Monday, February 25, 2013

DeLong's Denizens Denied!

Once more, the acolytes of Berkeley economist J. Bradford DeLong are deemed to be too sensitive to be exposed to historical fact (even in a post about history).  So dilbert dogbert will remain (presumably) blissfully ignorant of his challenged reading comprehension:
I was the only vote for [former VP Henry] Wallace in my schools mock election. Always the outcast outsider. Not really, but that was the way I felt back in grammar school.It was an interesting era to grow up in. I remember the Red Hysteria well. The Hysterics were all wrong. Wallace was right.
Which HSIB readers can confirm by scrolling down to the immediately below post (presciently saved for posterity). As that's exactly the opposite of what Wallace himself is saying in the featured piece from which DeLong extensively quotes. I.e. Wallace was admitting that the 'hysterics' were right all along, and he had been wrong about Stalin (until his post war depredations, specifically in Czechoslovakia, couldn't be ignored).

That brings us to a recently published book on the treachery of Stalinist agent, former Harvard economist, and Treasury official in FDR's New Deal, Harry Dexter White; Operation Snow: How a Soviet Mole in FDR's White House Triggered Pearl Harbor, by John Koster.

The thesis isn't new, even to Professor DeLong, as an informed (and kindly) commenter long ago pointed out to him that Eric Breindel and Herbert Romerstein in the Venona Secrets: Exposing Soviet Espionage and America's Traitors , had exposed White as the man who provoked Japan into attacking America at Pearl Harbor.

That information came out inadvertently in the publication of KGB General Vitalii Pavlov's memoirs (in Russian) back in 1996.  Pavlov was, in early 1941, a newly minted NKVD espionage agent, whose superiors entrusted him with the assignment of contacting White in Washington DC to tell him that their intelligence indicated that Hitler was soon going to turn on his ally Russia.  

Soviet intelligence needed to have their armies free to meet that attack without needing to also worry about Hitler's ally Japan attacking them in the far east. According to Pavlov, White willingly accepted his assignment of doing what he could to provoke Japan into attacking America rather than Russia. The subsequent diplomatic history between the US and Japan shows he succeeded.

What is new in Koster's book is a logical speculation about White's timely demise; he died of an apparent heart attack three days after testifying (at his request) before Richard Nixon and the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1948.  Unsuccessfully making his case that Whittaker Chambers and Elizabeth Bentley (both former Communist couriers) had lied about him being an agent of Stalin.

White knew his performance hadn't been believed, and he knew something else that neither Bentley nor Chambers knew about him, but would likely be exposed if he lived to be prosecuted for espionage; that he was responsible for the disaster of Pearl Harbor.

Koster surmises that White didn't want to stick around for that disgrace which would also redound to the discredit of his family.  So, already a heart patient with a prescription for digitalis, he simply overdosed on it, and brought on his fatal heart attack.

Whether that was true will never be known since White's body was cremated.  And anybody who relies exclusively on Brad DeLong's 'Liveblogging of WWII' won't even know of the theory.

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