History has shown us that FDR was a Stalinist sympathizer and that some of his cabinet officers and advisers, e.g. Harry Hopkins, were cut from the same red cloth. When the USSR invaded Finland in late 1939 in the Winter War -- a war most Americans have never heard of -- FDR did nothing to help the Finns. FDR's first Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, stated, "I am against all appropriations since our government would be selling war materials to a warring nation and this would be against international justice." Hull's statement is all the more shocking because Finland was innocent and because FDR gave just under 400,000 Dodge trucks as well as other war supplies to the USSR after June 1941.
Contrast that to former President Herbert Hoover who organized fund-raising for starvation relief, just as he had done for the Belgians during WWI and Russians in the early 1920s. Hoover characterized the Soviet invasion as a throwback to the "morals and butchery of Genghis Khan." Eloise Engle and Lauri Paananen's book The Winter War: The Soviet Attack on Finland 1939-1940 documents this tragedy forced upon the Finnish people, leading to the loss of 11% of their territory. This war was far more than a footnote to WWII. Hitler noticed that the Finns held up the USSR for many months, leading him to correctly deduce that the Red Army's leadership and tactics were sorely lacking due in large part to Stalin's purges of his officers. However, it was also a wake-up call for Stalin. The newsreels of the German-Soviet war show Soviet troops dressed in white on cross-country skis, but in the Winter War it was the Finns using white clothing on skis; the Soviets learned from their debacle.
Walter Duranty is someone who Coulter properly remembers as a disciple of communism, if not an active NKVD agent, for his vigorous misrepresentation of the Ukrainian famine of the early 1930s. Malcolm Muggeridge of The Guardian called him "the greatest liar I have met in journalism."
But Duranty was hardly the only one of FDR's Marxist circle of friends. Tim Tzouliadis' book The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin's Russia illustrates a sad episode in our country's history. During the Great Depression, quite a few people left the USA and moved to the USSR. Some had red stars in their eyes, but others were simply naive and desperately poor. All of them quickly found out the truth about Stalin and the way he treated people in his country. Joseph Davies was FDR's ambassador to the Soviet Union in the late 1930s. Tzouliadis' excellent book details how Stalin confiscated the Americans' passports and sent them to camps or prison. Davies not only did not lift a finger to assist these poor souls, he apologized to FDR and Stalin when his staff attempted to help them. Some of the people trapped in the USSR were teenagers brought there by their parents; Davies did not care that they had not chosen to become Soviet citizens. Davies was given works of art from Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery as a reward for his service to Stalin. Davies wrote the book Mission to Moscow, which was also made into a Warner Brothers film; the book and movie whitewashed over the many totalitarian aspects of the USSR. FDR sent Davies and a copy of the film to Moscow so that Stalin could view it.
One of the stories in Tzouliadis' book is particularly tragic. A teen-aged girl appeared in front of the American embassy in Moscow. Her family was one of the ones sent to the camps. The girl naturally expected the embassy to assist her in leaving the country. Davies ignored her and ordered his staff to do the same. She soon disappeared into the Soviet night, never to be seen again.
Ed Cray's book General of the Army: George C. Marshall, Soldier and Statesman is another book that should have been on Coulter's list. Marshall was not a politician during WWII -- he was the Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army -- so he was not responsible for the political decisions made by FDR, Secretary of War Henry Stimson, and the two Secretaries of State, Hull and Edward Stettinius. Stalin had no intention of giving any of the countries he occupied back to their rightful owners. Poland was doomed for two reasons. First, because it had the audacity to beat the Red Army in 1919-1921, an action in which a younger Stalin was involved. And second, because it was on the eastern side of Germany, making it necessary for the Allies to first completely travel through Germany, something that was simply impossible given the fact that the Red Army reached the outskirts of Warsaw in August 1944. The one country that the Allies could have saved was the Czech half of Czechoslovakia, given the fact that George Patton's Third Army made it to Plzen; there is a plaque in Plzen commemorating the event. But FDR was biased, Harry Truman had been kept out of the loop, and Winston Churchill was fixated on Greece, India, and other British spheres of influence, so the Czech people were doomed.
Stephen Ambrose's book Eisenhower and Berlin, 1945: The Decision to Halt at the Elbe and Cornelius Ryan's book The Last Battle document the reality of taking Berlin at the end of WWII. Stalin was determined to have Hitler's head on a platter. Ryan's book notes how Stalin did not assign demarcation lines for his generals Georgy Zhukov and Ivan Konev. As a result, troops from the two Soviet armies actually fought each other in the confusion. If American troops would have been dropped in by parachute to try to secure Berlin, they would have been caught in the meat grinder between Zhukov, Konev, and the Nazis. Dwight Eisenhower made the correct decision to stay out of that fiasco.
Some Americans think that the line from the movie Patton regarding his desire to join the Germans and start WWIII against the Soviets was based on sound reasoning. This is yet another reminder that just about everything we learn from Hollywood is nonsense. The Germans and Soviets had the best tanks, with the Soviet T-34 probably being the best light tank of the war. The Soviets were making tanks by the trainload in Chelyabinsk, Siberia -- "Tankograd" -- while our inferior tanks needed to be transported across the Atlantic Ocean. By the end of the war, the Red Army was a very efficient killing machine and its leaders did not hesitate to execute troops for cowardice. The scene in the beginning of the movie Enemy at the Gates with the Soviet blocking troops, i.e. the ones ordered to shoot retreating Soviet soldiers, was based in historical fact. Otto Preston Chaney's book Zhukov documents the most competent general in the Soviet army. One quote from the book expresses Zhukov's attitude towards his soldiers in crystal clarity: "If you don't know how, we'll teach you; if you don't want to, we'll make you."
FDR and Truman also had to consider the war with the Japanese. Even in 1945, it was not at all obvious that the Pacific war would be over soon, especially given the bloodbaths of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. We had invasion plans for the Japanese home islands -- Operation Downfall, with two parts, Olympic and Coronet -- lasting through 1946, with American casualties estimated from 100,000 to 1,000,000. Truman wanted the Soviets' help with Japan and Stalin was only too happy to oblige, given that he planned to occupy and retain the territory he won. The Soviets invaded Manchuria, shredding the Japanese troops like so many heads of cabbage. Many historians rank the Soviet invasion equal to the atomic bombs for convincing the Japanese to surrender. By the time the Japanese surrendered, the occupation of Eastern Europe by the Soviets was a fait accompli.
McCarthy's other major complaint regarding Marshall is that he was directly responsible for the loss of China. In truth, Chiang Kai-shek's government was extremely corrupt and his family pocketed hundreds of millions of dollars of American aid. John Service, a Foreign Service officer in China, wrote regarding Chiang Kai-shek: ''He has achieved and maintained his position in China by his supreme skill in balancing man against man and group against group, and his adroitness as a military politician rather than as a military commander, and by reliance on a gangster secret police.'' McCarthy argued that General Joseph "Vinegar Joe" Stillwell's successor, General Albert Wedemeyer, devised a wonderful plan to save China and that Marshall sabotaged it. McCarthy conveniently failed to mention that Stillwell predicted that Chiang Kai-Shek would lose China. Stillwell also was critical of the corruption he saw with Chiang Kai-Shek. The only person to lose China was Chiang Kai-shek.
Finally, McCarthy and Coulter completely ignored the brilliance of the Marshall Plan. If Marshall was a closet communist, he would certainly not have advocated an economic plan designed to keep much of Europe out of socialist revolutions. FDR may have painted the town red, but Marshall was always red, white, and blue.
Originally posted in 2009.