The controversy over Diana West’s book American Betrayal has brought out a lot of interesting discussion and argument in various venues. In the comments on last night’s post about David Horowitz’ appearance yesterday at Heritage, John Dietrich, the author of The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy, left the following analysis about what is going on:
David Horowitz has stated that he sees Diana West’s American Betrayal as a threat. He is perfectly correct. According to Horowitz her book is “a complete reinterpretation of the Second World War based on the presence of Soviet agents and communists in the Roosevelt administration.” Her book is a threat to the conventional account of the war that is satisfying to both liberals and conservatives. Horowitz is happy for the most part to expose Communists in government but he is not willing to accept the implications of their influence on American foreign policy. Yes, there were Communists in the government but their impact was small. Diana West sees their role as crucial. Her reinterpretation has a dramatic effect on the conventional account of the Second World War.
The conventional account maintains that the Second World War was a good war. The United States was attacked without provocation. We reluctantly went to war to defeat the greatest threat to civilization the world had ever seen. We defeated our enemies and immediately rehabilitated them. After the war we learned that the Soviets were not the benevolent force we had believed. We discovered that there were Communists in the Roosevelt administration and they were swiftly removed from government. Unfortunately, some Americans went to extremes and targeted Americans who were not Communists but merely progressive. Basically we are good people. End of story.
The problem is that West’s interpretation begins the unraveling of war propaganda that we are still being subjected to. Soviet agents had a tremendous impact on American foreign policy. They were responsible for the U.S. government’s involvement it what can only be described as “crimes against humanity.” This has led both Diana West and Vladimir Bukovsky to claim that “we” were complicit in Soviet crimes. “We” were not complicit. These Soviet agents and their American sympathizers implemented their plans in secret. The American public would not have accepted their policies and these policies were directly contrary to American interests. As a result of these policies France and Italy were in danger of going Communist by 1947.
Diana West has only scratched the surface of Communist impact of U. S. foreign policy. These agents and their sympathizers involved the U.S. government in the slave trade and a government orchestrated famine that led to the deaths of an undetermined number of people (The Morgenthau Plan and Yalta Agreement.) There is a fear that exposing these policies might lead to the relativization of the crimes of the Nazis. This exposure would give support to members of the extreme right. It does not occur to the defenders of the conventional school that intelligent people can be simultaneously anti-communist and anti-Nazi.
David Horowitz said. “I don’t want to get into an historical thing.” What is this “thing” if it is not historical? Eventually Diana West’s reinterpretation will prevail because it is closer to the truth than the one Horowitz wants to maintain.
Mr. Dietrich also wrote a review of The Rebuttal: Defending ‘American Betrayal’ from the Book-Burners at Amazon:
Kook Army View of The Rebuttal
When Diana West took up her little sling and aimed at Communism, she hit something else. Maybe she should be called Chambers on steroids. The level of vitriol unleashed against her reveals that she hit a sensitive spot. She has responded in a responsible way with The Rebuttal. West has been accused of being “very angry very self-centered,” with a “paranoid streak.” I view her as being modest to a fault. Her behavior does not match their psychological diagnosis. Her opponents have made a major miscalculation. The time tested method of dealing with uncomfortable facts is to completely ignore them. By attacking Diana West in such an amateurish fashion they have increased the circulation of these facts. Such attacks are counterproductive. Diana West fears that these attacks undermine her integrity. I think it is clear that they have undermined the integrity of her opponents.
Progressive defenders of the Consensus have suffered defeat after defeat. The truth about the Ukrainian famine, Katyn Forrest Massacre, the guilt of the Rosenbergs, Alger Hiss, Harry Dexter White and untold others, eventually came out in spite of their heroic efforts. These defenders of the Soviet conspiracy make no apologies. They do not need to. Their mistakes are conveniently assigned to the Memory Hole. As Vladimir Bukovsky points out such incompetence would have severe consequences in any other field.
Ned May describes how professional historians view their field: “the masters of the guild get angry when someone less worthy than they are ventures into the orchard in which only they are privileged to harvest. The harvest the outsiders brought in, they ritually burn.” Amateurs are incapable [of] understanding “historical context.” Professional historians tell us if you want to write history you must have formal training. The arrogance of her critics does not compare favorably with her modesty.
Maintaining the “Consensus” requires censorship. M. Stanton Evans has pointed out, “many relevant records have been buried, censored or omitted from official archives. Presidential secrecy orders, disappearing papers, folders missing from files” have been used to keep information from the public. “We know from the Kliefoth memo the New York Times had an agreement with the Soviets whereby Walter Duranty’s dispatches would always reflect the official opinion of the Soviet regime.” Mark Tapson’s review has disappeared. He was incompetent. Clare Lopez’s review disappeared and she received a pink slip from the Gatestone Institute. Thank God for the internet. It is a bucket beneath the Memory Hole. I have no evidence, but I can assure you that publishers and broadcasters have been contacted and advised that it would not be in their best interests to deal with Diana West. Horowitz claims that she should not have written the book. Is there any doubt that if Horowitz had the power to ban the book he would not do so?
The major conflict arising from her book is the extent of the government infiltration. Aside from the people who were actively working for the Soviets there were a large number of people like Secretary of State Dean Acheson who stated, “I do not intend to turn my back on Alger Hiss,” after Hiss was convicted of perjury. Hiss was a Stalinist who spied for the Soviet Union. Yet Acheson and many others could sympathize with him. How many Americans died as a result of his work of the Far Eastern postwar settlement? One of the most successful defense tactics used to defend the government officials is to claim they were “duped.” In response I quote Jean-Francois Revel: “One of the abiding myths of the twentieth century is that many Western intellectuals sympathized with the Soviet Union because they were unaware of the true nature of the regime established by the Bolsheviks.” The Germans who lived under a dictatorship and a controlled press probably knew more of what was happening than progressive politicians and bureaucrats.
One of the points that really agitates progressives is her statement “Stalin — an even greater totalitarian monster than Hitler.” This is sacrilegious. Although Hitler comes in third, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, in the contest for greatest mass murderer, it is something not mentioned in polite society.
I have two criticisms of the defense in Rebuttal. I will make them without questioning the sanity or paternity of the sources. I was disappointed to read that M. Stanton Evens appears to believed that FDR signed the Morgenthau Plan because of his failing health. The records amply demonstrate that he had given this decision a great deal of thought. Secondly, even Vladimir Bukovsky has stated, “We have been accomplices to mass murder.” “We” were not accomplices! The accomplices in the U.S. government did these things in secret and many of their acts have been concealed to this day. Progressive historians further their careers by researching crimes committed by Americans. Imagine the accolades a historian would receive if he could show that Benjamin Franklin was a pedophile. However, a clear example of government involvement in the slave trade and an attempt to reproduce the Ukrainian famine in the heart of Europe do not interest them.
I am proud to be a member of the DWKA (Diana West’s Kook Army).
These two accounts provide a convincing map of the topography of Planet X. The task that remains is to discover the explanation for the enormous mass of this mysterious celestial body.
The only plausible source for such a strong gravitational field is a huge concentration of money. Which persons and organizations can pack such an effective financial wallop? What motivates them to use their monetary clout in a ham-handed attempt to discredit Diana West and her book?
The visible players in this affair are not the ones bankrolling the threats and incentives that disturb the orbits of other planetary bodies in the conservative solar system. Someone else has vested interests, and is exerting influence to protect them.
It will be the task of future historians to track down the precise combination of heavy elements that make up the core of Planet X.
For links to previous articles about the controversy over American Betrayal, see the Diana West Archives.