I recently decided to reread this book by retired KGB agent Alexander Feklisov with Sergei Kostin hoping to better understand why Americans were willing to spy for the Soviet Union during World War II. Communism and “the worker’s paradise” of the USSR was a lure during the crushing poverty created by the Great Depression. There was also the belief by some that Communism was the only viable protection from Fascism, although the mutual defense pact signed by Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union confused some of those people. Many of the people recruited by the Soviets were American Jews who were children of Russian immigrants. They were convinced that the United States should share any useful technology with the Soviet Union as an ally in the war against Hitler. Feklisov saw those people as “anti-Fascist activists” who were heroes and not spies. Feklisov managed large networks of American spies, and his book provides insight into their motivations.
Feklisov mentions that many U.S. politicians weren’t friendly to the Soviet Union. Harry Truman as a Senator expressed the point of view about the conflict between Germany and the Soviet Union, that “…if Germany is winning we must help Russia; if Russia was winning, the help should go to Germany.” The first prize for bluntness would go to the New York Daily News, which published a cartoon depicting the USSR and Germany as two snakes fighting each other. The caption read, ‘Let’s let them eat each other’.” Feklisov portrays FDR as being a moderate whose attitude toward the USSR, which was “…bearing the brunt of the war efforts, was favorable.” Continue reading