The Magazine

War of Necessity

The anti-anti-Communist perspective on anti-communism.

Nov 19, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 10 • By HARVEY KLEHR
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At home, it meant building weapons of mass destruction, often in slipshod conditions and in ways that threatened or compromised the health of defense workers and polluted the environment. Seen in retrospect, some of the simplistic rhetoric and plans were laughable (the Greenbrier Congressional Bunker in West Virginia, designed to shelter government officials during a nuclear war, is one example).

Despite Wiener’s sneering tone, there was a national consensus, among both conservatives and liberals, that the Cold War was necessary. It ended with an American victory, a triumph that was also a victory for democracy over communism. That is worth celebrating. And perhaps one day there will be a suitable monument to commemorate that happy occasion.

Harvey Klehr, the Andrew W. Mellon professor of politics and history at Emory,  is the coauthor, most recently, of Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America.