Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bill Evans: Maker of Monumental Music

Bill Evans was born in 1929 in New Jersey, and began piano lessons at an early age. As a child, his music lessons were primarily Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert. He also played several other musical instruments, and studied music at Southeastern Louisiana University.

After his time at the university, he spent several years in the army. Leaving the military in January 1954, he spent a year of intensive practice and composition. In July 1955, he began graduate studies at the Mannes College of Music, and began playing at various venues in New York.

His talent was quickly recognized, but he was hesitant to make commercial recordings. Significant persuasion eventually nudged him into the studio. He made disks which are significant in the history of American music.

His first album, New Jazz Conceptions was recorded in September 1956. Feature Teddy Kotick on bass and Paul Motian on drums, the record contained a piece which would become one of his most famous and most popular: “Waltz for Debbie.” According to Mark Sabbatini, the album sold only 800 copies in its first year.

In December 1958, Bill Evans recorded his second studio album, Everybody Digs Bill Evans. With Sam Jones on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums, the cover image of this record included signed endorsements by Miles Davis, George Shearing, Cannonball Adderley, and Ahmad Jamal.

Unlike the long periods of cajoling by friends and colleagues which were at first necessary to persuade Evans to record, and which explain the long gap between his first two major studio albums, the interval between the next few disks was brief. In January 1959, he was recording On Green Dolphin Street with bassists Paul Chambers, Ron Carter, and Scott LaFaro. The record also included drummers Philly Joe Jones and Paul Motian. One track contains a saxophonist and guitarist. The album was not released until 1975.

Bill was recording again in December 1959. The album was titled Portrait in Jazz, and it included drummer Paul Motian and bassist Scott LaFaro.

Although Evans would release many more recordings during his career, these four albums represent his foundational and defining work. He died in 1980.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Subversive Network in the USA During the Cold War

As the end of WWII neared, leaders around the world began considering what the peace would look like when the war was over. Different groups developed competing plans for postwar world.

Although much of WWII was cast as a struggle for liberty, Stalin was preparing to use the outcome of the war as a way for the Communism to eliminate much of that hard-fought freedom. The USSR would become, or continue to be, the cornerstone in an international communist conspiracy.

Stalin hoped to achieve many of his goals through subversion. Subversion is a subtle strategy, often including infiltration. Subversion usually avoids direct confrontation, but seeks rather to gradually erode or undermine a point of view or a set of values.

In the case of communism, subversive efforts included the formation of ‘front’ groups: seemingly apolitical and innocent organizations which in reality masked espionage and propaganda efforts occurring behind the scenes. Such groups might be appear to be cultural or educational clubs, or associations coordinating humanitarian efforts.

One goal for Stalin’s subversion was China. Caught in the middle of a civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists, China could be a helpful ally for the USSR if the Communists won the civil war.

In order for Mao’s Communists to be victorious, Stalin would have to engineer a change of mind inside the United States. The U.S. had been supporting the Nationalists.

Many of Stalin’s subversives were strategically located inside the U.S. government to influence policymakers, and strategically located in the news media to influence opinionmakers.

A second goal for Stalin to was to obtain the plans to build an atomic bomb. This was not so much subversion as simply espionage: spies stealing government secrets. A large organization of agents, some native born, some immigrants, built a network to obtain such confidential information and send it to Moscow: Klaus Fuchs, Morris Cohen, Harry Gold, David Greenglass, Theodore Hall, Ethel Rosenberg, Julius Rosenberg, and many others.

Many of these agents were eventually discovered and arrested, but not before they managed to give the classified atomic data to the Soviets. As historian Willmoore Kendall writes:

After the Russian victory at Stalingrad in June 1943, nobody could doubt that the Allied coalition would win the war. Stalin therefore turned his attention to the task of advancing the postwar position of Communism, preferably at the expense of, or if necessary in direct opposition to, the interests of his Western comrades-in-arms; and, as we should expect from the above, he reached first for the weapon of subversion, turning it upon the United States. The two most pressing goals of the resulting campaign were (a) to shift United States policy from support of the Nationalist Government of China over to acquiescence in a Communist takeover in that country, and (b) to obtain, by whatever means but in any case quickly, America’s atomic secrets. The first of these, the shift of American policy from active support to betrayal of the Nationalist Government of China, called for a sustained effort over a long period: coordinated actions, propaganda, above all the planting of elaborate misinformation in numerous diplomatic and political forums throughout the world.

Among the various ‘front’ organizations operated by the Soviet intelligence agencies was the Institute for Pacific Relations (IPR), ostensibly a ‘think-tank’ for the discussion of American foreign policy in east Asia, but in fact a node in the international communist conspiracy.

As the House Un-American Activities Committee would discover, the IPR was busy, both smuggling classified information out of the U.S. government into Moscow, and feeding misinformation to high-level policymakers in the Roosevelt and Truman administrations. Willmoore Kendall continues:

Within the United States itself, these tasks were entrusted to three groups: First, the Communist Party, which during the period of our wartime alliance with the Soviet Union had been highly influential in the circles that distribute news and form public opinion, and whose influence was to outlive the shooting war by several years. The Party, with membership at an unprecedented peak and with a wide variety of influential fronts at its disposal, could, at the end of the war, deeply affect American thinking when and as it needed to. Second, a number of Communist dupes who held high posts in certain strategic areas within the government of the United States: Alger Hiss, for instance, who became the first General Secretary of the United Nations; Harry Dexter White, who was Undersecretary of the Treasury; and Lawrence Duggan of the State Department. Third, the Institute of Pacific Relations, which was to prove a remarkably effective instrument for the purpose in hand. The IPR’s role in the molding of United States Far Eastern policy is, no doubt, today generally forgotten. That is a pity - and it would repay anyone’s time to review the detailed hearings of the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee from July 1951 to June 1952 (the task might well have fallen to HUAC) covering the IPR’s activities. What the IPR did by way of promoting the interests of the Soviet Union in the United States, and bringing American Far Eastern policy in line with Communist objectives, is a model of the USSR’s modus operandi in these matters. Only by understanding how it worked can we hope to learn how to prevent a repetition of the entire episode, or to ferret out less ambitious and less concentrated attempts to accomplish similar objectives - as, for example, in Latin America or the Far East.

This back-and-forth between Soviet and American intelligence agencies was, sadly, a deadly game: in additions to the thousands who died in the Korean and Vietnam wars, there were the ongoing deaths of Soviet intellectuals and dissidents in the ‘Gulag’ prison camps, the deaths of thousands in the Hungarians uprising of 1956, and numerous other instances of bloodshed at the hands of the communists.

But the most severe example was in China: Mao’s victory over the Nationalists of Chiang Kai-shek meant that millions of Chinese would be killed, in ‘reeducation’ camps, in famines, in executions, and in mysterious ‘disappearances’ organized by the communist secret police.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Korea: an Expensive Surprise

In the years immediately following WWII, the first task of the United States military to was to recalibrate itself to the new reality of atomic weapons. Introduced at the very end of that war, nuclear bombs changed international diplomacy and military strategy.

To adjust to this new technology, and to this new era of warfare, the United States Air Force (USAF), which was created between 1947 and 1949 out of personnel and aircraft which had been used by the Army, Navy, and Marines, focused on developing its Strategic Air Command (SAC).

By 1950, SAC was functional and ready to meet any strategic situations which might arise. But the all branches of the military were forced to neglect other elements of readiness in order to prepare a nuclear strategy.

The United States was prepared to face, and win, a major nuclear war with the Soviet Union. But it was not ready for battlefield combat in a conventional war.

Roughly speaking, the logic was that if we have a dominant nuclear arsenal, no other nation would dare to engage in small military actions against us. The weakness in that logic was that a small rogue state, like North Korea, might understand that if it did launch a small land attack, the United States would be forced into a position in which it could not use its nuclear weapons, because to do so would constitute a massively disproportionate overreaction.

Thus it was, that by early 1950, the U.S. military was still working on building its conventional forces up to an effective level of readiness. Historian Russell Weigley writes:

When the troops of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea invaded the Republic of Korea on June 24, 1950, they therefore imposed upon the United States a strategic surprise in the deepest sense. Perceiving the invasion as Soviet-sponsored and believing a failure to resist would amount to a new Munich, President Truman attempted instantly to shift his military gears and to halt and punish the Communist Koreans not with all-out atomic retaliation but with military strength proportioned to the threat. To respond with atomic weaponry would have seemed indeed disproportionate both in morality and in expediency; it would have risked both a holocaust of Soviet retaliation and the possibility of using up the relatively small store of atomic bombs against a minor power, to cite only two of the considerations of expediency. To proportion the American response to the scale of the Communist challenge proved hazardous, however, not only because of the inappropriate condition of the American armed forces. Any strategy other than the now familiar strategy of annihilation proved so frustratingly at variance with the American conception of war that it upset the balance of judgment of American officers in the field and threatened the psychological balance of the nation itself.

Throughout the Korean War, the U.S. military would be playing catch-up. Having sunk massive amounts of time, money, and manpower into developing a strategic nuclear force in the late 1940s, the early 1950s would find America fighting the Korean War in an ad hoc manner.

There was, however, another obstacle to properly equipping and strengthening the U.S. forces in Korea: at the same time, from 1950 to 1953, the military had not only to maintain its strategic nuclear arsenal, and not only resist the Soviet-backed and Chinese-backed North Koreans, but also to establish and maintain a credible defensive force in Europe, and to develop and implement a domestic defense system for the North American continent.

In light of the emphasis which had been put on the development of SAC and of a strategic nuclear force, the major risk in the minds of many military planners was not a local conventional war in a place like Korea, but rather the advent of World War III, which seemed to some officers to be not only possible but even probable.

In this situation, the war in Korea was conducted on the fly and on a shoestring budget. Some American soldiers in Korea complained that they were given a pitiably small share of the army’s resources at a time when they were the only segment of the army which was actually engaged in combat. Historian William Donnelly writes:

Writing from Korea in December 1952 about the “Fighting, Waiting Eighth Army,” Time correspondent John Osborne concluded that Eighth Army was “not the best army the U.S. can put in the field. It is the best army that can be put in the field in the circumstances.” This description applies equally well to the entire U.S. Army between July 1951 and July 1953, the final years of the Korean War. President Harry S. Truman assigned the service several demanding missions in the early months of the Korean War: to support one field army fighting in Korea, create a second field army in Germany preparing for World War III, build a continental air defense system in cooperation with the Air Force, and maintain a strategic reserve in the continental United States capable of deploying overseas in a crisis. The last three missions reflected the concern of senior U.S. leaders that the North Korean invasion was a sign of growing Soviet aggressiveness which could be deterred only by a massive U.S. military buildup.

The initial response of the United States, in the wake of the June 1950 attack which was largely a surprise, was a reactive attempt to simply slow and hopefully stop the communist North Korean advance. As the war continued, the Americans had time to consider its goals in the conflict.

General Douglas MacArthur saw rightly that, if the Americans were to push for victory as traditionally understood, then they would eventually find themselves fighting directly against the Chinese and the Soviets, and fighting on Chinese soil and on Soviet soil.

President Truman, concerned about the possibility of Korea being the occasion for the much-anticipated WWIII, developed a strategy of limited war. Historians Allan Millett and Peter Maslowski write:

The Truman administration had an appropriate substitute for victory in the Korean War, and that substitute was the rearmament of the United States, the development of a collective security alliance based upon NATO, and the strengthened deterrence of the Soviet Union with both nuclear and conventional forces. When Truman submitted his four supplemental budget requests for fiscal year 1951, he made his dual goals clear: “The purpose of these proposed estimates is two-fold; first, to meet the immediate situation in Korea, and, second, to provide for an early, but orderly, buildup of our military forces to a state of readiness designed to deter further acts of aggression.” The President presented his priorities in reverse order, since the administration eventually spent 60 percent of the FY 1951 – 1953 defense budgets on general military programs and 40 on waging the war.

The Korean War was a psychological burden on the voters in the United States, who could still clearly remember WWII. In the 1952 presidential election, Eisenhower persuaded many voters by arguing that he could bring an end to the war. Eisenhower won by a landslide.

Eisenhower was inaugurated in January 1953, and by July of that year an armistice was signed. The armistice is a ceasefire agreement; more than sixty years later, no “final peaceful settlement” has been achieved. The July 1953 document signed to end the fighting envisioned, in its words, such a “final peaceful settlement,” which has since demonstrated itself to be elusive.

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Global Landscape after Obama

Surveying diplomatic relations around the world after the impact of Obama’s foreign policy, President Jimmy Carter offered this in a 2015 interview:

On the world stage, just to be as objective about it as I can, I can’t think of many nations in the world where we have a better relationship now than we did when he took over.

Obama has performed a series of blunders vis-a-vis those nations which had been on friendly terms with the United States until early 2009. Measurable damage, e.g., has been done to our relationships with England and Germany, and those two nations are noticeably less enthusiastic about partnering with the United States in any international effort.

Regarding Russia’s ever-prickly Putin, the Obama administration has lacked the nuance required to provide a stern yet pleasant counterweight to the Russian aura over eastern Europe and southwestern Asia.

In the face of those powers which are incorrigible enemies of the United States - those nations who have an unalterable desire to kill Americans and harm America - Obama has demonstrated an unwillingness to understand the immutable nature of these states or movements: the regimes of North Korea and Iran, the Islamic and Islamicist movements in southwest Asia and northern Africa.

The United States has experienced a loss in the strength of its diplomatic relationships with allies, and a loss in the strength of its firm resolve in the face of acidic aggression from its enemies. Jimmy Carter said:

If you look at Russia, if you look at England, if you look at China, if you look at Egypt and so forth - I’m not saying it’s his fault - but we have not improved our relationship with individual countries and I would say that the United States influence and prestige and respect in the world is probably lower now than it was six or seven years ago.

Noting the same weaknesses, but phrasing them more circumspectly and diplomatically, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, describes the damage inflicted upon United States and its international standing by Obama:

global disorder has trended upward while some of our comparative advantages have begun to erode.

Unlike Carter, Dempsey did not directly attribute the weakening of the United States to Obama. Dempsey did, however, specify the telling metric: “comparative advantage.”

Obama’s deliberate effort has reduced the comparative advantage of the United States - diplomatically, militarily, economically. It has been Obama’s goal and intent to reduce the standing of the United States relative to the other nations of the world.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Ups and Downs of the Cold War

The general attitudes of the American public seemed to vary between denial and determination during the years of the Cold War. At some points in time, perhaps overwhelmed by the size of the communist threat, it seemed as if the ordinary citizens simply wanted to pretend that the massive Soviet effort to destroy America didn’t exist. At other times, people appeared to see the threat clearly, and to be determined to meet and defeat it.

The Cold War can be said to have ended with the fall of communism in the USSR and in eastern Europe between 1989 and 1991. When the Cold War began is less clear: as early as 1919, the Soviets established espionage networks inside the United States with the stated goal of an eventual “violent” revolution.

The Communist Party in the United States (CPUSA) was no mere political organization promoting ideologies and candidates: it used the phrase “violent revolution” in its written materials to express one of its goals. The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), allegedly a labor union, was actually a ‘front’ organization, being in reality a network of Soviet spies.

In 1919, the IWW took the city of Seattle hostage in a ‘general strike.’ Ordinary citizens were often confined to their homes while the IWW agents - called ‘wobblies’ - patrolled the streets enforcing the curfew. What happened in 1919 in the city of Seattle was an example of terrorism.

But some historians prefer to mark the start of the Cold War around 1946, when the defeat of Japan and of the Nazis eliminated Stalin’s need to pretend that he was a friendly partner to the western allies. Stalin had been a partner with Hitler and the two of them jointly invaded Poland in 1939. Although openly hostile to the western allies from the time he gained control in the USSR, 1924, until the time he joined them, 1941, Stalin suddenly portrayed himself as desiring a great national friendship with the United States.

From the other side, FDR likewise sought to build a friendship with Stalin. The USSR’s desire for a working relationship was strictly opportunistic, however: Stalin’s desire for this homey cooperation arose the minute Hitler doubled-crossed him in 1941 and ended as soon as Hitler was defeated.

During the five or so years in which FDR and Stalin at least pretended to be cooperating with each other, the American public was given to understand that the Soviets were our friends, and that we should look indulgently on those who dabbled in communist ideology. This accounts, perhaps, for some of the collective slumber which prevented the ordinary citizen from fully understanding the threat posed by the USSR.

Between 1924 and 1954, Stalin was responsible for millions of deaths. Scholars debate the total number of victims during Stalin’s murderous reign: The “Gulag” was a Soviet government agency overseeing prison camps; the forced resettlement of ‘kulaks’ (small farmers), the deportation of the Crimean Tartars, a manufactured famine in the Ukraine, the spurning of American help during the Russian famine of 1919 through 1923, and the Gulag each killed millions.

Yet, because President Roosevelt wanted to maintain the illusion that the USSR was a friend of the United States, Americans were taught not to ask uncomfortable questions about the international communist conspiracy and how its efforts had already planted numerous operatives inside the United States government. Agents inside the Stated Department, the Treasury Department, and other government offices were sending classified secret information to Moscow while influencing policymakers to form American decisions in the best interests of Stalin, not of American citizens.

Several events alerted ordinary Americans to the dangers of the international communist conspiracy and its espionage network inside the United States. First, FDR’s former vice president, Henry Wallace, ran for president as a candidate of the Progressive Party; while Wallace may have naively believed this to be a principled thirty party, it was in fact a puppet of the CPUSA and of Stalin.

Journalist Dwight Macdonald exposed high-profile Soviet agents who wormed their way into influential posts inside the United States government: Alger Hiss, who was sent to prison, and Judith Coplon, whose case contained legal irregularities which caused the court, after her numerous appeals, to conclude that she had in fact committed treason and espionage, but because evidence was gathered in inadmissible ways, no verdict of guilt would be issued, and she would not be sentenced.

These events functioned as an alarm, warning the American public to the hazards posed by international communism. As historian William F. Buckley writes:

Then, in 1948, poor Mr. Henry Wallace permitted himself to be run for the Presidency of the United States by a group of pros who hugged the Communist Party line even as you and I, edging our way across the peak of the Matterhorn, would hug a defile. Simultaneously, Stalin was gobbling up satellites, stealing our secrets and showing at every opportunity, with which he was amply provided, his contempt for the bourgeois notion that the alliance could survive the war. The climate changed; the existence of an undercover international Communist apparatus was garishly revealed by a succession of informants who submitted to the rack - testimony to the FBI, appearances before Congressional committees, books, articles, personal appearances; and it became generally accepted that, in the words of Dwight Macdonald, in fact there were loose in our society little witches like Judith Coplon, and little wizards like Alger Hiss; and for a few years the community settled down to accepting the realities the enemy imposed.

So it was that, in the postwar years, the United States awoke to the Soviet menace, and understood the danger presented by international communist conspiracy. With great effort, the United States was able to prevent the widespread death and destruction which Stalin’s agents hoped to inflict on America. The United States won the Cold War, but only because it awoke to the clear and present danger posed by the USSR.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Evidence: Exploring Cold War History

With the end of the Cold War more than a quarter of a century behind us, historians seek to form the most accurate narratives of that era. To do so, they need data.

Evidence of Soviet espionage networks in the United States comes from different sources, which may be grouped into two categories: the data available during the Cold War, and the data which became available after it was over.

Some of this evidence was used to discover and convict Soviet agents during the Cold War. The Pumpkin Papers - actually, several rolls of film - were given by Whittaker Chambers to the United States government.

The Pumpkin Papers were documents which Chambers had couriered from their sources to Soviet operatives who would send them on to Moscow. Chambers had been a member of the Communist Party (CPUSA) during the early 1930s.

The CPUSA was not merely a group advocating policies and candidates. It was an arm of the Soviet government and functioned as part of a spy network. When Chambers left the party, he kept the Pumpkin Papers. Eventually, he aided the U.S. government and gave them the papers.

The papers received their odd name because Chambers had hidden them in a pumpkin.

Chambers produced the papers in 1948 and gave them to Congress. They were used in ongoing investigations and trials which ultimately revealed that Alger Hiss, a high-ranking State Department officer who personally advised the president on foreign policy, was a Soviet operative.

An editor of the University of Michigan’s Michigan Law Review writes:

Even before Soviet cables proved the existence of a vast Soviet-run espionage network in Amer­ica, there was lots of evidence. There were, for example, the detailed accounts given in sworn testimony by various ex-Communists like Whittaker Chambers, Elizabeth Bentley, and Louis Budenz. There were Chambers's Pumpkin Papers. There were Soviet defectors who brought reams of KGB documents with them, identifying Soviet agents in America. There were confessions of arrested spies, such as David Greenglass, who informed on his sister Ethel Rosenberg and her hus­band, Julius. There was the arrest of Judith Coplon, who was actually apprehended in the act of handing a U.S. counterintelligence file to a KGB officer.

Among the data which became available after the end of the Cold War, the Venona Project files are probably the most famous. These were a series of messages between Soviet operatives which had been intercepted and decrypted by U.S. intelligence agencies.

Other evidence became available when the government of the Soviet Union, and the governments of other Warsaw Pact nations, fell after 1989. While the Venona Project had intercepted and decrypted telegraphed messages as early as 1942, the evidence was not released, even to other branches of the U.S. government, for fear that the Soviets would learn of the breach in their system.

Had the Soviet learned of the intercepts, the data would have become worthless, and the communists would have changed their encryption system. The intercepted messages made it clear that there were numerous Soviet operatives in various government agencies, so the data from Venona was not shared, even within the government.

It turned out that, all along, there was also evidence in the form of decrypted Soviet cables to their agents in America. Though not revealed for half a century, the U.S. government had broken the Soviet cable code beginning in the forties in a top-secret undertaking known as the Venona Project. In the most patriotic act of his career, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan would push through the declassification of the Venona Project, which was finally unveiled on July 11, 1995.

Keeping Venona secret for so long was a calculated risk: it meant that some Soviet agents would not be prosecuted. Those agents who were tried in court were convicted based on other evidence; even the prosecuting attorneys did not know about the Venona evidence.

After 1995, it became clear how large the Soviet espionage network in the United States was, and how thoroughly it had infiltrated the U.S. government.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Stalin Deceives FDR

In 1939, when Hitler and Stalin were allies, they jointly invaded Poland: the Nazis from the west, and the USSR from the east. This unprovoked aggression happened quickly, and by the end of that year, Poland was a subjugated nation.

Although the combat operations were over, the bloodshed was not. In 1940, at or near a place called Katyn, the Soviets executed 22,000 Poles, all of them unarmed, many of them civilians, and by that point in time, none of them part of the war effort.

This cold-blooded killing of civilians was conducted by the NKVD, one of the communist secret police agencies.

By 1941, the geopolitical landscape had changed. Hitler had betrayed Stalin, and Stalin had joined the western allies - England, the United States, and others.

The Allies were delighted to have the USSR on their side. They were hesitant to offend the Soviets in any way, lest they return to Hitler’s side.

President Roosevelt, hoping to spark a friendship with Stalin, did not confront him about the massacre at Katyn. Nor did FDR object to Stalin’s demand that, in a postwar scenario, almost half of Poland become Soviet territory: the USSR would annex 77,000 square kilometers of Polish territory.

Mentioning the killings at Katyn and the seizing of Polish territory, historians Stan Evans and Herbert Romerstein write:

Nor was that the total story. When the Red Army rolled back into Poland, the Soviets would control not merely half the nation but all of it. They would then set up a puppet regime in the city of Lublin for the part of the country still called “Poland,” plus a sector of Germany awarded the Poles in compensation for what was given Russia. To this further demarche the Americans and British consented with misgivings, but consent they did, covering their retreat with pro forma protests and never-to-be-honored Soviet pledges to provide for Polish free elections.

FDR, Winston Churchill, and Stalin met - occasionally with other global leaders - to make these deals and shape the postwar world in a series of conferences: in Teheran in 1944 and in Yalta in early 1945.

A conference was held in Potsdam later in 1945, but by that time, Roosevelt had died, and Harry S. Truman was president.

During his last two years in office, FDR was hampered in his ability to think and speak clearly. He was a dying man, diagnosed variously with cancer, hypertension, and heart failure. He often fell asleep at meetings.

In addition to his health, Roosevelt was also thinking about domestic politics inside the United States, as Stan Evans and Herbert Romerstein note:

Noteworthy in these events was the performance of FDR. One suggestive episode occurred at Teheran, when the President told Stalin the United States was willing to go along with the Soviets on Poland, but that he had political realities to deal with. “[T]here were six to seven million Americans of Polish extraction,” Roosevelt said, according to the official Teheran record, “and, as a practical man, he did not wish to lose their vote [in the 1944 election]. He hoped … that the Marshal would understand that, for the political reasons outlined above, he could not participate in any decision here in Teheran … and could not take any part in any such arrangement at the present time.” The magnanimous Stalin replied, now that FDR had explained it, that he understood the President’s problem.

Further inhibiting Roosevelt’s ability to negotiate was the fact that his advisor for foreign policy, Alger Hiss, was actually a Soviet agent, paid both to present a pro-Stalin view to FDR, and to leak American military secrets to Moscow.

Roosevelt hoped to form a working friendship with Stalin. Stalin had no intention of building any such relationship, but deliberately continued to foster those hopes in FDR, who was all the more inclined to allow the Soviets to continue their atrocities in Poland. Thus it was that millions of Poles lost their lives, their properties, and their liberty.