Henry Wallace's 1948 Presidential Campaign and the Future of Postwar Liberalism

By Thomas W. Devine | Go to book overview

2
I SHALL RUN AS AN
INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE
FOR PRESIDENT
Launching Gideon’s Army

After reading a New York Times translation of the Zhdanov manifesto in mid-October 1947, Michael Straight, the young publisher of the New Republic, grew worried. As he would reveal thirty-five years later, Straight was no stranger to the international communist movement. During the 1930s, he had been involved with Soviet espionage as an associate of the infamous “Cambridge spies,” Guy Burgess, Kim Philby, Donald Maclean, and Anthony Blunt. Disillusioned, he quietly broke with the Party in 1940 and thereafter remained wary of any entanglements with the Communists. He now sensed that the establishment of the Cominform would precipitate a major shift in the CPUSA line—one that would directly affect his magazine’s editor, Henry Wallace. Straight immediately telephoned Harold Young, Wallace’s “cheerful man Friday” and longtime political aidede-camp. “There’s going to be a third party,” he informed Young. “You’re crazy!” laughed the portly, cigar-chomping Texan. As far as Young was concerned, the third party talk that had been swirling around Wallace in recent months was merely a bluff to catch the attention of the Democratic Party hierarchy. Indeed, Young himself had instigated much of the speculation as part of a calculated strategy to line up support for the former vice president should he choose to challenge Truman for the Democratic

-35-

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