In denial

FrontPage carries Jamie Glazov’s probing interview with John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr on one of the most important books of the year, Haynes and Klehr’s In Denial: Historians, Communism, and Espionage. For Glazov, the subject has a personal relevance. Among other things, both his grandparents were murdered by the Soviet secret police.
Here’s a portion of Klehr’s response to Glazov’s initial question: “Why does it all matter? Why should people care about arguments among historians about American communists or whether spies like the Rosenbergs and Alger Hiss and Lauchlin Currie and Harry White were innocent or guilty? Because this concerns the history that gets taught in the high schools and colleges and the view that American students have of their country’s past.
“Take Joe McCarthy. He’s the poster boy for the view that anticommunism led to horrible persecution in post WWII America. A few years ago the proposed National History Standards for High School mentioned him more times than any other American in that era. He was a demagogue. But how many students understand that hundreds of American communists did spy for the Soviet Union? That there was a serious problem of subversion?
“And these issues are not ‘merely’ historical. Many of the historians we discuss in our book make very clear that their goal is to indoctrinate a new generation of students in order to build a new radical movement. Look at the denunciations of the war on terror as some kind of McCarthyite plot. Historical analogies can be weapons in a contemporary ideological battle.”


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