The Real Henry A. Wallace: The Truth About Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick's "Unsung Hero."
Further evidence for Wallace’s myopia comes from the pen of my colleague and co-conspirator in the history of American communism and Soviet espionage, John Earl Haynes. His material appears in Dubious Alliance: The Making of Minnesota’s DFL Party, and Red Scare: American Communism and Anti-Communism in the Cold War Era.
An incident I discuss took place in October 1946. Hubert Humphrey up to that point had greatly admired Wallace and at the 1944 national Democratic convention had led the Minnesota delegation in a demonstration for retaining Wallace as Roosevelt’s vice-president and, to the great irritation of the more regular Democrats in the MN delegation, had refused to shift to Truman even after Truman’s victory was clear. After FDR's death, he wrote an emotional letter to Wallace regretting that Wallace was not in a position to assume the presidency. In September 1946 Truman filed Wallace for his criticism of Truman's developing Cold War policies and in October Wallace made a nation-wide speaking tour, including an appearance in Minneapolis. At the airport then Mayor Humphrey officially welcomed Wallace and sought a meeting with him to discuss the political situation in Minnesota. That night Wallace met with Humphrey and a few of Humphrey's close political aides. After Humphrey explained his increasing difficult relations with secret Communists operating in the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, Wallace told Humphrey that he personally knew of only one Communist active in liberal politics, Lee Pressman of the CIO. Humphrey was taken aback by this because Wallace had ridden from the airport with a delegation of Minnesota Wallace supporters, including several well-known Communists (turning down Humphrey's offer to escort Wallace to his hotel). Worse, however, Wallace then suggested that Humphrey privately approach Soviet officials and ask that they order their Minnesota subordinates to behave with greater discretion. Appalled by Wallace’s combination of naiveté and willingness to accept Soviet involvement in domestic American politics, Humphrey severed his ties with the man he once fervently hoped would be president of the United States.
One other incident confirms Wallace’s complete naiveté about the Communist control of his own movement in 1948. His good friend, C.B. “Beanie” Baldwin, whom he knew from New Deal days, became his top advisor and campaign manager. Baldwin, unbeknownst to Wallace, was a secret Communist Party member.
A congressman who was a member of the House Committee on Un-American Activities wrote Wallace to inform him that he had information that the leaders of the Pennsylvania branch of the Progressive Party were both members of the CPUSA. Wallace responded that he asked Beanie Baldwin about this, and Baldwin told him it was not true -- that the men were independent progressives. Baldwin, who had appointed these two Communists to the leadership of the movement in Philadelphia, lied to Wallace.
Had Henry A. Wallace become president in 1948, and had FDR let him stay on the ticket, Wallace would have proceeded to implement policies favorable to Stalin in Europe. There would have been no Marshall Plan, no NATO, and U.S. policy would have been to formally support the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe, including approval of the Czech coup that put the Communists in power after the killing of Jan Masaryk.
As John L. Gaddis suggested, the future of the world would have been very different, since there would have been no Western opposition to Stalin’s expansion as he moved politically to create Communist regimes throughout Europe.
In repeating a mythical history of the Cold War from the Soviet perspective, Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick continually misinform the American public about the real history of the Cold War. That the American media has featured them on virtually every major television and radio talk show -- without any challenge to the analysis they offer -- is more than a major disgrace.
It makes the talk show hosts who book them complicit in the spreading of lies about our own past, and hence does a great disserve to the public. It is bad enough that CBS has run their TV series on Showtime. To then allow them to spread their lies unopposed compounds the disgrace. Which will be the program brave enough to invite on anyone who can challenge the portrait of the Cold War painted by Stone and Kuznick? Even hosts like Joe Scarborough and Mike Huckabee have given their programs over to these dishonest and ill-informed would-be historians.
I have offered to appear with them in a debate, alongside someone like Prof. Wilson Miscamble of Notre Dame University (author of a serious book on the Cold War that proves how bad the history of Stone and Kuznick is and another book on the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan).
To date, Stone and Kuznick have not replied to the challenge. I think I know why. Both of them would not be able to handle real evidence and argument that challenges many of the assertions and so-called “indisputable facts” they present.
They are moral and mental cowards, willing only to appear on their own before hosts who do not know history, and before audiences of confirmed leftists who cheer them on.
It is time Showtime, CBS, and the programs that regularly book them on the air hear from those of us who are disgusted with their propaganda barrage and demand that others who hold a different perspective have the chance to counter their work.