Giving Thanks At Thanksgiving…But Not To God

In 1789, America’s first president proclaimed a “day of public thanksgiving and prayer.” George Washington implored the heavens to “pardon our national and other transgressions” and urged the citizenry to practice “true religion and virtue.”

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln urged his countrymen to set aside the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

Subsequent presidents continued this civic-religious tradition. “More than three centuries ago, the Pilgrims, after a year of hardship and peril, humbly and reverently set aside a special day upon which to give thanks to God,” said John F. Kennedy in his first Thanksgiving proclamation. “They paused in their labors to give thanks for the blessings that had been bestowed upon them by Divine Providence.” Quoting the Bible, President Kennedy affirmed: “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.”

That, ladies and gentlemen, was the old America.

In the New America, we apparently know better. Our culture transformers are eagerly remaking Thanksgiving in their own image. This is especially true on the education front.

I was recently alerted to a Thanksgiving Day lesson at the website, a go-to source for teachers. On the main page is a 60-minute lesson plan titled, “Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving.” “Thanksgiving offers an opportunity to teach young students about early days in the original colonies,” the plan informs us. “Students will discover the purpose and people involved in the first Thanksgiving.” The “learning objectives” are succinct: “At the end of this lesson, students will be able to identify the purpose of the first Thanksgiving as well as several people involved in celebrating it.”

The introduction instructs the teacher: “Call students together. Ask students to think about some of their favorite holidays and what they like to do on these holidays. Tell students that Thanksgiving is coming up. Ask students what some of their favorite Thanksgiving traditions are. Read Thanksgiving Day.”

“Thanksgiving Day” is one of three books recommended in the lesson: “Thanksgiving Day” by Anne Rockwell, “Thanksgiving Is…” by Gail Gibbons, and “The Very First Thanksgiving Day” by Rhonda Greene.

I do not own these books. I went to their pages to read the descriptions. There is no mention of God, though there are bountiful references to Native Americans, various tribes, corn, stuffing, and turkeys. The Creator even gets trumped by cranberry sauce.

The review for one of the recommended books, “The Very First Thanksgiving,” states: “This is a beautifully illustrated picture book for young children about the original Thanksgiving feast.” But there is a “caveat,” says the otherwise sympathetic reviewer: “this book nowhere mentions God, who is after all the reason for this holiday.”

The reviewer underscores the “significant historical fact” that the Pilgrims had fled religious persecution, that their Thanksgiving feast was about giving thanks to God, and that Lincoln enacted Thanksgiving Day for just that reason. Thus, writes the reviewer, “the author’s careful avoidance of this fact is a disappointment. But if you are more on the politically correct side, you will find this book to be a perfect introduction to Thanksgiving for your children.”

Indeed, if you’re on the “politically correct side” of the New America, this is perfect—a book that comprehensively airbrushes God from the historical picture.

The “review and closing” portion of the “Thanksgiving” lesson at concludes with these guidelines for the teacher: “Have students line up to present their Thanksgiving fact and what they are thankful for. Congratulate the students on their hard work. Encourage everyone to dig into the yummy food and enjoy having a Thanksgiving feast together!”

Dig in, kids, without a thought of thanking the Almighty.

I ask my secular-liberal friends: Is it any wonder why so many people are homeschooling their kids? Think about it. You can dislike religion, if you prefer. You can even despise it. But a truly “inclusive” education cannot exclude such essential historical facts. This is historical fraud, forgery, perjury.

I’m reminded of a conversation I recently had with a friend who works in the children’s section at Barnes & Noble. She regularly briefs me on the latest political correctness and rank secularism pervading today’s books offered by “educators.” She was cataloguing the stock of Thanksgiving books.

“How are they?” I asked.

“You don’t want to know,” she groaned.

She found only one book in which thanks was given to God.

“Well, then,” I asked her, “what are they giving thanks to?”

“They’re just thankful,” she said vaguely. “They’re simply thankful.”

“Thankful’ for what?” I replied.

She again emphasized: “They’re just thankful.”

Well, that isn’t Thanksgiving. It never was. Welcome, pilgrim, to the new world.

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Paris, Brussels, And 21st Century Europe

Some time ago a former student emailed me a video clip that I now show my Major European Governments course. It’s a five-minute news piece by Dale Hurd of CBN News, a conservative Christian outlet—the rare kind of place where you see reports like this. The piece was on radical Islam in Europe, specifically in Belgium, and it was based on Hurd’s interview with a Muslim leader in Brussels, the very heart of modern Europe, of secular Europe, of the European Union, and of everything Islamic fundamentalists despise about Europe.

“Allah makes the laws and tells us what is allowed and what is forbidden,” Abu Imran told Hurd.

Imran is leader of Shariah for Belgium, and insists there’s no such thing as a “democratic Muslim.” Such a notion, he maintains, is as absurd as a “Christian Jew” or “Jewish Muslim.” “It’s impossible.”

Imran says that real Islam and Shariah law are “inseparable.”

Imran’s group wants what it calls “Belgistan,” and foresees Brussels as an “Islamic capital” within mere decades. He cites numbers to back his optimism. Imran says that in some cities in Belgium, such as Antwerp, 40 percent of the children in schools are Muslim. And though Muslims comprise only 25 percent of religious believers in the country, that is enough to make them the largest religious group, given that Belgium, like most of Europe, has rapidly de-Christianized. Imran’s group expects Muslims to be the majority in Belgium within 20 years.

Notably, that rise is coming from nothing unusual among Muslims. They are simply reproducing, whereas natives of Belgium, like natives of Europe, are not. For many modern Europeans, sex is about recreation, about fully separating intercourse from reproduction, about having as much sex as possible without the undesired outcome of a child. For faithful Muslims, sex is still about babies.

Like many major European cities, from London to Oslo, the most popular baby name in Brussels last year was “Mohammed.” In fact, reported Dale Hurd, “Mohammed” was the most common baby name in Brussels each of the last four years. I do not see that trend changing anytime soon.

Dale Hurd noted in his report that Shariah for Belgium is a “small group that a lot of people do not take seriously.” I bet they are now.

Obviously, I’m sharing this with readers now because the ringleaders of the terrorist assaults in France last week—the worst attacks inside France since World War II—were reportedly based precisely in Brussels.

Unlike Mr. Imran and his group, the ISIS-affiliated Muslims who attacked last week are blatant jihadists. They aren’t patient enough to wait for their babies to grow to adulthood. They’re not awaiting a demographic time-bomb to bring Islam to Europe. They want “victory” now. They are happily (yes, happily) willing to detonate themselves at this very moment. Their method is bombs rather than babies. They don’t want victory via life by outgrowing native Europeans. They want victory via death by killing native Europeans.

Regardless of those violent methods, Islam is poised to triumph in Europe in the long-run. Over time, a native population that fails to do the most rudimentary thing of any native population—that is, give birth to the next generation—will by sheer sex and math give way to the outsiders who have entered the country and are giving birth to the next generation. Muslims in Europe can make love, not war—love that brings babies rather than blocks babies.

The clashes we are witnessing between ex-Christian Europeans and current Muslim Europeans is just the start. The Europe of the 21st century is going to be extremely chaotic.

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Surviving Hitler’s ‘Hell-Hole’ … Remembering Frank Kravetz

“Just existing became what was important.”

So said Frank Kravetz, World War II veteran and former captive of Nuremberg Prison Camp, or what Frank called the Nazi “hell-hole.”

“Yet even as I struggled with the day-to-day sadness and despair,” said Frank, “I never once had any regrets that I signed up to serve.”

An extended tour of Nazi camps as a wounded POW scratching for survival wasn’t what Frank had in mind when he signed up to serve his country in World War II. The kid from the smoky steel-mills of East Pittsburgh enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He became a tail-gunner.

Read: “I Probably Wouldn’t be Here.”

Read: “I Probably Wouldn’t be Here.”

Frank’s life took a dramatic turn on November 2, 1944 in a bomb-run over Germany. He crammed into the tail of a B-17, wedged inside a flak jacket. The target was Merseberg, a major industrial area. He flew amid an air armada of 500 heavy bombers—each carrying eighteen 250-pound “general purpose” bombs—escorted by 900 fighter planes.

While the Americans were ready for business, so was the Luftwaffe. Frank’s plane came under hot pursuit by German fighters. Frank took them on with a twin .50 caliber machine gun. It was a dogfight, and Frank was badly wounded. His B-17 was filled with holes. The crew had to bail, quickly.

Frank was bleeding profusely and could barely move. His buddies tried to get a parachute on him, but it opened inside the plane. They wrapped it around him, taking care not to cross the chords, and tossed him out. To Frank’s great relief, the chute opened. Instantly, the deafening chaos quieted, and Frank said he floated like he was on the wings of angels.

The tranquility halted with a rude thump as Frank hit the ground. German soldiers immediately seized him.

Thus began “Hell’s journey,” as Frank dubbed it. Destination: Stalag 13-D.

Liberation finally came April 29, 1945, by General Patton’s Third Army. Frank described the jubilant scene: “After the flag was raised, General Patton rolled in, sitting high in a command car. His very presence was awe-inspiring. I stood there staring at General Patton, our liberator, appearing larger than life.”

Thousands of emaciated, ecstatic POWs chanted, “Patton! Patton! Patton!” Some fell to their knees, overcome with emotion. Patton seized a bullhorn and spoke: “Gentlemen—you’re now liberated and under Allied control…. We’re going to get you out of here.”

It finally hit Frank and his remaining 125 pounds: “I’m going home. I’m really going home!”

Frank eventually arrived in New York City and hitchhiked all the way to Pittsburgh. He unceremoniously arrived at his folks’ front door—no trumpets, no dramatic music, no parade. He hugged his mom and dad and sat down. He found and married his sweetheart, Anne.

How did Frank survive this Nazi “hell-hole?”

“All I can say is that the good Lord was watching out for me,” wrote Frank in a riveting memoir, Eleven Two: One WWII Airman’s Story of Capture, Survival and Freedom. There, Frank provided the secret to his survival and success: “Pray. It helps.”

Read: Thank You for Your Service

Read: Thank You for Your Service

It’s a message that Frank shared with young people every chance he had: “I prayed throughout my ordeal, asking Him for help.” He shared it with me, my sons, and a classroom of my students four years ago.

As Frank prayed, he promised God that he would never complain about anything again if he survived. That’s a promise he kept. Our blessings are so bountiful that we need to be grateful, especially compared to the deprivations others have faced—like a Nazi prison camp. We need to be always grateful, said Frank, and always faithful.

That was Frank Kravetz, winner of the Purple Heart.

I’ve told Frank’s story before. I tell it again now for two reasons: First, Veterans Day falls again this November (as does Thanksgiving), a time to remember men like Frank. And second, sadly, this will be a Veterans Day without Frank Kravetz.

Frank died in August, at age 91. He joined his beloved wife Anne, who died just four months prior. They were married for 68 years.

A mutual friend attended Frank’s funeral and the luncheon that followed at the local VFW in East Pittsburgh, of which Frank was a founder. He told me that of the 100 original founding members, only two remain.

Yes, only two.

This Veterans Day, let’s take a few minutes from our insanely busy lives and from this insane culture and country—one that those vets would not recognize—to remember men like Frank Kravetz who served with no regrets. The freedoms we have today, many of which we merrily abuse today, are possible only because of the abuse they suffered at the hands of hellacious enemies 70 years ago.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

Hollywood’s Blacklisted Communist: The Truth About Trumbo

Editor’s note: This article first appeared at Investor’s Business Daily.

A long-touted motion picture on prominent Hollywood screenwriter and communist Dalton Trumbo debuts in theaters this weekend. I will see the film, but first I’d like to share some background on Trumbo. I do so not as a film critic but as a historian of the Cold War and communism, including the Hollywood front for which Trumbo was extremely active.

For starters, it’s crucial to keep in mind that communism was responsible for the deaths of over 100 million people in the last century, double the combined tolls of World War I and II. It’s also vital to know that most American communists (small “c”) did not actually join the Party. Only the hardcore went that far. Those who joined the Party took a major leap of faith. They became loyal Soviet patriots. Regardless of their American citizenship, Communist Party members in the Stalin era (when Dalton Trumbo joined the Party) swore an oath: “I pledge myself to rally the masses to defend the Soviet Union…I pledge myself to remain at all times a vigilant and firm defender of the Leninist line of the Party, the only line that ensures the triumph of Soviet Power in the United States.”

They wanted the “triumph” of Soviet power in America. They truly took marching orders from the Kremlin. The most fanatical among them (Trumbo included) remained in the Party even after the signing of the Hitler-Stalin Pact that launched World War II. Stalin aided and abetted Hitler in that apocalyptic action, enabling history’s deadliest war and the Holocaust.

American members of the Communist Party were dedicated to what their General Secretary William Z. Foster called a “Soviet America,” or what Langston Hughes called a “U.S.S.A.” “Put one more ‘S’ in the USA to make it Soviet,” proclaimed Hughes. “The USA when we take control will be the USSA.”

As for the Hollywood Ten, all were members of the Communist Party, and we’ve known their card numbers since the 1940s: Dalton Trumbo: 47187; John Howard Lawson: 47275; Albert Maltz: 47196; Alvah Bessie: 47279; Samuel Ornitz: 47181; Herbert Biberman: 47267; Edward Dmytryk: 46859; Adrian Scott: 47200; Ring Lardner Jr.: 47180; and Lester Cole: 47226. Most remained vigorous in their Party work right up until they were called before Congress—i.e., the bipartisan Democrats and Republicans today tarred with the dread label “HUAC.” Some, such as Alvah Bessie, traveled abroad and took up arms for the communists in wartime. The only one who repented was Dmytryk.

What about their work in film?

Communists knew that the film industry could be a tremendous source of propaganda. Vladimir Lenin said that “of all the arts, for us the most important is cinema.” Grigori Zinoviev, head of the Soviet Comintern, ordered that motion pictures “must become a mighty weapon of communist propaganda and for the enlightening of the widest working masses.” In March 1928, the Soviets held their first Party Conference on Cinema.

The Bolsheviks realized that nowhere was the movie industry as advanced and influential as the United States, especially in Hollywood’s Golden Age. Their American comrades wholeheartedly agreed.

Dalton Trumbo declared that “every screenwriter worth his salt wages the battle in his own way—a kind of literary guerrilla warfare.” He said that not employing the medium of film was tantamount to abandoning the struggle altogether.”

A fellow screenwriter who militantly enforced that warfare was a nasty individual named John Howard Lawson, known as “Hollywood’s commissar.” In his Film in the Battle of Ideas, published by the communist house Masses & Mainstream, Lawson shrewdly instructed his comrades: “As a writer do not try to write an entire Communist picture, [but] try to get five minutes of communist doctrine, five minutes of the party line in every script that you write.” He insisted: “It is your duty to further the class struggle by your performance.”

As for Dalton Trumbo, he wrote some good movie scripts. He also wrote some that clearly echoed elements of the Party line. The trailer for the Trumbo movie shows him stoically meeting with Kirk Douglas for the classic film “Spartacus.” Here’s something you should know about “Spartacus:” For the film adaptation, Trumbo wrote a script based on Howard Fast’s novel, Spartacus. Fast was the proud recipient of the Stalin Prize.

Given such realities, Congress in October 1947 summoned Trumbo and Lawson and other screenwriters to ask about their use of film as covert propaganda. Congressmen had questions about the screenwriters’ Soviet loyalties and whether these loyalties affected what they were writing for mass consumption. In response, these secret Party members screamed foul and wrapped themselves in a First Amendment that did not exist in the USSR and would be the first thing facing the firing squad in a Moscow-controlled “Soviet America.” Rather than truthfully answer questions or try to persuade the public that their loyalties were to America and there was nothing to worry about, they denounced the congressmen, comparing them to Nazis.

“You are using the old technique, which was used in Hitler’s Germany,” shouted Lawson. The congressmen, said the dedicated Stalinist, were “trying to introduce fascism in this country.”

As for Trumbo, he held nothing back. “You have produced a capital city on the eve of its Reichstag fire,” he lectured the congressmen. “For those who remember German history in the autumn of 1932 there is the smell of smoke in this very room.” Trumbo was venomous in unhesitatingly torching his opponents as “Nazis.” He wailed as he left the hearing room: “This is the beginning of an American concentration camp!”

The irony here was amazing and tragic. Consider: at that very moment the Soviets—who Dalton Trumbo was pledged to—were actually taking over Buchenwald from the Nazis and making it their own concentration camp.

But the irony was worse. Trumbo was prolific in numerous communist fronts, including the pernicious American Peace Mobilization, which Congress identified as “one of the most seditious organizations which ever operated in the United States” and “one of the most notorious and blatantly communist fronts ever organized.” Founded in 1940, the group’s objective was to keep America completely out of the war against Hitler, including no Lend-Lease aid to Britain as it was being savaged by Hitler’s war machine. Why? Because Hitler, at that point, was allied with Stalin. And for American Communist Party members, any ally of Stalin had to be their ally, period.

Because of this (and more) the likes of Allan Ryskind, historian of the blacklist and son of the late screenwriter Morrie Ryskind, has called Trumbo “Hitler’s Enabler.”

Much more could be said here. It took Congress pages to cover Dalton Trumbo’s communist work. My article cannot do justice to his prodigious efforts, from being pro-North Korea during the Korean War to anti-Churchill when the prime minister delivered his “Iron Curtain” speech. And after all of it, doing virtually whatever the Communist Party asked, Trumbo said he “never regretted” joining. “As a matter of fact,” he told biographer Bruce Cook, “it’s possible to say I would have regretted not having done it.”

That is the truth about Dalton Trumbo. Please take it with you into the theater.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

‘The Crucible’ You Never Knew … Arthur Miller At 100

Editor’s note: This article first appeared at The American Spectator.

October 17, 2015 is the centenary of the birth of Arthur Miller, one of the literary left’s shining lights and righteous crusaders against some of liberals’ worst demons: Joe McCarthy, “HUAC,” and, more generally, anti-communism. Yes, anti-communism. As often noted by Harvard’s Richard Pipes and the Hoover Institution’s Robert Conquest, few things have animated liberal animus quite like anti-communism. It’s not that liberals have been pro-communist so much as they are antianti-communist. They dislike anti-communists more than they dislike communists. Their preferred demon isn’t Joe Stalin but Joe McCarthy. As James Burnham, the great ex-communist, put it, “for the left, the preferred enemy is always to the right.”

But this does not suffice to describe Arthur Miller. Miller was not only anti-anti-communist; he was pro-communist. More than that, Arthur Miller had been a communist. And that’s something that students in their public schools and in our woeful universities had not and still will not learn as they are spoon-fed Miller’s left-wing morality plays. To the contrary, Miller’s most-lasting works have succeeded in portraying anti-communists as the lowest form of political troglodyte. Chief among those works, the playwright became a hero among the left for The Crucible, his political parable of the alleged excesses of anti-communism, which portrayed accused communists as innocent fighters for truth, justice, and the American way.

And so, the mere suggestion that Arthur Miller was ever a communist himself reflexively sends liberals spinning in circles screaming “McCarthyism,” which itself is a testimony to the effectiveness of the playwright’s propaganda.

Thus, it is to students that I submit the following history lesson that they will not receive from their $25,000-50,000 per year of “higher” education. And it’s free of charge.

Arthur Miller’s Masses

Arthur Miller was born in New York City in October 1915 to Isidore and Augusta Miller. He would attend the University of Michigan, where he began crafting plays. Though much has been written on Miller, the best recent research on his life, politics, and political-personal double life has been done by Dr. Alan M. Wald, English professor at the University of Michigan. In his excellent, probing 2007 book, “Trinity of Passion,” published by the University of North Carolina Press, Wald, an honest researcher, shows that Miller had been “a struggling Marxist playwright since the late 1930s.”

A genuine scholar of the left, willing to do the hard digging rather than cite colleagues’ esoteric journal articles, Wald took the time to examine old editions of New Masses, Masses & Mainstream, the Daily Worker, Currents, Jewish Life, the “progressive” PM, and other communist, communist-led, or communist-friendly publications of the era. Wald not only found Miller’s name in those publications, including as a byline, and his plays frequently glowingly reviewed there by comrades, but uncovered a blockbuster: Wald discovered that Miller published in New Massesunder the pseudonym of “Matt Wayne” from March 1945 to March 1946.

I likewise scoured those publications, and reported my findings on Miller in my 2010 book, Dupes. They do indeed reveal that Arthur Miller—sometimes even as “Arthur Miller,” when not “Matt Wayne”—was an active participant. Among these publications, two features struck me: Miller’s open participation (under his real name) in a symposium splashed on the cover of New Masses on December 25, 1945 (along with well-known communist screenwriter Albert Maltz); and a gushing interview/profile of a rising young Miller in the April 17, 1946 edition of the Daily Worker, along with an accompanying photograph of the Proletarian playwright. (I include photocopies of all of these things in Dupes.)

WIN: A signed copy of Dr. Kengor’s book “Dupes.”

WIN: A signed copy of Dr. Kengor’s book “Dupes.”

Miller’s sentiments in these publications covered a lot of ground, from politics and plays, to culture and war, to anti-Semitism and his search for his Jewish identity. Wald correctly noted that Miller’s political writing in these pages was often “militantly angry.” His tone also reflected the Communist Party USA line and language. In the Daily Worker interview he sat for, Miller explained that “the main fight” in the post-war era was “the fight to raise the living standards of people all over the world and the enemy is imperialism.”

Those Miller contributions stand out. Yet, some of the lesser-noticed items buried inside these publications are likewise illuminating. For instance, Miller in October 1947 was highlighted as a speaker vigorously defending Hollywood screenwriter Howard Fast, a writer for the Daily Worker and New Masses, an editor for Masses & Mainstream, and a novelist who wrote books like The Incredible Tito. Fast would receive the Stalin Peace Prize in 1953. Fast, incidentally, was at the time the most prolific columnist in the communist publication, The Chicago Star, second only to the Star’s founding editor-in-chief, Frank Marshall Davis, a fellow communist who would eventually meet and mentor a young man named Barack Obama in Hawaii in the 1970s.

The admiration between Fast and Miller was mutual. In the Daily Worker, Fast penned a lengthy piece hailing Miller “as the American dramatist of our time.” The Stalin Prize winner even judged that Miller exceeded the infamous Lillian Hellman.

Read: Hollywood’s Blacklist

Read: Hollywood’s Blacklist

Another interesting example of how Miller is found in these publications is seen in the July 3, 1945 issue of New Masses, which, on page 24, offered its readers a special deal: The comrades-turned-capitalists advertised a reduced rate on a one-year subscription to their publication if purchased with a choice book by one of the listed authors. These authors and their works included Volume 23 of “The Collected Works of V. I. Lenin;” Owen Lattimore’s “Solution in Asia;” Bertolt Brecht’s “The Private Life of the Master Race;” Dr. Harry F. Ward’s “The Soviet Spirit” (Ward was the “progressive” Methodist minister who piously served the ACLU and every communist front-group under the sun); and, among a handful of others, Arthur Miller’s “Situation Normal.”

Professor Wald notes that New Masses made such offers for no less than three books by Arthur Miller: “Situation Normal,” “Focus,” and “All My Sons.” “Usually the books offered with New Masses subscriptions were by well-known communists,” notes Wald, “it was uncommon to see three by one author.”

That is absolutely right. Arthur Miller, evidently, was a special case. Apparently, Miller’s thinking fell that closely in line with the Marxists at New Masses.

In fact, not only at New Masses: Arthur Miller had eager communist readers literally half-a-world away. No less than Jane Fonda shared her excitement when, upon her propaganda visit to Hanoi in 1972, she “saw Vietnamese actors and actresses perform the second act of Arthur Miller’s play, ‘All My Sons.’” Fonda found this “very moving.” I’m sure she did. And the communist Vietnamese, for that matter, found Miller’s work very moving and very useful in their campaign against America.

Most interesting, all of this Miller work was still well before The Crucible. He was just warming up.

The Crucible: “by far Miller’s best play”

And then, only after all of that, came The Crucible, Miller’s magnus opus. It is his crowning achievement.

What is seldom stated in classroom discussions is the fact that communists loved The Crucible as much as liberals did. The review of The Crucible in the January 28, 1953 issue of the Soviet-funded and directed Daily Worker carried the unequivocal headline, “’The Crucible,’ Arthur Miller’s Best Play.”

Take a Virtual Tour of the beautiful campus of Grove City College

“It is by far Miller’s best play,” began reviewer Harry Raymond. The communist reviewer called it “a case history” of “persecution” and “hysteria” against “innocent men and women sent to the gallows” in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. But make no mistake, explained Raymond, “It is impossible to view this play honestly without noting the awful parallel courses of two widely separated American persecutions: the Salem witchhunt and the current persecution of Communists and other progressives.” No question about that.

The reviewer further explained: “Like the Salem persecution, the present one is directed by the ruling class of the land, its leaders of government, its judges, and what reactionary clergy they have been able to enlist.” And what of these reactionaries? The atheist Daily Worker was moved to Scripture, inspired to invoke the image of Christ at this sober moment, perhaps for the benefit of its friends on the Religious Left; these reactionaries had “deserted the teachings of Jesus to follow the war god Mars.”

Communists reveled over Arthur Miller’s perceived link between Salem witch-hunters and American anti-communists, and could not hold back their applause, exhorting non-communist liberals to the encore. To that end, the Daily Worker, on the same page of its review, posted an accompanying side bar on “What Other Critics Said About ‘Crucible.’” There, the Daily Worker led appreciatively with the endorsement of the New York Times reviewer, who dubbed Miller’s play “powerful,” and a “genuine contribution.” “Neither Mr. Miller nor his audiences,” wrote Timesreviewer, Brooks Atkinson, in a line repeated and underscored by the Daily Worker, “are unaware of certain similarities between the perversions of justice then and now.”

Whereas Miller’s plays had always received warm reviews by the communist press, this time he was feted by a wider national audience, advanced especially by the political blessing of the venerable New York Times, longtime citadel of towering, numbing naïveté toward communism—and the bible of the elite left.

While Miller no doubt basked in the sunlight of progressive encomiums for his work, the spotlight yielded a double-edged sword. As his popularity with the general public skyrocketed, he also began to be noticed by forces not quite so naïve to the communist threat.

“I see my name here …”

Given this newfound fame and influence, by the mid-1950s, Arthur Miller was called to appear before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. His testimony on June 21, 1956 received tremendous attention. It prompted eye-catcher headlines in the New York Times, such as, “Arthur Miller Admits Helping Communist-Front Groups in ‘40s.” Or, as the Times put it in the lead: “Arthur Miller, playwright, disclosed today a past filled with Communist-front associations.”

To Congress, Miller conceded the numerous pro-communist appeals he had signed and the protests he joined by Red-backed groups. He refused to name names of those who were there with him. Likewise, he would not name people who joined him during the mere four or five times that he said he had attended Communist Party writers’ meetings. Miller also denied that he had ever been under “communist discipline” and would not answer the question of whether he had ever joined the Party.

The most dramatic moment of the hearing came when the House Committee’s lead counsel asked Miller if he once signed an application to join the Communist Party. As Miller dissembled, the counsel presented the exact five-digit application number on the Communist Party application form that contained Miller’s name and address at 18 Schermerhorn Street in New York. Congress went so far as to publish a photocopy of the application card.

That exhibit remains a striking form of evidence. A photocopy is published on page 191 of my book, Dupes. Under the banner “Victory in 1943,” the form states, “APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP” and lists an “A. Miller,” with occupation of “writer” at an address that just happened to be Miller’s own Brooklyn address. The number of the application was 23345. Confronted with this rather compelling evidence, and asked if it indeed proved that he had made an “application for membership in the Communist Party,” Miller curiously told Congress, “I would not affirm that. I have no memory of such thing.”

For a man that the left still hails as nothing short of unsurpassable genius—with the word “brilliant” a standard description—this was a notable and lamentable memory crash.

Does it mean that Miller was once a communist? Well, with that and all else, yes, of course—at the very least ideologically if not officially.

That said, coming up with an actual Party card for Miller has been another task altogether. To my knowledge, no one has found that card.

“Had Miller ever joined the Party?” asks Allan Ryskind in his recent “Hollywood Traitors.” “HUAC never came up with a card, as they had with each of the Hollywood Ten. But Miller seemed, at the very least, to have come right up to the precipice.” (Ryskind’s presentation suggests that Miller was not just a dedicated comrade but a rather vicious one. When Miller wasn’t telling Congress repeatedly, “I see my name here. I would not deny I might have signed it,” he was blistering ex-communists like Elia Kazan.)

Not that we actually need the card, given that the totality of evidence against Miller is so utterly overwhelming—especially the obviousness that he was at least a small “c” communist if not a formal Party member. But even then, we need not hedge. Alan Wald’s work shows that Miller was surely a Party member at least during the 1945-46 period when he wrote for New Masses as the mysterious “Matt Wayne.” Wald also quotes a damning concession from Miller’s memoirs, “Timebends,” where (on page 407) Miller allowed for the possibility that “HUAC” lead investigator Richard Arens might have produced a Communist Party membership card: “How to explain that even if he had produced a Party card with my signature on it, I could only have said yes, I had probably felt that way then,” wrote Miller.

How could Miller have imagined Arens producing a card that never existed? Miller surely knew there was a card out there somewhere.

“Communist Stooge?”

Throughout his career of demonizing anti-communists, Arthur Miller kept a lot of things close to the vest. Among them was whether The Crucible was, in plain fact, an allegory about McCarthyism. It obviously was, but Miller was always coy about divulging his total intentions on-the-record.

That elusiveness went on for a long, long time. The conventional take on the play was that it was “a story of the persecution of persons accused of witchcraft in Salem in 1692”—to quote the New York Times in June 1956. That was how Arthur Miller himself had publicly explained it. Typically, reviewers and Miller alike stopped short of explicitly linking Salem to the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

Yet, the world had always surmised, and many teachers have long taught, that The Crucible was obviously about the anti-communist “witch-hunts” in the 1950s, even as Miller did not openly concede that intention. Indeed, Miller’s refusal to transparently discuss his motivations has long caused much confusion. I personally know of two cases from completely different ideological perspectives, both within Western Pennsylvania, where I reside: One is a liberal high-school history teacher who for decades has taught his students that The Crucible was a scathing parable of McCarthyism. The other, a conservative, is a stage director who works for a university, and who was asked to stage The Crucible; she did her research, and subsequently could not find clear attestation from Miller admitting that the play was a lesson against McCarthyism. As for my own education, I had been taught that it was a parable on the ruthless repression of McCarthyism.

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As his life neared its end, Miller said only little more. In November 1999, he happily acquiesced to a hagiographic profile in Vanity Fair, a magazine that Miller himself wrote for before his death. The writer noted only once the “witch-hunt hysteria” portrayed by The Crucible.

The closest that Miller came to openly conceding his precise motivations was a long-awaited article he wrote for the British left-wing newspaper The Guardian in June 2000. The article prompted Roger Kimball, a conservative literary critic, to denounce Miller as a “communist stooge.” In that article, Miller finally spoke a little more candidly on The Crucible. “It would probably never have occurred to me to write a play about the Salem witch trials of 1692 had I not seen some astonishing correspondences with that calamity in the America of the late 40s and early 50s,” wrote Miller in the opening line. Miller continued: “I refer to the anti-communist rage that threatened to reach hysterical proportions and sometimes did.”

There it was: Yes, the hugely influential Crucible was indeed a biting allegory linking Washington “witch-hunting” to Salem witch-hunting. So said Arthur Miller himself, or at least “probably.” Those seeking out communists were akin to those religious fanatics who drowned “witches.”

Further, Miller stated that The Crucible, which he called “my most-produced play,” “seems to be one of the few surviving threads of the so-called McCarthy period.”

And what else, specifically, did that period embody? Another thread of the period, in liberals’ eyes, was the colossal mistreatment and miscarriage of justice against Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, executed for their work passing along atomic secrets to Joseph Stalin’s mass-murdering regime.

Several insightful historians and observers, such as Ron Radosh, Robert Warshow, and Ron Capshaw, among others, have considered that Miller was thinking of the Rosenbergs when he did The Crucible. “In later years, Miller admitted that the inspiration for the play was his belief in the innocence of the Rosenbergs,” writes Capshaw. Though I have not been able to track down such a clear admission from Miller, this is no doubt accurate. The Crucible opened in January 1953, and the Rosenbergs were executed in June 1953, though their trial started two years earlier. This, too, would fit Miller’s statements as to what he had in mind with his classic work of fiction. In The Guardian, he did not mention the Rosenbergs by name, but he did write this: “Anyone standing up in the Salem of 1692 and denying that witches existed would have faced immediate arrest, the hardest interrogation and possibly the rope. Every authority not only confirmed the existence of witches but never questioned the necessity of executing them.”

All of these things, in Miller’s mind, from the executed Rosenbergs to the dreaded McCarthy and “HUAC,” fell under the umbrella of anti-Red madness.

The New York Times’ “Moral Voice”

This long overdue admission of the obvious by Miller prompted Roger Kimball to write that at last, “We now know.” It opened the door for the New York Times, in its later obituary for Miller, to be able to report in 2005—which it did not in 1956—that The Crucible was “a 1953 play about the Salem witch trials inspired by his [Miller’s] virulent hatred of McCarthyism.”

The title of that Times obituary declared, “Arthur Miller, Moral Voice of American Stage.” But what sort of “moral” voice?

Miller, for a half century, never fully came clean. Actually, even in 2000, he still had not: In The Guardian, he descended to Lillian Hellman levels of truth-evasion when he stated that of “everyone I knew … one or two were Communist Party members.” If that was not a blatant lie, then Arthur Miller was unbelievably foolish or (again) forgetful. Recall that he had told Congress that he had attended Communist Party screenwriters’ meetings; surely, there were at least “one or two” Party members at those. Miller, too, as he was consciously aware, had been interviewed by the Daily Worker and wrote for New Masses; surely he encountered at least one or two Party members there, eh?

The 21st century was upon us, but Arthur Miller still was unwilling to concede any inconvenient truths to his critics—to the vile anti-communists, to the “witch-hunters.”

In all, these disturbing truths about Arthur Miller ought to constitute a literary bombshell of sorts, contrary to liberal howls throughout the ages that any suggestion that Arthur Miller was a communist was baseless red-baiting. But of course, it will not. Leftists have captured education, and self-imposed blindness and ignorance is always the preferred “progressive” course in defending their icons against the true enemy: the eternally misbegotten anti-communists who had the audacity to question America’s homegrown friends of Stalin’s Soviet Union—who interrogated these poor innocents.

For that reason, Arthur Miller will always be a hero among the left, a martyr nearly drowned by the fanatical witch-hunters. Have we not had enough of this McCarthyite, red-baiting zealotry?

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