America's real reds

August 13, 1999

Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones's review of M. J. Heale's McCarthy's Americans: Red Scare Politics in State and Nation, 1935-1965 (THES, June 18), like virtually all books on McCarthy, fails to acknowledge that there were many Communists in the US government in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.

The fact that McCarthy bungled his investigation with wild charges, tromping on civil rights, and abusive treatment of witnesses does not negate that fact. Recent research by Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassiliev (The Haunted Wood) into KGB files in Moscow and by Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes, and Fridrikh Igorevich (The Secret World of American Communism) into Comintern files in Moscow provides documentation of the fact that some Americans were spies for the Soviet Union.

McCarthy's main contribution was to provide anti-anti-Communists with a code word with which to silence critics of American Communists and communism.

V. R. Cardozier Emeritus professor of higher education University of Texas at Austin

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