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The Rosenbergs Go On Trial

The trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg began on this date in 1951. Charged with conspiracy to commit atomic espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union, they would become the first civilians executed as spies in U.S. history — on June 19, 1953. Opposition to their sentence became an international cause, with Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert […]

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Daniel Ellsberg on Nuclear War

by Dusty Sklar Discussed in this essay: The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, by Daniel Ellsberg. Bloomsbury, 2017, 424 pages.   WE ARE ALL NERVOUS about the current possibility of nuclear warfare, but Daniel Ellsberg has decided to do what he can to prevent it from happening. His recent book, The Doomsday Machine, reveals […]

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The Enemy Within

INTIMACY VS. COLD WAR POLITICS IN THE AMERICANS by Alessio Franko From the Summer 2017 issue of Jewish Currents “THIS MIGHT HELP you understand them a little bit, ” says Pastor Tim (Kelly AuCoin), handing the teenaged Paige Jennings (Holly Taylor) a copy of Karl Marx’s Capital. The pastor is privy to a secret that Paige and […]

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The Russell-Einstein Manifesto

Albert Einstein was one of eleven signatories to what became known as the Russell-Einstein Manifesto, released by Bertrand Russell on this date in 1955 and signed by Einstein just days before his death on April 18th. The manifesto, which became the founding document of the Pugwash Conference two years later, was intended to raise international […]

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Germany Lifts the Statute of Limitations on Murder

The West German government lifted the statute of limitations on murder on this date in 1979, making possible the pursuit of Nazi war criminals still in residence in Germany. In fact, according to Der Spiegel, since World War II, some twenty-five cabinet ministers, one president and one chancellor in post-war governments were former Nazis. “For years, […]

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The Rightwing Specter

by Bennett Muraskin Discussed in this essay: The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues and the Coming Dark Age, by James Kirchick. Yale University Press, 2017, 288 pages, indexed.   A SPECTER is haunting Europe, but it sure as hell isn’t communism. It is rightwing nationalist populism. Its targets are the European Union, globalization of capital, and immigration. If […]

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The First Country to Recognize Israel

The Soviet Union, despite its official view of Zionism as, in Lenin’s words, “bourgeois nationalism,” became the first country in the world to give legal recognition to Israel on this date in 1948, just three days after the state declared its independence. A year earlier, on May 14, 1947, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko had […]

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The Cold War, the CIA, and the Literati

by Dusty Sklar RIGHT AFTER World War II ended, another war started. It was a cultural Cold War against communism,  a mostly covert operation that paradoxically used our most eloquent exemplars of intellectual freedom, some wittingly, others unwittingly, as instruments of our government, and it was secretly paid for by the Central Intelligence Agency. Using […]

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February 25: Khrushchev Denounces Stalin

Soviet Prime Minister Nikita Khrushchev delivered a speech at the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on this date in 1956 in which he denounced the “cult of personality” that had elevated the late Joseph Stalin to the status of “a superman possessing supernatural characteristics, akin to those of a god. […]

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January 25: 400 Hours with Soviet Negotiators

Max Kampelman, a diplomat who spent World War II as a conscientious objector and then enlisted in the Marine Corps, shifting from a liberal to a neoconservative, died at 92 on this date in 2013. Kampelman co-founded the Committee of the Present Danger, which favored military build-up during the Reagan years, then led the negotiations […]

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