Add Oliver Stone to the list of communist sympathizers re-writing Cold War history. His documentary Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States that he narrates and wrote with Peter Kuznick premiered on Showtime this month. Ronald Radosh notes that it’s not an untold story, but a recycled leftist revision of history.
An examination of the first four episodes and the accompanying 750-page book—The Untold History of the United States (Gallery Books), obviously written by Kuznick, although Stone’s name appears first—reveals them to offer not an untold story, but the all-too-familiar Communist and Soviet line on America’s past as it developed in the early years of the Cold War.
Interviewed in 2010, Kuznick said candidly that his goal was not to offer nuance, but rather to show that after World War II the United States moved “to the dark side,” so that by the time the country was engaged in the Vietnam war, “We were not on the wrong side. We were the wrong side.”
At the beginning of the first episode, Stone appears on-screen, explaining that Americans learned in school that “we were the good guys.” But he wants his children and America’s young generally to learn the real truth, the neglected and forgotten story of our country’s true heroes, and that has led him to tell the American story “in a way that it has never been told before.”
But half a century ago, when I was in high school, the late Carl Marzani told this very story in We Can Be Friends. A secret member of the American Communist party who had worked during the war in the OSS, Marzani later was proved by evidence from Soviet archives and Venona decryptions to have been a KGB (then the NKVD) operative. His book was published privately by his own Soviet-subsidized firm. It was the first example of what came to be called “Cold War revisionism.” Quoting the memoirs of figures from the Roosevelt and Truman administrations, as well as newspaper stories and magazine articles, Marzani aimed to show that the Cold War had been started by the Truman administration with the intent of destroying a peaceful alliance with the Soviet Union and gaining American hegemony throughout the world.
As it happens, Marzani could have provided Stone’s interpretation of how the Cold War began. Over and over, Stone uses the same quotations, the same arrangements of material, and the same arguments as Marzani. This is not to accuse Stone of plagiarism, only to point out that the case he now offers as new was argued in exactly the same terms by an American Communist and Soviet agent in 1952.
Read the whole thing. Oliver Stone is a tool, but that didn’t stop him from appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe where nobody seemed to notice that he and Kuznick are a couple of whackjobs. Too bad nobody had the sense to ask him how he can peddle communist propaganda after profiting so greatly from capitalism.