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The Cold War Heats Up: Is it fair to liken apologists for communism to Holocaust deniers?

Michael J. Ybarra

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In 1917 the Bolsheviks seized control of Russia and declared the founding of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, an avowedly revolutionary state with the world-historical mission of hastening the demise of capitalism...

President Woodrow Wilson dispatched troops to Russia in a half-hearted effort to aid the forces fighting the communist government. The Bolsheviks returned the favor two years later when leaders of the newly formed American Communist Party trooped to Moscow for orders. For the next seven decades the CPUSA proclaimed itself an independent political party while in fact acting as an adjunct of the Soviet Union...

The American response varied from neglect to overreaction...Wilson's attorney general, A. Mitchell Palmer, earned himself an ignoble place in history for his indiscriminate roundup of radicals (the so-called Palmer raids). After World War II, the U.S. was convulsed by a prolonged debate over communism: the nature of its threat, the degree of its penetration into government, and the adequacy of the response to it...A dangerous complacency toward communists and fellow travelers during the early Roosevelt years was followed by mounting accusations, culminating in attempts to pillory President Harry Truman as soft on communism. The honorable anticommunism of "the vital center" eventually lost out to something ugly and extreme, best typified by Wisconsin Sen. Joe McCarthy, who attacked alleged communists the way dogs chase cars, and with as much effect.

A quite different vestige of McCarthy-era posturing, one that defended America's "socialists in a hurry," lost its legs at the end of the Cold War, when U.S. and Russian archives opened up. Crucial documents proved, as scholars soon discovered, that many of those accused of helping the communists were actually guilty (Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs most famously) and indisputably linked the CPUSA to Soviet espionage.

Read the entire article on the Wall Street Opinion Journal website.



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