famed broadcaster Edward R. Murrow criticized McCarthy during the "See It Now" television show on CBS on March 9, 1954, saying McCarthy's actions "have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad and given considerable comfort to our enemies." That same day Ralph Flanders, a Republican from Vermont, blistered McCarthy on the Senate floor, saying: "He dons war paint; he goes into his war dance; he emits his war whoops; he goes forth to battle and proudly returns with the scalp of a pink Army dentist." On December 2, 1954, nine months after Murrow's famous show and five months after Woltman's series, the U.S. Senate declared that Joseph R. McCarthy "tended to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute, to obstruct the constitutional processes of the Senate and to impair its dignity, and such conduct is hereby condemned." The vote was 67-22.
Between 1949 and 1957 the government, invoking the Alien Registration Act (better known as the Smith Act), won convictions of a dozen top CPUSA leaders for advocating the violent overthrow of the government. The following year, Congress overrode Truman's veto and passed the Internal Security Act (often called the McCarran Act), which required Communist-affiliated organizations to register with the government and allowed emergency detention of potential spies and saboteurs.
Arrested in June 1957, "Col. Rudolf Abel" refused to cooperate. He was really William Henry Fisher, a senior KGB officer born in England who had entered the United States in 1948. Abel's arrest marked the first time the government had caught a Soviet "illegal" working in America.
The FBI had penetrated the CPUSA and searched for illegals - but still did not catch Rudolf Abel for almost a decade. CIA divisions created clever but only marginally effective programs designed to establish coverage of Soviet installations abroad, to induce Soviet intelligence officers to defect (the REDCAP program), and to monitor the mail of Soviet illegals in America (HTLINGUAL). Despite all these efforts, the Intelligence Community's most important counterintelligence leads in the late 1950s came from volunteers - both walk-ins, as well as agents-in-place. By the 1960s American intelligence was relying on voluntary defectors such as Anatoli Golitsyn and Yuri Nosenko, and defectors-in-place such as Aleksi I. Kulak and Dmitri F. Polyakov, for relatively recent information about Soviet intelligence services.
Alger Hiss, who rose to be chief of the State Department's Office of Special Political Affairs, had been a Soviet agent all along. Harry Hopkins, as ”Mr. New Deal” in the 1930’s, was long a target of right-wing critics of Roosevelt’s liberal social policies. McCarthy was essentially correct. The US Government was inflitrated by commuists and their fellow-traveler sympathizers who meant to turn the US into a socialist state.
Iskhak Akhmerov, the chief Soviet "illegal" agent in the United States at the time, referred to an Agent 19 who had reported on discussions between Roosevelt and Winston Churchill in Washington at which the agent had been present. Only Harry Hopkins met the requirements for this agent's identity. Akhmerov, in a lecture in Moscow in the early 1960s, identified Hopkins by name as "the most important of all Soviet wartime agents in the United States."
The former KGB agent Oleg Gordievsky claimed that Harry L. Hopkins, Franklin D. Roosevelt's trusted friend and adviser, was an "agent of major significance" of the Soviet Union. Christopher M. Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky’s KGB: The Inside Story of Its Foreign Operations from Lenin to Gorbachev noted: "Gordievsky, however, came gradually to the conclusion, as he discussed the Hopkins case, that Hopkins had been an unconscious rather than a conscious agent. That interpretation of Hopkins’s connection with the KGB best fits the evidence of his career available in the West."
"Blacklisted by History" by M. Stanton Evans showed that high-level U.S. officials were warned that Alger Hiss was a Soviet spy almost a decade before the Hiss case became a public scandal; that a cabal of White House, Justice Department, and State Department officials lied about and covered up the Amerasia spy case; and that the State Department had been heavily penetrated by Communists and Soviet agents before McCarthy came on the scene.
Veteran journalist M. Stanton Evans and intelligence expert Herbert Romerstein, the former head of the U.S. Office to Counter Soviet Disinformation, drew upon years of research and a meticulous examination of primary sources to trace "the vast deception that kept Stalin’s henchmen on the federal payroll and sabotaged policy overseas in favor of the Soviet Union. While FDR’s health and mental capacities weakened, aides such as Lauchlin Currie and Harry Hopkins exerted pro-Red influence on U.S. policy—leading to massive breaches of internal security and the betrayal of free-world interests. Along with revealing the extent to which the Soviet threat was obfuscated or denied, this in-depth analysis exposes the rigging of at least two grand juries and the subsequent multilayered cover-up to protect those who let the infiltration happen."
The Evans and Romerstein book especially focused on Hopkins role as the most powerful man in the Government after FDR and his unfailing efforts to give Stalin everything he wanted with no quid pro quo or consideration of American interests and to put the US Government fully behind the advancement of Soviet interests.
John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr wrote "We do not believe the notion that Hopkins had a knowing and covert link to Soviet intelligence should be entirely dismissed, but the evidence of such a link is insufficient to support so explosive a charge.... Source no. “19” was Laurence Duggan. ... He was recruited as a Soviet spy in 1935 and remained an active source until he left the State Department."
When Democrats lost the House and the Presidency in 1952, McCarthy alienated Eisenhower by soundly condemning George Marshall for losing China, then going after some of Eisenhower's job nominees as communists sympathizers (which some argued they were). By 1954 McCarthy held a tiger by the tail, and it finally ate him.
The John Birch Society was established by Robert Welch in 1958. The organization was named after Captain John Birch, a member of the China Air Task Force murdered by Chinese communists on 25th August, 1945. Originally detailing some of President Eisenhower's history in a December 1954 letter sent privately to a few friends, John Birch Society founder Robert Welch's research grew over several years. In 1956 Welch wrote that other top government officials such as John Foster Dulles and Allan W. Dulles were "communist tools". By 1958, his "letter" ballooned to 80,000 words (287 pages). Ultimately, this version was "loaned" to "hundreds" of people before the published edition came out in 1963 with major editing as a full-length book entitled The Politician (better known as the Black Book).
In the book Welch accused Franklin D. Roosevelt of deliberately encouraging Japan to bomb Pearl Harbor. He described George Marshall as being "a conscious, deliberate, and dedicated agent of the Soviet conspiracy." Harry S. Truman had been used, "with his knowledge and acquiescence" by the communists who "controlled his administration". His most dramatic charge concerned Dwight Eisenhower who was said to have been "knowingly receiving and abiding by Communist orders, and consciously serving the Communist conspiracy, for all his adult life."
Welch believed that Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Dwight Eisenhower, were part of a communist conspiracy. On Page 266, according to Welch, President Eisenhower was "knowingly accepting and abiding by Communist orders, and consciously serving the Communist conspiracy, for all his adult life." And on Page 267: "But my firm belief that Dwight Eisenhower is a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy is based on an accumulation of detailed evidence so extensive and so palpable that it seems to me to put this conviction beyond any reasonable doubt."
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