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With talk of Russian influence in the news, from the New York Times:
American Fascism, in 1944 and Today
By HENRY SCOTT WALLACE MAY 12, 2017
Seventy-three years ago, The New York Times asked the sitting vice president to write an article about whether there are fascists in America, and what they’re up to.
It was an alarming question. And the vice president took it quite seriously. His article, “The Danger of American Fascism,” described a breed of super-nationalist who pursues political power by deceiving Americans and playing to their fears, but is really interested only in protecting his own wealth and privilege.
That vice president was my grandfather, Henry A. Wallace. And in my view, he predicted President Trump. …
Henry Scott Wallace is a lawyer and a co-chairman of the Wallace Global Fund, a foundation founded by his grandfather.
Of course, Henry A. Wallace, the only geneticist to rise high in American politics, was pretty much of a tool of the Kremlin for much of the 1940s.
The Democratic Party’s big city bosses forced FDR to drop him from the ticket in 1944 and replace him with Harry Truman, a major turning point in the history of WWII. When he ran for President on a 4th party Progressive ticket in 1948, that he was being used by Stalin’s Communist Party as their front man became so obvious that his support collapsed down to a few people in his home region of the upper Midwest and East Coast Communists.
I’m actually fairly sympathetic toward Wallace, who was a man of some talent. A childhood friend of George Washington Carver, he made major advances in breeding improved corn seeds that made him a fortune and a popular man among Midwestern farmers.
As a statesman, making choices in the mid-1940s was difficult, and Wallace, in the 1950s, came to publicly regret his pro-Russian stances and distanced himself from Moscow.
In Taki’s Magazine, Jeffrey Hart wrote a column in 2008 quoting from Marvin Liebman’s autobiography about Wallace’s shameful visit to an outpost of the Gulag Archipelago:
In his autobiography the late Marvin Liebman, a friend of mine, recounts an episode in the Kolyma camp in Siberia, involving then United States Vice President Henry Wallace. (I had heard this story from Marvin before his book appeared.)
“Elinor Lipper told me about the eleven years she spent in the most horrible conditions in Kolyma in Siberia. …
“During the war, a rumor swept Elinor’s camp that the president of the United States was coming. Everything was scrubbed, the watch towers were even taken down. Kolyma now became a vast Potemkin village. But it wasn’t the President who came. It was the vice president Henry A. Wallace. The inmates were gathered together to greet him. Wallace smiled and waved. He was told that this was a camp for incorrigible prisoners who were mentally ill.
“Suddenly, a woman ran from the ranks and threw herself at Wallace’s feet. She screamed in Russian how the prisoners were being treated, how they were dying, how they were innocent, as innocent as the snow at his feet. ‘Please,’ she sobbed, ‘please help us.’
“She was taken away, of course, while Wallace’s translator told him that she was mentally ill and he could not understand what she was saying… I subsequently discovered that Wallace’s translator that day had been Owen Lattimore…
Owen Lattimore was a celebrated Old China Hand in the federal government who was later persecuted by anti-Communists for being sympathetic to Mao.
“When we returned to New York in 1952 I arranged for Elinor, at her request, to meet Henry Wallace. I got his number through directory assistance, and he answered the phone himself. I was amazed that it was so easy to et hold of a former vice president of the United States. I told him about Elinor and said she wanted to meet with him. He invited us to his farm in South Salem, New York. She told him what had actually happened that day in Siberia. As she spoke his face paled. ‘I didn’t know,’ he said, ‘I didn’t know – please believe me – I didn’t know’.”
“I saw in him the sense of betrayal that was entangling many of us who had worked with the communists… Now Lattimore was under attack by Sen. Joseph McCarthy for ‘his close association with the communist conspiracy.’ I had been sympathetic to Lattimore’s plight, but when I found out what he had said in Siberia, I felt betrayed by him, too”
So, I think Wallace was more of a tragic dupe of Moscow than a really bad guy.
But, oh, the irony of this oped …