Debating ‘American Betrayal’: The Author Responds

As reported here last week, Diana West was refused the right to respond to a 12,000-word series against her book that had been published at American Thinker, without first allowing the editor to alter the contents of her letter. The complete letter (unedited) has just been published at Breitbart. Some excerpts are below:

Author’s Note: This is my response to a recent three-part series by Jeff Lipkes devoted to my book American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character at American Thinker. It is an open letter to the writer.

This marks the second time in one year that American Thinker has refused to publish my own defense of my work as written.

Dear Jeff Lipkes,

When you asked me to answer questions for an article about American Betrayal and the attacks on the Right it has provoked, you told me: “I have a Ph.D. in history, but my interests are late 19th and early 20th c. British politics and culture, and, though I’ve taught courses on 20th c. Europe, have no expertise in the subject of your book.”

Not holding that Ph.D. in history against you, I, of course, agreed. Having been through the lengthy, three-part essay you have produced on the subject, however, I see once again that Drs. will be Drs. You tag the series “Diana and Ron” — Have you left no sense of decency??? (that’s a joke) — but a better title might have been “Another Ph.D. into the Breach to Avenge the Conventional Wisdom So Grievously Trespassed by “American Betrayal,” Alas.

That, of course, is the prerogative of the academic brotherhood (or siblinghood, if you’re one of those). After all, I have written a book that explores the 1930s and 1940s and beyond without including the conventional markers that make such excursions familiar before they begin. For example, American Betrayal, as you lament, fails to focus on Hitler, instead discussing him in relation to Stalin. And while American Betrayal reflects on what Stalin’s famine in the Ukraine, “normalization” of US-USSR relations, the Katyn Forest Massacre, etc., meant for Washington, you’re right, there is not a word about Kristallnacht. Nazi crime and Communist crime, meanwhile, are discussed together as I probe the origins of the double standard that condemned Nazism but whitewashed Communism — and which inspired the democracies to fight and revile bloody dictator Hitler, but embrace and apologize for bloody dictator Stalin. Maybe worst of all, I don’t quote a single British cabbie of the Blitz, one of whom you introduce from unsourced nowhere by way of vernacular reproach to re-assert the approved template. Readers (children), there was only one real enemy (besides Japan) in World War II, and that was Hitler’s Germany — or, to quote your taxi driver, “the bloody ‘un.”

I disagree. Veering completely outside the lines, my book explores the dirty intelligence war the Soviet dictatorship was waging against Britain and the US (covertly prosecuted in London and Washington by British and American traitors) all the while simultaneously fighting Hitler in military alliance with both democracies. I do recognize that this concept overwhelms the conventional template, conventional reactions, too. Your cabbie, for example, has a counterpart in American Betrayal in a British railway officer of the same period. On speaking with a passenger, returning British POW James Allan, a man broken by the torture and abuse he endured in the prisons of Our Great Soviet Ally, this railway officer was “obviously very reluctant to believe my story,” as Allan later wrote in his book No Citation. The source of this prevalent disbelief about facts of Soviet crime are much discussed in American Betrayal, even though admittedly this pushes the context of events far past “the bloody ‘un.”

Allan’s superiors believed his story (and his wounds), by the way. Allan received the Distinguished Conduct Medal, second only to the Victoria Cross, for what he endured at the hands of his Soviet captors. So comprehensive was the Allied effort to whitewash “Uncle Joe” Stalin, however, that Allan’s medal came to him literally with “no citation” — no official write-up of his heroism — and he was prohibited from publishing the story of his captivity until two years after the war ended. Why? The answer — the question — is just not likely to be found in the lore we all “know.”

I guess what I’m saying, Jeff, is that I expected a tad more engagement from you with what I actually wrote. I note that you are critical of core arguments I advance in American Betrayal but that you neglect to offer readers any quoted inkling of how or what I actually wrote to make these arguments. That is quite a feat: a word here and there, but virtually no passages quoted from the book in a 12,000-word-essay about the book. I guess you didn’t have room.

I notice other omissions, too. In your opening list of American Betrayal‘s supporters and detractors, you “forgot” to include American Betrayal’s most famous supporter of all: Vladimir Bukovsky, co-founder of the Soviet dissident movement, and, later, storied explorer of Soviet archives, thousands of pages of which he personally copied and smuggled into the West. With Pavel Stroilov (a younger Russian student and smuggler of Soviet archives), Bukovsky has co-written not one but two essays in support of American Betrayal. These are: “Why Academics Hate Diana West” and “West’s ‘American Betrayal’ Will Make History.” Since Bukovsky spent 12 years in Soviet prisons, labor camps and psychiatric hospitals, it does make me wonder what someone has to do to get noticed.

Another omission: You fail to inform readers that there are nearly 1,000 endnotes in American Betrayal even as you strongly lament the absence of a “scholarly apparatus” (“bibliography” to us plebes). How come? While we’re addressing scholarli apparati and what real “historians are taught” to do, the name is “Spaatz,” not “Spatz”; the name is “Wedemeyer,” not “Wedermeyer”; Pavel Sudaplatov was not a defector; Eisenhower referenced the Aegean, not the Adriatic (more below); and you truncated George C. Marshall’s stunning 1957 quotation about his division of labor with Harry Hopkins on behalf of FDR. The correct quotation is: “Hopkins’s job with the president was to represent the Russian interests. My job was to represent the American interests.”

Seeing how much the absence of a bibliography meant to you, I note also that you forget to mention, as I replied to a question, that my publisher, St. Martin’s Press, imposed space limitations that prevented me from including a bibliography in the first place! (You also neglected to link to the online annotated bibliography by Budd Kopman, a reader who kindly created it for me, which I also provided you. Here it is again.)

Odd. But it does set a pattern of omission.

Take your discussion of my discussion of that not-so-small intelligence army of Soviet “occupation” in Washington, which, by the onset of World War II, had covertly embedded some 500 agents and agents of influence (at least) inside the federal government and related institutions. (Some of these agents reached the levers of power as top aides to the President, Cabinet Secretaries, the director of OSS, precursor to the CIA, and the like.)

Oh, I forgot — you don’t discuss my discussion! Instead, you dismiss this rather elaborately developed thesis by rapping my repeated use of the “occupied” phrase as “bound to irritate Cold War historians.”

I agree with you there, of course. But soothing the Keepers of the Conventional Wisdom has never been one of my priorities. Call my “occupied” discussion a “metaphor out of control” if you like, but without arguments explaining why, all you’ll get are huzzahs in the faculty lounge.

To be sure, you said some very nice things, too — and I am glad you liked Chapter 4.

Still, I do wonder why you say that readers of American Betrayal will have “no clue” that the British were the original recipients of Lend Lease aid. “No clue?” That would be true only if readers skip, for example, p. 134, where I recount how Lend Lease became law in March 1941, giving the president exclusive powers to lend, lease or transfer war materiel that would go first to Great Britain; China, too. (See also pp. 135-137 for theories on Lend Lease’s origins, including Edward Jay Epstein’s explanation of how Soviet agent Armand Hammer was toeing the Moscow line by lobbying US law-makers in 1940 on lending/leasing war aid to Britain.) That said, unravelling the dark mysteries of Soviet Lend Lease — how and why it could be, for instance, that Soviet supply was given first priority over British and even American supply — is indeed American Betrayal’s preoccupation, and I freely acknowledge that this is an exercise not to be found on the conventional wisdom checklist.

Naturally, I appreciate your score-keeping on a number of Ronald Radosh’s egregious fabrications and distortions as cobbled together in his epically disgraceful “McCarthy on Steroids.” As you also might have thought to mention while revisiting the controversy, I wrote a detailed rebuttal to Radosh, 22,000 words published first at Breitbart News and later as a book and e-book titled: The Rebuttal: Defending ‘American Betrayal’ from the Book-Burners.

I certainly don’t want to tucker anyone out, least of all myself, so I will highlight only one key area of substance where a response seems appropriate: your treatment of my treatment of the “second front” — the ostensible subject of your 5,000-word second installment. Once again, I find that your approach seems less about engaging with what I wrote and the historical record, than with restating the conventional wisdom.

Again, restating the conventional wisdom is fine with me. It’s what academics do. But there is one paragraph of yours I would like you to reconsider for fairness and accuracy.

Part of my discussion of the so-called second front (Normandy really numbered around the 9th front) includes testimonies from the 1940s from significant American military figures, who, along with British strategists, strongly supported an Allied assault in Italy or southern Europe rather than or in addition to the invasion of northern France we know as D-Day.

This becomes a point of interest in American Betrayal‘s quite non-conventional “second front” investigation: my search for indicators that covert Soviet influence might have played a role in the debate’s final outcome. This is not to suggest that Soviet influence was the only influence; this is not to suggest that the “debate between the British and US general staffs” you reference was not conducted in good faith. But logic compels us to open our minds to the possibility that covert Soviet pressure was perhaps a crucial factor, particularly given the curious leading role that a former social worker and possible-Soviet-asset named Harry Hopkins played in this military debate.

After all, we now have evidence that Soviet influence operators affected the run-up to Pearl Harbor (“Operation Snow”), the formation and execution of Lend-Lease, the control and dissemination of US war information by Soviet agents on many desks of government’s Office of War Information; the destruction of anti-Communist allies including Chiang Kai-shek and Draza Mihailovich, the drafting of and also execution of much of the Morgenthau Plan (as JCS 1067), agreements at Yalta and many other milestones of the war. It is practically impossible to imagine that Soviet intelligence wouldn’t have tried to steer the debate over the climactic US-British military assault in the direction of Moscow’s best interests.

Moscow’s best interests, by the way, were to ensure that the mass of US and British forces stormed northwest Europe, not south-central Europe. It’s easy to see why: The Red Army needed Germany and points East free of US and British troops in order to expand its evil empire into Europe.

The outcome of the “second front” debate would set the stage for what we know as the Cold War, as certain commentators ruefully noted in the war’s aftermath. Hanson W. Baldwin, the respected military analyst and war correspondent whose book Great Mistakes of the War I discuss at length in American Betrayal, would write the following in 1949/1950: “Today, some of the principal architects of our policy understand their mistakes; and many of our great military figures of the war now freely admit that the British were right and we were wrong. For we forgot that all wars have objectives and all victories conditions; we forgot that winning the peace is equally as important as winning the war; we forgot that politico-military is a compound word.”

It seems fair to say we have now forgotten that we ever forgot.

With that Soviet intelligence army of “occupation” in mind, however, American Betrayal wonders whether it really was just a matter of “forgetting.” That is, were we helped along in any way? Did Soviet influence operations — “disinformation,” for example — play a role in helping Stalin get the “second front” he wanted? I don’t pretend to have the definitive answers, but American Betrayal considers an array of evidence, patterns of behavior, that suggest this might have been the case. I focus particularly on Hopkins’ role, but I note, Jeff, that in the second installment you devote to the “second front” you neglect to mention Hopkins.

Oh well. It’s a free country.

But the following is something else again…

Read the rest at Breitbart.

For links to previous articles about the controversy over American Betrayal, see the Diana West Archives.

12 thoughts on “Debating ‘American Betrayal’: The Author Responds

  1. And on it goes….
    The still-unsolved Korean debacle of the 1950’s……….
    The Vietnam won/lost war……………….
    Blowing up the entire Mideast to the “radical” muzzie’s advantage………..
    Central America falling communist, AGAIN……..

    Our ‘invisible’ man is still very much at it.

  2. As once upon a time one of those “Drs,” my apologies for the great mass of charlatans, whose energy is focused like a laser on securing a sinecure in academe.or punditry. For every earnest scholar investigating, debating and sifting information to establish the truth of a matter, there are unfortunately, a dozen “hired guns” who will “prove” anything for anyone in order to gain position and salary. E.g., global warming.

  3. I think that what Lipkes wrote or Radosh wrote is less interesting than why Frontpage and American Thinker and PJM to a lesser extent have become the platforms for this kind of Diana West bashing. A comparison of objective data about the three would be instructive, but I’ll omit it here. However– despite all the good work all three platforms are doing — something is not quite right, and not only in the case of “American Betrayal.” I’ll offer three examples:

    Larry Auster — one of the clearest-thinking, lucidly-writing true conservatives in America — had runs-ins with both FP and AT. FP, whose contributor he had been, all of a sudden cut him off, alleging “racism.” Indeed, among the many topics Auster wrote about he commented about the horrors of Migra, black crime and anti-white racism, Muslim savagery etc. — but his words had been carefully chosen and remained restrained while singularly on target. So why “racism” — and that from a “conservative” webzine? See “Horowitz expels me from FrontPage”

    Auster again, this time the AT treatment: “Thomas Lifson, editor of The American Thinker, who published an article of mine in August, has cut me off because in an article submission to him I used the word “neoconservative,” which, he told me, he considers an anti-Semitic code word.”

    Mr. Lifson’s charge had no more rational support than Mr. Lipkes’s charges against Diana West do. Larry Auster, a proud Jew though Christian, must have gored a sacred cow, though he was a singularly brilliant critic of lefty as well as neocon Jews AS WELL AS antisemites . Maybe Lifson conflated what Auster had written elsewhere with merely his use of the term “neoconservative.”

    BTW, Jews did and still do constitute a vastly overrepresented and important part of the neocon persuasion: it’s a fact, and persecuting those who cite facts always boomerangs. So even if Auster had raised the Jewish angle in the AT piece for which he was excommunicated — and I believe he did not — he would have been slammed for writing truthfully.

    And PJM — for what offense, actually, was Gates of Vienna excommunicated? Islamophobia?

    • We were thrown out of PJM because of this. It still makes me proud! It’s one of El Inglés’ finest efforts.

      I wrote about what happened in “On Being Cast into the Outer Darkness”.

      That wasn’t our first taste of being shunned, though. Charles Johnson had begun the process some six months previously at LGF, after Counterjihad Brussels 2007, because we had associated with the “neo-fascists” of Vlaams Belang.

      We’ve been shunned by a lot more people since then. After Breivik, a lot of people treated us the way Prince Hal treated Falstaff after the former became Henry V. “I know thee not, old man. Fall to thy prayers.”

      • Both links were new to me. The one from El Ingles makes points I expressed here, less clearly, a few weeks ago. As he (?) sounds like a fellow-Brit, would it be immodest to say “great minds…” ?

  4. There is one relatively simple axiom that explains in part the “court history” paradigm at the center of this Diana West embroglio — namely, that, as pernicious as Stalin’s Russia was, the geopolitical danger Hitler and his Axis posed to the world was sufficiently berserk and deadly to warrant the desperate measure of an alliance with the “enemy of our enemy” (viz., Stalin).

    Now, that as I said above is one axiom that explains in part the doggedly stubborn retention of the paradigm. It depends upon the relatively simple formula of two evils, one of which is considered to be bad enough to warrant an alliance with the other.

    If this was the main or only factor of the equation, then Diana West could arguably be accused of what her detractors accuse her of (at the very least, inept historiography and historical interpretation). Once, however, we move from the elementary to the more complicated, it is not so clear and simple. I don’t know for sure, but it’s reasonable to assume that Diana West would agree (as any intelligent person would) with the strategic pragmatism of the general principle of the axiom — viz., that sometimes “the enemy of my enemy is my ally” can be useful to apply.

    What her research (in addition to the research of others, like Stanton) has brought to light is that it wasn’t so simple: a combination of a fanatically resolved Communist intent to infiltrate and sabotage America, and on our side of a widespread gullibility along with varying degrees of Leftist ideological sympathy with Communism created a protracted situation of altering the formula of that axiom: the Enemy2 we were allying ourselves with to defeat the Enemy1 was in fact waging a stealth war against us during that alliance (and likely long after, even to the present). The no-nonsense “conservatives” among West’s detractors can console themselves by asserting that they are aware there was a “Cold War” and that the Communists were a threat. Her research, however, appears to reveal a profound game-changing disparity of degree. The issue now should be not whether West is dismissable or not — her research should be taken seriously — but rather building upon her research to try to determine the full extent of the damage wrought by this Communist subversion and the Useful Idiocy from Roosevelt forward that in varying degrees enabled that subversion.

    Despite my support of Diana West, her thesis does seem to have a gaping open-ended quality to it, wide enough to allow a conspiracy theory through. Just as with her peer, the sound and intelligent journalist Jayna Davis who simply marshalls all the data and all the dots but who never actually connects those dots into a Muslim Conspiracy to explain the Oklahoma City terror attack, West never actually draws any conclusions about what her research implies. I don’t expect or demand that West take a stand in this regard; but I wish she would speculate as to what exactly is the nature and concrete extent of the Communist subversion of America.

    • “…I wish she would speculate as to what exactly is the nature and concrete extent of the Communist subversion of America.”

      This, my dear fellow, is EXACTLY what the Invisible Men fear the most: that Americans will start asking the REALLY tough questions that will get the Invisible Men hung for treason….

  5. Diana West is talking about Stalinism which is not Leninism and is not Trotskyism, and she does not make this clear, nor do YOU Baron or Dorothy, so the whole thing is FRAUDULENT in its essence


    But define your terms urgently before carrying on

    • Lenin was the one who laid the foundation for infiltrating everywhere, not Stalin. Read up on Comintern. The distinction you make is non-essential.

  6. And I suppose Stalin dictated Mao’s little red book, and told Tito whom to kill to keep order. Please, an example of a successful Trotskyite or Leninist regime independent of Stalin?

  7. You should post a f/u to this story as there was a direct attack on Gates of Vienna by Lipkes, at American Thinker. Interestingly the comments were supportive of Gates of Vienna and very critical of Lipkes and American Thinker, in general.

  8. Takuan Seiyo

    Are you saying that there were no fundamental differences between Trotsky and Stalin, between the thought and practice of Trotskyism and that of Stalinism?

    I would very much like you to illustrate that with reference to the massive body of work that Leon Trotsky produced on these two issues alone from 1924 to 1940 when he was assasinated by Mercader in Mexico

    “Lenin was the one who laid the foundation for infiltrating everywhere, not Stalin. Read up on Comintern. The distinction you make is non-essential.” your post above”

    i hope to answer this partially below. I did not mean that this is an issue about “infiltration” as West suggests. It is far more fundamental tan that. It is about why and what Stalin was placing his agents for what purpose???
    Diana West procedes as if there were no differences and to repeat myself when she talks about communism she assumes that there were no differences and no actual history either because she like you do not mention history.

    To have such a “forgetful” attitude to actual history is the road towards a form of barbarism that leads to Fascism.

    There needs to be a complete definition of terms such as to meention a few

    What is Fascism…what is communism, stalinism and trotskyism…what is capitalism and what is the relationship between capitalist crisis and fascism, what is Islam and its relationship towards Fascism historically

    One thing that intrigues me continually is why did Americam Britain and others fight the Second World War. I have referred to this today on Pamela Geller in relation to the role of the British Fascist King who abdicated.

    But immediately there is raised very pertinent questions about the War, which is that the British and Americans were told that the Nazis were liquidating the Jews in concentration camps. This is dealt with very fully by the film series Shoah when the person from the Polish Underground was actually interviewed on film, and he said that he travelled to London where he spoke to the British who in turn spoke to the Americans. They asked specifically for the bombing of the ovens and the bombing of the railway lines. As supplementary to this issue there was the role of IBM in the Nazi Holocaust. Left out compoletely by Diana West is the role of the Americans post 1945 where they recruited massively out of the German nazi spy machine to form the backbone of the CIA

    I realice I have branched out somewhat here but please show me that there was no fundamental differences between Stalinism and Leninism or Trotskyism.

    The Russian Revolution is relevant to this discussion. The Revolution of 1917 created a workers revolution and the working class assisted by the peasantry took the power into its hands.

    It was on the basis of that that Russia was removed from the First World War slaughter.

    To prove that it was indeed a real revolution and not as often alleged a putsch the Imperialist countries thought it serious enough to send armies to fight alongside the Whites int he Civil War.

    The Civil War was won under the leadership of Trotsky and the Whites were defeated and eventually having been basically trounced by the new state these leaders, at least many of them, were to end up inside of the nascent nazi party of Hitler (Michael Kellogg)

    There was thus began a deadly struggle between the forces of socialism and the forces of capitalism. This struggle had its own momentum and especially history which West and you never refer to.

    It goes on to the present day.

    Trotsky characterised the growth of Stalinism as the growth of a bureaucracy which became ever more counter revolutionary.

    This is the centre of my argument against the Diana West thesis. Stalin in infiltrating his agents into America and everywhere elese he could was acting out of the interests of that stalinist bureacracy machine. His actions were not revolutionary in the socialist or communist sense but were counter revolutionary.

    This was shown especially in the role of the “Communist” Party in the Spanish Civil War where the “Communist” party thugs were liquidating Trotskyist and Centrist Socialist leaders like Nin.

    I am advancing the idea that Stalin was involved in America not to créate the socialist revolution in America but to prevent it as he had done in Spain.

    For anybody with the slightest knowledge of history, and in the analysis of all reputable histroians I know of, these thoughts are not unusual but are very mainstream.


    “Please, an example of a successful Trotskyite or Leninist regime independent of Stalin?”

    What is meant by that question? What does that prove?

    Trotsky found himself outmanouvred by Stalin in the period from 1924 onwards. The greatest leader of socialist revolution found himself outmanouvred by a person (Stalin) who had been a nobody from 1900 to 1924.

    Why did that happen is a pertinent question?

    A clue…that was a period when there were many attempts at revolution and they all failed, and put down with brutality as in Franco’s Spain soem short years later.

    It was a period of defeat for the working class.

    The coming to power of Hitler in 1933 was a crucial moment and due to issues of leadership power was handed to Hitler on a plate. The role of Stalin in this was extreme (I think is a good Word to use)

    With the world again supporting Nazis as in the so called “palestinians” I think we are at a very similar kind of conjuncture once again in the human affairs of the world.

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