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some time, not too long. It was not that shocking to me, as I recall.
Remember, before that was the invasion in Finland, but that we wiped
away, because Finland was controlled by Baron Mannerheim, a fascist
colonel. For some strange reason, we were able to figure that out for
defense reasons. That must have happened after the Pact. Another
move to protect themselves against Nazi Germany in the long run.
This was also the period of the Rapp-Coudert hearings, and I guess
maybe you could say something first about what you think the
relationship was between the Nazi-Soviet Pact and the beginning of
those kind of red scare investigations, because the chronology is quite
Well, the logic is also quite close. It was a good time to take off
on communists, and those in the legislature, like Rapp and Coudert,
who were conservative Republicans, decided that this was a good time
to let go on the City Colleges. All they needed was to find the
opportunity, and the opportunity presented itself with the appearance
of William Canning's testimony. So he probably defected as a result of
the Pact, among other things. He also was concerned about his
chances of promotion in the History Department. So once they had a
person who would spill the beans, it was a very, very fine opportunity
to do so.
What was the significance of the Bertrand Russell case, if any, to
this whole process? I read somewhere recently about the Board of
Higher Education had invited Russell to be a professor, and there was
an outcry, “How could you have such an extremist invited to be a
1940. I'm trying to remember it, relate it in the period itself.
However, you could still try to get civil libertarians to support you on a
Bertrand Russell case, because he was a very, very distinguished
person, and you were talking in a college, intellectual atmosphere.
Remember that City College had a very, very strong history of free
speech and fighting to defend free speech, and there were a lot of
liberals there who were involved in the Anti-Fascist Association. They
could be counted on to support Bertrand Russell, but not the other
thing. Very few people would come out and support the thing once
Rapp-Coudert got under way, because it was then very dangerous to
try to do that.
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