Alger Hiss, Whittaker Chambers and the Case That Ignited McCarthyism
By: Lewis Hartshorn (author)Paperback
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This is a history of the Alger Hiss-Whittaker Chambers controversy of 1948 to 1950, a federal criminal case in which Hiss was convicted of perjury after two long trials. Chambers claimed that Hiss had passed classified State Department documents to him in 1937 and 1938 for transmittal to the Soviet Union. Hiss denied the charges but was found guilty at his second trial (the jury could not reach a decision in the first). Hiss was not charged with espionage because of the statute of limitations.The main focus of this narrative focuses on the early months of the affair, from August 1948 when Whittaker Chambers appeared before the House Committee on Un-American Activities and publicly denounced Hiss and several others as underground Communists who had infiltrated the government in the 1930s, to the following December when Hiss was indicted for perjury. The author believes the truth emerges as the story unfolds during these months, based in part on grand jury records unsealed by court order in 1999, leading to the conclusion that the stories Whittaker Chambers told the authorities and later published about himself and Alger Hiss as confederates in the Communist underground of the 1930s are completely fraudulent.
Lewis Hartshorn is an independent scholar who lives on the Texas Gulf coast.
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- ID: 9780786474424
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