A Catholic Cold War: Edmund A. Walsh, S.J., and the Politics of American Anticommunism

A Catholic Cold War: Edmund A. Walsh, S.J., and the Politics of American Anticommunism

A Catholic Cold War: Edmund A. Walsh, S.J., and the Politics of American Anticommunism

A Catholic Cold War: Edmund A. Walsh, S.J., and the Politics of American Anticommunism

Synopsis

This book is the first biography in 42 years of the priest and educator whomhistorians have called "the most important anticommunist in the country."Edmund A. Walsh, as dean of Georgetown College and founder in 1919 of its School of Foreign Service, is one of the most influential Catholic figures of the20th century. Soon after the birth of the Bolshevik state, he directed the Papal Relief Mission in the Soviet Union, starting a lifelong immersion in Soviet and Communist affairs. He also established a Jesuit college in Baghdad, and servedas a consultant to the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal.A pioneer in the new science of geopolitics, Walsh became one of Truman's mosttrusted advisers on Soviet strategy. He wrote four books, dozens of articles, andgave thousands of speeches on the moral and political threat of Soviet Communismin America. Although he died in 1956, Walsh left an indelible imprint on theideology and practical politics of Cold War Washington, moving easily outside thetraditional boundaries of American Catholic life and becoming, in the words of onehistorian, "practically an institution by himself." Few priests, indeed few Catholics,played so large a role in shaping American foreign policy in the 20th century.

Excerpt

In the photo insert to Richard Gid Powers’s 1995 history of American anticommunism, Not without Honor, two pages are devoted to images of significant Catholic anticommunists. At the top of the first page is a photograph of Patrick F. Scanlan, editor of the Brooklyn Tablet (1917–68), the preeminent anticommunist in the mid-twentieth century American Catholic press. Below Scanlan is the Reverend Edmund A. Walsh, S.J., founder of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Because I had written my master’s thesis on Scanlan’s anticommunism and intended to focus on Walsh’s anticommunism in my doctoral dissertation (and the study now before you), I found Powers’s juxtaposition of these images compelling. As I further reflected on the particular photographic arrangement in Powers’s book, I began to realize it might have significant implications for the historiography of American Catholic anticommunism.

For the last fourteen years, my primary academic interest has been the history of American Catholic anticommunism. When I was an undergraduate at Fordham University, Professor Mark Naison suggested I write a seminar paper on the anticommunist component of the Brooklyn Tablet’s editorial policy. the topic intrigued me; even though my parents were longtime subscribers, I had never imagined the Tablet as a subject of scholarly interest. When I began my research, it appealed to me as a way of understanding my own background. As a child, I could remember the memorial Masses for Joseph McCarthy that the Catholic War Veterans held in nearby Forest Park, Queens, every Memorial Day weekend through the late 1970s.

Under the direction of Professor Thomas Curran at Saint John’s University, I developed my paper into a master’s thesis. By then, my interest in Catholic anticommunism had expanded beyond the nostalgic; I knew that this was a significant historical topic I wanted to further explore. in April 1997, Professor Christopher Kauffman suggested that I consider Edmund A. Walsh’s anticommunism as a . . .

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