The Enemy at Our Back
To comment on this article go to B’Man’s Revolt.
James Grossman, chief executive of the American Historical Association, which has endorsed the new AP history course, said the choice is between “a more comfortable national history and a more unsettling one.”
What The Washington Post is talking about here is the new “truth” about our nation’s history as prescribed for the best high school students by the private company known as the College Board. It is the view of U.S. history that the Jefferson County, Colorado, Board of Education has taken exception to and proposes to change, which, in turn, has led to widely publicized student demonstrations in the county against the school board’s proposed changes.
We may be quite confident that the “more unsettling” national history that will be taught will not be that reviled Senator Joe McCarthy was right about the degree of Communist infiltration of the United States government in the 1940s and early 1950s. It is possible that the new course might raise some doubts about the wisdom or the virtue of President Harry Truman’s decision to drop atomic bombs on the civilian men, women, and children living in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. What it will surely not even suggest is that there was no military reason to drop the bombs or to engage in the bloody assaults upon Iwo Jima and Okinawa before that. Our brightest students will surely not be told that Japan was already defeated and trying to surrender, but pro-Communist manipulators within the administration managed to keep the war going until the Soviet Union could join the Pacific War and reap a large share of the spoils of victory.
That is something that I have learned and written about as a result of many years of study. As it turns out I could have saved myself quite a bit of time in getting at the facts had I known about a little book written by the journalist Elizabeth Churchill Brown back in 1956 entitled The Enemy at His Back. * His admonition to those in public service may now be a bit out of date, but Admiral Albert C. Wedemeyer’s blurb on the back dust cover of the book is still fitting, the College Board and the AHA notwithstanding:
Elizabeth Churchill Brown’s book is one of the clearest and most factual expositions of Communist influence on American foreign policies and actions that I have read. This book should be read in all American homes and schools and should be required reading by every American in Government Service.
Indeed, when it comes to the question of how Communists and pro-Communists in the government and the press caused the Pacific War to be needlessly strung out, The Enemy at His Back is one of those classics that compares very favorably to George Morgenstern’s similar definitive work on its subject, Pearl Harbor: The Story of the Secret War, which was published in 1947.
Increasing the veracity of Brown’s revelations is the fact that she seems to have no ideological axe to grind. Like this writer, whose father was an enthusiastic New Deal Democrat, she arrived at her conclusions in spite of her prejudices. This is from her introduction on page xiii:
I came to live in Washington in 1942. I had come from New York City where indignant Republicans were voicing wild and irresponsible charges against the New Deal. I considered their accusations so wild that I deserted the Republican ranks and campaigned for the Democrats. Had not President Roosevelt spoken about the “lunatic fringe”? But the day was to come when I would realize that many of these “wild charges” by the “lunatic fringe” were indeed understatements.
The Lost War
From the Battle of Saipan in June-July 1944 and certainly from the time of the Battle of Leyte Gulf when they had either lost outright or had disabled for lack of fuel virtually their entire fleet, the Japanese knew that they were defeated and, at the very least, our naval commanders also knew that they were defeated.
It was immediately following the Battle of Leyte Gulf that Hirohito and the Japanese peace party made contact with a group of Siamese who relayed another unconditional surrender (with the exception of retaining their Emperor) to Washington, again warning against Russian expansion into Asia. This was the message “leaked” to [the author’s journalist husband] Constantine Brown three months later.
Japan’s navy might be compared to her spinal cord. Without it she was paralyzed—she could not transport her army nor could she supply her isolated garrisons with food and ammunition and she could not fly her planes without fuel. Most of her merchant fleet was at the bottom of the Pacific, and her home islands were now suffering sharply from lack of food and clothing as well as raw materials essential to her war industry. Japan was starving to death.
But “the Army” in Washington under General Marshall would not concede her defeat. The war was to go on for almost another year. Why? (p. 12)
The “Eureka!” Moment
Brown’s starting place goes back to my own starting place on FDR and his soft spot for Soviet Communism. In back-to-back paragraphs she has a pro-Communist quote from Roosevelt by way of Rep. Martin Dies similar to the ones that can be found in my “FDR Tipped Pro-Soviet Hand Early” and an account of FDR’s brusque rebuff of adviser Adolf Berle when Berle alerted him to defector Whittaker Chambers revelation of a Soviet spy cell that included Alger Hiss in the State Department and Lauchlin Currie in the White House. I have a full account of that meeting in “FDR Winked at Soviet Espionage.” I first became aware of that encounter from reading Chambers’ book Witness as recounted in “PBS Lies for FDR over Whittaker Chambers” and Brown begins her book with this telling long quote from the same book:
No one who has, even once, lived close to the making of history can ever again suppose that it is made the way the history books tell it… The secret forces working behind and below the historical surface they seldom catch.
It is certain that between the years 1930 and 1948, a group of almost unknown men and women, Communists or close fellow travelers, or their dupes, working in the United States Government, or in some singular unofficial relationship to it, or working in the press, affected the future of every American now alive, and indirectly the fate of every man now going into uniform. Their names, with half a dozen exceptions, still mean little or nothing to the mass of Americans. But their activities, if only in promoting the triumph of Communism in China, have decisively changed the history of Asia, of the United States, and therefore, of the world…”
Familiar Cast of Characters
He was hardly behind the scenes, but a name that appears over and over in the big sellout to the Communists is also prominent in that role on my web site. That is FDR’s right-hand man, Harry Hopkins. Though they might have heard of him, few people are aware of the power that he wielded and the degree to which wielded it in the interests of the Soviet Union rather than the United States.
A retired Army officer once said to me in an explosion of retrospective heat that “Hopkins ran the whole damn war.” I took his statement lightly until I had studied Robert Sherwood’s book, “Roosevelt and Hopkins” and understood what he meant. There was no phase of the war in which Harry Hopkins did not have the last word. Although he was universally known as having been “Roosevelt’s personal adviser,” he had many other official as well as unofficial assignments. He was chief of Lend-Lease, Chairman of the President’s Soviet Protocol Committee, and member of the Pacific War Council. Those agencies of which he was only a member were headed by his chief aides.
There are many references concerning Hopkins’ influence with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in planning battle strategy in both theaters of war. And in diplomacy, “Hopkins was now more than ever ‘Roosevelt’s own personal Foreign Office,’” by-passing Secretary of state [Cordell] Hull, and his successor, [Edward] Stettinius. Added to this: it was on his initiative and under his sponsorship that the project for the development of the atomic bomb got its start. He was “associated with this development since the very inception of the National Research Council.”
Admiral [William] Leahy confirms: “The range of his activities covered all manner of civilian affairs, politics, war production, diplomatic matters, and, on many occasions, military matters.”
It was true that “Hopkins ran the whole damn war.” (pp. 46-47)
But Hopkins had absolutely no background or experience in military or foreign affairs. He was a professional social worker who had previously headed up the New Deal program in which the government put people to work called the Works Progress Administration (WPA). What would have been his lodestar, his guiding light in making recommendations and decisions concerning those matters? From every indication it was simply what is best for the interests of Communism and the Soviet Union:
Holding the life-line between defeat and victory for each of our allies, Hopkins placed Russia’s needs above all others, even our own. In June of 1941 when he spoke before the Russian Aid Rally at Madison Square Garden in New York City, on the anniversary of the German attack on Russia, he pledged to the Soviets: “We are determined that nothing shall stop us from sharing with you all that we have…”
General John R. Deane who worked with Ambassador [Averell] Harriman in Moscow on Lend-Lease, provides still another view on Hopkins’ “Russia first” policy. He commented in his book, “Strange Alliance,” that the “mission was carried out with a zeal which approached fanaticism,” and that “Faymonville had had instructions from the President that no strings were to be attached to our aid to Russia and that the program was not to be used as a lever to obtain information about and from the Russians.”
In General Phillip R. Faymonville, Hopkins had a lieutenant completely devoted to the “cause.” There can be found in the volumes of the hearings on the Institute for Pacific Relations many references to the General in the correspondence of Edward C. Carter, who was named under oath as a Communist. The late Mr. Carter, according to his letters, saw to it that Faymonville made contact with many Russians and Russian sympathizers because, as he testified, “He was eager to meet all sorts of Russians who could bring him up to date.”
Others on Hopkins’ team were all firm believers in the theory that if we played more than fair with Russia and overlooked bad faith on their part, a “permanent peace” would be the ultimate result. (pp. 47-48)
One can read more about Hopkins and Faymonville in the section entitled “Still Red at Lend-Lease” in my essay, “Harry Hopkins and FDR’s Commissars.
Brown even has the story of Hopkins’ contribution toward the nuclear armament of the Soviet Union as related by Major George Racey Jordan. Again, one can read a good deal more about that episode in my article “How We Gave the Russians the Bomb.”
Since Brown wrote her book, a good deal more evidence has come to light on Hopkins’ perfidious actions on behalf of the Soviet Union. I am proud of the contribution that I have made in that endeavor with “Harry Hopkins Hosted Soviet Spy Cell.”
Playing a key role along with Hopkins at the Yalta Conference where the secret groundwork was laid for the Communist takeover of China was State Department official Alger Hiss. Recall that Hiss was among those that Whittaker Chambers had identified as Soviet agents to FDR’s security chief, Adolf Berle, in 1939. Also at Yalta was Admiral Leahy:
Privately he has told the story that at Yalta one of the security officers approached him with the warning that it would not be a good idea to mention high level secrets in the presence of Alger Hiss. Astonished, the Admiral snorted the obvious question: “What’d they bring him here for?” The security officer shrugged and replied that the selection of the Presidential advisers was not in his province; he could only inform the Executive of their security status.
Leahy—though probably not Brown—would have been even more astonished to learn that Roosevelt had asked for the relatively low level Hiss by name. We learn that from the 2012 book by M. Stanton Evans and Herbert Romerstein entitled Stalin’s Secret Agents: The Subversion of Roosevelt’s Government, which I have reviewed here.
Chambers, in the quote from Witness, speaks of powerful people with a “singular relationship” to the government. No one fits that description in this context more aptly than Johns Hopkins University Far East “expert” Owen Lattimore. Lattimore is featured in two of my articles, “McCarthy Target Touted Soviet Agent’s Book in NY Times” and “Truman Administration Adviser Counseled Surrender of Korea to Reds.” Brown makes mention of the specific magazine article authored by Lattimore to which I refer in the latter article. She and I refer to him and his nefarious work in numerous other instances. You might try typing his name into the “Find” box on my home page. Lattimore’s main access to power in the government was through Currie, who we have noted was identified as a Soviet agent by Chambers in 1939.
Here is a telling exchange on pages 105-106 between Chairman James Eastland of the Senate Internal Security Committee and dissident State Department Far East specialist Eugene Dooman. What is under consideration is the initial policy paper of the State Department on the occupation of Japan:
Senator Eastland. Was it not an attempt to destroy Japanese capitalism?
Mr. Dooman. It was an attempt to destroy and eliminate the brains of Japanese business….
Senator Eastland. What else did they attempt to put over?
Mr. Dooman. Just following that question, following that point, I want to quote from this round-table discussion of the University of Chicago on July 8, this statement attributed to Mr. Lattimore (reading):
That includes a lot of economic and political action as well because we cannot forget that the civilian war-makers, that is the big industrialists and financiers of Japan, are really primarily even more responsible for Japan’s going to war than the military and the navy, since the army and navy are only the striking instruments and the tools.
Now, after the occupation about 12 of the leading Japanese industrialists were put in prison, and they were held in prison for 18 months while every effort was made to dig up evidence which would warrant their being put to trial, just as the military and political people were put on trial and later condemned.
They were held, as I say, for 18 months, and released because there was no evidence.
Now if we are then to follow Mr. Lattimore, we obviously did a great injustice to General Tojo in hanging him, because according to Mr. Lattimore, we released his lords and masters and hung the tool and the instrument.
Senator Eastland. What other things were in the policy for Japan?
Mr. Dooman. I have with me a copy of a paper known as Far East Commission 230. This is a paper of considerable length, Senator, in which all of the principles are laid out for the atomizing of Japanese industry.
Senator Eastland. The what? I did not understand?
Mr. Dooman. The atomizing, the fragmentation of Japanese industry. It is a very long paper.
The general purpose was to see to it that the Japanese economy, not only in industry but in banking and in every other field, should be reduced to the smallest possible element.
In other words, what was contemplated by the Roosevelt-Truman State Department was Japan’s version of the destructive Morgenthau Plan for Germany. Each, had they been carried through, would certainly have created such hardship that these defeated countries would have been ripe for Communist takeover. To the extent that Lattimore and the others to whom Chambers refers were influencing the policy, that was surely the purpose.
The Treacherous, Traitorous Press
Finally, in the Chambers quote, we have powerful people behind the scenes working in the press. In Brown’s book, we find them in a couple of familiar places, first, early in the introduction, in The Washington Post:
I recall that it was the “sound” editorials of the Washington Post which convinced me that the Chinese Communists were not like Russian Communists. They were an entirely different breed of cat, I thought, of a mild stripe and entirely harmless. In that case, why bother to help the “corrupt” Chiang? I so expressed myself whenever the issue came up in social gatherings.
In those days I was not aware that many facts were available to anyone who would take the trouble to discover them. I did not know how valuable the Congressional Record was (how dull it looked!), nor that the printed hearings of the Dies Committee could easily be obtained. It never occurred to me to go to the public hearings and listen for myself. (p. xiv)
This writer obtained that sort of education in pursuit of the truth about the violent death of fellow Davidson College graduate Vincent W. Foster, Jr., deputy White House Counsel to Bill Clinton, and there has been no turning back. The Post, I have found, has been absolutely the worst source of information on that episode—except when read with a keen eye between the lines—and the official reports and Congressional hearings have been the best, although the latter also have to be read very critically and carefully.
Then there is that habitual promoter in the foreign affairs realm of what is worst for the United States and what is best for its favored alien power of the day, “The New York Times (See “The New York Times and Joseph Stalin” and “A Tale of Two Obituaries”). The context for the quote below from Brown is the matter of the meaning of our “unconditional surrender” requirement for Japan. There should have been no need for clarification in the first place because, as Brown points out, Roosevelt’s demand that the German and Japanese surrender be unconditional, which he sprang on everyone at the Casablanca Conference in January of 1943, was very ill advised in the first place. We had not demanded it of the Italians, and our military leaders opposed it, because it seemed to offer those countries the alternative of fighting to the last man or the prospect of total annihilation anyway should they give up. For the Japanese the big question was what throwing themselves upon the Americans mercy meant for the Emperor and the Imperial Family. All the experts on Japan knew that as long as we looked as though we were determined to hang the Emperor as a war criminal and get rid of the Imperial House the Japanese would fight on, even if all they had left to fight with were clubs and spears.
All along, the left wing organs, led by the Communist Daily Worker, had been calling for the Emperor’s scalp and the creation of an entirely new social order in Japan consistent with the Lattimore line. As the end neared and at the most crucial time, at least as far as the fate of the Emperor was concerned, they were joined by the mainstream:
Unfortunately the propaganda in our press against the Emperor was having more effect on both our own and the Japanese public than…signs of peace appearing in the headlines [in mid-summer 1945]. During the Potsdam Conference Mr. [Shunichi] Kase wrote that “…what interested us most deeply was the trend of expression in regard to the status of the Emperor.”
Perhaps no paper in the United States carries as much influence as the New York Times. Its columnist, Arthur Krock, had won the respect and confidence of thousands of people across the country. And yet we find the Times’ editorials as well as Mr. Krock parroting the Communist line. Mr. Krock wrote on July 5, 1945: “Unless the imperial Japanese power is removed—even though it is wielded from behind the throne—no peace with Japan will be more than an armistice.”
Perhaps Mr. Krock was only following the editorial policy of his employers, for a few days later, on July 14, 1945, the Times’ editorial proposed that the Emperor as well as the military caste should now be attacked.
In short, The Times was sending precisely the wrong message if the purpose was to get the Japanese to call an end to hostilities on the terms most favorable to the United States. As it happens, those are precisely the terms that we eventually accepted, but not until after countless lives had been unnecessarily lost and the Communists had been set up to take over China and half of Korea. (See my article “Oliver Stone on the Japanese Surrender” for a more thorough treatment of this subject.)
One really has to wonder who the people at The New York Times were working for then…and who they are working for now with their cheerleading for our wars against Israel’s enemies. Who is “the enemy at our back” these days? We might have been given a clue recently when The Times’ current rather poor imitation of Arthur Krock, David Brooks, revealed that his oldest son is serving in the Israeli army.
* The title comes from the last sentence of the book. The capitalization is in the original: “To sum it all up THE ONLY ENEMY THE AMERICAN SOLDIER NEEDS TO FEAR IS THE ENEMY AT HIS BACK.”
October 10, 2014