John Dietrich is the author of The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy, a book I found invaluable to my research for American Betrayal. I was delighted to come across Dietrich's 5-star review of American Betrayal at its Amazon page, and excerpted it in the book's Editorial Reviews: "Enlightening. I give American Betrayal five stars only because it is not possible to give it six."
Now, while putting finishing touches on "The Rebuttal," I have come across a letter John Dietrich recently wrote to me and posted at his blog.
Letter to Diana West
I hope you have sent Ron Radosh and Conrad Black letters of appreciation for their critiques of you book.They could not have done more to discredit your opponents if they had intentionally set out to make them look foolish. A total cynic would suspect that you paid them. Rather than dealing with detailed criticism of your work they relied on vitriol. Black calls your book a "farrago of lies." He calls you and your supporters, "idiots: pernicious, destructive, fatuous idiots," who suffer from "myth-making and jejune dementedness." I disagree with Black. If I call him the "afterbirth of a flatulent pig," would this make my arguments more convincing?
Both Ronald Radosh and Conrad Black refer to you as a "right-wing loopy." Radosh condemns your, "yellow journalism conspiracy theories," your "truculent recklessness that gives anti-communism a bad name" and your "unhinged theories." Your judgment is "bizarre on its face, but also unwarranted by the evidence." Yours is a, "shallow and erroneous interpretation." He claims your, "counterfactual speculations are not regarded as realistic possibilities by any reputable historian of the era," and your "book perpetuates the dangerous one dimensional thinking of the Wisconsin Senator." You are "McCarthy on steroids."
This is all very convincing. Radosh neglected to make the most devastating charge: "West is a poopoo head." Pardon the sarcasm, but Radosh's accusations are not worthy of an intelligent discussion of complex issues.
This criticism of you sounds eerily familiar. Similar things were said of Senator McCarthy, Elizabeth Bentley and Whittaker Chambers. You are condemned for believing in conspiracy theories. What was the Communist infiltration of the U.S. government if not a conspiracy? Radosh admits that he has no disagreement with you over whether the Roosevelt administration was infiltrated or whether Soviet dupes were influential in affecting administration policy. The disagreement lies in your opinion of the extent of this influence. Your critics claim that you exaggerate the extent of Communist influence on U.S. policy. However, your critics attempt to minimize this influence.
Progressives have come to the defense of the Rosenbergs, Alger Hiss, Harry Dexter White and numerous others. Radosh claims your allegation that, "Hopkins was an actual Soviet agent . . . is, in fact, not true." Black called this an "unfounded new flourish." How do they know this? Loopy right-wingers have accused many administration officials of being Communists. Many "experts" disagreed and questioned the sanity of such claims. When the evidence becomes overwhelming progressives quietly let the matter drop and go to the defense of the next "progressive." Leftists are experts at deception. Even obvious Soviet atrocities like the Ukrainian famine and the Katyn Massacre were denied for years by "progressives." Someone approaching this subject without bias must conclude that the "loopy right-wingers" have more credibility than the "experts."
I have read extensively on the subjects dealt with in your book, yet several items you deal with were entirely new to me. I had previously accepted the progressive myth that the policy of "unconditional surrender" had spontaneously popped out of FDR's head during the Casablanca Conference. As you point out this policy was the product of a committee which included several influential Soviet agents. One might be tempted to ask, "What difference at this point does it make?" Well, although most Communists were removed from government in the early 50's their progressive comrades remained. Their offspring have captured the commanding heights of our society. They have almost total control of the media, academia and the government bureaucracy. From these commanding heights they are transforming our society. In order to do this they must conceal the part played by progressives in the massive crimes they were a party to.
People come to the subject of Communist infiltration of the Roosevelt administration with a bias. I come to the subject with an inclination to be suspicious of the Roosevelt administration. After reading your book I realized that I had not been suspicious enough.
I knew American Communists had a decisive influence on American policy from the research I had done on my own book, The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy. I have not examined Lend-Lease and the second front issues to any great extent, but I am thoroughly familiar with the policy devised for postwar Europe. Here there is little doubt the Joseph Stalin was the "puppetmaster of American war policy." Your claim that, “World War II could have been ended years earlier had Communists working for Moscow not dominated Washington," is certainly plausible. This would not have required an entente with Hitler’s army against Stalin, only a sincere message that the U.S. government did not intend to turn Germany into a potato patch.
Radosh cites S. M. Plokhy to show that the Soviets treated American POWs fairly well. How familiar is Radosh with this subject? One of the first acts of the Red Army upon entering Germany was to butcher 50 French and Belgian POWs at Nemmersdorf. The Soviets believed that all POWs were traitors. Stalin's own son, a prisoner of the Germans, may have committed suicide as a result of this Soviet policy. Soviet treatment of U.S, POWs is more complex than can be dismissed with the statement, "the Soviets treated American POWs fairly well." I suggest he read Nigel Cawthorne's Iron Cage.
One subject you did not cover was the progressives involvement in the modern slave trade. Perhaps you avoided this subject because it is obviously an absurd accusation that would have only increased the intensity of the progressive attack on your work. Absurd or not, according to Secretary of State, James Byrnes in his inappropriately entitled Frankly Speaking, "Forced labor camps are a symbol of Hitler's regime that we should eliminate as rapidly as possible." This would be fertile ground for an aspiring historian wanting to make a name for himself by exposing how evil "we" were.
I have only one criticism of your book, one that I believe you would totally agree with: your use of the word "we." The current genre of historiography places a good deal of emphasis on "our" crimes. Amerika is responsible for all kinds of crimes, real and imagined. You say that "we" were accomplices in Soviet crimes. When discussing U.S. recognition of the Soviet Union during the Ukrainian famine you claim "we" became "a passive accomplice to Stalin in the Ukraine." When discussing the forced repatriation of Soviet citizens towards the end of the war, you state, "We became accessories to a Soviet atrocity." You claim that in our dealings with the Soviets, "We had things to hide, too." Well "we" had and have nothing to hide. Once this is made clear the conundrum is solved. You point out that, "officialdom was enraged not by the danger posed by Hiss, but by Chambers for testifying to the danger." Progressives are more outraged by Joseph McCarthy than by Joseph Stalin. You quote Vladimir Bukovsky who explains "we now understand why the West was so against putting the communist system on trial. There was ideological collaboration between left-wing parties in the West and Soviet Union." As you have written, "The forces of concealment, East and West, had a common enemy in the forces of exposure, East and West." You are a member of the "forces of exposure" and as such not a "we."
My book could be considered an anti-American book because of its criticism of American policy. It is not. The crimes detailed in the book are not America's crimes. They are the crimes of a group of "progressives" who did not have America's interests at heart.
Finally, I would like to thank you for referencing my book and describing it as "devastating." I will send you a copy of the second edition when it appears in the fall.
Thank you very, very much, John. I will look forward to that. We must talk!