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tv   David Adams Cleveland Gods of Deception  CSPAN  October 18, 2022 4:52am-5:48am EDT

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we're here to talk with david adams, cleveland about his new book, gods deception. david, let's start out with something. book is about the trial of alger hiss. the perjury trial, which place a when i was in diapers and not a
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young man. so i don't. and i all my life have been aware of the name of alger hiss. but i don't really understand the part he played in history. i think maybe for the sake of our audience we might want to start out with just who is l.g. who was alger hiss. well, that is a great question. just before i answer it, just. thank you, matt. thank you edgartown books. thank you for having me and having us at st andrew's parish house. it's a wonderful space and it's wonderful to be here. my family is a great lover of martha's vineyard. and so it's it's a pleasure to be with you. thank you. thank you. alger hiss is an enigma inside enigma. he is the great. i suppose you would have to say him. the great iago of the 20th century. people have been trying to figure out who alger hiss really was, not just if he guilty or
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innocent to start alger hiss was convicted. 1950 of spying for the soviet union. he was convicted of lying about knowing his accuser and when he knew him at his whittaker chambers, he was for perjury about passing a top secret state department documents to his handler, whittaker chambers, in the late 1930s. and no big deal, certainly not by the 1950s. we now know today with all the new information that has come to the fore in the 1990s, in particular with access to soviet intelligence files and the publishing of the venona decrypts of soviet cable traffic from the war years, we now know that alger was indeed guilty,
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but guilty a lot more than just simply passing papers in the 1930s. he was guilty of being an agent of in-flow agents who sat at the right hand of roosevelt during the yalta conference and was instrumental in. a lot of the development of the policies that were put forward at yalta, including the giveaway of poland and most of eastern europe, and perhaps most devasted italy in some respects. there was also a codicil to, yalta, that required the allies to return to million russian refugees who had fled to western during the second world war and stole in and the kgb required that 2 million refugees be returned to the soviet union and were forcibly returned, according to the yalta agreements, almost all of them,
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certainly to their death, the gulag. you know, 2 million human souls. so the fact that we had in alger hiss, a soviet agent, yalta, sitting literally at roosevelt's right hand every morning, debriefing his soviet handler as to the all aspect of the allied and us negotiating positions, that is a devastating indictment and to add fuel to the the flame, if you will. on his way back from yalta alger hiss and a small part of the american delegation. stopped in moscow for one single day. the only day that alger hiss ever set foot in the soviet union there in a secret ceremony, he was taken aside by head of soviet intelligence and given the order of the red star for all that he had done for
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soviet union. so we now know that hiss was was guilty. but a man who fought and to clear his name, to his dying day, he never admitted to his perjury. he never admitted to his guilt. and it divided the country for 50 years, for 50 years, half the country believed his innocence, that he was, a man of, the new deal, that he was in, the great liberal tradition. he had been one of the formulators of the united nations and the other half of the country believed he was a traitor a traitor to his class. and to his country. so a man of great controversy, david, why is it that he was able to convince half the country that he was innocent because he was part of the great
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eastern? and i and i think one of the things when we talked about it a little earlier is that both in your earlier book, time's betrayal and in gods deception, you talk the eastern establishment to a certain degree in gods of deception. you talking about the of those families that were at the core of making american history for example all the people helped shape the state department the forties in the fifties who created the cia and made it that's a theme in your work. what is it about the eastern that so grabs your attention. well in terms of alger hiss the that i think he so invisible to those who knew him who worked with him in the state department and areas is that is seemed of great merit.
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he was johns hopkins he was harvard law school. he worked with tadeusz halberstam's term the best and the brightest. he seemed to be all things the golden boy of the eastern established. and he was a friend of john foster. he was a friend of secrets areas of state. he was a friend of the roosevelts in fact. so by any stretch the imagination, he seemed to fit into the mold of the eastern establishment and to hold its verities and virtues to the to the highest under so we know that one of the reasons that alger hiss able to convince so many people was because he had so many supporters in the east and the people who should have known but who didn't.
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and alger hiss was a great chameleon in the end. he's very unlike very just from the great soviet spies of the cambridge spies of the british establishment, men like guy burgess, kim philby, donald mcclane, john cairncross, who were also major soviet spies at the same period, they were wracked with guilt. they drank themselves into early graves. they instead of standing trial, they escaped the iron curtain and went to moscow where they literally died. alcoholism in their moscow of darkness. they were men who were absolutely riven by their spying and their betrayal. but not alger hiss. alger hiss, for whatever reason, maintained his equanimity till the day he died.
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he, through a numerous appeals process, he went on speaking and college campuses again, trying to establish his. one. all was said and done. he was a cool customer and he maintained that right to the end. one of the things that you talk about is in the title of the book, gods of deception, and i immediately went back and looked up my greek gods o's nemesis at a party all. but i don't think that's what you're talking about with gods of deception. i think you're talking about the ability deceive. for example, i think the cia did the kgb and alger hiss and his ability to deceive and be convincing in his message all the way up until he died, because they all the way until he died, there were people
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despite, the evidence who were thinking he was still innocent man. the title of the book gods of deception to me really is indicative of a mindset that a lot of solved in the 1930s with the great depression which really took the stuffing out of the the american economy. it was a great shock to the system and a lot of people were for a new and better solutions to economic, political problems. they to the soviet union they looked to marxist leninism. many of them were true believers. we to realize that alger hiss was the tip of the iceberg of those who were dissolute and with the american system, the american communist party at its height had 200,000 adherents. it was basically an underground
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proving. where the 500 soviet spies aged us that were active the us government and related war industries. they all came out of the american communist party, which provided them with infrastructure and an underground. so the idea that of gods of destruction were this was a mindset. these were marxist-leninist, these were believers. this was an alternative religion. they believed very strongly in lenin's ideas and stalin had created in the union and they were willing to go to great lengths to overthrow the existing system, if that's what it took. okay, let's talk about one of those members whittaker chambers, who was in some ways alger hiss, his nemesis, who
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accused alger hiss of being a spy, went to adolph berle and said, you know, he alger hiss is, a spy. berle went to a roosevelt and was dismissed with an expletive. why? why why was chambers much less believable than? alger hiss? well, quick answer to whittaker chambers bonafides is that, of course, he was a communist. he had started off in the communist party. he then, like many, moved being an active agent, a spy handler for the for the soviet union. he spent some 12, 13 years as part of the communist party. so when he realized what was going on. and finally in the soviet union, he recognized that stalin's
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purges were eliminating ten of thousands supporters of the soviet union and the communist party. these were innocent people that were being dragged off and slaughtered in lubyanka prison. he realized that his head was probably going to roll as well. so in 1938, he decided was going to break from he actually working not for the kgb but for his partner organization, soviet military intelligence. so he decided he was going to break. but before he broke he wanted to break at the same time the spies he ran in washington and went to harry dexter white, who was a major spy in the treasury department and tried to get harry dexter white to break. and he said, i'm breaking and i think you should break as well. he thought he'd broken harry
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dexter white. but hadn't. he went to the alger and priscilla hiss. he went to their home and, bought a place in washington and he told them that, in fact he was breaking with the soviet and he wanted them to break at the same. and when he told them this, he recognized instantly their body language and, by the way, they looked at him and spoke to him. that moment he left, they were going to call, inform their spy, a spy handler that they had been contacted by whittaker chambers and that he could no longer be trusted and that he realized immediately the last words that alger hiss spoke to whitaker chambers, was stalin plays for keeps. and he recognized that this was the immediate threat. he bought himself a gun and got
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himself a second hand car. and he and his family fled to florida, where they stayed for many months waiting for the the the business to blow over. and he finally returned back his farm on maryland and maryland. and whittaker chambers then went to become a very distinguished editor at time magazine of the best writers, one of the best editors for time magazine, all during the war years and during that period whittaker chambers, not wrote the most important journalism about the soviet union, but was the first major american journalist to warn the country of the dangers of stalin and the soviet union. and what was what was coming. so whittaker chambers was among things, a brilliant writer. but when he accused alger hiss publicly and, alger hiss called
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him out and threatened sue him for libel, at which point through a series of whittaker was able to come up with the actual docu events that alger hiss and priscilla hassid typed and had typed out. and with alger hiss his handwriting, those were instrumental in the trial that ultimately proved alger hiss was guilty of perjury. so what convinced you there were two things you mentioned of a venona papers. there were also the pumpkin papers. what is would convince you that alger hiss was a spy and not innocent man? he professed to be like a lot of people. i into writing this book with a lot questions to ask a lot of research to do. it took me over four years. i thought i a pretty good sense
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from alan weinstein's book perjury, which came out the seventies about the trial. alan weinstein had begun as great supporter of his. he thought investigation into the trial would prove that alger hiss in fact guilty and alan weinstein had had access to all the files to all the defense files, to all of that kind of material. he was the first person who spent years and of writing this book perjury and simply based on what he was able to generate from the trial itself, he felt pretty conclusively that alger hiss was indeed guilty, who was ill? only alan weinstein was a writer, a yale graduate, yale historian who wrote book perjury about, the alger hiss trial.
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it was a sensation in its day, the 1970s, because everybody thought he was going to prove that alger hiss was, in fact, and it proved just the opposite. alan weinstein went on to positions. the head of the national archives in washington for many years and then continued to write about the and he wrote about a trial called hidden woods which was also a sensation in about 2000. that came out and that book came out which is part of my which included two critical elements in the alger hiss story. the alger hiss trial that is the venona decrypts. these were soviet cable traffic that army intelligence had gathered during the war. they couldn't read it because it
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was all in code, but had recorded it. they actually had the transcripts. it took them 20, 25 years to break code. but by the 1990s they'd broken the code and they were able to read masses of cable traffic in the 1990s with the fall of the berlin wall in 1989, there was a soviet scholar who was able for a short period during the boris yeltsin presidency to actually get into the kgb files, and he was able bring out extensive notes about he found in those files the cumulative evidence between the venona decrypts and the in the cage and the kgb files that were gotten out in the nineties make it absolutely clear alger hiss was not just guilty. and that spy trial for passing
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top secret soviet papers in the 1930s. but he and a bunch of other spies were. instrumental. they were stalin. stalin's willing agents who had done incredible damage to the us during the war years in after you. but let's also take a look at the book itself, gods of deception because the elder, his is told through the lens of edward, who is a man who was the defense team for hiss, and also it talks about his family, his or to his grandson. it talks about the ripple effect of this case on. one family, i think there were some interesting things about george. um, george altman is, the grandson is called in to help. his grandfather finish his memoirs which deal with the alger hiss case. you're telling the story of
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alger hiss in this period of american history through the prism of a family why was that why did you make that choice? why did you choose to tell this in a fictional manner as opposed to a nonfiction book about the alger hiss case? well, i'm a great believer that history matters. and that history comes down to us in many different ways through our families, by political culture in which we live. um, and the world that we live in evokes history as the town of edgartown. any wonderful place will evoke its history. so i'm a great believer in that. as a fictional writer, i didn't want to write, if you will, a standard history novel that just talks about the alger hiss trial, the ins and out of the alger hiss trial. what wanted to do was to set the alger hiss case and the trial in
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the background of family, where the member, the patriarch of that family, one, edward dimmock, was a defender, alger hiss. he later became a judge and he is the patriarch of this family. and what i wanted to examine in a sense was the repercussions of the hiss case in all its manifestations, both terms of was his innocent, was he is guilty and what his guilt actually met in terms of the real of real people. so i wanted as a as a as a fictional account is to look back on the hiss case through the lives of a single family and three generations and see the three generations of that managed itself in terms of the impact and it is an enormous on this particular american. yeah i think that one of the
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themes that i noticed in gods of deception also in times is betrayal is just the effect of time and memory and how it can the perspective of the people who have lived through events. and it seems to me a common and certainly it plays out in gods deception. did edward dimock remember things at the end or did he have doubts about his memory? well, i in the story, edward dimock, 95, he's trying to finish his memoirs, having a very hard time doing it. his memory is beginning to slip. and as the book opens. we don't quite where edward dimock comes in terms of the guilt or innocence of the man that he defended, alger hiss. one of the things that intrigued me is i think it intrigues all of us when you see a great trial
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and the alger hiss trial was considered probably the greatest spy trial in, american history and looking you wonder. well, did all his extents some defense team. most of these were harvard they were harvard lawyers. these were smart people, had alger hiss actually convinced them of the fact that he was innocent when as the evidence came through the the woodstock typewriter, they were able to ascertain. priscilla here said that, in fact, this top secret state department papers on all this evidence and people that had alger hiss and whittaker chambers together in the same the same home all of this evidence that the defense team really believed this man, or were they simply doing their job? is good lawyer and defending him to the best of their ability, but that they had real doubts.
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there were people at the time that thought that alger hiss was actually innocent. but here's priscilla hiss might be guilty that maybe she, the one who stole the stopped secret papers out of the briefcase of alger hiss and copy out and turned them over to whittaker chambers. there was a lot going going at the time and the judge, edward dimock is is to figure this out. and he enlists his grandson, who is a astro physicist, who has been, if you will, freaked out by the extent of the universe, never quite finished up his degree in astro physicists and become an dealer as a way of stepping back from the vastness of the cosmos and edward dimock. invites george is grant's george altman to help figure out what
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was the truth and as george says, his grandfather. um grandfather if edward if alger was guilty the world is thing. if alger hiss was the world is another way that those are two parallel universe sources and how do they match up and so that starts the search. one of the things that's also in god's deception is the art world. george altman's grandfather, other for whom he was named after, was an who. his career petered out and he became a court artist and was doing court sketches of the older his trial. art flows. a couple of questions want to ask you art flows through all of and one of the things i found fascinating when i was doing my research is that you are also an art critic and, a founder of art
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see dot net, which is a prominent art place on the internet. oh, what about how did art into the gods deception? art is always played a large role. my writing as an art historian. i've written the history of american ism, which tells the story of american landscape art between 1880 and 1920, the great lost movement of. people like george innes and whistler and tryon and the 40 other major artists. and i've been instrumental in writing about them and reviving their reputations as critical part in american art history. the american total is did these wonderful landscapes atmospheric, very trance. and nonetheless, they were followers of thoreau and emerson. and in my art history, try to
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write about the artists to, bring them to life. and in my fiction, i try to set the landscape. i tried to set the world in place and time that the books unfold. so i use, if you will, my, my artist, i, my i in fiction set the scene. and this very much the case in gods of deception, which is set in the catskills, a place i know well and love and a marvelous mckim and white house with 15th century italian painted ceiling that depicts the cosmos the gods and goddesses. the signs of the zodiac are many universes. if you were a ptolemaic universe that overhangs the family home hermitage as, it's called so the art in the ceiling represents home and a place that is much
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loved in the family and in terms of the characters you mentioned george and his sidekick wendy, who is an artist and i used them as two ways of looking and exploring for the truth about alger hiss. that is the artist's eye through the literary eye, through a woman who was a climber, who was a very dynamic, and george, who an astrophysicist who looks at the world and the cosmos and relativity and, dark matter. his gallery is called dark matter looks at the world very different so through the lenses of artists and the scientist. the exploration for the truth about alger hiss unfolds. one of the things that i found interesting about the book is that george grandfather, the artist george altman had a death
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that was in big use and the the thought of suicide. the stigma of it floats over the family for the next couple of generations. alger his father, committed suicide and his sister committed suicide. was that something that you were consciously aware of when you were writing the book? i was aware of it on one level. alger hiss is a remarkable man in some ways, a real humanitarian. and for all the crimes that committed, i think it's always important. remember that the communist party in its heyday was a huge supporter of civil rights for african-americans in this country and. that theme plays out within, um, within the, uh, the demick family. the story in, in my book.
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but it goes deeper than that. the element of suicide tied around the alger hiss case. and this was something that was remarked upon the time and something, frankly that only discovered by having access to newspapers of the period google books search and all of this kind of thing. there was a whole number of unlinked deaths surrounding. the alger hiss trial. these were people who might have testified in the trial against alger hiss. and what happened? these people, one laurence duncan, who was a high department official, fell from 16 stories from his office window in new york on 45th street and died. it was called a suicide but nobody really knew the truth. his wife, he was not suicidal. and the the physical circles stances of the of fall did not.
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so it looked as if he'd been thrown the window. william remington another was bludgeoned to death in lewisburg prison, where alger was imprisoned for four years, just before alger hiss got out, they figured out why the motivation was for that. it sure looked like kgb. the set up to warn alger hiss to to keep his mouth shut loughlin curry, a spy in the white house in the roosevelt white house, fled of the border to columbia, where he was unavailable to testify in the spy harry dexter white spy in the treasury department who did even more damage than alger hiss did. terrible damage, which we can get to died suddenly of an overdose of digitalis in his summer in which gerald, new
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hampshire. that was very suspicious. marvin another important person witness in the alger hiss spy case fell six stories. and i didn't or staircase in the justice department again they called it suicide but nobody really knew nor feel the state department official also who knew the story with with alger hiss to here behind the iron curtain and was unable to testify these mysterious deaths a kgb specialty they specialized in a death that nobody quite figure out. and this is this as in my gods of deception in the story that i tell these are ambiguous desks in impact families dramatically
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terribly because it's one thing to know that your father or grandfather was a spy who was then knocked off by the kgb, opposed to somebody who committed suicide for reasons you don't know, that ambiguity is tragic in a in a family. again i deal with that in a book so yes suicide ambiguous death i a kgb specialty all surrounded the alger hiss trial and people drew pearson noted this in his journalism of the day. this has been largely forgotten to the general public now. well, then you deal with it through again the prism of the dimock family, the altmann family. how did you conceive of edward dimock and the family that he generated? well, this is getting pretty close home because did in fact
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based edward dimock on a edward dimock judge that i knew from our family home in the catskills other than the of the name and that he was a judge and that in fact did have some cases before of members of the communist party that were charged on for various for various crimes. other than that, the edward dimock and my fiction lives between my pages and is pretty much made out of out of whole cloth. but i did love the original edward dimock my way can you know i mean going through guides deception your knowledge of that period again going back to times betrayal in both books they deal with mid-century america you
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know it intimately how is it that you came to know and to write so intimately about that period of american history? well, i hate to say that the intimacy, for what it's worth, comes out of a lot of reading and a lot of memories as a kid. i mean, i remember how the alger hiss case resonated for so many people. i remember watching buckley's firing line years after the where he would have alan weinstein on there and would have his his questioners and the fierceness of the rhetoric the passions. 25, 30 years after the trial, the contention that was still going on. that was that was fascinating to and of course, any of us of a certain age fifties still resonate because those were the
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red fifties. there was the red scare and that much of those passions moved on in the sixties and seventies. they sparked the civil rights movement. they sparked the anti-war movement in vietnam. so if you will, on a political the contentious around the alger hiss trial resonated right up through the seventies and eighties. then with the fall of the berlin wall, it seemed to be as it was spoken of by many commentators, the end history as we've known it, that seemed done and passed. and all of a sudden i'm vladimir putin comes along and it looks like the ghosts of the fifties and sixties the cold war era are back still haunting us today. well, that's i wanted to go on and ask you what lessons do we
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take from gods deception now that is coming out in the 2020s with a war raging ukraine something that we did not expect. well, history matters and of us who don't pay to history and don't know the facts of history, maybe we're we're fated to to have these bad things happen again. i go back to the impact of alger hiss and stalin's spies on the world that we it just to give you some brief examples before getting to vladimir putin harry. dexter white was another colleague of alger hiss. he was top dog in the treasury and he was called up in 1939, in
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the summer of 1939. this was before the us was at war before we had gotten into the war in europe or before the attack on pearl harbor and the victor pavlov was his soviet victor. pavlov says, i want you to meet me at the old abbots grill, which is right across the street from the treasury department. my wife, who was in the treasury department, used to have lunch there as well. and harry dexter writes it, okay, i'll meet you. and they met for lunch and victor pavlov had a copy of the new yorker his hand. that's how harry dexter knew who this guy was. they sat down at the table and victor pablo passed a sheet of paper across table to harry dexter and said, i want you to memorize what's on this sheet and i want you to remember what's there. and he looked at it and he read it and he nodded and nodded know
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i said yes, yes. i agree with all of this. and he folded up the paper he's going to put it in his jacket pocket. and victor powell says, no, no, no, you pass, me, that bag. and he took the paper back and. harry dexter white said, yes, i do exactly what written down here, that plan. that was a secret of soviet intelligence by the name of operation snow white, as in harry dexter, a white. and the plan was for harry dexter. white and his colleagues in treasury which was honeycombed with soviet the state department to ratchet up the pressure on the japanese at that japan was at and china very aggressive and the us had sanctions, oil and metals and rubber all these kind of war materials that the japanese needed and this plan.
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victor pavlov put it in harry dexter, white hand call for the us to ratchet up further strengthen these sanctions against and harry dexter wrote position paper after position paper following up on that ratcheting up these and in the us did tighten restrictions on japanese war material at the very time that the us navy was pulling king with the white house pleading with not to take more aggressive measures against the japanese because we are not in a position to a war in the pacific, they pleaded this we're having to deal with germany. that's where we're going to be end up on war. please take it easy with the japanese we ratchet up and what happened the japanese of moving north into siberia and in manchuria where.
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they'd been in having a war with the soviet union where they'd been devasted. they'd been fighting along those lines instead of moving in that direction, the japanese military decided to go south and that meant was that it was an attack on pearl harbor. and then the movement to the philippine and in indonesia for the war. and robert so in fact what was happening was harry dexter white and his his soviet in the treasury department and other of the us government pushed and advocated for those sanctions against japan, which ultimately resulted instead of japan moving north into the attack on pearl harbor. yes, it's devastating. what actually happened. well, let's do this before we take some questions from the audience. let's let me ask you this question is the new stalin? i'm not an expert on putin, but
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all i can say is putin's game book is taken from his his background as, an ex kgb guy, all his leadership circle or excuse kgb people. they are masters at disguise, at propaganda and at false flags and disinformation. this is what the kgb does best. and we've it in the early days of the war against ukraine that is that putin deployed all of these tactics. so it's very clear that he was he was planning these moves against ukraine. intelligence knew it. he was going try and come up with all kinds of excuse his to do so. but in the end he relied on force and that right out of
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stalin's playbook and i'll just read you an that in the first page of my book and this is from whittaker chambers and he wrote this witness to describe mentality. and i think it putin to a tee and this is the quote for the temper of stalin's requires a strategy of multiple deceptions which the victim with the illusion of power and soften them up with the illusion of hope only to plunge them deeper into deeper into when the illusion fades, a trap is sprung and. the victims grasp with horror as they hurtle into space. so to answer your question sadly, we seem to be in another mini cold war. yes. okay, let's the on on that note. that's a beautiful quote from from chambers who you described this witnesses almost to poetry
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in its its beauty of writing. let's take any questions that we might have from the audience. anyone have a question that they would like to ask some gods of deception and? our conversation with david, could you go a little bit more into the motivations that led alger hiss away from the establishment and into this dual role that he had. what was he so disillusioned about? well, you have think that alger hiss, like many during the depression work were by the collapse the economy and they were looking around. for four other ways of of running the government of of finding solutions to the economic mess that the country was in during the depression. we don't actually know in detail
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what i or his motivations were how deeply he believed we know from whittaker chambers, who wrote an entire book of witness talking about his days with alger hiss. he spent days and weeks with alger and and priscilla hiss there were parents together. they were birdwatching together. they had ideological discussions. so we know from, whittaker chambers, that that hiss was a marxist-leninist no doubt about it. but nowhere is there a paper trail where alger hiss admits or shows that we don't even have their. i'm sure they got of all their books along those lines. they they they clean the bookshelf out when when he was when he accused of being a spy.
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so alger hiss to this day really remains enigma inside and enigma it's just hard to know we he was a marxist leninist for sure he never espoused it to. anybody in public. you know, one of the things along that line, you speak of the fact that depression is, such a shock was that alger father committed suicide in oh seven during the panic of 1907, when he took over extended himself and. elgie was a very young boy and must have been traumatized by that because it was a financial pressure that drove his father to suicide. there was all kinds of traumas in his family a lot of the which never came out in the trial. um, one of it one of his sisters died of an overdose. of a suicide? yes. and so it's it's possible that these traumas that his never really talked about in public or
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he never confessed much us confessing to be a spy. he never confessed about the traumas in his own family. he held up a public face to the world that to many seemed to speak the best about america, best about the new deal, about the ideals of the roosevelt he was after all one of the um was the part of the formative papers in the development of the united. so that was also a great ideal of the day that he was part of any other questions what was the department so naive the magnitude of the spies in their midst. i'm sorry. could you why was the state department so naive about all the spies in their midst? that's a very good question. this is a question that even us today, by the time alger hiss
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had left the state department in 1946, i believe was he left the state to take over as president. the carnegie endowment for international peace, which was a big deal a big job. and he always portrayed this is simply a movement from his standpoint to a better job, even a more important job. in fact, we now know that the state department security people were very skeptical about alger hiss. they couldn't prove anything, but they had they had had the information from whittaker chambers, they the information from bentley known as the red spy queen, who in 1945 came up with a list of 45 names, another ex-kgb agent and alger hiss and his brother donald hiss also in
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the state department, were on her list. so alger hiss left the state department because the security people wanted him out of fact, that was known at the time and that obvious alger hiss never about it. so to answer your question, a lot of the state department secure files on the communist stalinist penetration disappeared over the years. great controversy about this in the 1950s. so it's unclear whether the state department personnel file is were whitewashed at some point or what happened. but certainly during the truman administration this was a big issue. truman wanted to make, wanted the problem to go away. and whether the files were destroyed or whitewashed or people just simply looked the other way, we don't know entirely the truth.
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okay. any other questions what do you what do we know about his family? what child or grandchildren and what their perspective is on this. this is the alger his family. yes. ah, well, this is one of the elements of trauma. i think that is passed down in families where we're parent is convicted of one thing or another or a parent or lesbian has died uncertain and biggie was death. this issue, this ambiguity comes down, haunts the generations. in fact, alger hiss and priscilla. to their dying days maintain their innocence. i think he left priscilla hiss. priscilla hiss predeceased. alger hiss. she died a broken woman.
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and one has to think that the guilt and the trauma that she experienced during this just devastated her and i think it brought on the whole health. she died early, but never less maintained her innocence and their sons one from an earlier marriage and from their marriage, spent much of their lives proclaim their father's innocence, even wrote books on. the subject, tony hiss, who was a writer for the new yorker wrote books about the family and about their life together and very eloquently maintained their innocence. so yes, with the with the new evidence i think the the the alger hiss family still sticks by their their man and believing in his innocence to the end.
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any other questions questions? okay i would like to thank you all coming. thank you for the questions. and thank you, david, for talking with us about gods of deception. thank you, matthew. and thank you edgartown books and st andrew's. it's been a great pleasure to be with you all. thank you so much. thank you.
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