THE REVELATIONS CONCERNING the Cold War continue to surface from the former Soviet bloc. Some of the recent discoveries, however, are more startling than anyone could have expected. As always, they continue to prove the Left wrong on almost every issue of the superpower conflict that dominated international relations from 1945–1991. But the horrifying nature of the recent evidence, combined as it is with the radical Left's silence in meeting it, now warrants a deeper examination of the progressive psychology on the Cold War.
The recent revelations connected to Korea are as unnerving as they are real.
Let us begin by remembering that revisionist historians like Gabriel Kolko made a living out of blaming the Korean war on Washington and South Korea—even though North Korea invaded its southern neighbor. The verbal gymnastics used to explain this particular interpretation deserved high marks. Facts, however, told us something completely different. Today, the recently released Soviet documents and former Soviet military officials confirm that North Korea had planned and initiated the invasion of South Korea with the objective of unifying the country through military force. Kim II Sung, moreover, could not have done so without Stalin's full approval and aid, which he sought and received.
So what has Kolko and Co. said regarding these revelations? We don't know, because they remain hiding somewhere, licking their wounds and undoubtedly fantasizing that their silence will somehow negate the world that they have to face. But we all know where the refusal to accept one's own past ends up.
Notwithstanding this particular drama, the story of the Korean war has now taken an even uglier turn. First, let us keep in mind that Left-wing Canadians have always felt especially honored on the issue of falsifying the blame for the Korean war, since they had their very own Dr. James G. Endicott, a United Church missionary, who waged a public crusade against the U.S. attempt to save South Korea. He charged the United States with using germ and chemical warfare in the Korean war. This charge was fanatically embraced by the Western Left, which exploited the issue throughout its anti-American campaign during the Cold War.
But now there is the confirmation of reality. Disclosures from the Soviet archives have just recently confirmed that Soviet advisors and Chinese field commanders invented the scenario of American use of germ and chemical weapons—and that they instructed the North Koreans to make fantasy into reality. North Korea, with the encouragement of Joseph Stalin and Mao Tse-Tung, intentionally infected its own citizens with plague and cholera to persuade the world that the U.S. was doing what people like Endicott would faithfully repeat it was doing. The Communists contaminated their own people with disease and then used their bodies to show the world the evidence of American use of germ and chemical warfare. The documents also reveal that torture was used to force the 25 captured American pilots to sign confessions on this issue, confessions that Endicott liked to use as "evidence" during his emotional sermons on the topic.
So what has been the Left's response to these discoveries? Silence—as usual. Now, obviously, Endicott is no longer with us to apologize—but he owed an apology on the day he knowingly began to lie, which means he should have apologized on the day he opened his mouth about Korea. Furthermore, the myriad of Canadians who agreed with Endicott, and regurgitated his pronouncements throughout the Cold War, are still with us. They are with us, just like other members of the radical camp are with us—dangling their feet, shrugging their shoulders, and trying to pretend the Cold War never occurred. It's not that hard for them, of course, seeing that they have now consumed themselves with new agendas: deconstructing English, politicizing and debasing academic curricula, and ridding Western society of their conceptions of "racism," "sexism," "classism," and "homophobia." A hundred years from now, the evidence will confirm that these contemporary "progressive" agendas led to solutions that proved far more harmful than the supposed diseases they were trying to cure, just as the ideological cousins of these agendas achieved in the context of Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot. But the champions of the contemporary struggle for "social justice" will no longer be around to apologize—and their successors will be practicing selective memory and looking for new paradises to build all over again.
This entire issue continues to mind-boggle observers of the Cold War's legacy. The nonexistence of mea culpas on the Left remains one of the most profound enigmas of the twentieth century. But while Left-wing Gulag dismissal remains a mystery on some levels, there are some obvious ingredients to its psychological makeup. It would be vital, in the context of these circumstances, to mention some of them—and to explore their deeper roots..
The Western "progressive" milieu's refusal to acknowledge Communist crimes is, of course, rooted in that disease with which we have become all too familiar in the second half of the twentieth century: anti-Americanism. It explains well why not one Revisionist historian, including Gabriel Kolko, has come forward to apologize for his errors. However, the refusal to acknowledge grievous faults on the Cold War, and to seek refuge in other politically correct orthodoxies, is all part of a larger phenomenon: Holocaust denial. A clear analogy can be made between the neo-Nazi Holocaust denial and the Left's refusal to acknowledge Communist Holocaust. In denying that the genocide of Jews occurred, Holocaust denial perpetuates anti-Semitism and keeps it alive. By erasing historical memory, Holocaust denial gives birth to moral relativism, which, in turn, instills a mindset that facilitates the possibility of yet another Holocaust. Holocaust denial, in other words, is the craving for another Holocaust.
This is precisely the case in the Western Left's refusal to acknowledge the genocidal consequences of the socialist idea in the twentieth century. The causes of this Holocaust denial are directly rooted in the Holocaust itself. The Nazi Holocaust, for instance, was the logical outcome of anti-Semitism, but anti-Semites need to keep anti-Semitism alive. Thus, anti-Semitism's existence is kept alive easier if its darkest consequences are supported but simultaneously denied. So too, if Stalinism was the inevitable result of the pursuit of equality, then the belief in the possibility of equality must be kept alive by the socialist milieu. The historical memory and significance of the Gulag, however, must be wiped out.
It should be no surprise, therefore, that the rhetoric of Holocaust deniers is always the same as the language used by the perpetrators of the specific Holocaust being denied. Neo-Nazis who engage in Holocaust denial consistently talk about the "Jewish conspiracy," that pathological fantasy that involves the Jewish control of the media and the banks, the Jewish assault on "culture," the Jewish poisoning of the Aryan race etc. We've heard it all before: in Mein Kampf, and in the terminology of Nazi spokesmen who engineered Auschwitz, Dachau, and Buchenwald. So too, Western "progressives" who deny or reject the significance of Communist Holocaust incessantly talk about "equality" and, more frighteningly yet, the possibility of the perfectibility of human institutions and of the human race. We've heard that language before as well: in the speeches of Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot, as those would-be saviors cranked the genocidal machines that liquidated millions of people on the altar of ideas. Today, the Left needs to safeguard its language and secular religion, so it must deny what this language and religion caused. That way, more Gulags and "Cultural Revolutions" become possible.
The wiping out of historical memory is, without a doubt, a special talent. It is the Left's greatest talent. A plaque should be made for the occasion, and placed at the graves of the North Korean citizens whom the North Korean government infected with disease to pursue that noble goal of equality.
The sacrifice of flesh and blood for the sake of ideals has, to be sure, been perfected by the "progressive" movement of the twentieth century. There is one undeniable conclusion: socialism is what socialism does best.