A great many people are tense and nervous as the archives of communism slowly open. Who worked secretly for Moscow? What did Stalin's apologists abroad really know? Who were the dupes? Who were the moles? Where are they now?
In the Soviet Union mass graves are being opened in countryside that used to be closed off. They teem with the skeletons from Stalin's purges. Who were the technicians of the mass executions? How many of the killers are still around?The secrets are coming out. We learn that in the Kennedy-Khrushchev missile crisis of October 1962, Fidel Castro was urging the Soviets to nuke the United States. In September from Moscow came reports of a Khrushchev memory of both Stalin and Foreign Minister V.M. Molotov gratefully recalling the assistance Julius and Ethel Rosenberg provided in securing an atomic bomb for the USSR.
Over the years an entire industry has arisen to memorialize the Rosenbergs as innocents wrongly put to death.
The friends of Alger Hiss must be wondering what will come from the Kremlin vaults. Hiss has been held out as the prime martyr of McCarthyism. Over the years 35 books have been written about the Hiss perjury case, most of them attempts to exonerate him.
For what it's worth, Time magazine just carried excerpts from the book, "KGB: The Inside Story," by one Oleg Gordievsky, allegedly a top KGB agent in Great Britain before he defected in 1985. Gordievsky speaks casually of Hiss's "control" in the organization.
The files of the old East German Security Agency, Stasi, are unfolding as unification settles in. Earlier, when the Berlin Wall was coming apart, East Germans mobbed Stasi headquarters and threw papers around. It was known that Stasi had penetrated the Bonn government at many levels, but the extent now demonstrated is both amazing and embarrassing.
Czechoslovakian intelligence was said to be among the best and most reliable of the KGB's servants. As democracy proceeds in Prague, some fascinating histories should come from that sector. The same is true of other East bloc countries whose espionage organizations were Soviet proxies. They also worked extensively with terrorists of every stripe.
Continuing news stories in the liberated Soviet press must be chilling to Soviet agents and sympathizers abroad, and Stalinist enforcers in the USSR. The current Moscow News carries the headline: "Attempts are being made to get it from KGB archives." In this case "It" is the history of the KGB's secret laboratories where prisoners were experimented upon with various poisons, and the subsequent use of those poisons in assassinations.
Dr. G.M. Mairanovsky has been accused posthumously of running the laboratories. Mairanovsky's sons, like the Rosenbergs' sons, vigorously protest his innocence. The paper carries spirited correspondence on the subject. One reader tells of killings by agents using bullets in the shape of glass capsules.
In the Cold War years, when the fundamental villainy of the United States was an article of faith for the extreme left, insistence on the innocence of Alger Hiss, the Rosenbergs and other victims of "hysterical anti-communism," was standing operating procedure: Never admit guilt, always sow doubt and confusion, denounce any uncomplimentary view of the USSR as McCarthyism, make lemonade out of a lemon.
As the true nature of Soviet despotism became inescapable, the position of Western apologists and sympathizers became indefensible. The evil of McCarthyism, which caused some innocents and other not-so-innocents to lose jobs or be blacklisted, was equated with the millions who died in the gulag.
Disclosures are coming. Some falsely accused will be cleared. Some will have some explaining to do.