In defence of Harry Dexter White

By 1948, the year of White’s death, anti communist hysteria was in full swing, and the State Department was the focus of suspicion for the witch hunters.

White’s wartime closeness to the USSR (which, the fact that America was allied to the Soviets, was hardly surprising) came under close scrutiny and there does appear to be circumstantial evidence to suggest that he may have been a Soviet agent. However, it is not the job of historians to give the nod to vague or generalised ‘possibilities’, but to find solid evidence. In this case it seems more likely that White, who with Keynes was the architect of institutions that gave global capitalism it’s longest and most profitable epoch ever, was anything but a communist, he was simply a social democrat (which in the fevered climate of the late 1940s might have amounted to the same thing).

There were indeed Soviet spies in America, but White was unlikely to have been one of them.

A defence of Harry Dexter White

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3 Responses to In defence of Harry Dexter White

  1. John Koster says:

    Read his files from Seeley G. Mudd Library in Princeton or Vitalii Pavlov’s account of ordering White to start a war between the United States and Japan in “Operation Snow” by John Koster or “Sacred Secrets” by Jerrold Schechter or “The Venona Secrets” by Herbert Romerstein.

  2. John Koster says:

    The Russian-language version of WIKIPEDIA now contains an article called “SNEG” (Snow) which confirms just about everything in my book “Operation Snow” and lists Vitalii Pavlov’s book and my own as two major sources. Benn Steil of the Council On Foreign Relations says in the article on Harry Dexter White in WIKIPEDIA that it was the language from White’s memorandum, inserted in the Hull Note of November 26, 1941, that actually prompted the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

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