Why No “Peace” Movement in WWII?

“The problem in the summer of 1941 was that many regular Americans were not ready for war, since their country – the United States – had not been attacked. For American Communists, however, their country – the USSR – had been attacked. They were gung ho.”  Paul Kengor

World War II is unique among the five wars the United States fought in the 20th Century, in that there was virtually no left wing “peace movement” trying to undermine America’s war effort.

During the First World War, President Wilson’s government jailed or deported hundreds of war protestors, most of whom were Communists or Socialists. During the Vietnam War, leftist radicals organized a “peace movement” that eventually undermined support for the war among the broader public. Similar left wing protests took place to a smaller extent during the 1991 Gulf War and the Korean Conflict of the 1950’s.

But the Second World War was different.

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The FBI and the Communist Party

“Had observers known in the 1950s what they have learned since the 1970s, when the Freedom of Information Act opened the Bureau’s files, ‘McCarthyism’ would probably be called ‘Hooverism.'” History professor Ellen Schrecker

During J. Edgar Hoover’s long tenure as Director, the FBI was very successful at spying on organizations hostile to the interests of the United States, including the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazi and Communist parties. Hoover is demonized in mainstream history books because the left wing activists who write most of the textbooks resent his efforts against one of those three organizations.

For some unknown reason, College professors and other left wing extremists tend to be anti-anti-Communists, implacably hostile to anyone who ever fought against Communism in any capacity. That being the case, J. Edgar Hoover would get much more sympathetic treatment in the history books if he had restricted his anti-subversive efforts to the KKK and the Nazis.

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Winning The Cold War, Part I – The “Evil Empire” Speech

“The real crisis we face today is a spiritual one; at root, it is a test of moral will and faith.” Ronald Reagan

In 1983 President Reagan gave a famous speech in which he outraged American liberals, and warmed the hearts of conservatives, by describing the Soviet Union as an “evil empire.”

College faculties were pretty uniformly left wing in the 1980’s, and reflexively hostile to anything anti-Communist.  Professors on campuses all around the nation reacted to the President’s speech with outrage. Dr Henry Steele Commager, a history professor at Amherst College, spoke for many of his colleagues when he said that this was “the worst presidential speech in American history, and I’ve read them all.”

History professors haven’t gotten much more moderate over the ensuing years. They still tend to lean very far to the left, and they still resent Reagan.

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Cold War History: Written by the Losers

”The cold war is now behind us. Let us not wrangle over who won it.” Mikhail Gorbachev, 1990

In an insightful 1944 essay, George Orwell coined the famous phrase “History is written by the winners.” His point was that totalitarian regimes like the Nazis and the Communists showed no regard for truth, in and of itself; and would compose and teach whatever “facts” suited their political agendas. If Hitler succeeded in conquering Europe, Orwell said, future generations of Europeans would believe whatever lies his National Socialists chose to put in their history books.

Orwell, however, did not foresee scholars in free countries like England and the US practicing this kind of creative “history” writing on behalf of the enemies of their own countries. He would probably be surprised at some of the tendentious teaching that goes on in college history classes these days.

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Anti-Anti-Communism

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Arab Proverb

As regular readers know, the purpose of the “Columns” section of this website is to expose the leftwing bias prevalent among history department faculties on most American universities, and in the textbooks most of them require their students to read. In reading and re-reading the most widely-used freshman history textbooks, I see certain patterns emerge. One pattern that stands out like a sore thumb in these textbooks is the very harsh treatment given to anyone who ever fought vigorously against Communism.

This pattern of demonization extends not just to domestic political figures like Joseph McCarthy, but to anti-communist military and political leaders in foreign countries, to law enforcement officials who prosecuted Soviet spies, and even to our nation’s own troops when they fought against Communist forces on the battlefield.  

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