American Betrayal came out on May 28 one year ago, but, happily, people continue to read and write about it. At Family Security Matters, Lawrence Sellin reflects on the energence of the Big Lie in public life, as discussed in American Betrayal, and in today's Winona (MN) Daily News, columnist Stan Gudmundson grapples with some of the questions the book raises.
Sellin's piece is here; and Gudmundson's column is below.
"Communists held undue influence"
by Stan Gudmundson
I have a question whose answer runs against the grain a little. It is prompted by a very interesting book written by Diana West. Titled “American Betrayal,” it turns, to some extent, the conventional view of World War II on its head.
The question is, who won that war? Maybe the question really should be, who lost?
Certainly Germany and the Axis lost. But that is not all. Poland lost. So did the people of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, China, North Korea, Yugoslavia, Albania, and parts of the Far East such as the Kurile Islands, Manchuria, and Mongolia. They were all swallowed up by brutal communist regimes. They all lost, too. Big time.
Others? Unfortunately millions. Two million or more German POWs captured by the Soviet Union were sent east into slavery in the Soviet Gulag. For many it was a one-way trip.
At least 2 million Soviet POWs, captured earlier by the Germans, were repatriated. Repatriated to the Gulag, too. They had betrayed the motherland by surrendering and deserved, according to Joseph Stalin, no less. They were sent back because the Allies at Yalta agreed to Stalin’s demand.
None of the POWs wanted to return to the Soviet Union. They knew what awaited them. For many, the only option was suicide and many took it.
In sending Soviet prisoners back to Stalin, “American and British soldiers shed tears as they carried out the orders to club and blackjack prisoners into insensibility (and then) … toss maimed and mangled bodies back into trucks after beating them.” “Operation Keelhaul,” as it was known was a betrayal of Soviet POWs and of our values. The Allies participated in nothing less than a crime against humanity.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn writes, “Pre-Revolutionary executions by the czarist government came to about 17 per year … more than a thousand per month (during) … the revolutionary years of 1918 and 1919 … and tens of thousands … were shot per month … at the height of Stalin’s terror in 1937-38.” At one point 40,000.
Adolf Hitler was a monster, but Stalin already had murdered millions before Hitler could claim his first victim. As for entering into an alliance with a tyrant worse than Hitler, Alexander Solzhenitsyn asks, “How is this to be explained? How can we understand it?”
Was this the only recourse we had? Shouldn’t we have entered the war with the goal of not only defeating the Axis but at the same time also ensuring that communism did not expand?
We didn’t because we ultimately ended up doing the Soviet’s bidding. But why? And why did we allow all of these countries to become enslaved by communists?
The answer is discomfiting. The simple answer is that there were Soviet agents in high places in the U.S. government and thus Americans began to “distort the normal and healthy operation of our intellectual and moral judgments,” as ally diplomat Owen O’Malley put it in his report of the Soviet Katyn Forest Massacre.
We swallowed the Big Lie, and we still live with it. We still seem to think that World War II Soviet Union was a friend. We still believe that Sen. Joseph McCarthy abused his power and identified people who were innocents. That is another big lie. The vast majority weren’t innocent and they weren’t benign.
Unfortunately our country, in positions that really matter, was filled with communists, fellow-travelers and sympathizers — at the highest level. Their influence assured that Soviet wishes became our demands and that their priorities became ours as well. The Lend-Lease program to the Soviet Union, for example, was our government’s No. 1 program with a priority greater than any of our own. That’s what Diana West concludes and her evidence for that is overwhelming. And also disheartening.
Stalin’s agent Harry Hopkins was one of if not the most influential of President Franklin Roosevelt’s advisers. He literally lived in the White House with the Roosevelts, and he was just the tip of the iceberg.
We sometimes hear that it was the Soviets who really defeated Germany. The truth is without our supplies and equipment, Hitler would have run across that country like a steamroller rolling over a five-day old road kill.
But if you are a believer in the Big Lie, you aren’t willing to buy any of this. OK, let us assume for sake of argument that there was no malign communist influence anywhere in the U.S. government or among the Allies before, during and after WWII. The question remains. Should we still have allowed the Soviets to enslave all of these countries?
Of course not. At the end of the war, we were the only ones with nuclear weapons. The Soviet Union should have been “persuaded” to move back to its pre-war borders.
After the war, we also joined with the Soviet Union to try Axis leaders for war crimes. Joined with war criminals as bad as or worse than the Nazis. Somehow we called this fiction justice.
We still haven’t come to terms with communists, the extent of their influence, and of our hand in helping them to become the menace they were and still are. Nor have we come to terms with the loathsome Roosevelt, the left, their fellow-travelers and their horrible legacy.