The Secret World of American Communism / Edition 1

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For the first time, the hidden world of American communism can be examined with the help of documents from the recently opened archives of the former Soviet Union. Interweaving narrative and documents, the authors of this book present a convincing new picture of the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA), providing proof that it was involved in espionage and other subversive activities. At the same time, they disclose fascinating details about the workings of the party and about the ordinary Americans and CPUSA leaders who participated in its clandestine activities.

"A formidable achievement in archival research. No one will be able to write about the cpusa in the future without reference to this volume."-Maurice Isserman, Nation

"A memorable, powerful book. . . . One of this year's most significant books about twentieth-century American political history."-David J. Garrow, New York Newsday

"This book contains the first new revelation about American Communism in a generation. It is superbly edited and admirably presented. No one interested in the history of the American Communism can afford to miss it."-Theodore Draper

Harvey Klehr, the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Politics at Emory University, is also the author of The Heyday of American Communism. John Earl Haynes is a specialist in twentieth-century American history at the Library of Congress. Fridrikh Igorevich Firsov is formerly of the Comintern Archive at the Russian Center for the Preservation and Study of Documents of Recent History.

For the first time, the hidden world of American communism can be examined with the help of documents from the recently opened archives of the former Soviet Union. An engrossing narrative places the documents in their historical context and explains key figures, organizations, and events. Illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Drawing on recently declassified documents from the former Soviet Union, this book argues that the American Communist Party was involved in espionage and conspiracy. Oct.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300068559
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1996
  • Series: Annals of Communism Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 382
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Documents Reproduced in Facsimile
A Note on the Documents
Glossary of Individuals and Organizations
Chronology of American Communism
Ch. 1 Background 3
A Brief History of the American Communist Party 4
The Clandestine Activities of the CPUSA 14
The Question of Joseph McCarthy 15
The Historiographic Debate 17
Ch. 2 Clandestine Habits: The 1920s and the Early 1930s 20
The Comintern and Covert Operations 20
John Reed and Clandestine Funding of American Communism 21
Julius and Armand Hammer 26
Other Secret Communications 31
The Pan-Pacific Trade Union Secretariat 42
Earl Browder and Undercover Operations in Asia 42
Harrison George and the Secret Work of the PPTUS 49
Agnes Smedley, Comintern Agent 60
Ch. 3 The Secret Apparatus of the CPUSA: The Early Years 71
The CPUSA Establishes Its Secret Apparatus 71
J. Peters and the Secret Apparatus, 1932-1938 73
Rudy Baker Replaces J. Peters 83
The Washington Communist Underground, 1933-1943 96
The Ware Group and the La Follette Committee 96
Peters and the Washington Informant Group, 1943 106
Copying Confidential State Department Letters, 1936 110
Ch. 4 The Secret Apparatus Branches Out 119
The Secret Apparatus under Rudy Baker, 1938-1940 119
Fighting Ideological Deviationists and Other Enemies 124
Weeding Out Internal Enemies 125
Stealing the Files of Party Enemies 128
Enforcing Ideological Conformity 132
Max, the Agent Who Wouldn't Go Home, 1939-1942 147
Fighting Deviationists and Bad Elements in the Spanish Civil War 151
The Surveillance of Bertram Wolfe, 1937 153
The Death of Albert Wallach, 1938 155
"Suspicious Individuals and Deserters" in the Abraham Lincoln Battalion 183
Ch. 5 Other Faces of the Secret World 188
Ann Cadwallader Coles, a Southern Artist in the Secret World 188
American Communists and Soviet Radio Propaganda, 1937-1942 195
Williana Burroughs, New York Teacher and Soviet Radio Propagandist 199
American Students in the International Lenin School 202
American Communists in Red Army Uniforms, 1936 203
Ch. 6 The American Communist Party, the Secret Apparatus, and the NKVD 205
The Brother-Son Network in World War II 205
The Brother-Son Network and Soviet Atomic Espionage 216
Morris Cohen, Atomic Spy 217
Recruiting Japanese Cadre for the Comintern 226
Earl Browder and the NKVD 232
Earl Browder as an NKVD Talent Spotter, 1940 233
Margaret Browder, NKVD Agent, 1938 238
Irene Browder, Commissar with "Emergency Powers" 243
Earl Browder's "Back Channel" to the White House 249
Ch. 7 The American Communist Underground Fights World War II 259
The CPUSA, the OSS, and Soviet Intelligence 259
Recruiting Veterans of the International Brigades for the OSS, 1941-1945 259
Eugene Dennis, William Donovan, and the Infiltration of the OSS and OWI 266
Reporting on the American Embassy in Moscow, 1942-1943 286
Ch. 8 Soviet Intelligence and American Communists, 1942-1945 292
NKVD and GRU Inquiries about Americans 294
Judith Coplon, Soviet Spy 294
Albert Feierabend, Soviet Agent 296
Edmund Stevens, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Reporter 299
Veterans of the International Brigades 303
OSS and State Department Employees 307
Elizabeth Bentley and the Perlo Group 309
The Credibility of Whittaker Chambers 317
Ch. 9 Conclusion 322
Appendix A The Archival Record 329
Appendix B Organization of the American Communist Party 334
Selected Readings 337
Index 341
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