Revisiting Witnesses: 1940s

In America, the domestic Cold War began with naming names by defectors from the Communist or Soviet cause. For years, the accuracy of their stories was subject to debate. More recently, a consensus developed that those witnesses were speaking the truth -­- with corroboration coming from former Soviet archives opened in the early ’90s and documents decrypted in the course of the Venona program. Now, a decade later, this consensus looks premature. Retracing the steps of earlier researchers uncovered a wealth of archival documentation — from Russian, American, British and other sources ­– to cross-check what the witnesses said.

Click on Whittaker Chambers for a first look at what the documents say about two of the “most damning” pieces of evidence that Chambers produced against Alger Hiss.

THE WITNESSES

Americans

Russians

THE STORY

STILL MORE TO COME:

Watch this website for alerts on what the documents say about further evidence from Chambers and other Cold War witnesses.