Untold History: The Rise and Fall of a Progressive Vice-President of the USA

This Real News Network segment covers an important and not well recognized bit of American history: how a hugely popular, progressive vice president who would otherwise have become president was sidelined by the Democratic party machinery.

More at The Real News

You can read the transcript at Real News Network. The key bit is the excerpt from a letter Roosevelt wrote to the Democratic party in 1940 resigning over their opposition to Henry Wallace:

The Democratic Party has failed when it has fallen to the control of those who think in terms of dollars instead of human values. Until the Democratic Party shakes off all the shackles of control fastened upon it by the forces of conservatism, reaction, and appeasement, it will not continue its march to victory. The party cannot face in both directions at the same time. Therefore I decline the honor of the nomination for the presidency.

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    1. brazza

      Ditto. And not only the post, but also many of the comments, musings and recollections in this string! History can turn on a dime, and we are about ripe for a pleasant surprise.

  1. psychohistorian

    I remember reading a bit about Henry Wallace but this interview was amazing. Thanks for the posting.

    This quote from Kuznick about Truman who was politically machined into the VP slot is priceless:
    “KUZNICK: To a hack. To a hack. You know, we have a lot about Truman there, but it was literally—if you look up hack in the dictionary, you have a picture of Harry Truman there when he was part of the Pendergast machine that ran Kansas City. And Pendergast was the one who got him chosen in 1934 to run for the Senate. He was asked by reporters, why of all people did you choose Harry Truman to run for the Senate? And Pendergast says, I wanted to show the world that a well-oiled machine can take an office clerk and get him elected to the Senate. I mean, Truman was not—now he’s a near-great president in some people’s eyes. Condoleeza Rice called and said, tell Time magazine that Truman was her man of the century for the 20th century.”

    Where are the FDR and Henry Wallace’s of our day? Murdered like the Kennedys’ , MLK or otherwise cowered by the global inherited rich that got their American Imperialism with the Colonialism they wanted and maintain.

    The political machine running both the Rs and Ds and owned by the global inherited rich think that they will maintain control going forward but I believe history will stop being written by them quite soon…..I sure as hell hope so.

    1. rps

      Very well said. Kansas City mafia–Thomas Pendergast handpicked Truman. “The Strength of the Wolf” by D. Valentine details the history of the FBN, DEA and CIA.

  2. Paul Tioxon

    The Showtime documentary series, produced by Oliver Stone, “THE UNTOLD HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES”, is currently running on a weekly basis at Monday evening and repeated. It is very good so far. The most recent installment takes us up until the JFK murder. The next one will cover the escalation of the war in Viet Nam under LBJ and Nixon. A superior presentation. The Henry Wallace piece was so moving, showing a simple twist of fate that can alter history in the most profound ways. Wallace was moments from being the man for the democratic party to run as VP, and not Truman. What a world of difference.

  3. LifelongLib

    In 1945 the alternative to dropping the atom bombs was a bloody slog with incendiaries, machine guns, bayonets, and flamethrowers across every city and village in Japan. Probable U.S. casualties were estimated at 1 million, with Japanese ones being some multiple of that. The ship my dad was on was scheduled to be part of the invasion force. It was a campaign that Douglas MacArthur wanted to fight because he thought it would get him the presidency. Truman helped us avoid that. We don’t really know what Wallace would have done.

    And for what it’s worth, my dad voted for Henry Wallace in 1948 when Wallace ran as an independent.

    1. rkka

      “In 1945 the alternative to dropping the atom bombs was a bloody slog with incendiaries, machine guns, bayonets, and flamethrowers across every city and village in Japan.”

      Either that, or relaxing our terms to include guarantees for the Emperor, who we wound up not hanging as a war criminal after all.

      1. Max424

        Exactly correct.

        In mid-August of 1945, the US dropped something far more important than A-bombs on Japan, we dropped … Unconditional Surrender.

        In other words, the moment the United States AGREED TO NEGOTIATE, Japan CAPITULATED.*

        The bombs had nothing to do with anything. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were simply two more coordinates incinerated by Twenty-One Bomber Command and the B-29 Superfortress –Japanese cities numbers 122 and 123 in the completely destroyed column.

        *Does any historian out there truly believe that Japan would have quit, no matter HOW MANY A-BOMBS WE DROPPED, if we had not only guaranteed the survival of the then current Emperor, Hirohito, but also, the continuation of the Imperial House of Japan?

        Note: Hell, in ’45, bombing Japan became so redundant –so unbelievably boring, due to lack of targets– we actually leveled Greater Tokyo 3 times. Well, truthfully, we leveled it once, then we pummeled the rubble the other two times.

      2. alex

        rkka: relaxing our terms to include guarantees for the Emperor

        I’ll be the first to admit that Truman was wrong for refusing to put that guarantee into the Potsdam Declaration, despite being urged to do so by many of his own civilian and military advisers, and Churchill. However, your certainty in the counterfactual is unfounded. The emperor’s decision to surrender (which came after the atomic bombings and the USSR’s entry into the war against Japan) led to an attempted military coup against the emperor. Does that sound like the actions of people whose primary concern was for the emperor?

    2. Daikon

      Actually the either/or scenario of A-bomb or a million Americans dead that you present is a myth created by the US in the postwar period to justify the use of the A-bombs, which were widely criticized in the immediate postwar period — even inside the US, to a certain extent. The majority of US military leaders in the Pacific in 1945 were opposed to MacArthur’s reckless plan to invade Kyushu. The majority plan was to keep bombing throughout the fall and winter with conventional bombs until the Japanese infrastructure was completely destroyed and pressure to surrender within Japan reached a critical level. There was no need to drop the A-bomb, since MacArthur’s plan was not the plan that probably would have gone into effect if Japan hadn’t surrendered on Aug. 15.

      Most Japanese historians are agreed that the primary reason the Japanese surrendered in August 1945 was not the two A-bombs. The bomb blasts were powerful but local, and they did not directly threaten the Japanese ruling class. The overwhelming reason Japan surrendered was almost surely the fact that the USSR declared war on Japan on Aug. 8, one day before the Nagasaki A-bomb was dropped. Japanese leaders feared a ground invasion by the USSR much more than A-bombs. Japan knew that a massive Red Army invasion from the north would utterly overwhelm Hokkaido and the northern part of Honshu, including Tokyo, and turn them into communist zones, as was happening in eastern Europe. Japanese leaders also knew that they would all be summarily executed if that happened, and they apparently decided that it would be better to surrender to the US, which was capitalist and was far away and had fewer forces in East Asia, than to the overwhelmingly powerful USSR, which had begun to transfer much of its military to Siberia after VE Day.

      Two further theories many Japanese historians propose are that the main motives for dropping the A-bombs were 1) to test the actual capabilities of the new weapon, something the US considered doable on a noncaucasian population, and 2) to send a warning to the USSR not to invade Japan or western Europe and, at the same time, to assert that the US was the new world leader. If so, the A-bombs were the first not-so-cold shots in the Cold War.

      1. Max424

        “Japanese leaders feared a ground invasion by the USSR much more than A-bombs.”

        Exactly correct.

        On the 9th of August, 1945 (Nagasaki Day), the Far East Command of the Soviet Red Army launched attacks against Japanese forces in Manchuria.

        The Kwangtung Army, wartime Japan’s Crown Jewel, 30 divisions, 700,000 men, once proud conquerors of China now last line of Imperial defense, found itself sliced, diced, pincered and eliminated as an effective fighting force the next day.

        Advanced Soviet tank columns were lining up on the Chinese and Korean coasts by the 11th. Next step, Japan.

        Note: The students suffered and they learned, and through hard trial and error they came to far surpass their teachers’ best. The Soviet Red Army, circa 1944-45, were modern warfare’s one, true, Masters of the Blitzkrieg.

        1. alex

          Max424: Exactly correct.

          Your certainty is interesting. The emperor himself couldn’t decide whether it was the atomic bombs or the USSR’s entry that was the “real reason” for his decision to surrender. Sometimes he said it was one, and sometimes the other. Could it be that after both two atomic bombings and the USSR’s attack on Manchuria, the emperor (and the others who were in favor of surrender) simply decided that they were in deep sneakers for a variety of reasons?

          Max424: The Soviet Red Army, circa 1944-45, were modern warfare’s one, true, Masters of the Blitzkrieg.

          No. The Red Army of that period was the world’s most formidable ground force, but they did not practice blitzkrieg. Their strength came from the massive size of their forces, in some cases good, or at least plentiful equipment (especially tanks) and their high command’s willingness to wage war almost without concern for their own losses.

      2. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Daikon, also the “scientists” of the day wanted to study the effects of released nuclear energy on the human body. IG Farben-Rockefeller “study” of the day, just as “assassinations” and the murder of children in schools are designed to study the effects of “trauma” today. See, for example, “Nuclear Medicine.”

        The Beneficiaries Forever of such “SHOCK DOCTRINE-Disaster Capitalism” from era to era are the .01%DNA Owners of the Syndicates of the Global Reich. “Environmental” Disasters” yield profits to the Owners from the “Carbon Credits” Racket (e.g. “Clearstream”); “Human Body” Disasters from these Financial Terrorists–who design and effect bodily mutilation, death, and PTSD from War and from Public Assassinations and Particular Genocide, yield profit to them in the “Medical/Psychiatric/ Pharmaceutical” Sphere. There are 40,000 pages on the Internet anent one complex Organized Crime Syndicate: the “Brussels EU” — whose takeover of “Governance” of the “European” Region of the Third-Fourth Global) Reich is evident; and which is seen to be merged with the “Anglo-American” Syndicate ruled by Rockefeller Dynasty under the reign of the House of Saturn-House of Este-Guelph-*Windsor* + House of Zvi-Rothschild, practicing “Governance” of the “North American” Region (“Canada” formally subject to “Windsor”) via the CFR-RIIA-MI6-CIA carrying out the Plan for Totalitarian “British” Tyranny written by the Houses of Cecil-Rhodes.

        This is an infinitely avaricious and murderous “Business Conglomerate” (It’s nothing personal) of *Financial Terrorists* that regards “THE HUMAN BODY AS ITS MARKETPLACE” and which DEALS torture, want, destruction, shock-awe, and death SYSTEMATICALLY–to profit THEIR .01%DNA from era to era. The infamous PetroPharmaAgriChemMonopolyFinance Cartel is the most active “Working Syndicate” for .01%DNA Reich for “Family” Profit in Perpetuity–of which BP/Shell, ExxonMobil, Bunge, Cargill, ADM, Monsanto, DuPont, Halliburton, Lockheed Martin, Carlyle, KKR, the Rockefeller Foundation, the CFR, the Trilateral Commission, the House of Saud, JPM, GS, Citi, UBS, DB, BOE, etc. are but VISIBLE aspects of this Reich.

        Some of these BloodAndSoil “Family” lines, and historical moments in their evolution unto the Global Reich of warring factions we see today (for whom We the People are but pawns and “resources”), and which Reich includes the .99%Agents aspiring to join *The Big Club* for crumbs, follow the quotation below:
        –The Dark Roots of the “Brussels EU”–
        //This article highlights the birth place of the “Brussels EU” on the drawing boards of the Nazi/IG Farben-coalition for a post-war Europe under their control./
        . . .
        /The corporate preparations for World War II started as early as 1925, when Bayer, BASF, Hoechst and other German multinationals formed a cartel called “IG Farben Industry”. The declared goal of this cartel was to obtain control of the global markets in the key industrial sectors of chemistry, pharmaceuticals and petrochemicals. Already in 1925, when this cartel was founded, its corporate value surpassed 11 billion Reichsmark and it employed more than 80,000 people./

        /One of the strategic industries for which IG Farben sought global control was the pharmaceutical “investment business”. They knew that THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY IS NOT PRIMARILY A HEALTH INDUSTRY, BUT AN INVESTMENT BUSINESS THAT DEFINES THE HUMAN BODY AS ITS MARKETPLACE. While presenting itself as the purveyor of health, the entire existence of this investment industry has been based on the continuation and expansion of diseases as multibillion dollar markets for patented drugs./

        /The precondition for establishing a global monopoly for this investment business with patented drugs was the attempt to systematically eliminate all non-patentable natural therapies.// [caps mine]
        “TERRORISM AND ILLUMINATI: A Three Thousand Year History” by David Livingstone (covers the size/complexity/history of the warring “families);
        “BABYLON’S BANKSTERS: The Alchemy of Deep Physics, High Finance, and Ancient Religion” by Joseph P. Farrell covers the Who and the Why.

      3. Heretic

        I wouldn’t gI’ve much credit to japaneze historians… They can’t admit to the rape of Nanking, and Japanese war crimes throughout Asia… Sounds to me that they don’t want to admit that they were afraid of the Atomic Bomb.

      4. alex

        Daikon: the US considered doable on a noncaucasian population

        Please explain how you know that the US wouldn’t have been willing to drop atomic bombs on a caucasian population? Especially consider that the atomic bombs were originally developed for use against Germany (they simply weren’t ready in time) and that after the war our main target was the USSR, which is mostly caucasian.

    3. William

      Oh please, everyone here has heard that tired argument, the standard propoganda every american is supposed to believe in. If you’re here commenting on Naked Capitalism, you better get a deeper and broader understanding of history than what you’ve been fed.

    4. Ray Duray

      I’m delighted to hear about your Dad’s vote in ’48. Well done!

      As to your understanding of the justifications for dropping the atomic bombs, I heartily non-concur and would very much suggest to you the third episode of “The Untold History…” [ http://tinyurl.com/brsuk78 ] which does a fantastic job of elucidating the real reasons the bombs were dropped. (Hint: It wasn’t to spare invasion force casualties. That excuse was thought up after the fact.)

      In brief, Truman, Byrnes (SecState) and Gen. Groves among other key decision-makers decided to drop the bombs as a show of military superiority to the Soviets who were at the time consolidating their gains in Europe and were perceived as threatening to take western Europe from the capitalist/imperialist powers.

      The Japanese we simply brutalized to make a point in the struggle between capitalism and communism for dominance in the post-war world.

      Additionally and not covered by the Stone/Kuznick production is the additional argument that Japan sued for peace with the U.S. while the Soviets were making rapid territorial advances on the Japanese homeland. Recall that prior to the Russo-Japanese War that Sakhalin Island was part of Imperial Russia. After the Portsmouth Treaty, Japan was given possession of Sakhalin. World War II returned it to Russian ownership. Both the Japanese and the U.S. were in agreement to halt the advance of the Soviet armies as of mid-August, 1945 and prevent further Soviet expansion.

      For advanced students of this history, I can also recommend James Bradley’s “The Imperial Cruise” which very admirably gives the real history of the relationship between the Teddy Roosevelt and following U.S. Administration in collusion with the imperial forces in Japan. [ http://tinyurl.com/bnh5dwu ]

      1. Ruben

        There is also the possibility that Stalin was convinced by diplomatic efforts not to take Hokkaido. Two weeks after the first A-bomb Stalin had ready a joint airborne and amphibious operation to take Hokkaido, and it was halted by Stalin hilselm one day before the scheduled start (Glantz & House, 1995, When Titan Clashed, page 282). IIRC, Greece is another case where the Soviets refrained from taking full control.

    5. neo-realist

      Howard Zinn in Peoples History of the US wrote an chapter on the rationale for forcing unacceptable surrender terms on the Japanese to justify the A-Bomb attack.

        1. Max424

          My Dad too would have been part of the invasion of Japan. But he did not have to partake in the slaughter because WE AGREED TO NEGOTIATE.

          We said to the Japanese through backdoor channels, Look, we’ve got 12 more of these A-babies in the pipeline, and we’re going to drop them on you, all throughout September and October. But we know that doesn’t scare you elite Samurai not a wit.

          So what’s it gonna take, suicidal ones? You want the Emperor, you got him. We promise not to try and execute him. In fact, you can keep the silly bastard and on his ceremonial throne. We don’t give a shit.

          And you know us, we’re not savages like you, so the occupation won’t be too bad. For the most part, no rape, no pillage, no humiliation. Which means, very little loss of face. Could we be more generous?

          Now let’s get this done, for we both want to avoid the same thing, right? A Communist occupation of the home islands, which would be bad, bad, bad, and the Soviets are packing parachutes and loading barges as we speak.

          You dumb fucks. Your Kwangtung Army proved a more worthless paper tiger than your vaunted pre-war navy –which now rests at the bottom of the ocean.

          What were you thinking attacking us?

          Sign here.

          1. alex

            Max424: WE AGREED TO NEGOTIATE

            Cite? I’ve never seen anything that there was to such a back channel negotiation that helped lead to Japan’s surrender, but I’m open to new information of course. Truman should have guaranteed the emperor’s safety in the Potsdam Declaration, and of course after the surrender we didn’t harm the emperor, but that’s not the same.

            As to not being brutal conquerors, we dropped millions of leaflets to that effect, so that was hardly part of any negotiation. Of course there was the question of who believed us, though now history shows we did honor that promise.

          2. skippy


            Search MacArthur and the Japan’s Emperor for stuff like… see:

            Soldier of God: MacArthur’s Attempt to Christianize Japan

            Author: Moore, Ray A.

            Soldier of God is a study of General Douglas MacArthur’s effort to influence the religious life of Japan by suppressing native religions and enabling the propagation of Christianity in that country during the American occupation (1945–1952). As Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP), MacArthur said it was his duty “as a Soldier of God and of the Republic” to fill the moral vacuum in Japan by restoring and reviving religion. After an introduction to Japan’s prewar encounter with Christianity, this study focuses on four major issues.

            Part One describes the efforts of the Foreign Missions Conference (FMC) of the American Council of Churches to resume proselytizing in postwar Japan. The FMC arranged with the American government to send a church delegation to Japan, and President Truman gave a letter to the church leaders addressed to Emperor Hirohito.

            Part Two explores the delegates’ meetings with MacArthur, Emperor Hirohito, Japan’s prime minister, and Japanese Christian leaders. Convinced that Japan was a fertile field for propagating Christianity, the FMC in the U.S. laid plans for sending missionaries to support MacArthur’s scheme for Christianizing Japan.

            Part Three explores the Imperial family’s apparent interest in Christianity. The empress took Bible lessons and the crown prince (now emperor) studied English and the Bible with an American Quaker woman. The book presents evidence that the major concern of Imperial advisers and staff was to save Emperor Hirohito from trial as a war criminal.

            Part Four examines MacArthur’s policy of using the Christian community to counter the growing influence of Communism in Japanese schools. He supported the creation of a new International Christian University to oppose leftist influence among Japan’s youth..This books makes an important contribution to the ongoing study of MacArthur, the Occupation, and Christianity in Japan.



            Embracing Defeat – Japan in the Aftermath of World War II

            By John Dower

            The Tokyo war crimes tribunal – Japan’s Nuremberg – opened in 1946. The entire proceedings were stage-managed to serve, above all, the geo-political interests of US imperialism. The trial focused on Japan’s war against the US and Britain rather than its crimes in Asia. Neither the plight of tens of thousands of Formosan and Korean women forced into sex-slavery as ‘comfort women’ for the imperial army, nor the use of slave-labour in mines and heavy industries under Japanese control, were ever pursued as ‘war crimes’. In return for access to their ‘research’ findings, the US also granted blanket immunity to the officers and scientists of the notorious Unit 731, a chemical warfare base in Manchuria where lethal experiments were conducted on thousands of prisoners. In fact, at no time in the Tokyo trial did the prosecution pursue the issue of chemical weapons despite evidence of their use by Japanese forces in China. In order to keep the war-time state fundamentally intact, the trial scapegoated just a handful of officials – like General Tojo, who had ordered the attack on the US naval base of Pearl Harbour. No heads of the Kempetai (Japanese Gestapo), no leading ultra-nationalist politicians, and no industrialists, were ever indicted.

            In the first phase of the US occupation, significant democratic reforms (votes for women, legalisation of trade unions, an anti-feudal land reform) were introduced. These measures were accompanied by mostly symbolic blows against the war-time nationalist ‘old guard’. At the same time, however, the US administration was careful to protect Emperor Hirohito and his dynasty, in whose name Japan had invaded and plundered East Asia. MacArthur wanted, in his own words, “to keep the emperor safe at all costs” and intervened twice to stop him abdicating. In the words of MacArthur’s military secretary, abdication “would be a victory for all Communists and especially the Russians”. The war crimes trials of 1946-49 were rigged to render Hirohito ‘invisible’ – he was not even called as a witness. When the hapless General Tojo, who was later executed, inadvertently implicated Hirohito by stating in court that no government official could have acted against the emperor’s wishes, he was prevailed upon by the Americans to change his testimony and clear his boss, which he did.

            MacArthur administered “a censorship bureaucracy that extended into every aspect of public expression”. Between 1945-49, US censors checked 330 million pieces of mail and monitored 800,000 private phone conversations! Newspapers, books, public broadcasting and cinema were heavily censored. A Tokyo stage show in which one of the cast sang ‘how can we have democracy with two emperors?’ (ie Hirohito and MacArthur) was banned. Taboo subjects included criticism of the US, criticism of the emperor, food shortages, the black market, warnings about World War III, fraternisation and ‘mixed blood children’, and references to censorship. While the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not officially proscribed subjects, eye-witness accounts and other reports were suppressed. Dower notes, “for over six years, Japanese scientists and doctors… were denied access to data that might have assisted them in communicating to and helping atomic-bomb victims”.

            In January 1947 MacArthur banned a general strike called to resist government attacks on rail and other public sector workers. Union leaders were called to MacArthur’s headquarters and ordered in the presence of pistol-waving military police to sign a statement cancelling “the use of so deadly a social weapon” (MacArthur). This marked a turning point in popular perceptions of the US occupation.

            Japan’s post-war radicalisation had seen union ranks swell from 380,000 at the end of 1945 to 5.6 million a year later. With the ban on the general strike in 1947 the US occupation entered upon its so-called ‘reverse course’ – allying itself with the nationalist right, which had faced persecution in the first phase of occupation. MacArthur personally spearheaded a ‘red purge’ in the public sector, sacking 11,000 union activists including the entire national leadership of the Communist Party (JCP), which had made huge gains despite its muddled opportunist policies (welcoming the US occupation at first as ‘progressive’, leading demonstrations to appeal to the emperor etc). Of 28 periodicals subject to censorship in 1947, only two were ‘ultra-rightist’. All the others (with a combined circulation of 600,000) were left-wing. At the same time a ‘de-purge’ of ultra-nationalists and militarists took place.

            Under the banner of ‘demilitarisation’, US occupation personnel wrote the ‘enlightened’ Japanese constitution of 1946, which contains the famous peace paragraph (paragraph nine) renouncing “war as a sovereign right of the nation” and stating that “land, sea, and air forces… will never be maintained”. This unique document, replete with ‘funny language’ – its first draft was in English – remains in force to this day (notwithstanding which, Japan’s ‘self-defence force’ is one of the most technically advanced armies in the world).

            At the time it met with strong support among war-weary Japanese of all classes who saw it as a means to hasten the end of the occupation, but also to curb the power of nationalist generals and the obscene waste of armaments spending. Almost before the ink was dry on this document, however, the US was pressurising Japan to rearm. In 1950, at the outset of the Korean War, MacArthur “secretly urged Japanese leaders to create an army of between three hundred thousand and three hundred fifty thousand men”, Dower explains. Japan did rearm but resisted the wilder notions of US spokesmen and attempts to drag it into the Korean war.

            MacArthur was appointed to lead the UN forces in Korea but, in 1951, was sacked by US President Truman for insubordination. In his address to the American people, Truman explained this was “in order to avoid World War III” – the issue being MacArthur’s proposed attack on China. The US occupation of Japan continued for a further year.

            Overall, the aim of MacArthur’s reform programme was to secure capitalism’s future in Japan and inoculate the Japanese masses against Stalinism, which had been strengthened in Russia and was advancing in China. With the rise of working class militancy in Japan from 1946 onwards, US support for reform all but collapsed and gave way to anti-communist purges and counter-reforms. The Korean war, however, created an economic boom in Japan, as the major supplier to the US war effort. This hastened the end of the occupation and marked the start of a remarkable economic ascent. Some US strategists imagine this scenario can be repeated in Iraq today. They overlook the obvious, that the Korean war and strategic rivalry with Japan’s ‘communist’ neighbours forced US imperialism to bankroll the country’s post-war expansion with a largesse that has been noticeably absent in today’s world, for example in Afghanistan and the Balkans.

            Skippy… pretty funny in a sick sort of way… two imperialistic* (*sequestering cheap economic inputs political – nation state construct) go to War and after its all said and done, get naked and mind meld. All that death and destruction was just a violent romance…. sigh…

  4. Beppo

    Every potentially good thing in American history was squelched by the scum in power. There was a decent segment about Wallace on Oliver Stones hit or miss Showtime history show.

  5. Middle Seaman

    It’s depressing to find out that the Democratic Party has fought the American people for over 70 years now. It provides a solid background to otherwise inexplicable attempts to destroy the safety net Obama in dead set to achieve.

    As one who didn’t grow up in the US, I would like to read/hear more sources supporting the history as told by the video.

    The assumption that Wallace would have prevented the cold war, however, is downright outrageous. There was a Stalin and an imperial Soviet Union on the other side. They were fully committed to world domination.

    1. Beppo

      If you believe the stories, Roosevelt and Stalin agreed on a buffer zone of countries for the Soviets. Apparently, Truman was not told. So when the takeovers in eastern Europe took place, his furor made Stalin think the Americans were negotiating in bad faith. It set the table for the nazi spies feeding the CIA fake information to constantly inflame tensions, and everything else.

        1. Beppo

          And I am sure that if you were negotiating with a country that had invaded yours to support a counterrevolution, you would trust them infinitely?

        2. Mark P.

          ‘Stalin didn’t need any help seeing (or imagining) bad faith in just about everybody.’

          Except Hitler. Hilariously enough, Stalin actually trusted Hitler and so, when Operation Barbarossa began, he went into an extreme funk where he wouldn’t come out his room for a couple of weeks.

        3. from Mexico

          LifelongLib says:

          Stalin didn’t need any help seeing (or imagining) bad faith in just about everybody.

          And you believe the variagated assortment of characteropaths that preside over US corporatocracy are any different from Stalin?

          When the War on Communism ended in 1989, did the paranoia that was ostensibly engendered by the Evil Empire go away? Of course not. What happened was the Evil Empire went away, but the paranoia did not. First the US neo-imperialists invented the War on Drugs to take the place of the War on Communism. Then they invented the War on Terror. And to think that Iraq, Afghanistan or Iran can pose the same sort of threat to the life of the nation that the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany could is nonsensical. But such grotesque and massively ficticious thinking is what dominates in both Democratic and Republican circles these days.

          US neo-imperialists, which are firmly in control of both parties, always have to have some Great Evil to scare the US population into submission with. If one doesn’t exist, they merely invent one and evangelize it with the most effective propaganda apparatus ever known to humankind.

          Without some Great Evil, how would American corporatocracy justify permanent war and the security state to the American people?

          1. knowbuddhau

            To paraphrase the Buddha, humanity is impaled on the twin horns of the same old bull: “is” and “is-not”, “good” and “evil,” “communist” and “capitalist”, “Republican” and “Democrat”, and so on.

            The solution to this problem, of being led around by the nose by puppets and their masters, is to go beyond good and evil, beyond mutually arising pairs of opposites (that co-arise like the two sides of a coin), no? Invoking the ever so human constructs of “good” and “evil” doesn’t add anything useful to debates. But it does impel us to choose sides.

            I was raised Protestant, then Catholic, and now I’m Zen. When I was a kid, all the way up to high school, I had what I called rapture panic. If I came home to an empty house, I would freeze in terror at the thought that everyone got raptured but me. That power has not escaped the attention of our masters.

            Joseph Campbell: the Supernormal Sign Stimulus, Pt. 1

            The following statement, by the British poet and critic A. E. Housman, supplies the most satisfactory definition I know of a certain triggering principle that is effective in the poetic impact:

            Poetry seems to me more physical than intellectual. A year or two ago, in common with others, I received from America

            THE INHERITED IMAGE 41

            a request that I would define poetry. I replied that I could no more define poetry than a terrier can define a rat, but that I thought we both recognized the object by the symptoms which it provokes in us. One of these symptoms was described in connection with another object by Eliphaz the Temanite: “A spirit passed before my face: the hair of my flesh stood up.” Experience has taught me, when I am shaving of a morn­ing, to keep watch over my thoughts, because if a line of poetry strays into my memory, my skin bristles so that the razor ceases to act. This particular symptom is accompanied by a shiver down the spine; there is another which consists in a constriction of the throat and a precipitation of water to the eyes; and there is a third which I can only describe by borrow­ing a phrase from one of Keats’s last letters, where he says, speaking of Fanny Brawne, “everything that reminds me of her goes through me like a spear.” The seat of this sensation is the pit of the stomach.

            The reader hardly need be reminded that the images not only of poetry and love but also of religion and patriotism, when effec­tive, are apprehended with actual physical responses: tears, sighs, interior aches, spontaneous groans, cries, bursts of laughter, wrath, and impulsive deeds. Human experience and human art, that is to say, have succeeded in creating for the human species an en­vironment of sign stimuli that release physical responses and direct them to ends no less effectively than do the signs of nature the instincts of the beasts. The biology, psychology, sociology, and history of these sign stimuli may be said to constitute the field of our subject, the science of Comparative Mythology. And although no one has yet devised an effective method for distinguishing be­tween the innate and the acquired, the natural and the culturally conditioned, the “elementary” and the “ethnic” aspects of such human-cultural catalysts and their evoked responses, the radical distinction here made by the poet Housman between images that act upon our nervous structure as energy releasers and those that serve, rather, for the transmission of thought, supplies an excellent criterion for the testing of our themes.

            “I cannot satisfy myself,” he [Housman] writes, “that there are any such things as poetical ideas. No truth, it seems to me, is too precious, no observation too profound, and no sentiment too exalted to be

            expressed in prose. The utmost that I could admit is that some ideas do, while others do not, lend themselves kindly to poetical expression; and that these receive from poetry an enhancement which glorifies and almost transfigures them, and which is not perceived to be a separate thing except by analysis.”

            When Housman writes that “poetry is not the thing said but a way of saying it,” and when he states again “that the intellect is not the fount of poetry, that it may actually hinder its production, and that it cannot even be trusted to recognize poetry when it is produced,” he is no more than reaffirming and lucidly formu­lating the first axiom of all creative art–whether it be in poetry, music, dance, architecture, painting, or sculpture–which is, namely, that art is not, like science, a logic of references but a re­lease from reference and rendition of immediate experience: a presentation of forms, images, or ideas in such a way that they will communicate, not primarily a thought or even a feeling, but an impact.

            [Joseph Campbell. (1968). Masks of God: Primitive Mythology, pp.40-42. New York: Penguin.]

            To that list of creative arts we must now add PSYOPs and MYTHOPs. Symbols that encapsulate the powers of our own dreams, fears, terrors, and aspirations are being used like remote controls for our psyches.

            That’s the bad news. The good news is, we also have the power to see right through these deceptions. We can get off this twin-horned bull.

            I’ve been watching and re-watching these remarkable documentaries since the began airing. Despite their many shortcomings (not impressed by the focus on Great Men of History, nor the subtle appeals to American Exceptionalism), I like them a lot. Lots of information I never knew.

            The jacking of the 1944 DNC, in favor of party hack Truman, set the stage for the National Security state that misrules us to this day. For that knowledge alone, I’m very grateful for Stone and Kuznick’s efforts.

    2. Mark P.

      ‘There was a Stalin and an imperial Soviet Union on the other side. They were fully committed to world domination.’

      Yes and no. Stalin and the Soviet Politburo of the time really did believe their own ideology about capitalism — and the U.S. and the West — falling because of its own contradictions. Thus, they were prepared to wait the enemy out and move slowly.

    3. from Mexico

      Middle Seaman said:

      There was a Stalin and an imperial Soviet Union on the other side. They were fully committed to world domination.

      That’s certainly the spin put on things by the US neo-imperialists. But is it true?

      For a dissident viewpoint, there’s this excellent documentary film by the Canadian filmmaker, Scott Noble:

      The Power Principle: Corporate Power and the Rise of the Security State


      “A gripping, deeply informative account of the plunder, hypocrisy, and mass violence of plutocracy and empire; insightful, historically grounded and highly relevant to the events of today.” – Michael Parenti, Historian, Author The Face of Imperialism

    4. Ray Duray

      Re: “As one who didn’t grow up in the US, I would like to read/hear more sources supporting the history as told by the video.”

      I can make some suggestions.

      1) Howard Zinn: “A People’s History of the United States” is an excellent introduction to revionist (read as non-propandistic and honest) history

      2) William Blum: “Killing Hope” for a history of hidden imperialist campaigns run by the U.S. since WW II.

      3) Walter Karp: “The Politics of War:The Story of Two Wars Which Altered Forever the Political Life of the American Republic 1890–1920” on U.S. imperialism from the time of the Spanish-American War and the start of the U.S. as a colonial power.

      4) Steven Kinzer: “Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq” and “All the Shah’s Men”

      You could also do well to check out the oeuvre of Noam Chomsky and Michael Parenti for other non-establishment appreciations of the U.S. imperialist adventure.

      1. alex

        Howard Zinn? His “A People’s History of the United States” is riddled with factual errors. I figured that out on my own within the first couple of hundred pages, and I’m no historian. Moreover, even though it went through four editions over 25 years, he made no effort to correct errors in the original text or to address copious amounts of new research and material that became available during that time. Once he’d written his polemic, and made money off it thanks to the mention of his book in a movie, he was not inclined to put in the effort required to address silly things like newly available facts. Some “historian”. His argument that, since nobody is completely unbiased, there is no reason to attempt to be unbiased, is like saying that since nobody is completely moral, there is no reason to even attempt to be moral.

        If you want an author who, for example, argues that dropping the atomic bombs was not necessary, try an actual historian like Gar Alperovitz.

  6. HIP OP

    Son of Wall Street, former Yalie and once a soldier –Stone
    continues to blow it —‘by design’ so it appears.

    In this ‘latest’ history in typical capstone cover op fashion,
    he begins some 50 years LATE –thus sidestepping the
    awesomely relevant themes of Marks–ism’s links –and
    source in monopoly Global banking.

    And then there’s the Jeckyl Island banking coup
    —the EUGENICS horror —-the set up of London and
    Wall Street groomed Lenin and Trotsky —and the M–powerment
    of BOTH STALIN and then Hitler.

    As for the ‘fresh’ Wallace angle –it’s been done and is
    less than meets the eye.

    Far more revealing would have been a clower look at
    Harry truman’s role in betrraying China to MAO –betraying
    Korea to permanent genocidal partition —betraying VAST
    US intel and tech to the Soviets —and greenlight to the
    Macy Group to ‘re-engineer’ and destroy American culture
    in the name of progress and EUGENICS.

    Further, even such as it is —the treatment is lame and
    half-baked with nothing new brought to the table
    —–including archive footage.

    And the narration really is off.

    Forget Oliver CAP–Stone’s latest ‘on board’ piece
    of ‘authorized ‘RA’–dick—ALL’–ism.

    Join the 22 MILLION who’ve checked out
    —-‘Money Masters’ documentary online.


    1. Ray Duray

      HIP OP,

      “Money Masters” has a decidedly right wing paranoid perspective in the sense that Richard Hofstadter used the term. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Paranoid_Style_in_American_Politics

      I very much prefer the analysis of William Greider in “Secrets of the Temple”, which is now a tad dated.

      Or the more recent Liaquat Ahamed “Lords of Finance” http://tinyurl.com/czvyv42 as a general introduction to central banking.

      There’s several other texts that are all superior to the “Money Masters” video which veers on occasion into too much ideology and too little honest pragmatic analysis. Recent works by Neil Barofsky and Sheila Bair are useful.

      As was “Inside Job” by Charles Ferguson. An Oscar winning documentary that is quite compelling.

      Just one man’s opinion…

    2. MRW

      HIP OP,

      If you will investigate further (and, yes, I’ve read Eustace Mullins and the other books), the Jeckyl Island coup you speak of was in fact something else.

      After the panic of 1907, the Vreeland-Aldrich bill (passed in 1908) authorized asset money based on sound bank assets. The Vreeland-Aldrich Act established the National Monetary Commission to study the issue. The Commission took four years, brought in a report of 32 volumes describing the banking systems of other commercial nations, and submitted a library on the subject matter of 2,500 volumes.

      The National Monetary Commission proposed a bill establishing a central bank governed by member banks. That’s how the Federal Reserve Act came into being. The National Monetary Commission came up with it. It was not a coup, and it is under Congress. Our problem is that our current Congress knows zip about fiscal policy, and leaves it to the Fed to run monetary policy as a replacement. (Greenspan convinced Clinton to let the markets decide.) Monetary policy should be the enactment of accomplishing what fiscal policy dictates.

      1. Nathanael

        The National Monetary Commission and Vreeland and the whole lot of them were representatives of what was called, at the time, the “Money Trust”.

        The Greenbackers wanted the government to have control over the size of the money supply *and* profits from the seignorage.

        The Money Trust wanted private bankers to have profits from the seignorage *and* control over the size of the money supply.

        Their opposition was the “Greenbackers”.

        The Money Trust basically won, and the income from seignorage was left to private bankers. However, later on — under Wilson and FDR — government control over the Fed was increased substantially, giving the government control over the size of the money supply, amounting to a compromise between the Money Trust and the Greenbackers.

  7. Jim Haygood


    Wallace believed that both the American and the Russian revolution were part of “the march to freedom of the past 150 years.” After having met Molotov, he arranged a trip to the “Wild East” of Russia.

    On May 23, 1944, he started a 25-day journey accompanied by Owen Lattimore. Coming from Alaska, they landed at Magadan where they were received by Sergei Goglidze and Dalstroi director Ivan Nikishov, both NKVD generals. The NKVD presented a fully sanitized version of the slave labor camps in Magadan and Kolyma to their American guests, claiming that all the work was done by volunteers, provided entertainment, and by some accounts left their guests impressed with the “development” of Siberia and the spirit of the “volunteers.”

    Lattimore’s film of the visit tells that “a village … in Siberia is a forum for open discussion like a town meeting in New England.”


    Have you scheduled your progressive Siberian work-study vacation, comrades?

    1. alex

      Thank you. Also missing from this thread is any mention that in the 1950’s Wallace himself came to believe that he’d been horribly naive about the USSR.

    2. Nathanael

      The Russian Revolution *was* part of the march towards freedom.

      Have you ever looked up conditions under the Tsars? Things were *actually better for most people* under Stalin — in fact, most people actually had *more freedom* (what with no longer being serfs-tied-to-the-land). This should give you some idea of how backwards things were before 1917.

  8. Ray Duray

    Re: “Have you scheduled your progressive Siberian work-study vacation, comrades?”

    Yes, I have. I’m going just after I finish my Guantanamo and CIA black site tours. And my tour of the headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security where I’m sure to learn about how honest patriots are using all their benign new social surveillance tools to promote the advancement of the “least among us” and also provide a completely transparent peek into the 92 million new classified documents our government somehow absent-mindedly created last year.

    A vacation in the U.S. National Archives. Now that’d be a bracing adventure for this volunteer! Care to join me? I understand Julian Assange is not available just at the moment. :)

  9. Ruben

    Mmh, probably it was Wallace, in his position as chairman of the Board of Economic Warfare, that mastered the delivery of hundreds of thousands Studebakers and Jeeps to the Red Army. These vehicles were fundamental to the Soviets in defeating the Wehrmacht.

    1. alex

      More specifically Studebaker trucks, which the Soviets found worked better in the mud than the GM trucks. Studebaker trucks and T-34 tanks were sometimes the only thing that made it through the Ukrainian mud in the rainy season. There was an entire Soviet campaign in Ukraine that took advantage of the Germans being unable to move during the “muddy time”, just as the counteroffensive outside Moscow took advantage of German equipment being unable to move in the extreme cold.

      However, Wallace’s efforts to ship equipment to the USSR is no mark against him. Even the old commie hunter Churchill promoted that.

  10. Bob of Newton

    As for the whole East/West issue, I simply recall a photo from the summer of 1968.
    A young fellow held a sign that read:
    “Out of Vietnam, Out of Czechoslovakia. The pig is the same all over”

  11. Heretic

    Btw, what is more humane, 2 atom bombs on two cities, or months of heavy bombing campaigns and a starvation inducing blockade of Japan?

    Sounds equally inhumane to me.

    My take one war comes from Sun Tzu; All war is contrary to virtue, it shall be among the last options available for the state. Bring the war to a swift end.

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