The Republic For Which It Stands

Politically Short

“At issue in the Hiss case”, wrote Whittaker Chambers in his autobiography Witness, “was the question of whether this sick society, which we call Western civilization, could in its extremity still cast up a man whose faith in it was so great that he would voluntarily abandon those things which men hold good, including life, to defend it.”

In August 1948, Chambers, an editor at Time, identified Alger Hiss, a former assistant to the Secretary of State and former General Secretary of the United Nations, as a fellow member of his underground Communist cell in the 1930s. Hiss was ultimately convicted of perjury for denying his espionage activities and sentenced to five years in jail. Chambers was further vindicated in the mid 1990’s as the Venoma transcripts, secret KGB and GRU messages during World War II, were released and confirmed that Hiss had been a…

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