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Alger Hiss: Why He Chose Treason
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When: 4/17/2012
12:00 PM
Where: International Spy Museum

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In 1948, when the dumpy, rumpled journalist Whittaker Chambers accused the patrician Ivy League-educated senior diplomat Alger Hiss of being a spy for the Soviets, few Americans were willing to credit the accusation. For two years, the political drama of the Hiss trials made headlines throughout the country. Finally, Hiss was convicted only of perjury. Hiss went to his grave protesting his innocence of espionage and most Americans who were aware of the case agreed with him. However, today all but a few diehards agree that new historical evidence has vindicated Chambers: Alger Hiss really was a Soviet spy. But why did he do it? Why was it so difficult to make the case at the time? And why did so many Americans continue to believe in Hiss's innocence?

Retired counterintelligence officer Christina Shelton has written a new biography of Hiss. She highlights the many missed opportunities and poor judgments in the Hiss case, and discusses them in the context of wide-scale Soviet infiltration and espionage. Join Shelton and SPY historian Mark Stout for a discussion of this provocative new book about one of America's most controversial icons.

For more information on this lecture please visit the International Spy Museum's website.

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