Black Man in Red Russia

Book Cover

Staff Person: Ralph Scott

Source: Homer Smith, Black Man in Red Russia, Chicago, Johnson Publishing Company, 1964, Hoover Collection DK 267 S587

Description:

Black Man in Red Russia relates the story of an American war correspondent Homer Smith, on the Soviet front during World War II. Smith, who moved to Moscow from Minneapolis in 1932 was disillusioned with life in America and hoped the Soviets had the answer to the American race divide in their “democracy of the Proletariat.” During the war period as a correspondent for “the Negro Press,” Smith observed the German push on Moscow; the bodies of Polish officers in the Katyn Forest; the ovens at Maidenak where the Senegales troops captured in the fall of the Maginot line were put to death; the slaughter at Sevastapol; and finally the fall of Berlin in 1945. Smith claims to have been the only Black war correspondent on the Eastern Front. The introduction to the book is written by Harrison Salisbury, Associate Editor of the New York Times, and Moscow correspondent for the Times during World War II. Smith had met Salisbury, as a fellow journalism student at the University of Minnesota in the early 1930s. Salisbury writes that Homer Smith’s major thesis is “that the Soviet Union is no utopia; that we can not [sic!] run away from our problems, we merely run into others which may differ from those we know but are no less serious.” In the end Salisbury feels that Smith was lucky to have escaped with his Russian wife to Ethiopia in 1947. Smith became disillusioned with life in Ethiopia and returned with his wife to his native Minnesota in 1962.
As a small aside an American newspaper reporter named Homer Smith was the lead character in the tongue –in-cheek 1942 spy spoof, Cairo, staring Robert Young, Jeanette Macdonald, and Ethel Waters! The M-G-M movie premiered in Richmond, Virginia on 16 September 1942, and poked good natured fun at the foibles of Nazi spies in an absurd attempt at de-humanizing America’s enemies. In an unfortunate choice of titles, the film was released following the 1942 Cairo conference between Churchill and Roosevelt, and moviegoers, who were expecting a documentary film were instead treated to a comedy!

Programme & Constitution of the Communist Party of Lesotho

Source: Programme & Constitution of the Communist Party of Lesotho, Hoover DT 2618.C65 1960

Programme & Constitution of the Communist Party of Lesotho
Programme & Constitution of the Communist Party of Lesotho

Staff Person: Maury York

Description:

Lesotho is a small country completely surrounded by South Africa. Known as Basutoland during its period of control by the British, the Kingdom of Lesotho achieved independence in 1966. The Basuto National Party ruled the country for its first two decades. After seven years of military rule, constitutional government was restored in 1993. Violence and bloodshed, in part a result of intervention by troops from South Africa and Botswana, later disrupted the country. Today constitutional rule has been restored in Lesotho. Its impoverished people are chiefly engaged in subsistence agriculture and, according to a profile published by the CIA, the inequity in the distribution of national wealth is a problem.

Published by the Communist Party of Lesotho, this pamphlet advocates independence and self-government for Basutoland as a means of achieving the benefits of communism. It is one of hundreds of pamphlets, books, and periodicals in the Special Collections Department’s Hoover Collection on International Communism.

S.S. Utah – A Banned Book

Source: S.S. Utah, Hoover PS 3531.E2967 S1 1933

Cover of S.S. Utah

Cover of S.S. Utah

Staff Person: Ralph Scott

Description:

Mike Pell’s S.S. Utah is an example of the genre of proletarian fiction. Proletarian fiction written in the 1930s and dominated by middle-class authors, typically featured stories from the life of working class people who overcame the oppression of the mass-industrial world. Many of these works were banned because of their political viewpoints, with the S.S. Utah being no exception. Shortly after publication the book was banned in Australia and a number of other industrialized nations. The novel features a cargo ship bound for the Soviet Union with a cast of standard characters: a conservative union member, a Wobbly named “Slim” who converts the crew to communism, and veteran seafarers from Denmark to Alaska. Other more conservative reviewers felt that S.S. Utah was “not a literary work at all, but rather a fictionalized account of a naval mutiny produced as a manual for agitational work by the clandestine maritime apparatus of the Communist International.” Slim’s speeches, which seem out of date today, urge the “American worker…, together with the workers all over the world, [to] take the rifles that the boss-class shoves into our hands and use them, not against…fellow workers, but to set up a Soviet government of our own.” A number of these fictional works are patterned after the Eisenstein film Battleship Potemkin. The Utah crew, like the sailors in the film, are essentially “bottom dogs” who revolt against their melancholy and boring world and march proudly into the socialist world of the future.

Pell, Mike. S.S. Utah, New York: International Publishers, 1933.

Hoover PS 3531.E2967 S1 1933

We Choose America

Source: We Choose America, Hoover E 169.1.W5x

We choose America / Tom Williams

We choose America / Tom Williams

Staff Person: Ralph Scott

Description:

We Choose America was East Carolina University’s literary contribution to the 1976 American bi-centennial. Written at the height of the Cold War, the volume pokes fun at Communism using the American view of perceived differences between life in the Soviet Union and the “blessings of our…way of life.” Published about ten years after the Cuban missile crisis and a year after the Watergate scandal, the book does not once mention the Soviet Union, but rather refers to “The Communists” and “Russia” throughout. The author of the work was Thomas A. Williams, a professor of Foreign Languages and Literature at East Carolina. Williams was editor of Era Press (the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution had passed the U.S. Congress in 1972), and The New East Magazine. The work is illustrated by Pulitzer Prize-winning Charlotte Observer cartoonist Eugene G. Payne. The foreword to the small pamphlet was written by East Carolina University Chancellor Leo W. Jenkins.

Williams, Thomas A. “We Choose America,” (Greenville, N.C., Era Press, 1975), 48pp. Hoover Collection E 169.1 W5x and North Carolina Collection.

Who Wants War?: How the Soviet Union Builds for Peace

Source: Who Wants War?: How the Soviet Union Builds for Peace: an eye-witness report, Hoover HC336 C53 1951

Cover of Who wants war? how the Soviet Union builds for peace

Cover of Who wants war? how the Soviet Union builds for peace

Staff Person: Ralph Scott

Description:

The Korean War had “stabilized” by June 1951 following MacArthur’s landings at Inchon (Operation Chromite) in September of 1950. On April 11, 1951, President Truman removed MacArthur for disagreeing with U.S. war aims. MacArthur responded with his famous statement, “In war there is no substitute for Victory.” Some Americans urged all out war with the Soviets. This pamphlet from the Hoover Collection is typical of tracts distributed by the Soviets in the United States. Subtitled “How the Soviet Union Builds for Peace,” Who Wants War was written by Joseph Clark, the Moscow corespondent of the American communist newspaper, The Daily Worker. Clark, who was a World War II veteran, reported back to America on various peacetime public works projects in the Soviet Union. The pamphlet stresses Soviet peace proposals and the fact that the “Soviet people [could] look to a bright future.” It goes on to note that the soon to be President Dwight David Eisenhower “would ‘instantly’ use the atom bomb” if it promised to give advantage,” in a full scale war with the Soviet Union. Clark asks, “Are we Americans in danger as a result of what is happening in the U.S.S.R? Are Americans, dying on battlefields 5,000 miles from their homes because of anything going on in Russia?” He concludes that ‘Soviet aggression’ is a monstrous fraud upon the American people, designed to cover up the Truman-Wall Street drive toward a new atomic war.” In July of 1953 the commanders of the American, Chinese and North Korean armies agreed to an “Armistice.” This helped President Eisenhower fulfill a 1952 campaign promise to try to find out what he could do to end the war in Korea. South Korea never agreed to the “Armistice.”

Joseph Clark, “Who Wants War?: How the Soviet Union Builds for Peace (New York: New Century Publishers, June 1951) 16pp. Special Collections Hoover Collection HC336 C53 1951.

Click on the image to see an enlarged version.

Dig We Must ! – Into the Coal Operators' Profits!

Cover of Dig we must! into the coal operators' profits!

Cover of Dig we must! into the coal operators' profits!

Source: Dig We Must! – Into the Coal Operators’ Profits!, Hoover HD8039.M615 D5 1970

Staff Person: Maury York

Description:

With the approach of May Day, the Special Collections Department features the cover of a pamphlet published in 1970 by the Coal Commission of Communist Party, U.S.A. The pamphlet is part of the Hoover Collection on International Communism, the nucleus of which was donated to Joyner Library by Dr. J. C. Peele of Kinston, N.C. The tract mentions gains made by miners through the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969, but stresses additional goals:

“We Communists advocate public ownership of the coal industry, operated by a federal body on which the United Mine Workers, working miners, and other residents of the coal-producing regions are strongly represented. This body could guarantee that the needs of the nation come first, not the profits of the wealthy. It could insure the highest safety standards for all mines, provide job security, guarantee decent retirement pay, and use the tremendous profits now going to a few rich investors for decent schools, public housing, hospitals and other pressing needs of people in the coal fields.

This body could put an end to the criminal destruction of our natural resources by the indiscriminate use of strip and auger mining, and create beautiful recreation areas for people from all parts of the country.”

Dig we must! into the coal operators' profits!

Dig we must! into the coal operators' profits!

To view an enlarged version, click on the image.

Constitutional Education League

Source: Vote CIO and Get a Soviet America, Hoover E812 K36 1944

Vote CIO and get a Soviet America

Vote CIO and get a Soviet America

Staff Person: Ralph Scott

Description:
The Constitutional Education League was founded shortly after World War I to combat “Communism in the United States and world wide.” In a 1942 Washington Post article entitled “28 Organized Groups Linked to Fascist Plot,” it was noted that the League had been named as being an instrument of the Axis Powers.

The pamphlet shown here Vote CIO and Get a Soviet America, published during the 1944 U.S. presidential campaign, attempted to show the ties between the Roosevelt administration, American labor unions and various communists cells operating in the United States. The U.S. Congress attempted to discover through an investigation, the financial backers of the League. The Vice-President of the League, Joseph P. Kamp refused to reveal this information to Congress and in 1950 was convicted and served four months in prison. Again in 1952 the House Lobby Investigation Committee tried to get Kamp to produce financial records of the League, but he again refused. This time he was acquitted of any wrongdoing with regard to his failure to reveal the League’s financial backers.

Hoover Collection, purchase from Argosy Book Store, NYC, 1996, state funds. Hoover E812 K36 1944

The Workers Vanguard

Source: Workers Vanguard, uncataloged periodical, Hoover Collection

Workers vanguard front page

Workers vanguard front page

Staff Person: Ralph Scott

Description:
The Workers Vanguard is the official publication of the International Communist League (Fourth International). The International Communist League (sometimes known in the United States as the Spartacist League), describes itself as “a proletarian, revolutionary and international tendency committed to the task of building Leninist parties and national sections of a democratic centralist international.” In January of 1919 V.I. Lenin called upon the left wing of the Socialist Party of America to join the Communist International (Comintern). This left wing attempted to gain control of the Socialist Party, but party leaders were tipped off and arranged for the Chicago Police to throw out the left wing members at the meeting. This left wing became the current Communist Party USA. In 1937 a “Revolutionary Tendency” was again formed in the American Socialist Workers Party (SWP). This Lenin/Trotsky “Tendency” was expelled from the SWP in 1963 and in 1966 formed the Spartacist League/U.S. The Workers Vanguard is the main party organ. This issue features an article on immigration reform showing pickets at the Smithfield Food plant in Tar Heel, NC.

Pei-ching Chou Pao

Source: Beijing Review, Hoover DS 701 P42

Presidents of China and Cameroon

Presidents of China and Cameroon

Staff Person: Ralph Scott

Description:
The Hoover collection receives a number of current periodicals that were especially of interest to Dr. Peele who established the collection. Beijing Review is a popular publication from mainland China that is similar in nature to Soviet Life a Russian magazine that was exchanged with the communist bloc countries as cultural materials during the cold war. In exchange for the distribution of US Information Agency publications in Communist countries, the mainland Chinese were allow to send similar type publications to America. Beijing Review is a relic of this type of Cold War information exchange. The Hoover collection has files dating back of 1979 of this title. The issue displayed here is typical of topics covered in the periodical. The Romanized title of the periodical is: Pei-ching chou pao.

Joseph McCarthy

Source:

Red-addled brain behind the Scripps-Howard smear of Joseph McCarthy.

Red-addled brain behind the Scripps-Howard smear of Joseph McCarthy.

The Red-Addled Brain Behind the Scripps-Howard Smear of Joseph McCarthy, Hoover Pamphlet, E748.M143 K36 1954

Staff Person: Maury York

Description:

This pamphlet by Joseph P. Kamp denounces efforts by Frederick Woltman of Scripps-Howard newspapers to “destroy” anti-communist leader Joseph McCarthy. According to Kamp, “Red Fred” Woltman “stabbed Joe McCarthy in the back . . . in the pages of the Scripps-Howard newspapers . . . Just how much the cause of communism will be helped . . . by this foul betrayal will depend on how well the public comes to know and understand . . . the treachery of this modern Judas.”

This and many other pro- and anti-communist tracts are available in the Hoover Collection on International Communism. The call number for this pamphlet is E748.M143 K36 1954.