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History Behind The Scenes

Two events in recent weeks point out the danger of leaving history to the historians. One is the inclusion of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in a D-Day memorial commemorating an invasion he never took part in. The other is the rating of Stalin ally Franklin D. Roosevelt as America’s greatest president, according to leading academics.

“Richard G. Pumphrey, a professor of art at Lynchburg College, in Virginia, spent about a year sculpting the former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin,” Sophia Li reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education on July 1, 2010. “When he was finished, the bronze bust took its place as part of the National D-Day Memorial, in Bedford, Va., along with Mr. Pumphrey’s sculptures of six other leaders of Allied forces in World War II.”

“It might represent an inconvenient history for some, but it is history,” says Professor Pumphrey. The actual history is more revealing and might really inconvenience the professor.

“Allied losses had been high: 2,500 men at OMAHA alone, another 2,500 among the American airborne divisions, almost 1,100 for the Canadians, and some 3,000 for the British—more than 9,000 men in all, one-third of whom were killed in action,” the official U. S. military history [1] of the invasion reads. Note that Soviet troops didn’t make this breakdown.

Meanwhile, “The Siena College poll, which surveyed 238 presidential scholars at U.S. colleges and universities, asked scholars to rate the nation’s 43 chief executives on 20 attributes ranging from legislative accomplishments to integrity and imagination,” Emily Schultheis [2] reported in the Politico on July 1, 2010. “In the overall ranking, Obama rated two places below Clinton, who was 13th best, and three better than Reagan, who is ranked as the 18th best.”

“Franklin D. Roosevelt again earned the top spot, as he has every time since the poll was first conducted in 1982.” The unemployment rates at both ends of the New Deal—roughly 20-20 [3]—show that Roosevelt’s programs did not work, although they left us with the cycle of deficit spending that even Republican presidents, for the most part, have accepted as a fait accompli.

Moreover, FDR’s ranking, compared to Reagan’s, indicates that to the academics surveyed, losing the Cold War apparently means more than winning it.

Roosevelt’s concessions to Stalin at the Yalta conference with Winston Churchill at the close of the Second World War conceded the nucleus of the Soviet empire, namely all of Eastern Europe, to the communist dictator. Although FDR was deathly ill at the time, even friendly biographers with access to the family, such as Joseph P. Lash, show that Roosevelt was moving in that direction while still relatively hale and hearty.

As veteran journalist M. Stanton Evans [4] found, the transcribed notes of the Yalta conference show an even uglier side of the squire of Hyde Park. In the notes which Evans unearthed, Roosevelt told Stalin and Churchill that he was going on to meet with the Saudi king after the Big Three disbanded at their Crimea confab.

As Evans revealed to Glenn Beck [5], Stalin asked FDR if he would make any concessions to the king. “The president replied that there was only one concession he thought he might offer, and that was to give him the 6 million Jews in the United States,” the notes read.

“That is from the papers [5] of Edward Stettinius, who was the secretary of state at the time of Yalta,” Evans told Beck. “Those papers are at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.” Evans pointed out that the exchange has been expunged from the official record of Yalta.

“Well, one might think that he was closet anti-Semite,” Evans allowed of what the documents show about Roosevelt. “But I think it also suggests that maybe he was a little bit gaga.”

“There are many other indications that he was out of it at Yalta, but that is one of the clearest,” Evans asserted. Evans won the Reed Irvine lifetime achievement award for investigative reporting bestowed by Accuracy in Media (AIM [6]), Accuracy in Academia’s big sister organization and named after AIM’s founder.

We now know, through the opening of the archives of the Communist International in the former Soviet Union in the 1990s that Stalin and his successors killed millions of victims.

What is even more troubling is that some of his biggest defenders in the West knew it too.

Hedda Hopper, a much-maligned gossip columnist from Hollywood’s Golden Years, had what used to be known as a nose for news that she put to use daily in a syndicated column read by millions. In her 1963 memoir, The Whole Truth And Nothing But, she dropped a bombshell that barely anyone noticed.

In San Francisco for the opening of the United Nations in 1945, Hopper got to hobnob with some of the UN insiders, such as W. Averell Harriman [7], then the U.S. ambassador to Moscow. “Harriman told us off-the-record tales of the horrors committed by Stalin and his gang,” Hopper reported.

“How can you talk like that to us when you say just the opposite to the newspapers?” she claimed that she asked him.

“It couldn’t be printed,” he told her.

Harriman, it should be noted, was not merely a bureaucrat who got lucky but an elder statesman of the Democratic Party for about half of the Twentieth Century, who served in the administration of every Democrat elected president from FDR to LBJ.  His widow, Pamela Harriman [8], continued in the family tradition, taking the governor of Arkansas under her wing as a protégé and later serving him as ambassador to France in his presidential administration, a position she held at the time of her death.