Years of Hysteria
excerpted from the book
The Greatest Story Never
A People's History of the
American Empire 1945-1999
by Michael K. Smith
Xlibrus Corporation, 2002,
1945 U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey
"Based on a detailed investigation
of all the facts . . . it is the Surveys opinion that certainly
prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November
1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had
not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and
even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated."
Ho Chi Minh drives the Japanese from the
former French colony of Vietnam and a million Vietnamese take
to the streets in wild celebration.
Immensely popular, Ho establishes the
Democratic Republic of Vietnam and stages receptions for incoming
allied occupation forces. The country is united North to South
and free of foreign control for the first and only time in its
modern history. Its Declaration of Independence rings familiar:
'All men are created equal. They are endowed 6y their Creator
with certain inalienable rights; among these are Life, Liberty,
and the pursuit of Happiness. "
Alarmed to hear Jefferson's words on the
lips of yellow peasants, the Western powers scheme to put France
back in the saddle again.
Ho sends letter after letter to President
Truman, detailing the two million deaths that resulted from France's
deliberate starvation policy and reminding Truman of the self-determination
commitments of the Atlantic Charter.
Truman never replies.
1945 Mexico Economic Charter of the Americas
At a hemispheric conference in Chapultepec,
the United States calls for an Economic Charter of the Americas
designed to eliminate the scourge of economic nationalism "in
all its forms. " The proposed charter clashes with misguided
Latin American ideology, which a State Department officer describes
as: "The philosophy of the New Nationalism [that] embraces
policies designed to bring about a broader distribution of wealth
and to raise the standard of living of the masses. " A State
Department political adviser explains the peculiar logic of the
Latin Americans who 'are convinced that the first beneficiaries
of the development of a country's resources should be the people
of that country." The U.S. position is that the first rewarded
should be U.S. investors.
Intent on continuing wealth transfusions
from poor to rich, the Truman administration insists that Latin
America not entertain "excessive industrial development."
1946 Labor unrest
With the end of the wartime strike ban,
long suppressed grievances explode. The Bureau of Labor Statistics
calls the first six months of the year "the most concentrated
period of labor-management strife in the country's history, "
with almost three million workers involved in strikes.
On January 15, one-hundred-seventy-four
thousand electrical workers strike. The next day 93,000 meatpackers
walk off the job. Five days later 750,000 steelworkers stage the
largest strike in U.S. history. On April 1, 340,000 coal miners
go out, causing a nation-wide brown-out. Rail engineers and trainmen
follow suit, practically shutting down the entire country.
An enraged President Truman seizes the
meatpacking houses, the railroads, and the coal mines. Fuming,
he calls a meeting of his cabinet, threatening to "hang a
few traitors" and force everyone back to work. Before a special
Saturday session of Congress he demands authority to draft workers
into the military and impose criminal penalties on their leaders.
Congress erupts in a thunderous ovation.
Workers demand not just a slice of the
pie, but the whole enchilada. Forty-three percent believe they
would do as well or better if manufacturing firms were run entirely
by the government. At General Motors, Walter Reuther rejects secret
finance, insisting that the company open its books to set wages
in tandem with prices and profits.
To reverse the terrifying trend towards
direct democracy, the owners of land, money, and weapons, publicly
condemn labor's attempts to "cripple economic progress"
using its "unlimited monopoly power. " A former President
of the National Association of Manufacturers warns of "the
ominous rise of class consciousness, engendered 6y legalized labor
Working tirelessly to liberate America
from labor's dominion, the lords of industry sing the praises
of the unfettered market "naturally" distributing wealth
"in line with the real worth of things. "
In Congress, the Full Employment Act goes
down to defeat and the Office of Price Administration is dismantled.
1946 Henry Wallace
With the American Iegion's national commander
demanding that the U.S. aim an atomic rocket at Moscow, "
Truman's Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace speaks to a crowd
of twenty-thousand in Madison Square Garden.
Citing the latest Iynchings by Dixie mobs,
he asserts that "hatred breeds hatred" and makes war
inevitable. He suggests that the U.S. consider eliminating its
own racism before speaking to others of peace. He declares U.S.
meddling in Eastern Europe as illegitimate as if Russia were to
intervene in Mexico, and predicts that "the tougher we get,
the tougher they'll get. " He proposes turning the atomic
bomb and strategic airbases over to the United Nations so as to
establish compromise, constructive competition, and big power
assistance to the undeveloped world, as called for by the U.N.
The speech scandalizes Washington. Wallace
is branded a traitor for finding the U.S. responsible for injustice
in the world. At the Paris Peace Conference Secretary of State
Jimmy Byrnes threatens to resign. In a memorandum, President Truman
denounces his Secretary of Commerce as one of the "Reds,
phonies, and the parlor pinks' . . . banded together . . . in
a sabotage front for Uncle Joe Stalin. "
He demands his resignation.
"The Government is entitled to discharge
any employee for reasons which seem sufficient to the Government,
and without extending to such employee any hearing whatsoever,"
announces Seth Richardson, President Truman's point man in the
Federal Employee Loyalty Program.
Converting ideas into crimes and petition-signing
into a treasonous act, Truman expands the anti-Communist inquisition
to an all-government project, demanding that federal employees
swear they have never associated with any of 78 subversive organizations
listed by the Attorney General. Trembling government workers attempt
to recall dollar donations and any deviant publications they may
have read. Truman announces that 'subversive elements must he
removed from the employ of government, " while assuring his
two million victims that the loyalty police exist "to safeguard
1947 Civil liberties
Congress allocates $11 million for a 'screening'
apparatus to protect the identity of professional informers, encouraging
the fingering of disliked acquaintances with no fear of consequences.
Guilt by association provokes nationwide
panic. Stool pigeons who smear friends, colleagues, and loved
ones as communists are rewarded with employment, federally financed
housing, passports, and tax exemptions. The anonymously accused
are asked if they entertain members of other races in their homes,
how they feel about the draft, and where they stand on American
foreign policy. Hesitation is always the wrong answer.
Attorney General Clark and J. Edgar Hoover
launches a nationwide campaign to enlist Americans in the destruction
of their liberties. The centerpiece of the effort is a Freedom
Train replete with memorabilia glorifying official history, which
visits hundreds of cities to consecrate celebrations of the state.
At a week of rededication in Washington,
the government orchestrates evangelistic rallies where thousands
of government employees sing God Bless America and take a freedom
1947 Ronald Reagan
From a pay phone at the Nutburger stand
on Sunset Boulevard, Ronald Reagan places midnight calls to his
brother Neil, an F.B.I. spy investigating the Hollywood Independent
Citizen's Committee of Arts, Sciences and Professions for Communist
leanings. As one of the Bureau's confidential informants, code
number T-10, Reagan delivers the names of suspicious colleagues
and identifies cliques in the Screen Actors Guild loyal to the
Communist Party line.
At J. Edgar Hoover's request, he reels
off the names of disloyal actors and actresses at a secret session
of the House Un-American Activities Committee.
Set on expelling the unwanted Arabs from
the soon-to-be Jewish | state, the terrorist Irgun attacks the
Palestinian village on the Muslim sabbath. Quiet routine is shattered
in a hell of screams, explosions, gunpowder, blood, and smoke.
The unarmed villagers are ordered into
a square, lined up against the wall and shot. A nine-months-pregnant
woman takes a bullet in the neck and has her belly sliced open
with a butcher knife. A woman trying to extricate the baby from
the dead woman's womb is killed on the spot. A sixteen-year-old
girl watches horrified as a man with a sword slices her neighbor
from head to toe.
The trapped villagers try to flee, but
the Irgun commanders track them down, attacking with Sten guns
and hand grenades, finishing them off with knives. When the blood
curdling screams fade away Deir Yassin is a smoldering ruin, with
254 dead, among them 35 pregnant women. Corpses are thrown down
Heightening fears of an encore, the Jewish
Agency posts leaflets in Arab villages advertising the grisly
deed. Loudspeaker vans broadcasting in Arabic tour East Jerusalem:
"Unless you leave your homes, the fate of Deir Yassin will
be your fate. "
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians
flee in terror.
Jacques de Reynier, International Red
"The first thing I saw were people
running everywhere, rushing in and out of the houses, carrying
Sten guns, rifles, pistols and long ornate knives . . . They seemed
half mad. I saw a beautiful girl carrying a dagger still covered
with blood. I heard screams. The German member of the Irgun explained,
'We're still mopping up." All I could think of was the SS
troops I'd seen in Athens."
1948 Henry Wallace
A staunchly pro-capitalist Christian,
he campaigns for President in a whirlwind of hate fending off
accusations that his Progressive Party is run from Moscow.
He rejects the notion that the United
States can simply purchase reliable allies, and forecasts a world-wide
network of Washington-backed dictatorships as the product of such
delusion. He maintains that revolution is the harvest of thwarted
needs and warns that force cannot hold back what decades of poverty
and oppression have wrought. He predicts that President Truman's
effort to impose a world-wide counterrevolution will simply militarize
the U.S. and cost more in blood and economic muscle than Washington
is counting on. He says obsessing over the Red Menace will destroy
individual rights and prophesies that the Truman Doctrine and
Marshall Plan will divide the world into two irreconcilably hostile
blocs. He expects that U.S. anti-Communist belligerence will cause
colonial peoples to identify the Kremlin as their friend and Washington
as their enemy.
Obviously a lunatic, Wallace even contends
that the Bill of Rights applies to Communists.
1948 Henry Wallace
In the South Wallace is pelted with eggs
for refusing to address segregated audiences. In Illinois, Senate
candidate Curtis MacDougall is stoned. In Georgia, four women
for Wallace are abducted and beaten. In Pontiac, Michigan, a pro-Wallace
campaigner is kidnapped, beaten, and has his head shaved by penknife.
In Birmingham, Wallace Vice-Presidential candidate Glen Taylor
is overpowered and hauled off to jail for attempting to enter
a church by the "Colored" door.
At universities around the country pro-Wallace
meetings are broken up by egg-throwing students shouting Sieg
Heil! In Chicago a meeting of student Wallace supporters is raided
by police, who arrest the participants.
Throughout the country, Wallace supporters
are fired or forced to resign by the hundreds, while the use of
meeting halls for Progressive Party functions is denied. Detectives
openly copy down names at Wallace fund-raising events and the
media publishes lists of Wallace petition-signers to incite harassment.
A New York judge says he would deny custody of any child to pro-Wallace
parents. A Detroit police commissioner offers his view that Wallace
supporters "ought to 6e either shot, thrown out of the country
or put in jail. "
In Charleston, Wallace supporter Robert
New is killed by a fellow Maritime Union member who cuts "the
Communist niggerlover's" jugular with a ten-inch knife. After
explaining that the victim was a "despicable, slick, slimy
Communist prowling the water front," the killer gets off
with a light sentence.
l949 WEB DuBois
Statement before the Senate
"Why in God s name do we want to control the earth? We want
to rule Russia and we cannot rule Alabama. We who hate "niggers"
and "darkies " propose to control a world full of colored
people. We are daily being pushed into a third world war on the
assumption that we are sole possessors of Truth and Right and
are able to pound our ideas into the worlds head by brute force.
What hinders us from beginning to reason now before we fight?
We are afraid . . ."
1949 Paul Robeson
Son of a slave, Paul Robeson is permanently
grateful for "walking this earth in complete human dignity"
on a trip to the U.S.S.R. fifteen years ago.
The only black at Rutgers, he was treated
with contempt while earning top grades, entering honor societies,
graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and winning 12 major letters for excelling
in football, track and field, basketball, and baseball. His senior
thesis denounced separate-but-equal education three decades ago,
a position the Supreme Court has yet to embrace.
Earning a law degree, he lost interest
in the profession and became an actor. Soaring to the top of his
craft, he drew huge, appreciative audiences in Europe and America,
receiving 20 curtain calls for the opening performance of Othello
at London's Savoy Theater in 1930 and setting the record for the
longest run of any Shakespearean play on Broadway.
Adding spirituals to his repertoire, his
Godlike voice made him a singing superstar, reducing his audiences
to tears. While Spain was betrayed by the West, he sang in the
trenches to support Loyalist troops.
He knows over two dozen languages and
follows every major turn of international politics. He called
for prompt reaction to Hitler, supported Chinese nationalists,
condemned Japanese imperialism, raised funds against Mussolini's
Ethiopian invasion, and recommended Philippine independence of
Washington. He denounces colonial rule in Africa and has launched
a movement against apartheid. He calls Ho Chi Minh the "Toussaint
L'Ouverture of Indochina, " and ridicules the U.S. for supporting
French imperialism. He urges Indian independence and celebrates
revolution in China.
His outrageously poor manners led him
to insist that President Truman abolish Jim Crow. Of this proud
Southerner who gloried in the atomic incineration of Japanese,
Robeson had the temerity to ask: "What difference is there
between the Master Race idea of Hitler, and the White Supremacy
Creed of Mississippi Senator Eastland?"
1949 Paul Robeson
Effigies of Robeson hang from burning
crosses all along the Eastern Seaboard, a response to his statement
in Paris that, "It is unthinkable that the Negro people of
America or elsewhere . . . would be drawn into war with the Soviet
Union. " The State Department revokes his passport "because
of his recognized status as spokesman for large sections of Negro
Americans [and] . . . in view of his frank admission that he has
been for years active politically in behalf of independence of
the colonial people in Africa. "
While Congress debates a bill calling
for locking up heretics in concentration camps, a crowd of club-wielding
American Legionnaires assaults Robeson fans as they emerge from
his annual concert honoring peace and brotherhood. Assisted by
police and state troopers, they line the only exit road, shattering
car windshields and beating riders while screaming out their political
program: "Commies, nigger-lovers, kikes, string 'em up!"
1950 Anti-communism and civil liberties
They do anything to avoid the dreaded
Communist tag, go along to get along, try not to stand out, lie
through their teeth, enlist in the witchhunt, swear to God they
never had an ounce of sympathy for Russian peasants yearning to
breathe free, never had liberal affiliations or knew anyone who
did, or if they did, it was only because they were manipulated
and defrauded by archfiends loyal to the Kremlin.
They trade their freedom for the security
of a police state.
1950 Anti-communism and repression
Hysteria over domestic 'subversion"
intensifies as elections near. Congress debates the McCarran Internal
Security Act calling for government investigation of Communist
action, Communist 'front,' and Communist 'infiltrated' organizations.
The bill insists suspect groups be registered with a Subversive
Activities Control Board, which will deny their members travel
rights, the right to work in defense plants, and the right to
hold a government job. It requires that the foreign born be subject
to deportation and the recently naturalized to reversal of legal
status. Failure to register with the government will bring a $10,000
fine and 5 years in jail 'for each day of noncompliance. "
All information disseminated by targeted groups are to carry a
the warning: "Disseminated by Communist organization.
The McCarran Act sails through the House
and Senate. John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon all
vote to destroy the Bill of Rights.
1950 Joseph McCarthy
Dramatically waving a sheaf of papers
in the air, Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy shouts at the shocked
members of the Women's Republican Club that 205 "members
of the Communist party" have been deliberately employed at
the State Department, where they are "working and shaping
policy" with the approval of the Secretary of State.
Jumping on the President's anti-Communist
bandwagon, McCarthy tirelessly warns of "card carrying Communists"
shielded by the "iron curtain" of State Department secrecy.
"The pitiful squealing of egg sucking phony liberals,"
he rants, "would hold sacrosanct those Communists and queers"
who have betrayed China into the eternal bondage of 'atheistic
slavery." He vows to purge the State Department of the 'prancing
mimics of the Moscow party line" and condemns Acheson as
the "Red Dean of Washington" who "whined, whimpered,"
and "cringed" in the face of a conspiracy to communize
Journalists fall in love with this illiterate
friend of J. Edgar Hoover, who embraces them with gusto, dispenses
frequent highballs, and is ever ready with "a hot story"
to generate screaming headlines.
1951 W.E.B. DuBois
"Somebody in Washington wants to
put Dr. DuBois in jail. Somebody in France wanted to put Voltaire
in jail. Somebody in Franco's Spain sent Lorca to the firing squad.
Somebody in Germany burned the books, drove Thomas Mann into exile
and led their leading Jewish scholars to the gas chamber. Somebody
in Greece gave Socrates the hemlock to drink. Somebody at Golgotha
erected a cross and somebody drove the nails into the hands of
Christ. Somebody spat upon His garments. No one remembers their
Estimating South Korean losses, Time Magazine
indicates 400,000 civilians have been killed and 100,000 children
made orphans in the U.S.'s triumphant, limited war. On the bright
side, the editors emphasize that, "out of disaster has grown
a tough army of 16 divisions, and a sense of manhood."
1953 General Motors
Defense Secretary Charles E. Wilson during
his Senate confirmation Hearings
"What is good for General Motors
is good for the country."
With the unanimous backing of Parliament
and overwhelming public support Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh nationalizes
Iranian oil. In a fiery address to the nation the Premier warns
that in seizing its own oil Iran is taking control of "a
hidden treasure upon which lies a dragon."
The dragon retaliates by C.I.A. coup,
overthrowing Mossadegh in favor of Shah Reza Pahlavi. General
Fazollah Zahedi, a Nazi collaborator and staunch partisan of American
oil, becomes the new Prime Minister. President Eisenhower extends
him 'sympathetic consideration."
The C.I.A.'s Kermit Roosevelt emerges
as Vice-President of Gulf Oil. Secretary of State John Foster
Dulles refuses to divulge details of the new arrangements because
"making them public would affect adversely the foreign relations
of the United States. "
The New York Times hails the destruction
of Iranian democracy as 'good news indeed, " calling the
putsch 'an object lesson in the heavy cost that must 6e paid"
by a country that 'goes berserk with fanatical nationalism."
Thousands of Mossadegh supporters are
dispatched to jail, torture chambers, and cemeteries.
An appreciative Shah thanks Kermit Roosevelt:
"I owe my throne to God, my people-and to you."
1953 John Foster Dulles
Secretary of State John Foster Dulles
calls for the restoration of German industrial power, reversing
U.S. wartime loyalties while deepening long held personal ones.
In the thirties he forgave Stalin's dismembering
of the Baltic states, the Japanese invasion of China, and Germany's
conquest of Poland, but opposed Social Security and the New Deal,
warning that "bloody" revolution might be necessary
to overcome Rooseveltian 'statism. "
As a Wall Street attorney at Sullivan
and Cromwell he worked for the cartels bankrolling Hitler, never
refusing a German retainer or issuing a protest against Nazi concentration
camps. In the Atlantic Monthly he advocated awarding Germany,
Italy, and Japan the imperial plunder they sought. "They
too want peace," he instructed, "but they undoubtedly
feel within themselves potentialities which are repressed and
desire to keep open avenues of change. "
When genocide and world war proved an
unsuccessful avenue of change, Dulles called for mercy and "a
Brandishing the Bomb while spouting the
Bible, the U.S. Secretary of State jets around the globe praising
the dynamic faith of Christian free enterprise and condemning
the Communist infidels.
Britain's Manchester Guardian inquires
if President Eisenhower could "appoint an assistant secretary
with the special function of explaining what Mr. Dulles is talking
1954 Guatemala coup
President Jacobo Arbenz sends children
to school, teaches adults to read, legalizes unions, promotes
freedom of the press, and declares land reform to give starving
campesinos the means to eat. He takes 180,000 acres of fallow
land from United Fruit, offering compensation at the fraudulently
low rates the company declares on its tax returns to cheat the
government of revenue. For such recklessness the C.I.A. overthrows
him, installing Colonel Castillo Armas in his place.
Dreaming of turning Guatemala into Disneyland,
Armas arrests and murders his opponents, disbands peasant cooperatives,
crushes unions, disfranchises 70% of the people, imposes a "liberation
tax," restores lands expropriated from United Fruit, permits
plantation owners to slash wages by 30%, abolishes the tax on
interest, dividends, and profits for foreign investors, and awards
easy-term oil concessions covering more than half the area of
Guatemala to U.S. corporations.
Weapons and cash subsidies pour in from
1957 Middle East oil
In a special message to Congress President
Eisenhower warns that if the oil rich Middle East were "dominated
by alien forces hostile to freedom," this 'would have the
most adverse, if not disastrous effect upon our own nations economic
life and political prospects. "
Expressing a preference for theistic consumerism,
he adds that "it would be intolerable if the holy places
of the Middle East were subjected to a rule that glorifies atheistic
To prevent the black gold from nurturing
"international Communism, " Eisenhower requests Congressional
authority to use U.S. troops to defend the oil kingdoms of the
Describing the feudal dictatorships propped
up by Washington as "the free nations of the Middle East,"
Secretary of State John Foster Dulles hails the disinterested
benevolence of the United States.
"By serving others we serve ourselves."
1958 Saudi Arabia
Courtesy of the Arabian American Oil Company,
Saudi Arabian King Ibn Saud lives in a $30 million palace, a private
village that consumes three times the electricity used by the
200,000 residents of the city, ninety-five percent of whom are
illiterates living on $40 a year.
The country takes its name from the King's
In gratitude for the opportunity to burn
up in a few generations the oil it took nature the whole of geologic
time to create, Aramco provides the King with a 350 mile railroad,
a Swiss chef, electric blankets, and air conditioning for his
royal concubines. In return, the King keeps the country open to
U.S. military bases and oil investments and warns Saudi workers
at Aramco that a strike against the company is a form of treason.
Respectful of local custom, Aramco honors
the King's wishes forbidding Jews to work on Saudi soil. The U.S.
State Department refuses passports to the undesirables and screens
American military and foreign service personnel to insure respect
for what Secretary of State Dulles refers to as Saudi Arabia's
sovereign "idiosyncrasies," one of which is slavery.
King Saud flies to Washington. President
Eisenhower rushes to the airport to greet him, a courtesy extended
to no other head of state. He arranges a formal banquet for the
King, including top executives of Aramco, four parent companies,
and related banking interests. Oilmen and State Department officials
huddle with the King to discuss diplomatic relations.
The president of Standard Oil of New Jersey
is asked why oilmen are being given such special consideration.
He is surprised the question needs to
"They are the ones that have the
Greatest Story Never Told