Friday, February 12, 2010


Howard Zinn. He was, in many ways, the Charles Beard of this era which is fitting considering how of his work replicates Beard’s approach

Assertion: Zinn seems not to understand these central differences related to race, the issues of Jeffersonian, sectionalism and the agrarian particularism for which Beard had great affinities and Zinn regarded with due skepticism
“Marxist” writers of the 1930s and 1940s were far more “Beardsian” than Zinn,
central issues that distinguished, New Left scholarship from the old line dogmas

“People’s History of the United States” adopts a “revisionist” perspective
associated New Left historians such as Gar Alperovitz “Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam”, U.S. war aims as setting the stage for the Cold War.

Alperovitz studied under William Appleman Williams, seminal figure of the New Left. His 1959 “The Tragedy of American Diplomacy”, U.S. had imperial ambitions from the days of Thomas Jefferson

Charles Beard, influence on Williams who was an “economic determinist”, Beard is known, class analysis of the of the American constitution, refusal to toe the line on WWII

As a member of the Progressivist current in American politics, immune to
CP historians to get on FDR’s bandwagon

Beard might not have deployed the analytical tools of “The 18th Brumaire” in his writings on WWII, refusing to treat WWII as a “people’s war”

Stalinist Daily Worker celebrated the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Truman only bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in order to “teach the Russians a lesson” as Gar Alperovitz reported

“New Left” was largely coined to distinguish the 1960s radicals from the Communist Party

Howard Zinn identified with this outlook, never attacked the CP specifically for its WWII treachery. WWII was an imperialist war, to resist new efforts to “fight fascism”, especially in Yugoslavia and Iraq, Christopher Hitchens have specifically likened to the efforts to defeat Hitlerism

I had been thoroughly inoculated against the “People’s War” garbage during my training in Trotskyist politics, I found Zinn’s chapter on WWII essential in writing. Lacking the equivalent of a Gar Alperovitz or a Howard Zinn, they seem far more susceptible to the sort of “People’s War” malarkey

Here are excerpts from that article that rely heavily on Beard and Zinn:
When the fascists rose up in Spain in 1936, Roosevelt declared his neutrality while the fascist powers gave complete aid to the Francoists. This ensured the victory of fascism in Spain

What brought the United States into the war, Japan threatened US economic interests

Beard belonged to the earlier Progressive school of history and politics. Other members were John Dewey the philosopher and cultural historian Vernon Parrington. Progressives predated both the CP and the New Deal Eugene V. Debs’ generation and likely to take the “people’s war” rhetoric with a grain of salt. Beard with his opposition to World War Two was considered him an odd duck

Beard was completely sane. New Deal liberals and their CP chums lost their sanity

A new generation of “revisionist” historians came along in the 1960’s and put their support behind Beard’s interpretation. United States intervention based on the need for power and profit? Washington showed no intention of extending democracy to the colonies of its European allies, Lurking beneath
government propaganda uttered by Henry Wallace

Cordell Hull, We should assume this leadership primarily for reasons of national self- interest. Archibald MacLeish, allied victory will be a peace of oil, gold, shipping, without moral purpose or human interest

Roosevelt had no interest in saving the lives of Jews. class-struggle continued at home with mounting fury. During the war 14,000 strikes, involving 6,770,00 workers. A million miners, steelworkers, auto and transportation workers went on strike in 1944, “people’s war” in the eyes of CPers and their liberal allies, bosses’ profits grew by 600%, wages by 36%

Jacques R. Pauwels’ The Myth of the Good War: America in the Second World War

Mickey Z.’s Saving Private Power: The Hidden History of “The Good War”

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