Published Humanitas, Volume XVI, No. 1, 2003

For some time now I have been researching a political biography of former Vice President Henry A. Wallace and trying to understand why during his incumbency from 1940 on he adhered so closely to Soviet foreign policy ambitions. In seeking answers to this question, I felt that it would be valuable to make a study of the politico-cultural climate of the Wallace period. I was amazed at the extraordinary pro-Soviet atmosphere in the United States from the White House on down during the years of World War II.

The murderous Moscow trials were overlooked, and Stalin’s dictatorship was redefined as a new form of democracy. Life Magazine described the FBI as roughly analogous to the Soviet secret police, the NKVD, and described Lenin as “perhaps the greatest man of modern times.” It devoted an entire issue, March 29, 1943, to glorifying Russia including these words: “If the Soviet leaders tell us that the control of information was necessary to get this job done, we can afford to take their word for it.” Hollywood produced pro-Soviet films like Mission to Moscow, Song of Russia, North Star, and Counterattack. James Reston of the New York Times asserted that “anti-Russian remarks [were] a shabby un-American game.” The New York Times itself gushed…

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