He is accused be Whitaker Chambers who claims on many occasions in the 30’s they met in each other’s houses to discuss communism
Whitaker was a self-professed communist
He was also an editor for Time Magazine
Hiss testifies before HUAC and says, “I don’t know Whitaker Chambers, I am not a communist and I don’t know any communists.”
He denies all allegations
The testimonies are so different that HUAC sets up a subcommittee and puts freshman congressman Richard Nixon in charge
Nixon interviews Chambers and he is able to describe in great detail Hiss’s house – where the furniture is, what he calls his wife etc.….
Chambers says that Hiss passed on secrets on micro-fiche to the Soviets. He even says he knows where the papers are hidden.
Nixon, armed with photographers, locates the “pumpkin papers” which was micro-fiche hidden in a pumpkin
They are never connected to Hiss but because of all the other information that Chambers has given Hiss is found guilty.
Found guilty of perjury because Hiss admits that he knows Whitaker because he bought a car from him using an assumed name.
Hiss spent 44 months in jail
Hiss spent the rest of his life trying to clear his name
1996 Venona Files are released from the U.S.S.R. and they proved that Hiss was guilty.
The Venona Intercepts were messages from spies in the U.S. to those in Russia. The one that was damming occurred in 1945 and it described Hiss to a tee. His spy name was ALES and it stated that ALES had gone to Yalta with Roosevelt it also inferred that ALES had been 1 of 4 people to go from Moscow to the U.S. after the conference.
Joseph McCarthy and the Red Scare
Weeks after Alger Hiss is found guilty McCarthy gives his Wheeling West Virginia speech. He refers to the “enemy from within”
He is in fact trying to put his name on the map and this cause is a way to make himself famous
The speech causes people in the country to react strongly and momentum builds.
He accuse Dean Acheson the Secretary of State of knowing about communists in the State Department and not doing anything about it
“I have here in my hand a list of 205 people that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party, and who, nevertheless, are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department.”
Dean Acheson asks for the list. McCarthy turns over the list which was created in 1947 by a private investigator by the name of Robert Lee
McCarthy turns over the list but he has edited the list to be more dramatic and controversial.
Tydings Committee is set up to look more deeply into the matter and investigate McCarthy’s list
Of the 205 names on the list there is one particularly interesting name – Owen Lattimore
Committee says “this is a hoax and willfully inaccurate.”
McCarthy accuses the committee of being communists and begins to focus on Owen Lattimore