Years of Hysteria

excerpted from the book

The Greatest Story Never Told

A People's History of the American Empire 1945-1999

by Michael K. Smith

Xlibrus Corporation, 2002, paper


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."

1945 Vietnam

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.

1946 Economy

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 union activity."

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.

Prices zoom.

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. Charter.

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.

1947 Anti-communism

"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 their rights."

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 pledge.

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.

1948 Israel

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 a well.

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.

l948 Israel

Jacques de Reynier, International Red Cross representative

"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 the world.

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

Langston Hughes

"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 names."

1952 Korea

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."

1953 Iran/Oil

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 Christian peace."

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 about.

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 Washington.

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 materialism. "

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 Persian Gulf.

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 family.

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 be asked.

"They are the ones that have the principal interests."

The Greatest Story Never Told

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