Escape from Elba
Exiles of the New York Times
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Author Topic: American History  (Read 29376 times)
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Bob
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« Reply #2130 on: March 11, 2008, 09:20:48 PM »

While I agreee Strauss was the instigator and main culprit, by reading a section of Eisenhower's diary  I got the impression he was genuinley concerned with the problem of Oppenheimer's status and that he wanted a very objective review of the case. From other sources (I'd have to track them down) the last thing he wanted was for McCarthy to "investigate" it. From his Autobiography (Volume II) he seems to have been really sucked in to Strauss and gives him a vigorous defense  and ends the section on the affair with a letter of praise from Robert Sherwood who writes of the fairness of the hearings  and praises Eisenhower for keeping out of McCarthy's hands.

He also carefully explains that he was hesitant to question Oppenheimer's loyalty based on his oppposition to the H-Bomb. He initimates that would be most unfair, wrong...and he defends his position in this regard by reminded his readers that he oppposed the use of the A-Bomb on the grounds that it was unecessary as Japan was about to be defeated, and yet nobody questioned his loyalty. So he could appreciate the expression of personal opinions regarding policies are not in and of themselves  of a person's loyalty.  (I found it nteresting that Eisenhower was going over the same issues we just reviewed).

Eisenhower brings up the Dixon-Yates controversy and the defeat of the nomination of Strauss as Secretary of Commerce as being the result of the retribution of the press against Strauss for his involvement in the Oppenheimer case. Eisenhower sounds bitter in this regard.

He agreed with the investigation's conclusions citing "defects of character,instanced by his repeated falsehoods to security officers about Communists whom he knew."

MANDATE FOR CHANGE, 310-314;  THE EISENHOWER DIARIES, 259-261.
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Dzimas
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« Reply #2131 on: March 12, 2008, 05:55:12 AM »

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While I agree Strauss was the instigator and main culprit, by reading a section of Eisenhower's diary  I got the impression he was genuinley concerned with the problem of Oppenheimer's status and that he wanted a very objective review of the case. From other sources (I'd have to track them down) the last thing he wanted was for McCarthy to "investigate" it.

Strauss also wanted it out of the hands of McCarthy, fearing that he would be too demogogic and botch up the hearings.  Strauss wanted this one to be more like a trial, bringing in an ace prosecutor to do his dirty work. Why Garrison put up so little protest is a mystery, as he was supposed to be defending Oppenheimer?  Instead, he offered little resistance as the prosecution withheld most records from the defense, while reading from them verbatim and demanding that Oppenheimer and witnesses to his defense explain themselves.  Sounds to me like Ike relied a little too heavily on Strauss, but then again he had other things to worry about at the time so didn't make the effort to see what was really going on.
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Bob
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« Reply #2132 on: March 12, 2008, 08:49:49 PM »

I think you're right--too much reliance on Strauss. Apparently Ike deeply admired him and therefore probably didn't question him.

From the two sources I cited above, it seems the story was broken to Eisenhower by Charles Wilson (Secretary of  Defense) and that  upon hearing it Eisenhower was shocked (so Strauss enters only after the revelation). Eisenhower then wanted Oppenheimer shut off pending a hearing, but still believed in his integrity. He then told Wilson to turn the file over to Herbert Brownell for further action--of course that would bring in J Edgar and I suppose Strus couldn't be far behind.

This rendition of course has only to do with viewing it from when Eisenhower got into the act and through whom. It's not the total story.
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nytempsperdu
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« Reply #2133 on: March 13, 2008, 12:22:15 AM »

Quote
1 : an element in experience or in artistic representation evoking pity or compassion
2 : an emotion of sympathetic pity
 (Merriman-Webster Dictionary)


Greek tragedy at its best.

I think so, too, and am glad to have an answer to my question about whether Opp qualified as a true tragic hero, a character larger than life, brought down by a tragic flaw (hubris in one form or another).  Thought the agents of downfall--Strauss, et al., JEdgar Hoofer (as a friend likes to refer to him)--standing in for the gods/goddesses of old may be representations of social forces (e.g., fear, prejudice, anti-intellectualism) are many and varied, the true cause is always the tragic flaw.

Please pardon my digression and accept my apologies and my thanks for the very thoughtful and illuminating posts prompted by the book. 
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Dzimas
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« Reply #2134 on: March 13, 2008, 03:11:24 AM »

There certainly are tragic elements here, NYT, and Opp's arrogance was a factor.  He seemed to imagine some Socratic exchange taking place at the hearings, not a calculated probe into his past connections, many of which he seemed to have a hazy memory of, or no memory at all.  The whole thing was a sham, as all such hearings during that turbulent period.  The real tragedy is how paranoid US leaders had become and how convinced they were that the H-bomb was the ultimate weapon against the Soviet Union. 

Strauss being a big money Republican, Bob, no doubt held a lot of influence in Ike's administration.
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nytempsperdu
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« Reply #2135 on: March 15, 2008, 04:18:29 PM »

Recently heard on NPR an interview with Edward Lucas, author of a book entitled The New Cold War

http://www.amazon.com/New-Cold-War-Putins-Russia/dp/0230606121/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1205612083&sr=1-1

I must say I mentally threw my hands up at having to once again fear the Russian bear...all I can say is it's just going to have to get in line... 
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Dzimas
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« Reply #2136 on: March 15, 2008, 05:54:49 PM »

Putin does represent a danger, at least to folks in Eastern Europe, who are very uneasy by the way he has solidified power in Russia by shifting from President (two-term limit) to the Duma (unlimited tenure) and putting a handpicked successor at the helm who will cede much of the executive authority over to the Duma, where Putin will once again be managing the country, along with its international affairs.  Russia has yet to have a single free and fair national election.  There isn't much Europe can say on the matter since the PM is traditionally the leader of a country, not the president.  I suppose the biggest European worry is over oil and gas, which they get in large supply from Russia and which passes through beleagured countries like Ukraine, Belarus and Poland that have a habit of challenging the Kremlin by periodically shutting down the pipelines over disputes.  This was one reason Germany negotiated with Russia to build a submerged pipeline in the Baltic Sea.  Schroeder now sits in a cushy position at Gazprom.  He and his young wife have two adopted Russian children.  Merkl remains quite chummy with Putin. 

I guess what the US doesn't like about all this is that Russia is playing an ever increasing role in global politics because of its oil and gas reserves, not to mention building nuclear power plants in Iran.  Russia is a potential challenge to our hegemony in the world, and as such we have instigated a number of proxy battles such as recognizing Kosovo's independence that don't sit well with the Kremlin.  Russia feels that Serbia (and by default Kosovo) is in its sphere of influence.  So, yes, it is starting to resemble the Cold War.
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Bob
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« Reply #2137 on: March 15, 2008, 08:30:21 PM »

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The whole thing was a sham, as all such hearings during that turbulent period.  The real tragedy is how paranoid US leaders had become and how convinced they were that the H-bomb was the ultimate weapon against the Soviet Union.

I agree. Had it not been for the paranoia of the age the whole Oppenheimer thing would have been avoided. After all, no new information was really brought out in 1954. All of this stuff was very well known to insiders and to the people in charge of security and they cleared him in spite of it all. But by 1954 Joe McCarthy was riding high and had to be sated and so, to keep it out of his grubby hands, they decided to cut Oppenheimer off in a cleaner, more surgical manner. Thus the insanity of clearing him as to loyalty, but still declaring him a security risk, based not on anything hid did, but what he might do in the future--even though his contract was coming to and end and even though he was consulted only rarely. Looking at now its quite an ironic, cruel joke.
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Bob
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« Reply #2138 on: March 15, 2008, 08:38:19 PM »

I like the Isaacson book on Franklin for our next book....I saw the listabove  and it has good suggestions in it. I read the Telephone book[THE TELEPHONE GAMBIT], its also very good.

I'm currently reading FOR LIBERTY AND GLORYby Gaines---about Lafayette and Washington. It's an easy read with a lot of fascinating chapters.
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thanatopsy
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« Reply #2139 on: March 15, 2008, 08:51:13 PM »

I assume this is the Isaacson book you are referring to:


http://www.amazon.com/Benjamin-Franklin-American-Walter-Isaacson/dp/0684807610

Sounds quite OK to me.  Smiley


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nytempsperdu
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« Reply #2140 on: March 15, 2008, 09:09:01 PM »

Dzimas, thanks for that, I appreciate your knowledgeable perspective (and insight).  Lucas's view was similar and he emphasized that Russia is really a European country, though I couldn't tell if he thought Putin was not interested in China or scared of it. 

Apologies again for Putin (sorry, couldn't resist) this in the wrong forum, but the references to Cold War brought it to mind.  I'll try to be good.

Speaking of Isaacson, was there going to be a discussion somewhere of his book on Einstein?  (Sorry if I lost track--have less access to PC/forums recently.)  The Exploratorium here in SF celebrated pi/pie day yesterday, not only for the date 3.14 but it was Einstein's birthday.  ("Oh snap!" said the kid, the newest of her many expressions).
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weezo
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« Reply #2141 on: March 15, 2008, 09:28:01 PM »

Temps,

Einstein was considered more world history than American History, so a very slow discussion on the book was begun on World History. I am reading it, but very slowly, since it is a large, hardbound book and hurts to hold it too long.

I am on for Benjamin Franklin. I've peeked into the book and it looks interesting.

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Shirley Marcus1
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« Reply #2142 on: March 16, 2008, 02:33:57 PM »

I like the Isaacson book on Franklin for our next book....I saw the listabove  and it has good suggestions in it. I read the Telephone book[THE TELEPHONE GAMBIT], its also very good.

I'm currently reading FOR LIBERTY AND GLORYby Gaines---about Lafayette and Washington. It's an easy read with a lot of fascinating chapters.


I thought we were reading Franklin and I just ordered it at Lido Villiage Book store in Newport.  I read a chapter in B&N.  Sould be a good discussion.  When do we start?
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MrUtley3
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« Reply #2143 on: March 17, 2008, 02:07:10 PM »

Anyone watch the HBO "John Adams" last night?
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thanatopsy
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« Reply #2144 on: March 17, 2008, 03:51:19 PM »

How has the series been?

Years ago, I watched the Adams Chronicles on PBS and that was a splendid series.
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