The Untold Story: How America Became a Dangerous Empire
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Then, once in the war, Wilson did all he could to stifle dissent against it. He set up a propaganda arm called the Committee on Public Information headed by newspaperman George Creel. But Creel also propagandized against the Russians by spreading the lie that both Trotsky and Lenin were German agents. (ibid, p. 9)
The coercion of public opinion became an enduring part of American war culture. Professors who dissented from the war were fired from Columbia University. Socialist politician Eugene Debs was imprisoned. Anti-German attitudes were encouraged and fostered by Creel’s outfit, leading to lynchings. (ibid, pgs. 11-16)
And when it was all over, Wilson failed in large part to gain his sacred Fourteen Points, the basis for which Versailles was supposed be an honorable peace, a peace, as Wilson termed it, for all time.
As the authors note, one reason Wilson failed at Versailles was that he did not make the Fourteen Points part and parcel of the United States entering the war in the first place. If he had he would have had much more leverage.
Although Jon Weiner of The Nation has said the Stone-Kuznick book ignores or discounts the influence of Wall Street on historical events, that is not really accurate. In their discussion of the Eisenhower years, for instance, the authors sketch in the background of the Dulles brothers, John Foster who was Ike’s Secretary of State and Allen who became Director of the CIA.
Both men came from the giant corporate law firm Sullivan and Cromwell. There John was managing partner and Allen was senior partner. Their interest in corporate affairs influenced the decisions the brothers made while in government. (Stone and Kuznick, pgs. 253-54)
I actually think this subject merited more space since one can make a good case that when Allen Dulles came to power at the Agency, he more or less revolutionized the CIA and the uses to which it would be put. And this could not have been done without the help of his brother at State, for Foster was personally friendly with Ike and he would at times remove ambassadors in countries which resisted the siren song of covert action, one which the brothers found so enthralling.
The Guatemalan Coup
Although I wish the authors had done more with this issue of covert action, the book does a good job in its description of the first two famous overthrows that the Dulles brothers managed, i.e. in Iran in 1953 and in Guatemala in 1954. The second account is one of the best summaries I have read.
Before he left office Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz accurately stated, “The United Fruit Company, in collaboration with the governing circles of the United States, is responsible for what is happening to us.” He then warned, also accurately, that Guatemala would now descend into “twenty years of fascist bloody tyranny.”
After the Guatemalan coup, John Foster Dulles applauded the victory of democracy over Soviet communism and stated the Guatemalans themselves had cured the situation. (Stone and Kuznick, p. 265)
In this chapter on the Fifties, the book also accurately states that McCarthyism in reality was supplied by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. (Ibid, pgs. 231-34) And that its real objective was to eliminate the Left in the United States so there would never be any viable socialist or communist party here.
I wish Stone and Kuznick had explicitly noted that it was not illegal to be a communist in the United States at the time of McCarthy. Therefore, what happened in the Fifties was a collapse of the whole civil liberties system which should have protected his victims from government-directed repression.