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CBS-Owned Showtime’s Oliver Stone Mini-Series to Deliver Soviet Version of U.S. History

Tonight (Monday), CBS-owned Showtime will debut a ten-part series: Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States. Ronald Radosh, in last week’s Weekly Standard, determined it offers “not an untold story, but the all-too-familiar Communist and Soviet line on America’s past as it developed in the early years of the Cold War.”

Showtime’s plug for the series which will debut Monday nights at 8 PM EST/PST, starting November 12:

There is a classified America we were never meant to see. From Academy Award-winning writer/director Oliver Stone, this ten-part documentary series looks back at human events that at the time went under reported, but that crucially shaped America's unique and complex history over the 20th century. From the atomic bombing of Japan to the Cold War and the fall of Communism, this in-depth, surprising, and totally riveting series demands to be watched again and again.

In “A Story Told Before: Oliver Stone’s recycled leftist history of the United States,” Radosh dissected some of the distortions in the first four parts of the series co-written with left-wing historian Peter Kuznick:

...Viewers are told that World War II ended with the world sharing the hopes and dreams of progressives everywhere, led by Stalin, whose desire for continued Allied unity and peace was rebuffed by Winston Churchill and rejected by President Roosevelt’s accidental successor, Harry Truman. The viewer is never told of Soviet goals or practices, like the brutal occupation of Eastern Europe by the Red Army and the overthrow of its governments and installation of Soviet puppet regimes, except when the narrative justifies this as necessary for Soviet security. Indeed, even the earlier Nazi-Soviet Pact is justified with the Soviet propaganda line that Stalin was forced into it in order to buy time to rearm, since the Western powers refused to face up to the threat of fascism.

The main hero of the first four episodes is FDR’s secretary of agriculture, then vice president, Henry A. Wallace, whom the book describes as a New Deal “visionary” on domestic policy and a farsighted, anti-imperialist representative of the “common man” on foreign policy....

If Wallace was no radical on domestic issues, he did prove to be Stalin’s dupe in foreign affairs. The liberalism he came to espouse was that of the Popular Front, the call for an alliance between Democrats and American Communists and Socialists as the vehicle through which to advance the agenda of FDR’s expanding welfare state. As early as 1943, Wallace warned of “fascist interests motivated largely by anti-Russian bias” who were trying to “get control of our government.” These views are what endear Wallace to Stone.

So enamored of the Soviet Union was the vice president that in May 1944 he traveled to 22 cities in Soviet Siberia. There, the NKVD played Wallace for a fool. He described the slave labor colony of Magadan, which the Soviet secret police had transformed into a Potemkin village staffed by actors and NKVD personnel, as a “combination TVA and Hudson’s Bay Company.”

According to his own testimony, if he had become president, Wallace would have made Harry Dexter White his secretary of the Treasury and given a position in government to Laurence Duggan. Both men were Soviet agents. As a KGB cable found in the Venona archives shows, the Soviets hoped that Duggan would aid them “by using his friendship” with Wallace for “extracting ...interesting information.”...

Two early Cold War episodes illustrate the mendacious method of Stone’s film. Stone asserts that Poland was meant to be in Stalin’s hands since Russia had been invaded twice by armies crossing the Polish border, and that after Yalta, Stalin never betrayed his agreement to allow free elections. This was the Kremlin line at the time to a tee. It is Truman who is portrayed as untrustworthy and feckless by resisting what was supposed to have been a done deal....

Another event whose treatment reveals the shabby methods of Stone and his partner is Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bombs. Stone claims that Japan had already lost the war, that the Japanese military leaders were ready to accept a peace agreement, that major military figures including Dwight Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur opposed the bombs’ use, that Truman reached the decision after ignoring the pleas of Nobel scientists, and that he did so to intimidate Russia and end the war against Japan before Russia could join it, as Stalin had agreed to do.

This is the thesis that Soviet agents and apologists like Carl Marzani, P. M.S. Blackett, and Dana F. Fleming laid out in the first years of the Cold War and which was revived (and lent legitimacy) 40 years ago by left-wing historian Gar Alperovitz. In the interim, however, major books and academic articles based on archival research in Japan and the United States — by Wilson D. Miscamble, Richard B. Frank, Robert James Maddox, Sadao Asada, and many others — have discredited the argument. But for Oliver Stone, there is only one truth, the “truth” that discredits the United States.

According to Stone, the dropping of the atomic bombs was criminal because the war was over, Japan defeated, and its leaders wanted peace. According to Stone, Truman lied when he said that American lives would have been lost in the invasion that would have been necessary if the bombs had not been dropped. His purpose in dropping the bombs was to show Stalin “that the United States would stop at nothing to impose its will.”...

In the last segment of the fourth episode of his film, Stone waxes ecstatic over what might have been had Henry Wallace’s third-party bid for the presidency in 1948 succeeded. The Cold War might have been halted; the United States and the Soviet Union might have cooperated to usher in a world at peace; and America might have fulfilled FDR’s dream of a second Bill of Rights guaranteeing to all freedom from want, moving America to join postwar Britain in building a social-democratic future.

But as Stone tells it, anti-Communist paranoia directed at Wallace and his Progressive army doomed that wonderful prospect. “The Red-baiting, the dismissive treatment of Wallace by the major newspapers, Truman’s move to the left on domestic issues, and a last-minute rush to Truman by Democratic voters” who feared a Republican victory “resulted in an electoral disaster for the Wallace campaign. American voters backed the candidate who had driven the nation down the path of empire, nuclear arms race, and global confrontation.”

In concluding with these words, Stone reveals how little he understands this period of our recent past. Wallace’s Progressive party was created and run by the American Communist party, and all of its leaders were secret members, including Wallace’s friend, chief adviser, and campaign manager C. B. “Beanie” Baldwin. Even the leftist journalist I. F. Stone understood this. He wrote, “The Communists have been the dominant influence in the Progressive party...If it had not been for the Communists, there would have been no Progressive party.”...

-- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Brent Baker on Twitter.