Harvey Klehr

“Was Joe McCarthy Right? New Archival Evidence on Soviet Espionage in America.”

Established in honor of the founding director of the Family of Benjamin Z. Gould Center for Humanistic Studies, the Ricardo J. Quinones Lectureship brings to the CMC campus some of the world’s preeminent intellectuals, writers, and public figures. The honoree for Academic Year 2005-06 was Harvey Klehr, an internationally recognized authority on the history of American communism, Cold War politics, and espionage. On April 19, he delivered a talk entitled “Was Joe McCarthy Right? New Archival Evidence on Soviet Espionage in America.”

Professor Klehr, one of the first Western researchers permitted access to the archives of Communist International (Comintern), contended that, contrary to views common in both orthodox and revisionist historiography, the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) “was never an independent American political party but a creature given life and meaning by its ties to the Soviet Union.” Klehr holds that the Soviet archives and the decrypted Venona files reveal “evidence of monetary support and use of the CPUSA for espionage” and that “the leadership of the CPUSA not only knew about the espionage, but actively participated in it.”

Dr. Klehr, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Politics and History at Emory University, has authored or co-authored eleven books, including The Amerasia Spy Case: Prelude to McCarthyismThe Soviet World of American CommunismVenona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America; and In Denial: Historians, Communism and Espionage; as well as numerous articles and reviews for such publications as The New RepublicThe Wall Street Journal, and The New York Review of Books. In 2004, he was appointed to the membership of the National Council on the Humanities.