1.  Thomas Walker: The Man Who Never Was 
  2   The Hearst Press: The Campaign Continues 
  3   Famine Photographs: Which Famine? 
  4   Cold War I: Black Deeds 
  5  The Numbers Game
  6   Cold War II: The 1980s Campaign 
  7   Harvest of Deception 
  8. The Famine 
  9. Collaboration and Collusion 
10.  War Criminals, Anti-Semitism and the Famine-Genocide Campaign 
From Third Reich Propagandist to Famine-Genocide Author 






From the earliest days of the Russian revolution to the present, propaganda campaigns have been conducted against the Soviet Union. Those in positions of power in capitalist countries see socialism as a threat to their continued profit and privilege. Both to undermine support of a socialist alternative at home, and to maintain a dominant position in international economic and political relationships, all manner of lies and distortions are employed to cast the USSR in as negative a light as possible. Stereotypes and caricatures have come to dominate many people’s understandings of Soviet history and current reality.

The particular issues of this psychological war are wide-ranging and are at times short-lived. The idea that the socialist revolution 'nationalized children" —my teacher's explanation of day care, years ago— has long since faded into history. American allegations (in 1981) of Soviet chemical warfare in Southeast Asia —"yellow rain"— eventually collapsed when the offending chemical was shown by scientists to be dung produced naturally by bees in flight. But it is the charges that are remembered; the retractions, if ever made, are relegated to the newspapers' back pages and forgotten. The various campaigns combine to shape popular perceptions in the service of political ends.

This book is the story of one campaign that has endured. Based on the thesis that the 1932-1933 famine in Ukraine was a deliberately planned "genocide" of Ukrainians by the Soviet government, the famine-genocide campaign has surfaced intermittently over the past five decades. The 1980s' revival of the famine-genocide campaign has sought to win acceptance of this theory in historiography. However, while historians accept that famine occurred in Ukraine in 1932-1933 —as well as in other areas of the USSR— they are still debating the causes, extent and results. My examination of the campaign and its charges of "Ukrainian genocide” does not attempt to study the famine in any detailed way. Nonetheless a few words are in order.

The 1917 Russian revolution was followed by military intervention by fourteen foreign powers (including the United States, Britain and Canada) and an extended civil war. The destruction of seven years of war, revolution and intervention, combined with severe drought, resulted in widespread hunger and starvation —the Russian famine of 1921-1922. Having survived these ordeals, the Soviets charted a course that had no precedents in world history: the building of a socialist society. They sought to transform a backward land plagued by poverty and illiteracy into an industrialized country with a modern agricultural sector. This was seen by the Soviets as necessary not only for economic and social development, but also for the very survival of socialism in a hostile international environment. In the early 1930s, the Japanese takeover of Manchuria and Hitler’s seizure of power in Germany were seen as particularly menacing.

The mass collectivization of agriculture and an ambitious industrialization program were the central features of the first five-year plan launched in 1929. Collectivization met with active opposition from sections of the peasantry, and in many areas the struggle approached the scale of civil war. Drought (a complicating factor), widespread sabotage, amateurish Soviet planning, Stalinist excesses and mistakes caused the famine of 1932-1933.

Throughout the famine-genocide campaign however, the factors of drought and sabotage have been ignored, denied, downplayed or distorted. Soviet excesses and mistakes, in contrast, are emphasized, given an ’anti­Ukrainian” motivation, described as consciously planned, and the results exaggerated in depictions of starvation deaths in the multi-millions.

Fraudulent photographs and suspect evidence are extensively used to embellish charges of "genocide," and are in fact the dominant images of the campaign. The sheer volume of non-authentic material used to support the genocide claim should in itself be grounds for the outright rejection of such a dubious thesis.

Featured in the Nazi press in 1933, the famine-genocide campaign moved to Britain in 1934, and to the United States the year after. In Germany, a country with a history of strong communist, socialist and trade union movements, the Nazis created the first organized propaganda campaign (1933-1935) as part of their consolidation of power. In Britain and the United States, on the other hand, the campaign was advanced as part of right-wing efforts to keep the Soviet Union isolated and out of the League of Nations. It also served to discourage growing working-class militancy in the Great Depression.

The famine-genocide campaign finds its most ardent promoters among Ukrainian Nationalists. (The term Ukrainian Nationalist is used here and throughout the book to denote the right-wing and fascist minority in the Ukrainian community, among whose goals is an "independent" Ukraine on an anti-socialist basis. The author in no way seeks to identify this extreme Nationalism with the Ukrainian nation or persons of Ukrainian origin in general.) The campaign was given fresh impetus in the post-war period with the arrival in North America of several thousand Ukrainian Nationalists. Among the bona-fide immigrants in the years just after the war, were thousands of former Nazi collaborators and sympathizers. Their direct interest in the campaign coincided with the Cold War propaganda of that time.

The Cold War climate of the Reagan era has seen a revival of the campaign, surpassing that of the 1930s and 1950s. While movies like Rambo and Red Dawn occupy the fantasy phase of this political assault on the Western cultural intellect, the exhumation of the "Ukrainian famine genocide" attempts to carry the assault into the pseudo-historical realm. The campaign further serves to distract attention from recent investigations of war crimes committed by Nationalist collaborators now resident in the West.

U.S. historian J. Arch Getty has commented: "We might profitably wonder about the resurgence of the intentional famine story just now. It seems to be part of a campaign by Ukrainian nationalists to promote the idea of a 'terror famine' in the West.... The not-so-hidden message behind the campaign coincides with long-standing political agendas of emigre groups: given that the Soviets could murder so many of their own people, might they not be willing to launch a destructive war in order to spread their evil doctrine? Because the Soviets are like the Nazis, we must avoid appeasement, maintain our vigilance — and stop deporting accused World War Two war criminals to Eastern Europe.”[1]

 Overall, the specific motivations of the Nationalists' campaign are consistent with the foreign policy goals of the broader right wing. Cold War confrontation, rather than historical truth and understanding, has characterized the famine-genocide campaign. By cutting through the tangled web of fraudulent evidence, Nazi and fascist connections, cover ups of wartime collaboration, and questionable scholarly research, it is my hope that this book will contribute to exposing the political myth of Ukrainian genocide. The historical study of the famine of 19.32-1933 deserves an objective and non-propagandistic approach.


Chapter One



In 1898 various U.S. business interests, including sugar companies, were anxious for the United States to seize Cuba. A pretext was needed to build up pro-war sentiment among the U.S. public. American press magnate William Randolph Hearst, so the story goes, assigned the noted artist Fredrick Remington to Cuba to find evidence of conditions which would justify a U.S. military intervention. Finding nothing out of the ordinary. Remington cabled back to Hearst: "Everything is quiet here... I wish to return." Hearst replied: "Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war." [2]


In the fall of 1934, an American using the name Thomas Walker entered the Soviet Union. After tarrying less than a week in Moscow, he spent the remainder of his thirteen-day journey in transit to the Manchurian border, at which point he left the USSR never to return. This seemingly uneventful journey was the pretext for one of the greatest frauds ever perpetrated in the history of 20th century journalism.

Some four months later, on February 18, 1935, a series of articles began in the Hearst press by Thomas Walker, "noted journalist, traveller and student of Russian affairs who has spent several years touring the Union of Soviet Russia." The articles, appearing in the Chicago American and Hew York Evening Journal for example, described in hair-raising prose a mammoth famine in the Ukraine which, it was alleged, had claimed "six million" lives the previous year.[3] Accompanying the stories were photographs portraying the devastation of the famine, for which it was claimed Walker had smuggled in a camera under the "most adverse and dangerous possible circumstances."

In themselves. Walker’s stories in the Hearst press were not particularly outstanding examples of fraud concerning the Soviet Union. Nor were they the greatest masterpieces of yellow journalism ever produced by the right-wing corporate press. Lies and distortions had been written about the Soviet Union since the days of the October Revolution in 1917. The anti-Soviet press campaigns heated up in the late 20s and 30s,


However, the Walker famine photographs are truly remarkable in that, having been exposed as utter hoaxes over fifty years ago, they continue to be used by Ukrainian Nationalists and university propaganda institutes as evidence of alleged genocide. The extent of Walker’s fraud can only be measured by the magnitude and longevity of the lie they have been used to portray.

Horror stories about Russia were common in the Western press, particularly among papers and journalists of conservative or fascist orientation. For example, the London Daily Telegram of November 28, 1930, printed an interview with a Frank Eastman Woodhead who had "just returned from Russia after a visit lasting seven months." Woodhead reported witnessing bloody massacres that November, a slaughter which left "rows of ghastly corpses."

Louis Fischer, an American writer for the New Republic and The Nation, who was in Moscow at the time of the alleged atrocities, discovered that not only had such events never occurred, but that Woodhead had left the country almost eight months before the scenes he claimed to have witnessed. Fischer challenged Woodhead and the London Daily Telegram on the matter; both responded with embarrassed silence.[4]

When Thomas Walker's articles appeared in the Hearst press, Fischer became suspicious — he had never heard of Walker and could find no one who had. The results of his investigation were published in the March 13, 1935 issue of The Nation:

Mr. Walker, we are informed, "entered Russia last spring," that is the spring of 1934. He saw famine. He photographed its victims. He got heartrending, first-hand accounts of hunger's ravages. Now famine in Russia is "hot" news. Why did Mr. Hearst keep these sensational articles for ten months before printing them? My suspicions grew deeper ...

I felt more and more sure that he was just another Woodhead, another absentee journalist. And so I consulted Soviet authorities who had official information from Moscow. Thomas Walker was in the Soviet Union once. He received a transit visa from the Soviet Consul in London on September 29, 19.34. He entered the USSR from Poland by train at Negoreloye on October 12, 19.34. (Not the spring of 19.34 as he says.) He was in Moscow on the thirteenth. He remained in Moscow from Saturday, the thirteenth, to Thursday, the eighteenth, and then boarded a trans-Siberian train which brought him to the Soviet-Manchurian border on October 25, 19.34, his last day on Soviet territory. His train did not pass within several hundred miles of the black soil and Ukrainian districts which he "toured” and "saw" and "walked over" and "photographed." It would have been physically impossible for Mr. Walker, in the five days between October 13 and October 18, to cover one-chird of the points he ’describes" from personal experience. My hypothesis is that he stayed long enough in Moscow to gather from embittered foreigners the Ukrainian "local color" he needed to give his articles the fake verisimilitude they possess.

Mr. Walker’s photographs could easily date back to the Volga famine in 1921. Many of them might have been taken outside the Soviet Union. They were taken at differe nt seasons of the year... One picture includes trees or shrubs with large leaves. Such leaves could not have grown by the "late spring" of Mr. Walker’s alleged visit. Other photographs show winter and early fall backgrounds. Here is the Journal of the twenty-seventh. A starving, bloated boy of fifteen calmly poses naked for Mr. Walker. The next moment, in the same village, Mr. Walker photographs a man who is obviously suffering from the cold despite his sheepskin overcoat. The weather that spring must have been as unreliable as Mr. Walker to allow nude poses one moment and require furs the next.

It would be easy to riddle Mr. Walker’s stories. They do not deserve the effort. The truth is that the Soviet harvest of 1933, including the Soviet Ukraine's harvest, in contrast to that of 1932, was excellent; the grain-tax collections were moderate; and therefore conditions even remotely resembling those Mr. Walker portrays could not have arisen in the spring of 1934, and did not arise.


Fischer challenged the motives of the Hearst press in hiring a fraud like Walker to concoct such fabrications:

... Mr. Hearst, naturally does not object if his papers spoilSoviet-American relations and encourage foreign nations with hostile military designs upon the USSR. But his real target is the American radical movement. These Walker articles are part of Hearst’s anti-red campaign. He knows that the great economic progress registered by the Soviet Union since 1929, when the capitalist world dropped into depression, provides left groups with spiritual encouragement and faith. Mr. Hearst wants to deprive them of that encouragement and faith by painting a picture of ruin and death in the USSR. The attempt is too transparent, and the hands are too unclean to succeed.


In a post-script, Fischer added that a Lindsay Parrott had visited Ukraine and had written that nowhere in any city or town he visited "did I meet any signs of the effects of the famine of which foreign correspondents take delight in writing." Parrott, says Fischer, wrote of the "excellent harvest " in 19.33; the progress, he declared, "is indisputable." Fischer ends: "The Hearst organizations and the Nazis are beginning to work more and more closely together. But 1 have not noticed thac the Hearst press printed Mr. Parrott’s stories about a prosperous Soviet Ukraine. Mr. Parrott is Mr. Hearst's correspondent in Moscow."

The incredible photographs accompanying Walker's fake stories also aroused the suspicions of James Casey, an American investigative writer.Headlined by Hearst as having "just been taken in the Soviet Union," the photographs were, in fact, "resurrected" and "rejuvenated”:

Art department heads of Hearst’s newspapers have been instructed to dig up old war and post-war pictures from the files ... pictures taken fifteen to eighteen years ago from the war-torn areas of Europe ... Some of the pictures have been retouched to look like new. In other cases, the old war pictures have been rephotographed. As a result, many of them look like prints.[5]


Some of the photographs were eventually identified as showing scenes from the old Austro-Hungarian empire. One photograph from the New York Evening Journal (February 18,1935), was identified by Casey as actually portraying an Austrian cavalry soldier standing beside a dead horse following a World War I military action.[6]

Similar faked pictures, Casey noted, "are now appearing in the Voelkischer Beobachter, Der Sturmer and other Nazi papers, and are being circulated throughout Germany."[7]

Hearst and Walker were prepared to go to incredible lengths of cynicism and perverse cruelty in exploiting human sentiments of compassion. Famous among the Walker photographs is the "frog child,” published with the following caption:

FRIGHTFUL — Below Kharhov (sic), in a typical peasant's hut, dirt floor, thatched roof undone piece of furniture, a bench, was a very thin girl and her 2 ½ year old brother (shown above). This younger child crawled about the floor like a frog and its poor little body was so deformed from lack of nourishment that it did not resemble a human being. Its mother had died when it was one year old. This child had never tasted milk or butter and only once had tasted meat.[8]


One might as well say that this photo portrays a relief worker, anywhere in Europe, sitting in a clinic waiting room with a starving or deformed child. There is something unmistakably urban, non-slavic and early 1920'ish about the woman's flapper hat. Furthermore, the woman, who looks perfectly healthy, is dressed for cold weather while "her brother" is naked. The bench has a ribbed back as on old-fashioned office benches, hardly corresponding to the sole household furniture of a "typical peasant."

As used in the Hearst press, this photograph — and other Walker fakes encountered frequently in the famine-genocide campaign — has been retouched and altered. It betrays the appearance of being a doctored copy of a non-primary source, rather than a direct print from a negative. This author has encountered this unforgettable picture in an early 1920s publication of a Russian famine of che period following World War 1. In any event, it will be recalled that Walker was never in Ukraine in 1932- 1933.  

Portions of the 1935 Hearst-Walker series, including some of the photos, had in fact appeared the year previous in the August 6, 1934 London Daily Express. Attributed to an anonymous young English "tourist," the story includes a virtually identical account of Walker’s "frog child" fabrication. However, this earlier version of the hoax locates the tale in Belgorod — which is in Russia proper. Subsequent versions of the hoax over the decades politically relocate the story to Kharkov, which is of course in Ukraine.

Thus, at least some of Walker s faked accounts were prepared well in advance of his actual fall of 1934 Soviet visit. It would seem that the Hearst-Walker conspirators decided to come up with an expanded and improved series, including some of the materials published anonymously in Britain. One concludes that Walker’s brief Soviet trip was simply an afterthought, a cosmetic gesture for the already planned publication of the series in Hearst's American papers in 1935.

Not only were the photographs a fraud, the trip to Ukraine a fraud, and Hearst’s famine-genocide series a fraud, Thomas Walker himself was a fraud. Deported from England and arrested on his return to the United States just a few months after the Hearst series, it turned out that Thomas Walker was in fact escaped convict Robert Green. The New York Times reported: "Robert Green, a writer of syndicated articles about conditions in Ukraine, who was indicted last Friday by a Federal grand jury on a charge of passport fraud, pleaded guilty yesterday before Federal Judge Francis G. Caffey. The judge learned that Green was a fugitive from Colorado State Prison, where he escaped after having served two years of an eight-year term for forgery.”[9]

Robert Green, it was revealed, had run up an impressive criminal record spanning three decades. His trail of crime led through five U.S. states and four European countries, and included convictions on charges of violating the Mann White Slave Act in Texas, forgery, and "marriageswindle.”[10]

Evidence at Walker’s trial revealed that he had made a previous visit to the Soviet Union in 1930 under the name Thomas J. Burke. Having worked briefly for an engineering firm in the USSR, he was —by his own admission — expelled for attempting to smuggle a "whiteguard" out of the country. A reporter covering the trial noted that Walker "admitted that the 'famine’ pictures published with his series in the Hearst newspapers were fakes and they were not taken in Ukraine as advertised."[11]

The "evidence" of famine-genocide brought to the American public by this "noted journalist” and "witness" lives on in jaundiced historiographic circles. Walker’s material and claims of six million victims are still recognized and issued by history factories like Harvard University’s Ukrainian Studies Fund, as well as by the Ukrainian Nationalists' own media. Walker’s fake photographs are the most prominently displayed pictorial "evidence" associated with post-war famine-genocide campaigns, despite the fact that this material was exposed as fraudulent immediately following its release in 1935. Apparently it is felt that the risks inherent in duping the public are necessary' to further famine-genocide concoctions.[12]


Chapter Two



Despite the Thomas Walker fiasco, Hearst did not give up the famine-genocide campaign — it was part and parcel of his overall propagation of anti-Soviet, pro-fascist views. While it is beyond the scope of this book to examine in detail the activities of the multi-millionaire press magnate William Randolph Hearst, it can be stated that he was known to millions during the 1930s as "America’s No. One Fascist.” It is widely known that certain U.S. corporations (for example, Henry Ford), lent money to the Nazis, while a U.S. oil corporation fuelled Franco’s army during the Spanish Civil War.[13] What is less widely known, however, is that for a period during the 1930s, Hearst employed Italy’s fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, paying him almost ten times the amount the latter received in monthly salary while head of the Italian state: "For a long time his [Mussolini's] chief source of income was S1500.00 per week from the Hearst press; early in 1935, however, he gave up writing regular articles because international politics were so delicate that he could not express himself frankly.”[14]

Hearst was by no means the only extreme right-wing news mogul. George Seldes, veteran correspondent of the Chicago Tribune and author of the classic Facts and Fascism, warned of the connections between big business, the press and fascist tendencies in the 1930s and wartime United States:

If the reader thinks of our chain newspaper owners. Hearst, Howard, Patterson and McCormack, as merely four of America's 15,000 publishers, he fails ro see the danger to America from an anti-democratic, anti-American press. These four publishers put out one-fourth of all the newspapers sold daily on our streets, they own forty of the 200 big city papers which make American public opinion, they run not only the three biggest newspaper chains in the country, but two of the three big news services which supply news to a majority of America's dailies, and because they have always been anti-labor, anti-liberal and anti-democratic even when not openly following the Mussolini and Hitler lines, they constitute what I believe is the greatest force hostile to the general welfare of the  common people of America.[15]


 Many of the most extreme famine-genocide claims from the 19.30s emanated from these publishers. 

This was not the limit of Hearst’s fascist connections. In the late summer of 1934, Hearst visited Nazi Germany. In Munich he was joined by a man he knew well, Ernst Hanfstaengel, press officer for the Reich and an intimate adviser of Hitler.[16] While at Bad Neuheim, four stormtroopers arrived to inform Hearst that a plane waited to take him to Hitler, whom he met for discussion.[17] A number of agreements were reportedly reached, one being that Germany would purchase its foreign news through Hearst's news-gathering agency, the International News Service. The deal was said to have been worth one million marks a year.[18] Perhaps such financial considerations served to underline Hearst's own political convictions, revealed in his comment reported in the New York Tinies: "if Hitler succeeds in pointing the way of peace and order ... he will have accomplished a measure of good not only for his own people but for all of humanity."[19]

Hearst appears to have long been a devout promoter of German state interests. As far back as the First World War: He opposed loans and shipments of munitions to England and France, and the arming of United States merchantmen. He hired a former New York Times correspondent, William Bayard Hale, and sent him to Germany. Hale was later found to be in the pay of the Germans ... "[20]

Hearst’s wartime news methods were so yellow that Harper's Weekly, suspecting Hearst was using mythical correspondents to send out fake dispatches, stated as much on October 15, 1915. In October 1916, the British and French governments banned the Hearst press from the use of cables and mails. The Canadian government followed suit the following month, banning Hearst newspapers outright. To be caught with a Hearst newspaper in those days carried a S5000 fine or up to five years imprisonment.[21]

It was following Hearst’s trip to Nazi Germany that the Hearst press began to promote the theme of "famine-genocide in Ukraine." Prior to this, his papers had at times reflected a different perspective. For example, the October 1,1934 Herald and Examiner, carried an article by the former French premier, Edouard Herriot, who had recently returned from travelling around Ukraine. Herriot noted: '... the whole campaign on the subject of famine in the Ukraine is currently being waged. While wandering around the Ukraine, I saw nothing of the sort.”[22]

Not unrelated to plans for a famine-genocide campaign, was a massive red-scare campaign which had been unleashed in the Hearst press in the late fall of 1934. To back up his call for legislation requiring teachers to swear loyalty oaths, Hearst assigned "hundreds" of reporters to "expose" radical professors in "a red hunt that smeared many honest liberals ..."[23] And, while taking a soft line on Nazi activities in Germany, Hearst launched his press attack portraying alleged "famine, misery, and brutality" in the Soviet Union.[24]

 For the Nazi press in Germany, its Volksdeutsche proteges in other countries, and the Hearst publishing empire in the United States, 1935 was to become the Year of the Ukrainian Famine. One of Hearst's famine genocide campaign allies. Dr. Ewald Ammende, described the launching of the Hearst campaign: "On January 5, 1935, William Randolph Hearst broadcast a speech based almost entirely on the account of the [Cardinal] Innitzer Committee ... The entire Hearst press next proceeded to deal with the Russian famine."[25]

Violently denigrating Soviet efforts to collectivize and industrialize, and at the same time shielding developments in Nazi Germany,................................


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