FDR Turned a Blind Eye to the Holocaust

Column by Robert Johnson.

Exclusive to STR

November 16, 2010 marked the 77th anniversary of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the United States government turning a blind eye towards the Holocaust of the Ukrainian people. On November 16, 1933, the United States formally recognized the Soviet Union for the first time with an official pact.
The pact was brought about not by Roosevelt negotiating with his counterpart Joseph Stalin, but with Maxim Litvinoff, birth name Meir Henoch Mojszewicz Wallach-Finkelstein, a Communist who was born into a wealthy Jewish banking family. Litvinoff, AKA Finkelstein, was the Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union.
The four main points of the pact are revealing in what they omit. The pact covers propaganda, freedom of worship, protection of nationals and debts and claims. What is not included is genocide. At the time Roosevelt concluded this agreement with the U.S.S.R., the Soviets were in their last year of committing mass genocide by starvation against the Ukrainian people. Obviously, this Holocaust against the Ukrainians did not matter to Roosevelt or to the American government or media.
From 1929 through 1933, the Communist government of the Soviet Union murdered over 14 million people in Ukraine[1]. There was no protest from the United States government to the Soviet government or to the League of Nations about this crime against humanity. Instead, the U.S. government under Roosevelt’s leadership gave official recognition to the genocidal Soviet Union.
It’s interesting to note that the media in the 1930s was just as incompetent and biased as the media is today. An example is the “journalist” who wrote the above referenced article about the U.S. officially recognizing the U.S.S.R. for The New York Times, Walter Duranty. Duranty won the Pulitzer Prize for journalism in 1932 for his reporting from the Soviet Union. You would think that in the article about Roosevelt recognizing the Soviet Union, he would at the very least question why Roosevelt did not protest the mass murder the U.S.S.R. was then carrying out against its own people. Duranty did not ask. In fact, he remained silent on the biggest story in the Soviet Union, which was the systematic government starvation of 14.5 million people. Not only did Duranty decide not to report on this massive crime against life itself, when information about the Holocaust of the Ukrainian people would make its way out of the Soviet Union, Duranty would dismiss it as anti-Communist propaganda or attempt to minimize it in some other way. He would fit right in with the “journalists” of today who are mere cheerleaders for the government war machine.
This indirect assisting of the Communists in the mass genocide of the Ukrainian people has upset some Ukrainians. For example, in 2003 the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association sent an open letter to the Pulitzer Prize Committee asking them to show respect to the victims of the Communist terror famine by revoking Duranty’s Pulitzer Prize. Unfortunately, they were unsuccessful in getting the Pulitzer Prize Committee to do the right thing.
It’s important that freethinkers encourage their friends and family to openly question the government and media. The more doubt we can put in their minds about the status quo, the better. This is an important way to guard against giving tacit approval to government crimes against humanity such as the terror famine of 1929-1930 or the war in Iraq or the next war in Iran.

[1] The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror Famine, Robert Conquest, Oxford University Press, p. 306
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Robert L. Johnson's picture
Columns on STR: 94

Robert Johnson is a paralegal and a freelance writer in Florida. He was raised Roman Catholic, but after reading Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason, he became a Deist. In 1993 he founded the World Union of Deists and in 1996 he launched the first web site devoted to Deism, www.deism.com.  He is listed in Who's Who in Hell and is the author of Deism: A Revolution in Religion, A Revolution in You and An Answer to C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity.  He wrote the introduction to The Age of Reason, The Complete Edition and also writes for Examiner.com.


D. Saul Weiner's picture

Well, I guess that makes 2 Holocausts that FDR turned a blind eye toward.

Now, remind me why he was such a great president ...

Tony Pivetta's picture

To say nothing of the real holocaust, via firebombing, FDR perpetrated on German civilians--and on Eastern Europeans seeking refuge in Germany from the Soviets. Then FDR's successor perpetrated firebombing and atomic holocaust on the Japanese. The Good War: never before or since have the forces for Good been so clearly aligned against the forces of Evil.