Historians in Denial Over Soviet Atrocities

Harvey Klehr will be speaking on the morning of 22 May 2004 at the NAS conference in the New York City's Roosevelt Hotel. He will referring to the theme of his and John Earl Haynes's In Denial, their study of the continuing refusal of American left-liberals, in the face of recently revealed evidence, to acknowledge the barbarities and in some cases outright genocide of the Soviet Union during World War II. As Klehr and Haynes demonstrate, the denial is particularly strong at all levels of academe, where the"ideal type" of left-wing ideology finds its cosiest home. There, constrained, relatively exclusive contact with like-minded anti-capitalist and anti-anti-Communist true believers permits the development of"academic Stalinophilia."(24)


I can recall an incident at Rutgers when the most prestigious of our professors of education actually lamented the absence of a movement to re-establish Josef Stalin's reputation as a positive force in human affairs. Today such a disposition is complemented at secondary education levels by history teachers who, according to my own experience in New Jersey, refuse to countenance any criticism of the Soviet Union. Walter McDougall has called the effects of such teachers' ideological persuasion"a quiet conquest of America's schoolrooms."

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