H-PAD Notes 11/4/22: Links to recent articles of interest

By Roger Peace, History News Network, posted October 30
Argues that US policy long tolerated the Mussolini and Hitler regimes. “Essentially, the policy of appeasement was based on the view that communism constituted a mortal threat to Western society, whereas fascism was acceptable, if not a positive antidote to communism.”
The author coordinates the open-source website
U.S. Foreign Policy History and Resource Guide, co-sponsored by H-PAD and the Peace History Society.
Conversation between Eric Foner and Christian Faias, Balls and Strikes, posted October 28
“There’s nothing wrong with figuring out what people were trying to do. That’s part of the historical effort to understand the time period. But to think that there’s one original meaning is just foolish, in my opinion.” Uses the Fourteenth Amendment as an example.
Eric Foner is a professor emeritus of history at Columbia University.
By Anatol Lieven, Foreign Policy, posted October 27
Points to elements of ambiguity and unintended consequences in the 1914-1918 war and warns against a drive for complete victory in Ukraine. The author is a British journalist and a senior fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.
By the National Security Archive, posted October 27
A hair-raising account of human errors and misunderstandings that could have led to full scale warfare – ” a rapid escalation that convinced both John Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev to strike the deal that would stop events from further spiraling out of control.” Part of a series by George Washington University's National Security Archive on lessons from the missile crisis.
By Stephen Jackson, Perspectives on History (American Historical Association), posted October 26
Recounts the triumph of conservative ideology over historical expertise in setting a state's standards for K-12 social studies education.The author was a member of the original state-level working group whose proposed standards were short-circuited by Republican governor Kristy Noem. He teaches history at the University of Sioux Falls.

By Jon Wiener, The Nation, posted October 25
“A brilliant radical reporter with a novelist's eye and a historian's memory.”
The author is a professor emeritus of history at the University of California. Irvine, and was co-author of Mike Davis of Set the Night on Fire: L.A. in the Sixties (Verso, 2020).
By Arnold R. Isaacs, History News Network, posted October 23
Refutes the Pentagon's official claim that the”Christmas bombing” of December 1972 was responsible for getting North Vietnam to agree to the January peace agreement. “During the last 50 years, that false memory has helped perpetuate an exaggerated faith in air power that distorted American strategic thinking in Vietnam and ever since.”
The author was a foreign correspondent, including time in Vietnam in the early 1970s.

“Biden Has an 'Off-Ramp' on Ukraine”
By Ray McGovern, AntiWar.com, posted October 21
Argues that Putin's chief concern is with medium-range missiles “that can be inserted virtually overnight into capsules in Romania, Poland, and eventually elsewhere on Russia’s periphery,” and that bargaining on this issue can be a starting point for negotiations on the Ukraine War. The author was a CIA analyst for 27 years, serving presidents from Kennedy through George H. W. Bush.
By National Security Archive, posted October 17
Presents documents showing that UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson's advice to President Kennedy at the outset of the missile crisis became the basis for the secret agreement by which Soviet missiles were withdrawn from Cuba and US missiles from Turkey. In the interest of keeping the Turkey agreement secret, the administration spread the story that Stevenson had been vaguely dovish and that Kennedy's toughness had forced the Soviets to back down.
By Juan Cole, Informed Comment blog, posted October 17
“Palestinians have complained for three decades that there is no difference between the US position and the Israeli one whenever they have engaged in negotiations, so that the US acts as an echo chamber for Tel Aviv rather than as an independent referee.” The author teaches Middle East history at the University of Michigan.
Interview with James Q. Whitman by Robin Lindley, History News Network, posted October 14
A lengthy wide-ranging interview James Q. Whitman about the ideas in his book Hitler's American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law (Princeton U. Press, 2017). Prof. Whitman has a PhD in history as well as a law degree and teaches Comparative and Foreign Law at Yale University.
By Adam Hochschild, Mother Jones, September-October issue
On the reign of terror administered by Woodrow Wilson's postmaster general Albert Burleson, who used the Espionage and Sedition acts during World War I to shut down dozens of periodicals and can some issues of many others. The author's latest book is American Midnight: The Great War, a Violent Peace, and Democracy's Forgotten Crisis (Mariner Books, 2022), from which this article is adapted.

Thanks to an anonymous reader for suggesting some of the above articles and to Roger Peace for helping evaluate possible articles (other than his own) for the list. Suggestions can be sent to jimobrien48@gmail.com.