Twenty-One G.I.'s Who Chose Tyranny:
Why They Left Us for Communism
There were twenty-one who stayed behind, twenty-one GI’s, captives of the Reds, who chose to remain with the Reds rather than come home. They were only a handful compared with the 3,746 who did return; and no doubt many Americans have already washed their minds of them, saying “Good riddance.” Others, however, cannot forget them so readily. In the American doxology, this is “God’s country” and the best way of life is “the American way of life.” What made the twenty-one desert Mom’s apple pie and the right to heckle the umpire, for Communist slavery? What made them prefer the regimentation and poverty of the Communist state to the blessings of General Motors and democracy?
The questions rankle, for they cannot easily be answered. All the facile answers, the answers that fit into the stereotypes—both those of the liberals and those of Colonel McCormick—are demonstrably false. The liberals would not have been surprised had most of the twenty-one been Negroes, for, if the liberal stereotypes are true, Negro PW’s should have proved more susceptible than whites to Communist propaganda; moreover, the Communist propagandists concentrated on them, at the same time giving them better food and better living conditions generally. But only three are Negroes. Colonel McCormick would have found comfort if most of the twenty-one had come from the slums of the Eastern Seaboard, for that, he insists, is where “subversive European ideologies” flourish. Not one comes from such an environment: nearly all are from small city, small-town, or rural America, the “real America.” And both the liberals and McCormick would have drawn predictable, if differing, morals, had most of the twenty-one been Jewish, or immigrants, or the children of immigrants. None is a Jew; one comes from abroad; one has parents born abroad; all the others (except, of course, the Negroes) are of Irish or “native, white American stock” going back for generations.
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