Early Cold War Spies

The Espionage Trials that Shaped American Politics

John Earl Haynes & Harvey Klehr



Cambridge University Press, 2006


 (ISBN-13: 9780521674072 | ISBN-10: 0521674077)


 (ISBN-13: 9780521857383 | ISBN-10: 0521857384)

Communism was never a popular ideology in America, but the vehemence of American anticommunism varied from passive disdain in the 1920s to fervent hostility in the early years of the Cold War. Nothing so stimulated the white hot anticommunism of the late 1940s and 1950s more than a series of spy trials that revealed that American Communists had co-operated with Soviet espionage against the United States and had assisted in stealing the technical secrets of the atomic bomb as well as penetrating the U.S. State Department, the Treasury Department, and the White House itself. This book reviews the major spy cases of the early Cold War (Hiss-Chambers, Rosenberg, Bentley, Gouzenko, Coplon, Amerasia and others) and the often-frustrating clashes between the exacting rules of the American criminal justice system and the requirements of effective counter-espionage.

• A compact and concise survey of the major spy cases of the early Cold War
• Offers a retrospective look at the trials in light of evidence that became available at the end of the Cold War and with the collapse of the USSR
• Each chapter summarizes a major case or a group of related cases, noting any historical or legal controversies


Series Editor’s Foreword




Introduction: Early Cold War Spy Cases




Early Cold War Spy Trials




A Word about Trials and History




Spy Trials and McCarthyism




Politics of the Early Cold War




The Precursors




Amerasia: The First Cold War Spy Case




Gouzenko: A Canadian Spy Case with American Repercussions




Elizabeth Bentley: The Case of the Blond Spy Queen




The Silvermaster Group




The Perlo Group




The Trials of William Remington




Venona and Bentley’s Vindication




The Bentley Case: A Conclusion




The Alger Hiss–Whittaker Chambers Case




Whittaker Chambers




Alger Hiss




Dueling Testimony




The Slander Suit, the Baltimore Documents, and the Pumpkin Papers




The Grand Jury




The First Hiss Trial




The Second Hiss Trial




Chambers after the Trial




Hiss after the Trial




The Historical Argument




The Atomic Espionage Cases




Klaus Fuchs: The Background




Theodore Hall: The Background




Rosenberg and Greenglass: The Background




J. Robert Oppenheimer and Communists at the Berkeley Radiation Laboratory




The Red Bomb and the Postwar Trials




J. Robert Oppenheimer after the Manhattan Project




The Trials of Rudolf Abel and Morris and Lona Cohen




Judith Coplon: The Spy Who Got Away with It




Coplon’s Recruitment into Espionage




The Washington Trial




The New York Trial




On Appeal: Justice Frustrated




The Soble-Soblen Case: Last of the Early Cold War Spy Trials




Infiltrating the Trotskyist Movement




Mark Zborowski




Boris Morros: Double Agent




The Soble Ring Trials




The Robert Soblen Trial




Conclusion: The Decline of the Ideological Spy




Spy Trials and Understanding Soviet Espionage




Counterespionage and the American Criminal Justice System




The Elusive Balance between Security and Liberty