Owen Lattimore Bibliography Sample

Also on this day

Lead Story

1974

Aaron sets new home run record

On this day in 1974, Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hits his 715th career home run, breaking Babe Ruth’s legendary record of 714 homers. A crowd of 53,775 people, the largest in the history of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, was with Aaron that night to cheer when he hit a...

American Revolution

1778

John Adams arrives in Paris to replace Silas Deane

Future United States President John Adams arrives in Paris, France, on this day in 1778 to replace former Continental Congress member Silas Deane as a member of the American commission representing the interests of the United States. Deane had been recalled to America by Congress after fellow diplomat Arthur Lee accused...

Automotive

1979

Waltrip beats Petty in last-lap thriller

On this day in 1979, in the Rebel 500 event at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina, drivers Darrell Waltrip and Richard Petty swap the lead four times in a last-lap battle before Waltrip finally wins the race. The race also featured a pit stop mishap in which driver David Pearson, following...

Civil War

1864

Confederates rout Union at Battle of Mansfield

The Red River campaign of Union General Nathaniel Banks grinds to a halt when Confederate General Richard Taylor routs Banks’ army at Mansfield, Louisiana. The Red River campaign, which had begun a month earlier, was an attempt by the Union to invade Confederate Texas from Shreveport, Louisiana. Banks, accompanied by a...

Crime

2005

Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph agrees to plead guilty

Eric Rudolph agrees to plead guilty to a series of bombings, including the fatal bombing at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, in order to avoid the death penalty. He later cited his anti-abortion and anti-homosexual views as motivation for the bombings. Eric Robert Rudolph was born September 19, 1966, in...

Disaster

1916

California road race kills five

On this day in 1916, at the Boulevard Race in Corona, California, an early racing car careens into a crowd of spectators, killing the driver and two others. At the time, racing events were still a relative rarity and the fatal accident helped encourage organizers to begin holding races...

General Interest

1935

WPA established by Congress

On April 8, 1935, Congress votes to approve the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a central part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal.”In November 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, Governor Roosevelt of New York was elected the 32nd president of the United States. In his inaugural address...

1953

Kenyatta jailed for Mau Mau uprising

Jomo Kenyatta, leader of the Kenyan independence movement, is convicted by Kenya’s British rulers of leading the extremist Mau Mau in their violence against white settlers and the colonial government. An advocate of nonviolence and conservatism, he pleaded innocent in the highly politicized trial.One of modern Africa’s first nationalist leaders,...

2013

Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female prime minister, dies

On this day in 2013, Margaret Thatcher, the first–and so far only–female prime minister of the United Kingdom, dies in London at age 87 from a stroke. Serving from 1979 to 1990, Thatcher was the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century. She curbed the power of Britain’s labor...

563

Buddhists celebrate birth of Gautama Buddha

On this day, Buddhists celebrate the commemoration of the birth of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, thought to have lived in India from 563 B.C. to 483 B.C. Actually, the Buddhist tradition that celebrates his birthday on April 8 originally placed his birth in the 11th century B.C., and...

Hollywood

1990

Twin Peaks premieres on ABC

“Who killed Laura Palmer?” was the question on everyone’s mind on the night of April 8, 1990, when David Lynch’s surreal television drama Twin Peaks premiered on ABC. The naked body of the beautiful blonde homecoming queen was found washed up on a riverbank wrapped in plastic in the show’s...

Literary

1955

Barbara Kingsolver is born

American writer Barbara Kingsolver was born on this day near Annapolis, Maryland. Kingsolver grew up in rural Kentucky. After high school, she left Kentucky to attend DePauw University in Indiana. After graduating in 1977, Kingsolver worked in Europe, then returned to the U.S., where she worked as a biologist and...

Music

1994

Kurt Cobain is found dead

On April 8, 1994, rock star Kurt Cobain was found dead in his home outside Seattle, Washington, with fresh injection marks in both arms and a fatal wound to the head from the 20-gauge shotgun found between his knees. Cobain’s suicide brought an end to a life marked by far...

Old West

1842

Elizabeth Bacon Custer is born in Michigan

Elizabeth Bacon Custer, a significant chronicler of the West and the wife of George Custer, is born in Monroe, Michigan. Elizabeth Custer is best known today for her decades-long effort to celebrate her husband’s life and exonerate him for the massacre of the Seventh Cavalry at Little Bighorn in 1876. ...

Presidential

1935

FDR signs Emergency Relief Appropriation Act

President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorizes almost $5 million to implement work-relief programs on this day in 1935. Hoping to lift the country out of the crippling Great Depression, Congress allowed the president to use the funds at his discretion. The act was unprecedented and remains the largest system of public-assistance...

Sports

1974

Aaron hits his 715th home run

On April 8, 1974, Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hits his 715th career home run and breaks the long-standing record held by Babe Ruth. Aaron’s record-breaking 715th homer came in the fourth inning of the Braves’ home opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers, with over 53,000 fans in attendance...

Vietnam War

1972

North Vietnamese forces open a third front

North Vietnamese 2nd Division troops drive out of Laos and Cambodia to open a third front of their offensive in the Central Highlands, attacking at Kontum and Pleiku in attempt to cut South Vietnam in two. If successful, this would give North Vietnam control of the northern half of South...

1975

Weyand reports to Congress

After a weeklong mission to South Vietnam, Gen. Frederick Weyand, U.S. Army Chief of Staff and former Vietnam commander, reports to Congress that South Vietnam cannot survive without additional military aid. Questioned again later by reporters who asked if South Vietnam could survive with additional aid, Weyand replied there was...

World War I

1904

Britain and France sign Entente Cordiale

On this day in 1904, with war in Europe a decade away, Britain and France sign an agreement, later known as the Entente Cordiale, resolving long-standing colonial disputes in North Africa and establishing a diplomatic understanding between the two countries. Formally entitled a Declaration between the United Kingdom and France Respecting...

World War II

1944

Russians attack Germans in drive to expel them from Crimea

On this day in 1944, Russian forces led by Marshal Fedor Tolbukhin attack the German army in an attempt to win back Crimea, in the southern Ukraine, occupied by the Axis power. The attack would result in the breaking of German defensive lines in just four days, eventually sending the...

1945

Defiant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is hanged

On this day in 1945, Lutheran pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is hanged at Flossenburg, only days before the American liberation of the POW camp. The last words of the brilliant and courageous 39-year-old opponent of Nazism were “This is the end–for me, the beginning of life.” Two days after Adolf...

1981

Omar Bradley dies

General Omar Bradley, commander of the 12th Army Group who ensured Allied victory over Germany, dies on this day in 1981. Born on February 12, 1893, Bradley was a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point (Dwight Eisenhower was a classmate). During the opening days of World War II,...

On 26th March, 1950, a radio show in the United States leaked the news that Owen Lattimore had been charged with being a spy for the Soviet Union. The accusations against Lattimore were one of the most public events in the hysteria surrounding Senator Joseph McCarthy’s claim that communists in the Department of State were selling secrets to the USSR. Although Lattimore was ultimately cleared of the charges against him, his career was permanently damaged, forcing him to leave the United States to work in Great Britain.

Lattimore, a lecturer at John Hopkins University, was a respected authority on the history, culture and politics of East Asia. During the Second World War he had served in the government of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, initially working as a special representative to the Nationalist Chinese government of Chiang Kai-Shek, before being employed in the Office of War Information.

The defeat of Chiang Kai-Shek’s government to Mao Zedong’s communists in 1949 had a substantial impact for Lattimore, setting about the process which would result in McCarthy’s accusations against him. The triumph of Communism in China was a diplomatic disaster for the United States, one which some Americans felt could have been avoided. Lattimore had long made public his criticism of Chiang Kai-Shek’s government, particularly concerning its failure to support democracy. During China’s Civil War the US government withheld aid from the Kai-Shek’s government, with the condition that it would only have started assistance if a Nationalist-Communist coalition had been formed. For many in the United States the decision to withhold aid was considered a key reason for Zedong’s success, and Lattimore became an easy scapegoat for the rise of Communism in China.

In February 1950, McCarthy had delivered a speech in Wheeling, West Virginia, where he claimed to have the names of 205 known communists who were “working and shaping policy in the State Department”. By March 1950 he was under pressure to provide names of those supposed Communists, and Lattimore’s involvement in Chinese affairs and previous support of Mao made him an easy target. In March, McCarthy declared that Lattimore was “the top Soviet espionage agent in the United States.”

A Senate Foreign Relations Committee looked into the charges brought against Lattimore, charges he had immediately denied, and concluded that they had no basis. Lattimore was therefore completely exonerated in July 1950. Two years later, Lattimore was indicted on charges of perjury, relating to inaccuracies in a testimony he had provided to the ‘Senate Internal Security subcommittee investigating the Institute of Pacific Relations’. The Institute of Pacific Relations, which Lattimore had directed during the Second World War, had been accused of communist sympathies several times during its history. The Senate Subcommittee had been tasked with investigating it following pressure from McCarthy. Although Lattimore admitted to some inconsistencies in his testimony, a Federal Judge dismissed the indictments in 1955, claiming they would have made a “sham of the Sixth Amendment”.

With hindsight, we know that no evidence ever surfaced to support McCarthy’s accusations against ‘supposed’ communists. A quick look at his personal history also reveals that the ‘Communist Witch hunt’ was not the first time he had used dirty politics and demagoguery in an attempt to further his own political career. Nevertheless, just a quick internet search reveals that there are still many who believe that the charges against Lattimore in fact had some basis, revealing the complex factors which need to be considered when reevaluating the McCarthy era.

It is impossible for us who did not live through it to empathise with the uneasy atmosphere of Cold War America. On the anniversary of the charges being brought against Lattimore, however, we can get a sense of the relentless paranoia and accusations which divided the USA during McCarthyism.

Tags: Cold WarCommunismLattimoreMao ZedongMcCarthy

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