Ron Capshaw’s April 18th article in National Review, “FDR, Truman, and Ike: Not Communists, Just Naifs,” continues the attack on Diana West’s American Betrayal. It includes the same old convincing arguments: “saw a Communist under every bed,” “West avoids such grown-up views.” Why read further? West is obviously a delusional child. Capshaw has one problem though. People have actually read her book. I checked her index and there is no mention of even one Communist under any bed. She does not call FDR a Bolshevik.
Capshaw begins his argument by retelling the claims of Robert Welch and others. None of these claims are in her book. It is just insinuated that she supports them. He then has a litany of FDR actions that make the president appear to be a solid anti-Communist. FDR saved the capitalist system! The truth is that FDR had a fairly consistent pro-Soviet policy from the beginning. He was not naive and his later concessions to the Soviet Union were not a result of his illness as is often claimed.
FDR had been informed about Soviet agents in his administration not only by Adolf Berle but by Walter Winchell and possibly others. There are differing accounts of his response to Berle. He either laughed if off or cursed Berle out. According to the Schecters when Walter Winchell told him Alger Hiss was a Communists Roosevelt, “Leaning closer and pointing a finger in my face, he [Roosevelt] angrily said, ‘I don't want to hear another thing about it! It isn't true.’" Winchell was not invited back to the White House for several months.
It is a mystery to me why “conservative” insist on defending Roosevelt. His policies led to the enslavement of half of Europe. Yes, we depended on the Soviet Union during the war. All patriotic American were in a sense pro-Soviet. However, they should have realized that this “ally” was as insidious as our enemies and formed policies accordingly. Capshaw points out the Soviets suffered 25 million deaths during the war. How many of these deaths were self inflicted? Nearly one million Soviets fought for the Nazis. How desperate they must have been to fight for an ideology that considered them subhuman.
It is true that FDR shared atomic information with the British but not the Soviets. That was not necessary. I suspect that Stalin knew more about our atomic program than Truman at the time of the Potsdam Conference. The U.S. Treasury provided the Soviet Union with a set of occupation currency plates but not the British. Provisions in the Morgenthau Plan and the Yalta agreement put the U.S. government in the business of the slave trade and the engineered famine after the war almost drove all of Europe into the arms of the Soviet Union. Communists played a large role in formulating these policies. They and their sympathizers should be recognized for their accomplishments.