American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character by Diana West

Reviewed by Hugh Murray

This book is a more or less chronological review of the infiltration of socialist and collectivist ideas into the American character from 1933 through the present.


Note: This review mentions many proper names so a list  of names used might be helpful:


US Presidents:

Obama, FDR, Reagan, Truman, Bush

US Citizen who were spies: 

Hopkins, White, Currie, Singer, Hiss, Wallace, Lattimore, Silvermaster, US Citizens who were spies but later became informers: Chambers, Bentley,

Reporters and Columnists:

Sinclair, Evans

US Generals: 

Marshall, Latimore, Wedemeyer, Clark, Ike, MacArthur,  Goves, Wedemeyer, Lend Lease Officers: Major Jordon, Congressmen and Senators: Dies, McCarthy, US Ambassadors: Kennan, Bullitt, Davies, Gov Earl,  Grew, US Other occupations: Cardinal Spellman, Monde, Armand Hammer

Russian P.M.:

Yeltsin, Stalin,  Gromyko, Gorbachev, Lenin

Defecting Russian Spies:

Krochenko, Solzhenitsyn, Akhmerov


Others Mentioned: 
British PM Churchill, Japanese Adm Yamamoto,
Author George Orwell, German Intelligence Chief Adm Cannaris

 Chapter 1

The roots of collectivism have been alive and growing since the election of FDR in 1933. Although these tendencies have generally remained unstated; It is informative that Obama in 2008 actually admitted it in his conversation with “Joe the plumber” in Ohio where he essentially said  collectivism is now official policy when he said
“I think when you spread the wealth around you help everyone”.
What Obama openly advocated in 2008, FDR could not openly advocate in 1933. Therefore FDR used techniques of mis-representation and lack of openness to implement his ideas. FDR was helped by left leaning and Communist agents in his administration these included: Henry Wallace, Harry Dexter White, Alger Hiss, and Harry Hopkins (these names will come up later).
It should be noted that FDR had Congress give him broad unilateral powers so particular actions were not subject to the “give and take” surrounding individual Congressional enactments. He created federal agencies with the ability to issue regulations and enforce their own regulations by running mini-court systems within each agency . When he ran into resistance from the Federal Courts who disapproved of such grants of legislative powers to the executive,  he threatened to increase the number of Justices from 9 to 15 thus creating 6 vacancies that he, FDR, could fill with his “flunkies”. 
The author also points out how the Bush and Obama administrations used similar misrepresentation techniques in the 2000 to 2016 time frame to separate violent Islam from regular Islam in the minds of the average US citizen. This separation is less pronounced than American leaders have admitted.

Chapter 2

The west sugarcoated the truth over many decades about the Soviets. At the Bush meeting with Yeltsin in 1989,  Bush refused to call a spade a spade. The West finally had a Russian leader ready to discuss things openly and Bush said “let’s not”
In the lend lease period at the beginning of  the second WWII , FDR refused to speak the truth as he allowed nearly all war production to go to the USSR instead of sending it to MacArthur who was trying to defend the Philippines and the British who were trying to keep the Japanese out of Singapore.
Here are the facts: half a million trucks and jeeps, $1 billion (1940 dollars)  of ordnance and ammo, thousands of fighter aircraft, bombers, and tanks, 13 million pairs of winter boots, 1.7 million tons of petroleum products, 1000 steam locomotives, 581 naval vessels. Even Khrushchev in a candid moment in 1970  said it would be hard to imagine how the Red Army would have gotten from Stalingrad to Berlin without them.
To get an idea of how extreme our aid to Russia was, consider this quote:
“… and it also included non-military supplies …. a tire plant, an oil refinery, an unstated number of pipe fabrication works, nearly a million miles of copper wire which was shipped at the very end of the war, tens of millions of dollars worth of switchboards, lathes and power tools machinery for textile making, woodworking machines, typesetting machines, air compressors, coal cutters, 18.4 million pounds of writing paper, $152 million in women’s dress goods, cigarette cases, compacts, lipsticks, jeweled watches, pianos, etc.”
George Kennan would write of all this:
“there was no reason for continuing a program of lavish and indiscriminate aid to the USSR at a time when there was increasing doubt whether her purposes in Eastern Europe … would be ones that we Americans could approve of or sponsor.”
When Yeltsin came to power, he wanted to have trials of the people who ran the Gulag and the USSR police state. Western countries en masse demanded he not do that because the political parties of the left in their countries had a deep involvement with USSR operators and these relationships had to be kept secret.

Chapter 3

The author, Diana West, presents an interesting series of facts and questions that play off against each other:
  1. Truman would not thank Whitaker Chambers for standing up against Hiss in perjury trial. Truman wanted to keep the misdeeds of the past buried.
  2. FDR shut down Rep Martin Dies investigation into Communists in government during WWII.
  3. Later there was a reluctance on the part of Congress to support  Sen. Joe McCarthy’s investigations
  4. Rep. Dies advises Sen McCarthy to go slowly
  5. Sen. McCarthy, the FBI, and Rep Dies  knew there were 500 traitors in government but they had trouble getting traction in the US government to root them out .
  6. However, M Stanton Evans, a columnist,  discovered references to 106 internal memos that documented Communists in the State Dept. All originals and copies of these 106 memos have disappeared as have certain copies which had been  provided to Congress.
  7. What is the purpose of losing history …. or rather throwing away our history?
  8. Sen McCarthy in 1954 was America’s 4th most admired person according to Gallup.
  9. So why is his name held in such disrepute today?
  10. Today American historians accept that Communism was perhaps bad,  but Joe McCarthy is considered to be beyond the pale far worse than any Communist.
  11. Truman knew by 1950 about Hiss and White but did nothing. Why?
  12. Venona showed positively that Soviet spies were active but today if a writer uses Venona to support his work; he  will be asked “Have you no shame?”.

Chapter 4

About Dis-information – The golden age of Soviet espionage in US was ‘33 to ‘45 exactly overlapping FDR’s time in White House. Elizabeth Bentley (who had earlier been married to a Soviet spymaster in NY who died suddenly) fingered 150 Soviet spies when she walked into a Connecticut FBI office in Nov ‘45. She should be remembered by her alma mater, Vassar,  as a modern day heroine just a Nathan Hale is remembered at Yale with a statue. Recall Soviets believed in both spying and dis-information .
The US Ambassador to Moscow in ‘36 to ‘38, Joe Davies,  was a constant mouthpiece covering up Soviet misdeeds. The author points to Soviet fellow travelers who spiked anti-communist movie ideas even into the late ‘40s This process of spiking anti-Communist ideas began in 1939. For instance, a Trotsky book critical of Stalin was spiked in 1940. Trotsky, who had been a confident of Lenin,  had been killed by Soviet agents in Mexico just as he had finished writing the book.
George Orwell fought for the pro-Communist forces in Spain during the 30’s. He read reports on battles which had never occurred and he failed to see any reports of battles that had occurred. He determined the Soviets simply rewrote history in this way to have it say what they wanted. That is when he became an anti totalitarian.
Robert Conquest, a British historian, in 1985 documented the Russian famine and the show trials of the 1930’s. He was astounded by the ability of British intellectuals to accept the basic facts he presented but reject his conclusion that collectivism leads to extremes. They said he had middle class prejudices against those things needed to “build” a better society. Ronald Reagan’s remark about the “evil Empire” was actually delivered in the midst of a longer talk where he warned against equating all systems of whatever kind..

Chapter 5

The govt. created a OWI (Office of War Information) designed to control and shape news particularly about the Soviets.  This office was able cover up the Soviet massacre of Polish offices in Kalyn Forrest by the USSR and it arranged to get a pro Soviet film that had written by a Communist made. This film called Mission to Moscow. It turned out later that about 20 Communists were manning the top spots in the OWI.
There was a steady flow of secret information sent through the “over the pole” flights from Montana to Russia run by Lend Lease. Major Jordon, in his book Major Jordon’s Diaries, documents this flow of information (e.g.  drawings for making A-bombs  and other physical things (e.g. yellow cake uranium which is used to make  A-bombs)). These diaries also record 418 Soviet “diplomatic”  personal who came into the US via this air link.
The Lend Lease organization wanted test results from the Manhattan Project showing which approaches to making the bomb were most promising but Gen Groves at the Project objected to giving test data up. Later when Truman at Potsdam told Stalin that US had a new “big bomb”.   Stalin was already fully aware of it.  During this time Major Jordon recalls a large map with a note attached. The map was of Oak Ridge TN and showed the Manhattan Project’s facility located there. The transmittal note  was signed by someone whose initials were “H.H.”
Soviet cooperation was not coming the other way. One plane on the 1942 Dolittle Mission over Tokyo was improperly fueled. It was forced to land in Russia rather than China. The crew was held captive for one year before release.
A Soviet named Krochenko defected and Harry Hopkins, who was living at the White House and serving as FDR’s assistant, insisted that the defector be returned to the Soviets. FDR wavered and Krochenko want into uncertain status until Truman came into office and finally granted asylum.
Lend Lease was Armand Hammer’s idea but the details were worked out by Harry Dexter While in Treasury. It was a massive “give away” mostly to Russia (and to a much lesser extent Britain) . It was justified to Congress by the slogan “if we help our friends materially, we won’t have to send men ”.
During the war Gen Marshall was fond of saying “Harry Hopkins is here to represent Russia’s interests, I’m here to represent America’s”

Chapter 6

Deception of Communism and the Hopkins’ Soviet connection is discussed. If historians acknowledge that Hopkins was probably a Communist, then that casts a pall over all FDR’s decision making  during WWII. So rather than face that reality historians have generally gone the other way and obfuscated  Hopkins’ loyalties.
A Communist named John Service worked for a magazine named Amerasia and was caught with 1000 pounds of classified documents. This case was strong but for some reason it was miss handled and never came to trial. Also there was a man named Silvermaster in Washington who had a photo lab in his basement where took pictures of classified documents for transmittal to Russia.
Part of post war failure to prosecute Singer was Truman’s preference for concealment rather than transparency.  Truman’s people even threatened Chambers with indictment if he testified against Hiss. However, military intelligence (Venona) had already determined that Hiss was a spy so Truman backed off.

Chapter 7

This chapter is about Hopkins and the degree to which the Soviets had co-oped the US govt.  Hopkins lived in the White House for 3 yrs and 7 months during the critical early months of the war. He then married and moved out only to die of stomach cancer in Jan ‘46. He continued to work out of the White House though his health began to fail.  .
Hopkins managed information flow to FDR in Sept 44 when the Polish rising against the Soviets occur, because of his presence there was no chance FDR would approve aid to the Polish rebels. Soviet Spymaster Akhmerov said Hopkins was the USSR’s greatest asset during the war.  A Hopkins aide, named Hyman, scrubbed the Hopkins papers before they were turned over to Sherwood who wrote the definitive 1000 page biography of Hopkins. Sherwood noted that Hopkins would explore all sides of an issue and never disclose his personal leanings. Even his mother said you could never be certain what he was thinking. At college he was called Dirty Harry because of his double dealing.
As to Hopkins’ spying, we know from the Soviet archives opened in ‘92  that Hopkins had anti-communist survalence information from the FBI that he shared with the Soviets.
As for FDR himself he was non-ideological. Looked for practical solutions. But latter in his presidency his concentration waned and he spent more time in stamp collecting and listening to various sea stories. It is interesting that such a person would be elected 4 times and have such a profound effect on America’s understanding of itself.
FDR did believe in “convergence” under which the capitalist west would move toward the socialist east and vis versa. With this in mind FDR arranged to recognize the Soviet Union in 33 in exchange for a promise that they would not engage in subversion. Amb. Bullitt in ‘35 told FDR the Soviets would break any agreement. Bullitt documented many violations in the first 24 months following recognition.
Krauchenko a Soviet leader defected in 3/44. He was shocked at how throughly the Soviet line had been swallowed by the West particularly the USA. He was stunned that the Katyn Forrest massecre of 22,000 Polish leaders story had not gotten out. In fact this killing of Polish officers by the USSR was not acknowledged by the US until ‘51. A Brutish diplomat named O’Malley wrote a report in ‘43 which proves the massacre was done by the Soviets. Many journalists of the 43 to 45 period referred to the White House as “pink”.  Former Gov Earle  of Pennsylvania served in the diplomatic corps during WWII. He felt long term the Soviet menace was greater than the German.

Chapter 8

About Gulag and POW camps. – Solzhenitsyn said you can’t work with the Soviets without becoming corrupt and the true horror of the Soviet system doesn’t come through in statistics, it only becomes clear the stories of some individuals. This is why he wrote One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.  Because of his fame, he was allowed to leave the Soviet Union in ‘74.
About this time, the USSR was sponsoring kidnapping, robberies, bombings in the third world to creat openings for their subversion. The west did not really cover these antics because there was a pro-socialist, pro-collectivist attitude among western journalists. Because of this  slant to the left, the White House refused to honor Solzhenitsyn. Clair Sterling, a journalist, at the time said she felt dirty when she had to write something negative about the USSR.
FDR, in ‘43 at Tehran, said all allied countries were serving their populations as those populations wished to be served. Soviet citizens were outraged. After the war over two million Soviet citizens who had struggled to get to the west were forced to return to the USSR. And as many as 20000 US and 20000 UK POWs who were taken by the Soviets were never allowed to return home. Individual preference was to be ignored under the Tehran protocol.
During the war all State Dept officials not favorable to the USSR were assigned to inconsequential jobs by Hopkins and Hiss were they could not comment on anything to do with Soviet goings on. Gov Earle being a personal friend of FDR (both having been former Northeastern  governors) was a lonely exception.

Chapter 9

About D-Day. Churchill wanted to attack Germany from the South not the west. Stalin wanted the second front to come through France from the west. The UK – US alliance had had success in North Africa and then up through Italy. Gen Arnold felt with his air assets the Italian push could go right up into Austria etc.
A Soviet defector, named Suvorov, felt Stalin had tricked the Germans into invading Poland by promising a division of the spoils in Eastern Europe and that Stalin felt he should still get his “share of the spoils” even though Germany was going down to defeat. That meant the Soviets (not the UK-US army) would have to occupy the nations of Eastern and central Europe. Of course, that’s what happened.
Rep Martin Dies, Gen Wedemeyer,  Gen Clark, and Amb Bullitt all felt we won the war but lost the peace as Soviet control settled over all the countries from the Baltic to the Adriatic. They could not speak up without being called “Red Baiters”….
One key policy that played into Stalin’s hands was the policy of unconditional surrender…. the other was the success of Soviet agent in Tokyo who got the general staff there to re-direct their thinking away from an attack against the USSR in its far east and instead get the Japanese general staff to focus on the US , this even though Adm Yamamoto told them they could not defeat the US.
The policy of unconditional surrender meant Germany would fight longer and this would allow the USSR to occupy more territory before surrender occurred. The Japanese decision to attack Pearl Harbor was momentous. It brought the US into the conflict and it spared the USSR a second front.
Just before Pearl Harbor, US Ambassador  Grew in Tokyo was trying to work something out with Japan, but he ran into repeated difficulty with the US State Dept. where  Laughlin Currie, a soviet spy, was handling the other end of his communications with Washington.
Early in the war Lend Lease was a problem. Planes which might have saved the Phillippines and Singapore were redirected to the Soviet Union. Gen MacArthur in the end pleaded to get just three planes so he could have eyes in the sky over  Corregidor but was denied. Just a few fighters at Singapore might have saved to large British warships which were there with no air cover when the Japanese came.  FDR directed that the term “Lend Lease” and the nation of “USSR” were never to used tegether in any public release. The American people were to believe it was for the British.
Cardinal Spellman visited FDR in Sept 43 He reported FDR was already accepting Soviet domination of Central/Eastern Europe. (In Sept 43 the Soviet Army was entirely in Russia. ) FDR thought after 20 years of “convergence” would occur and these economies would become 60% capitalist and 40% government controlled.
By the Tehran conference  in Dec ‘43,  FDR was totally dependent on Hopkins. Here they discussed a second front. Churchill wanted it to come from the south into Central Europe, Russia, intending to occupy those areas, wanted the second front  through France preferably across the Channel, but  Southern France was also acceptable. Hopkins had FDR’s ear and arranged for it to come across the Channel. Shortly thereafter Hopkins moved out of the White House with a new wife and daughter to digs in Georgetown, then he became ill and had a seven month condolences. All these factors help to confirm the fact that Hopkins is the famous “Agent 19″ in the Venona intercepts and  in the soviet archive opened in 1992.

Chapter 10

Here we turn to the German attempts to make peace, the German internal resistance, the idea of unconditional surrender, the Morgenthau Plan, and more on Operation Snow. A review of each is in order.
Adm Cannaris the head of German intelligence realized very early that the German cause was lost. He contacted the British about a deal in ‘42 but with no response. He finally reached out to Gov Earle who was then stationed in Turkey and asked him to help. Earle had difficulty getting a message through to FDR but finally managed it. The answer was “no interest” and don’t talk about it. Cannaris then made an attempt through the Vatican but the American (Monde) who brought that message back from the Vatican was “disbelieved” by a Hopkins flunkies and had his passport pulled so he could not travel again.
The German resistance was large and was the only resistance movement in Europe that received no support from the Allies. In fact when an AP reporter discovered indications of such a resistance effort and then  wrote an article. However,  the OWI spiked the article. Following that FDR issued an order forbidding any mention of any German resistance effort. Thereafter all  Germans were bad.
The term “Unconditional Surrender” first appeared in a May 42 committee report. This committee included 5 known communists including Hiss and White. The term next appears as official policy at Casablanca where first Hopkins and a few days later FDR use it. Gen Wedemeyer said that term hardened German resolve and required that all territory be physically taken (exactly what the Soviets wanted to happen).
Operation Snow was the Soviet’s successful attempt to get the Japanese to expend their energies in Southeast Asia and the Pacific rather than in the USSR’s Pacific region. Obviously if Japan was going to aid its ally Germany opening a second front against Russia made the most sense; while attacking the US at Pearl Harbor and in the Philippines made the least sense because it brings the US into the War, but the Soviets succeeded with this deception.

Chapter 11

Here Yalta agreements and the problems of the USSR holding American citizens is reviewed. (Pres. Harding had had problems getting Americans out of Russia in 1921. Only by withholding humanitarian aid did he move Lenin to relent. )
At Yalta in ‘45 Americans wanted the  right to send search and rescue teams to locations were Americans might have been held. USSR refused saying the problem “does not exist”.  Additionally, at Yalta the creation of the UN was decided but FDR by carefully wording his statement to Congress did not reveal that Russia would get three votes for America’s one vote. Actually FDR was basically incapacitated by then and Hopkins was really calling the shots.
Americans who did get out of Eastern Europe were instructed not to speak about the Soviet treatment of the locals or themselves.  Finally in 1985 a carefully edited version of the Yalta minutes were actually released.
Meantime the USSR was staging coup after coup in the various occupied countries putting in Communist “stooges”. Gov. Earle was about to go public with a complaint about Soviet behavior when FDR had him sent to American Samoa to get him out of the way.
At the end of hostilities the US and Britain actually controlled the area around Berlin but Ike had been told that the Russian sector of Germany would contain Berlin so he waited and let the Russian army occupy the Germany capital. Even the actual news of the unconditional surrender of Germany had to wait an extra day became the USSR wanted to release the news.
It was suspected that there were about 40,000 US and British troops in various  eastern German areas at the end of the war most of these were never released by the Soviets. Verification of this suspicion came in the early 1990’s when Soviet archives and the Venona intercepts were made public. There had been sporadic reports of Americans in Soviet prisons over the years mostly being forced to repair Lend Lease equipment (e.g. lathes, trucks, jeeps, etc.)

Chapter 12

Here the author points out the similarities between Soviet ideology, Nazi Ideology, and Islamic ideology. In all three the leaders use the ideology to subjugated the individual to the wishes of the leader(s) or state.
Ms Black doesn’t feel America will ever go as far as Germany, Russia, or the Islamic countries have gone regulating their people; however she is surprised by how far the gov’t Socialism and its accompanying controls have gone in America. (FDR’s had hoped for a “convergence” percentage of 60% private control of the economy. Today, depending upon which state one lives in, the percentage under private control is much lower generally in the 50% to 40% range when one considers regulations and taxes. )
prepared by Hugh Murray on 1/10/18
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