Revisiting McCarthy

March 26th, 2008

I read "My Mother's File" concerning the information the FBI collected on Lisa Guisbond's mother (Alumni P.O.V., November/December). Lisa says the dossier was prompted by her mother's antiwar and pro-civil rights activities, and her "belief in the Rosenbergs' innocence."

I wonder (but of course have no actual information) if the issue was not the pro–civil rights activities, but the antiwar and pro-Rosenberg activities. Inasmuch as there no longer seems to be any question about the Rosenbergs' guilt, I wonder why the mother is still so proud of supporting them. Was she a knowing fellow traveler or just another "useful idiot" (Lenin's words)?

Judge Kaufman, in sentencing the Rosenbergs, said, "I consider your crime worse than murder" and "by your betrayal you undoubtedly have altered the course of history to the disadvantage of our country." Lisa Guisbond says her parents' political activities played out in the context of the Cold War, fear of nuclear annihilation, and "Senator McCarthy's unbridled power." Maybe McCarthy had something real to be worried about.

Richard Prout '62

What do you think?
See what other readers are saying about this article and add your voice. 
Related Issue
March / April 2008