Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
The Soviet World of American Communism

The Soviet World of American Communism

Harvey Klehr
John Earl Haynes
Kyrill M. Anderson
Copyright Date: 1998
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 416
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Soviet World of American Communism
    Book Description:

    The Secret World of American Communism(1995), filled with revelations about Communist party covert operations in the United States, created an international sensation. Now the American authors of that book, along with Soviet archivist Kyrill M. Anderson, offer a second volume of profound social, political, and historical importance.Based on documents newly available from Russian archives,The Soviet World of American Communismconclusively demonstrates the continuous and intimate ties between the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) and Moscow. In a meticulous investigation of the personal, organizational, and financial links between the CPUSA and Soviet Communists, the authors find that Moscow maintained extensive control of the CPUSA, even of the American rank and file. The widely accepted view that the CPUSA was essentially an idealistic organization devoted to the pursuit of social justice must be radically revised, say the authors. Although individuals within the organization may not have been aware of Moscow's influence, the leaders of the organization most definitely were.The authors explain and annotate ninety-five documents, reproduced here in their entirety or in large part, and they quote from hundreds of others to reveal the actual workings of the American Communist party. They show that:• the USSR covertly provided a large part of the CPUSA budget from the early 1920s to the end of the 1980s;• Moscow issued orders, which the CPUSA obeyed, on issues ranging from what political decisions the American party should make to who should serve in the party leadership;• the CPUSA endorsed Stalin's purges and the persecution of Americans living in Russia.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-13800-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. List of Documents Reproduced in Facsimile
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  6. A Note on the Documents
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  7. Glossary of Individuals and Organizations
    (pp. xxiii-xxxii)
  8. Chronology of American Communism
    (pp. xxxiii-xxxviii)
  9. Introduction
    (pp. 1-13)

    From its founding in 1919 to the present day, the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) has attracted somewhere between a half and three-quarters of a million members. At its height in mid-1939, it had 66,000 registered members and perhaps ten times as many sympathizers, and it had played a major role in several of the great social upheavals of the 1930s. Indeed, until around 1950, Communists, in numbers that were far out of proportion to the size of the party, could be found in leading or supporting positions in the civil rights movement, in labor organization,...

  10. CHAPTER ONE Orders from the Comintern
    (pp. 14-106)

    THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL sent thousands of written instructions to the Communist Party of the United States of America. Some were short, only a paragraph or two, while others went on for pages. Some were general enough to allow American Communists to interpret them to suit local conditions, while others were highly detailed, leaving no room for variation. To be sure, not all the Comintern’s orders were carried out. It was not unusual for Moscow to order the CPUSA to do something, or even to do many things simultaneously, that the party did not have the personnel, the resources, or, most...

  11. CHAPTER TWO Moscow Gold
    (pp. 107-164)

    FROM VIRTUALLY THE MOMENT it was created, the Communist Party of the United States of America depended on financial support from the Soviet Union. “Moscow gold” enabled the fledgling American Communist movement to pay organizers, publish newspapers, and support a variety of fraternal, educational, and union activities. Unlike its rivals on the American left, which relied on funds raised by membership dues and donations from sympathizers, the CPUSA, emboldened by the deep pockets of its foreign sponsor, created an infrastructure and a public presence far greater than its members could support.

    A combination of scarce domestic resources and ambitious, farreaching...

  12. CHAPTER THREE Communists Abroad
    (pp. 165-271)

    IN ADDITION to the chains of gold that linked the CPUSA to the Comintern, there were human bonds as well. From the first, American Communist party leaders traveled constantly to Moscow to meet with Soviet leaders and officials of the Communist International. These conferences and meetings, lasting anywhere from a few days to several weeks, enabled the Soviets, as leaders of the international movement, to acquire firsthand information from their affiliates and to give detailed advice and instructions in return.

    These brief visits were not the only human connections between Moscow and the United States. Many American Communists went to...

  13. CHAPTER FOUR Imported Hatred
    (pp. 272-346)

    COMMUNISTS WERE IDEALISTS, but idealists who combined their dream of a socialist tomorrow, in which perfect justice would reign, with a violent loathing of anything that threatened that future. Communists did not disagree with or disapprove of their opponents, they despised them. In 1929 the Communist poet Edwin Rolfe called on American Communists to develop a language with “the power to hate.” Most did. The Communist historian Herbert Aptheker, for example, described the upper classes of American society as having “the morals of goats, the learning of gorillas and the ethics of—well, of what they are: racist, warinciting enemies...

  14. CHAPTER FIVE Fellowcountrymen
    (pp. 347-356)

    TO SAY that the American Communist party was “nothing but” an appendage of a Soviet-dominated Communist International would be an exaggeration. From the party’s inception, several hundred thousand Americans have joined out of a deeply felt belief in the necessity of overturning America’s economic and political order and establishing a new American society based on Marxism-Leninism. But the CPUSA has always also been a satellite, first of the Comintern and later of the Soviet Communist party. The ties between the two organizations, those of subordinate to superior, existed on every level. The Soviets established the ideology, provided the money, chose...

  15. APPENDIX American and Soviet Cominternists
    (pp. 357-366)
  16. Selected Readings
    (pp. 367-370)
  17. Index
    (pp. 371-378)