American Student Union
The American Student Union was a national left-wing organization of college students of the 1930s, best remembered for its protest activities against militarism. Founded by a 1935 merger of Communist and Socialist student organizations, the ASU was affiliated with the American Youth Congress; the group was investigated by the Dies Committee of the United States House of Representatives in 1939 over its connections to the Communist Party USA. With the group's Communist-dominated leadership supportive of the twists and turns of Soviet foreign policy, the Socialist minority split from the group in 1939; the organization was terminated in 1941. Following the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany, the party line of the world communist movement was changed from the ultra-radicalism of the so-called "Third Period", which shrilly condemned Social Democrats as "Social Fascists", to a new phase of broad left wing cooperation known as the Popular Front. Efforts followed on the part of the Communist Party-sponsored National Student League to unite with its Socialist Party counterpart, which in the middle 1930s was the Student League for Industrial Democracy.
Initial peace feelers extended by the Communists to the Socialists were rejected in December 1932, but with the European situation worsening two joint conferences of the rival left wing groups were held in 1933 — one in Chicago under Communist auspices and another in New York City headed by the League for Industrial Democracy. The two groups decided to retain their separate existence but to work together on matters of common concern, which paved the way for several joint activities which took place in 1934 and the first half of 1935. In June 1935 Joseph P. Lash of the SLID proposed at a meeting of the organization's governing National Executive Committee that the organization should appoint a committee to negotiate a formal merger with the NSL; the NEC of SLID was divided on the matter, but after extensive debate resolved to appoint a six-member negotiating committee. Following negotiations between the two participating groups, a Unity Convention of the NSL and SLID was held over the Christmas holidays at the YMCA building in Columbus, Ohio.
The American Student Union was thus born. In January 1938 the third annual convention of the ASU, held at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, changed the position of the organization on war. A pacifist organization which endorsed the so-called "Oxford Pledge" against conscription and militarism, the position of the ASU was brought into line with the foreign policy of the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, based upon the notion of collective security; some opponents of this change were livid and charged that the change was made by bloc voting by members of the Communist Party, as exemplified by the following passage from the press of Jay Lovestone's rival Independent Communist Labor League: "At the outset, it was apparent to all that the Young Communist League controlled the convention in the form of a well-disciplined group, responding to the guidance of the Stalinist wire-pullers. Every attempt on the part of the various advocates of the Oxford Pledge to introduce substitute motions or amendments, as is done in all parliamentary procedure, was efficiently squelched by the Stalinist chairman, with the help of his gloating compatriots on the floor."
The vote in favor of changing the political line of the organization on the war question was passed by a vote of 382 to 108. There was discord in the ASU over the organization's changing position to European armament after 1938, with the Socialist-oriented members favoring continuation of the organization's historic opposition to militarism and Communist-oriented members arguing in favor of rearmament and collective security in Europe; the break came the following year, with the November 1939 Soviet invasion of Finland. The ASU leadership, consisting by that time of a Communist majority, dutifully supported the military action of the Soviet Union, prompting the Socialist minority to split the organization; the ASU continued forward as a more defined Communist youth organization from that date and entered a period of organizational decline. The group held its final convention in 1941. Robert Cohen, When the Old Left was Young:Student Radicals and America's First Mass Student Movement, 1929–1941, New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.
Which Road Shall the ASU Take? New York: Independent Communist Labor League, November 1937. Toward a "Closed Shop" on the Campus. New York: American Student Union, 1936; the Campus: A Fortress of Democracy. New York: American Student Union, 1937; the Dismissal of Bob Burke: Heidelberg comes to Columbia. New York: American Student Union, 1938. Keep Democracy Working by Making It Serve Human Needs: Report of Proceedings of Fourth National Convention, American student Union, College of the City of New York, New York City, December 27-30, 1938. New YorK: American Student Union, 1939; the Student in the Post-Munich World. New York: American Student Union, 1939. Oberlin: The War Years. New York: American Student Union, 1940. "Twaddle," A Story in Pictures. New York American Student Union, 1940. ASU: Now We Are 6. New York: American Student Union, 1940. American Student Union Memoirs, newdeal.feri.org/ —Twelve memoirs by leading participants collected in 1986
John L. Lewis
John Llewellyn Lewis was an American leader of organized labor who served as president of the United Mine Workers of America from 1920 to 1960. A major player in the history of coal mining, he was the driving force behind the founding of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, which established the United Steel Workers of America and helped organize millions of other industrial workers in the 1930s. After resigning as head of the CIO in 1941, he took the Mine Workers out of the CIO in 1942 and in 1944 took the union into the American Federation of Labor. A leading liberal, he played a major role in helping Franklin D. Roosevelt win a landslide in 1936, but as an isolationist, broke with Roosevelt in 1940 on FDR's anti-Nazi foreign policy. Lewis was a brutally effective aggressive fighter and strike leader who gained high wages for his membership while steamrolling over his opponents, including the United States government. Lewis was one of the most controversial and innovative leaders in the history of labor, gaining credit for building the industrial unions of the CIO into a political and economic powerhouse to rival the AFL, yet was hated by calling for nationwide coal strikes which critics believed to be damaging to the American economy and war effort.
His massive leonine head, forest-like eyebrows set jaw, powerful voice and ever-present scowl thrilled his supporters, angered his enemies, delighted cartoonists. Coal miners for 40 years hailed him as their leader, whom they credited with bringing high wages and medical benefits. Lewis was born in or near Cleveland, Lucas County, Iowa, to Thomas H. Lewis and Ann Watkins Lewis, both of whom had immigrated from Llangurig, Wales. Cleveland was a company town built around a coal mine one mile east of Lucas, his mother and grandparents were members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the boy adopted the church's views regarding alcohol and sexual propriety, as well as its belief in a just social order that favored the poor. While his grandfather was an RLDS pastor and Lewis periodically donated to his local RLDS church for the rest of his life, there is no definite evidence that he formally joined the Midwestern Mormon denomination. Lewis attended three years of high school in Des Moines and at the age of 17 went to work in the Big Hill Mine at Lucas.
In 1906, Lewis was elected a delegate to the United Mine Workers national convention. In 1907, he launched a feed-and-grain distributorship. Both were Lewis returned to coal mining, he in 1909 was elected president of the UMW local. In 1911 Samuel Gompers, the head of the AFL, hired Lewis as a full-time union organizer. Lewis traveled throughout Pennsylvania and the Midwest as an organizer and trouble-shooter in coal and steel districts. After serving as statistician and as vice-president for the UMWA, Lewis became that union's acting president in 1919. On November 1, 1919, he called the first major coal union strike, as 400,000 miners walked off their jobs. President Wilson obtained an injunction, which Lewis obeyed, telling the rank and file, "We cannot fight the Government." In 1920, he was elected president of the UMWA. Lewis asserted himself as a dominant figure in what was the largest and most influential trade union in the country. Coal miners worldwide were sympathetic to socialism, in the 1920s, Communists systematically tried to seize control of UMWA locals.
William Z. Foster, the Communist leader, opposed dual unions in favor of organizing within the UMWA; the radicals were most successful in the bituminous coal regions of the Midwest, where they used local organizing drives to gain control of locals, sought a national labor political party, demanded federal nationalization of the industry. Lewis, committed to cooperation among labor and government, took tight control of the union, he placed the once-autonomous districts under centralized receivership, packed the union bureaucracy with men directly beholden to him, used UMWA conventions and publications to discredit his critics. The fight was bitter but Lewis used armed force, red-baiting, ballot-box stuffing and, in 1928, expelled the leftists; as Hudson shows, they started the National Miners' Union. In Southern Illinois, amidst widespread violence, the Progressive Mine Workers of America of America challenged Lewis but were beaten back. After 1935, Lewis invited the radical organizers to work for his CIO organizing drives, they soon gained powerful positions in CIO unions, including auto workers and electrical workers.
Lewis was denounced as a despotic leader. He expelled his political rivals from the UMWA, including John Walker, John Brophy, Alexander Howat and Adolph Germer. Communists in District 26, including Canadian labor legend J. B. McLachlan, were banned from running for the union executive after a strike in 1923. McLachlan described him as "a traitor" to the working class. Lewis nonetheless commanded great loyalty from many of his followers those he had exiled in the past. A powerful speaker and strategist, Lewis used the nation's dependence on coal to increase the wages and improve the safety of miners during several severe recessions, he masterminded a five-month strike, ensuring that the increase in wages gained during World War I would not be lost. Lewis challenged Samuel Gompers, who had led the AFL for nearly forty years, for the Presidency of the AFL in 1921. William Green, one of his subordinates within the Mine Workers at the time, nominated him. Gom
An autobiography is a self-written account of the life of oneself. The word "autobiography" was first used deprecatingly by William Taylor in 1797 in the English periodical The Monthly Review, when he suggested the word as a hybrid, but condemned it as "pedantic". However, its next recorded use was in its present sense, by Robert Southey in 1809. Despite only being named early in the nineteenth century, first-person autobiographical writing originates in antiquity. Roy Pascal differentiates autobiography from the periodic self-reflective mode of journal or diary writing by noting that " is a review of a life from a particular moment in time, while the diary, however reflective it may be, moves through a series of moments in time". Autobiography thus takes stock of the autobiographer's life from the moment of composition. While biographers rely on a wide variety of documents and viewpoints, autobiography may be based on the writer's memory; the memoir form is associated with autobiography but it tends, as Pascal claims, to focus less on the self and more on others during the autobiographer's review of his or her life.
See also: List of autobiographies and Category:Autobiographies for examples. Autobiographical works are by nature subjective; the inability—or unwillingness—of the author to recall memories has in certain cases resulted in misleading or incorrect information. Some sociologists and psychologists have noted that autobiography offers the author the ability to recreate history. Spiritual autobiography is an account of an author's struggle or journey towards God, followed by conversion a religious conversion interrupted by moments of regression; the author re-frames his or her life as a demonstration of divine intention through encounters with the Divine. The earliest example of a spiritual autobiography is Augustine's Confessions though the tradition has expanded to include other religious traditions in works such as Zahid Rohari's An Autobiography and Black Elk Speaks; the spiritual autobiography works as an endorsement of her religion. A memoir is different in character from an autobiography. While an autobiography focuses on the "life and times" of the writer, a memoir has a narrower, more intimate focus on his or her own memories and emotions.
Memoirs have been written by politicians or military leaders as a way to record and publish an account of their public exploits. One early example is that of Julius Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico known as Commentaries on the Gallic Wars. In the work, Caesar describes the battles that took place during the nine years that he spent fighting local armies in the Gallic Wars, his second memoir, Commentarii de Bello Civili is an account of the events that took place between 49 and 48 BC in the civil war against Gnaeus Pompeius and the Senate. Leonor López de Córdoba wrote; the English Civil War provoked a number of examples of this genre, including works by Sir Edmund Ludlow and Sir John Reresby. French examples from the same period include the memoirs of Cardinal de Retz and the Duc de Saint-Simon; the term "fictional autobiography" signifies novels about a fictional character written as though the character were writing their own autobiography, meaning that the character is the first-person narrator and that the novel addresses both internal and external experiences of the character.
Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders is an early example. Charles Dickens' David Copperfield is another such classic, J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye is a well-known modern example of fictional autobiography. Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre is yet another example of fictional autobiography, as noted on the front page of the original version; the term may apply to works of fiction purporting to be autobiographies of real characters, e.g. Robert Nye's Memoirs of Lord Byron. In antiquity such works were entitled apologia, purporting to be self-justification rather than self-documentation. John Henry Newman's Christian confessional work is entitled Apologia Pro Vita Sua in reference to this tradition; the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus introduces his autobiography with self-praise, followed by a justification of his actions as a Jewish rebel commander of Galilee. The pagan rhetor Libanius framed his life memoir as one of his orations, not of a public kind, but of a literary kind that could not be aloud in privacy.
Augustine applied the title Confessions to his autobiographical work, Jean-Jacques Rousseau used the same title in the 18th century, initiating the chain of confessional and sometimes racy and self-critical, autobiographies of the Romantic era and beyond. Augustine's was arguably the first Western autobiography written, became an influential model for Christian writers throughout the Middle Ages, it tells of the hedonistic lifestyle Augustine lived for a time within his youth, associating with young men who boasted of their sexual exploits. Confessions will always rank among the great masterpieces of western literature. In the spirit of Augustine's Confessions is the 12th-century Historia Cal
Reason is an American libertarian monthly magazine published by the Reason Foundation. The magazine has a circulation of around 50,000 and was named one of the 50 best magazines in 2003 and 2004 by the Chicago Tribune. Reason was founded in 1968 by Lanny Friedlander, a student at Boston University, as a more-or-less monthly mimeographed publication. In 1970 it was purchased by Robert W. Poole Jr. Manuel S. Klausner, Tibor R. Machan, who set it on a more regular publishing schedule; as the monthly print magazine of "free minds and free markets", it covers politics and ideas with a mix of news, analysis and reviews. During the 1970s and 80s, the magazine's contributors included Milton Friedman, Murray Rothbard, Thomas Szasz, Thomas Sowell. In 1978, Poole and Machan created the associated Reason Foundation, in order to expand the magazine's ideas into policy research. Marty Zupan joined Reason in 1975, served through the 1980s as managing editor and editor-in-chief, leaving in 1989. Virginia Postrel was editor-in-chief of the magazine from July 1989 to January 2000.
She founded the magazine's website in 1995. Nick Gillespie became editor-in-chief in 2000. Erik Spiekermann, the designer of the Meta typeface, headed a redesign of Reason in 2001, aiming for a look, "cleaner, more modern, making use of the Meta typeface throughout". In June 2004, subscribers to Reason magazine received a personalized issue that had their name, a satellite photo of their home or workplace on the cover; the concept was to demonstrate the power of public databases, as well as the customized printing capabilities of Xeikon's printer, according to editor-in-chief Nick Gillespie. The move was seen by David Carr of The New York Times as "the ultimate in customized publishing", as well as "a remarkable demonstration of the growing number of ways databases can be harnessed."In 2008, Reason's web site was named a Webby Award Honoree in the magazine category. That same year, Matt Welch became magazine's editor-in-chief, with Gillespie becoming editor-in-chief of reason.tv. In 2011, Gillespie and Welch published The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America.
Katherine Mangu-Ward became the magazine's editor-in-chief in June 2016, with Welch moving to an editor-at-large position. Other Reason editors include Jacob Sullum, Jesse Walker, Brian Doherty, Peter Suderman, Damon Root. In 2017, Reason Magazine began hosting The Volokh Conspiracy, a blog written by libertarian and conservative law professors and run by Eugene Volokh. Hit & Run is Reason's group blog, it is written by the staff of the magazine. It was started in 2002. Then-editor Gillespie and then-Web editor Tim Cavanaugh, both veterans of Suck.com, modeled the blog in some ways after that website: they brought along several other Suck.com writers to contribute, fostered a style in the blog matching that former website's sarcastic attitude, the name "Hit & Run" was taken from what had been a weekly news roundup column on Suck.com. Reason editors referred to this co-opting of the former website as the "Suck-ification of Reason". In 2005, Hit & Run was named as one of the best political blogs by Playboy.
Reason TV is a website affiliated with Reason magazine that produces short-form documentaries and video editorials. Nick Gillespie is editor-in-chief; the site produced. Reason.tv teamed with Carey again in 2009 to produce "Reason Saves Cleveland," in which Carey suggested free market solutions to his hometown's problems. Since 2010, comedian Remy Munasifi has partnered with Reason TV to produce parody videos; the Declaration of Independents The Independents Official website Reason TV's channel on YouTube "Wired founder helps Reason". Reason Feb. 1976: Special Revisionism Issue
The Soviet Union the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were centralized; the country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Minsk, Alma-Ata, Novosibirsk, it spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, steppes and mountains; the Soviet Union had its roots in the 1917 October Revolution, when the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Russian Provisional Government which had replaced Tsar Nicholas II during World War I. In 1922, the Soviet Union was formed by a treaty which legalized the unification of the Russian, Transcaucasian and Byelorussian republics that had occurred from 1918. Following Lenin's death in 1924 and a brief power struggle, Joseph Stalin came to power in the mid-1920s.
Stalin committed the state's ideology to Marxism–Leninism and constructed a command economy which led to a period of rapid industrialization and collectivization. During his rule, political paranoia fermented and the Great Purge removed Stalin's opponents within and outside of the party via arbitrary arrests and persecutions of many people, resulting in at least 600,000 deaths. In 1933, a major famine struck the country. Before the start of World War II in 1939, the Soviets signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, agreeing to non-aggression with Nazi Germany, after which the USSR invaded Poland on 17 September 1939. In June 1941, Germany broke the pact and invaded the Soviet Union, opening the largest and bloodiest theatre of war in history. Soviet war casualties accounted for the highest proportion of the conflict in the effort of acquiring the upper hand over Axis forces at intense battles such as Stalingrad and Kursk; the territories overtaken by the Red Army became satellite states of the Soviet Union.
The post-war division of Europe into capitalist and communist halves would lead to increased tensions with the United States-led Western Bloc, known as the Cold War. Stalin died in 1953 and was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev, who in 1956 denounced Stalin and began the de-Stalinization; the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during Khrushchev's rule, among the many factors that led to his downfall in 1964. In the early 1970s, there was a brief détente of relations with the United States, but tensions resumed with the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979. In 1985, the last Soviet premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of glasnost and perestroika, which caused political instability. In 1989, Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe overthrew their respective communist governments; as part of an attempt to prevent the country's dissolution due to rising nationalist and separatist movements, a referendum was held in March 1991, boycotted by some republics, that resulted in a majority of participating citizens voting in favor of preserving the union as a renewed federation.
Gorbachev's power was diminished after Russian President Boris Yeltsin's high-profile role in facing down a coup d'état attempted by Communist Party hardliners. In late 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union met and formally dissolved the Soviet Union; the remaining 12 constituent republics emerged as independent post-Soviet states, with the Russian Federation—formerly the Russian SFSR—assuming the Soviet Union's rights and obligations and being recognized as the successor state. The Soviet Union was a powerhouse of many significant technological achievements and innovations of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite, the first humans in space and the first probe to land on another planet, Venus; the country had the largest standing military in the world. The Soviet Union was recognized as one of the five nuclear weapons states and possessed the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, it was a founding permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as well as a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Federation of Trade Unions and the leading member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw Pact.
The word "Soviet" is derived from a Russian word сове́т meaning council, advice, harmony and all deriving from the proto-Slavic verbal stem of vět-iti, related to Slavic věst, English "wise", the root in "ad-vis-or", or the Dutch weten. The word sovietnik means "councillor". A number of organizations in Russian history were called "council". For example, in the Russian Empire the State Council, which functioned from 1810 to 1917, was referred to as a Council of Ministers after the revolt of 1905. During the Georgian Affair, Vladimir Lenin envisioned an expression of Great Russian ethnic chauvinism by Joseph Stalin and his supporters, calling for these nation-states to join Russia as semi-independent parts of a greater union, which he named as the Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia. Stalin resisted the proposal, but accepted it, although with Lenin's agreement changed the name of the newly proposed sta
Robert Moses was an American public official who worked in the New York metropolitan area. Known as the "master builder" of mid-20th century New York City, Long Island, Rockland County, Westchester County, he is sometimes compared to Baron Haussmann of Second Empire Paris, was one of the most polarizing figures in the history of urban development in the United States, his decisions favoring highways over public transit helped create the modern suburbs of Long Island and influenced a generation of engineers and urban planners who spread his philosophies across the nation despite his not having trained in those professions. Moses would call himself a "coordinator" and was referred to in the media as a "master builder". Robert Moses at one point held twelve titles, but was never elected to any public office, he created and led numerous public authorities that gave him autonomy from the general public and elected officials. Through these authorities, he controlled millions of dollars in income from his projects, such as tolls, he could issue bonds to borrow vast sums for new ventures with little or no input from legislative bodies.
This removed him from the power of the purse as it functioned in the United States, from the process of public comment on major public works. As a result of Moses' work, New York has the United States' greatest proportion of public benefit corporations, which are the prime mode of infrastructure building and maintenance in New York and account for most of the state's debt. Moses' projects were considered by many to be necessary for the region's development after the Great Depression. During the height of his powers, New York City built campuses to host two World's Fairs: one in 1939 and the other in 1964. Moses helped persuade the United Nations to locate its headquarters in Manhattan, instead of Philadelphia, by helping the state secure the money and land needed for the project. Moses' reputation was lastingly damaged by Robert Caro's Pulitzer-winning biography The Power Broker, which highlighted Moses's lust for power and racist tendencies, but the recognition of the lasting impact and audacity of his achievements has, in more recent years, led to another reappraisal of his legacy.
Moses was born in New Haven, Connecticut, to assimilated German Jewish parents and Emanuel Moses. He spent the first nine years of his life living at 83 Dwight Street in New Haven, two blocks from Yale University. In 1897, the Moses family moved to New York City, where they lived on East 46th Street off Fifth Avenue. Moses's father was a successful department store owner and real estate speculator in New Haven. In order for the family to move to New York City, he sold his real estate holdings and store and retired from business for the rest of his life. Moses's mother was active in the settlement movement, with her own love of building. Robert Moses and his brother Paul attended several schools for their elementary and secondary education, including the Dwight School and the Mohegan Lake School, a military academy near Peekskill. After graduating from Yale University and Wadham College and earning a Ph. D. in political science from Columbia University, Moses became attracted to New York City reform politics.
A committed idealist, he developed several plans to rid New York of patronage hiring practices, including being the lead author of a 1919 proposal to reorganize the New York state government. None went far, but Moses, due to his intelligence, caught the notice of Belle Moskowitz, a friend and trusted advisor to Governor Al Smith; when the state Secretary of State's position became appointive rather than elective, Smith named Moses. Moses rose to power with Smith, elected as governor in 1922, set in motion a sweeping consolidation of the New York State government. During that period Moses began his first foray into large scale public work initiatives, while drawing on Smith's political power to enact legislation; this helped create the State Council of Parks. This centralization allowed Smith to run a government used as a model for Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal federal government. Moses received numerous commissions that he carried out extraordinarily well, such as the development of Jones Beach State Park.
Displaying a strong command of law as well as matters of engineering, Moses became known for his skill in drafting legislation, was called "the best bill drafter in Albany". At a time when the public was accustomed to Tammany Hall corruption and incompetence, Moses was seen as a savior of government. Shortly after President Franklin D. Roosevelt's inauguration in 1933, the federal government found itself with millions of New Deal dollars to spend, yet states and cities had few projects ready. Moses was one of the few local officials. For that reason, New York City was able to obtain significant Works Progress Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps, other Depression-era funding. Moses was a great political talent who demonstrated great skill when constructing his roads, playground and house projects. One of his most influential and longest-lasting positions was that of Parks Commissioner of New York City, a role he served from January 18, 1934 to May 23, 1960; the many offices and professional titles that Moses held gave him unusually broad power to shape urban development in the New York metropolitan region.
The Manchurian Candidate (1962 film)
The Manchurian Candidate is a 1962 American suspense thriller film about the Cold War and sleeper agents. It was produced by John Frankenheimer; the screenplay was written by George Axelrod, was based on the 1959 Richard Condon novel The Manchurian Candidate. The film's leading actors are Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey and Janet Leigh, with Angela Lansbury, Henry Silva, James Gregory in supporting roles; the plot centers on the Korean War veteran Raymond Shaw, the progeny of a prominent political family. Shaw was a prisoner of war during the conflict in Korea and while being held was brainwashed by his captors. After his discharge back into civilian life, he becomes an unwitting assassin involved in an international communist conspiracy. Officials from China and the Soviet Union employ Shaw as a sleeper agent in an attempt to subvert and take over the United States government; the film was released in the United States on October 24, 1962, at the height of U. S.-Soviet hostility during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
It was well-received by critics and was nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actress and Best Editing. It was selected in 1994 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally or aesthetically significant." During the Korean War, the Soviets and Chinese capture a U. S. Army take it to Manchuria in communist China. Three days Staff Sergeant Raymond Shaw and Captain Bennett Marco manage to return to UN lines. Upon recommendation of the platoon's commander, Captain Marco, Shaw is awarded the Medal of Honor for saving their lives in combat. Shaw returns to the United States to a hero's welcome where he is exploited by his mother, Mrs. Eleanor Iselin, on behalf of the political career of her husband and Shaw's stepfather, United States Senator John Yerkes Iselin; when asked to describe him and the other soldiers automatically respond, "Raymond Shaw is the kindest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've known in my life." though Shaw is a cold, unsympathetic loner.
In the years to follow, who has since been promoted to major and assigned to Army Intelligence, suffers from a recurring nightmare. In it, a hypnotized Shaw blithely and brutally murders the two missing soldiers before an assembly of military leaders from the communist nations, during a practical demonstration of a revolutionary brainwashing technique. Marco is compelled to investigate, but with no solid evidence to back his claims fails to receive support from his uplines. However, Marco learns that another soldier from the platoon, Allen Melvin, has had the same nightmare; when Melvin and Marco separately identify the identical two men from their dreams as leading figures in communist governments, Army Intelligence agrees to help Marco investigate. Meanwhile, Eleanor drives the ascension of Iselin, a McCarthy-like demagogue stirring domestic turmoil and climbing the political ladder based on claims that varying numbers of communists work within the Department of Defense. Shaw, who broke with the couple upon his return to America, is revealed to have had been programmed by Russian and Chinese communists to be a sleeper agent who will blindly obey orders without any memory of his actions.
His heroism was a false memory implanted in the platoon during their brainwashing in Manchuria. His programming is triggered by seeing the Queen of Diamonds card while playing solitaire after being induced by his handlers. Several years pass before Shaw finds happiness when he rekindles a youthful romance with Jocelyn Jordan, the daughter of liberal Senator Thomas Jordan, one of his stepfather's political rivals. Mrs. Iselin had broken up the relationship, but now facilitates the couple's reunion in order to garner Jordan's support for Iselin's bid for the Vice Presidency. Although pleased with the match, Jordan makes it clear that he will block any effort of Iselin's to seek their party's nomination. Jocelyn, wearing a Queen of Diamonds costume at a party for her thrown by the Iselins, inadvertently triggers Shaw's programming and elopes with him. In response to the senator's rebuff, Mrs. Iselin, revealed to be Shaw's American handler, triggers him to kill Jordan at his home, shooting Jocelyn as well when she happens upon the scene.
Afterwards, Shaw has no knowledge of his actions and is grief-stricken when he learns of the murders. Discovering the card's role in Shaw's conditioning, Marco uses a forced deck in an attempt to deprogram him and reveal his next assignment, which appears imminent. Mrs. Iselin primes her son to assassinate their party's presidential nominee at the height of the ongoing political convention so that Senator Iselin, as the vice-presidential candidate, will become the nominee by default. In the uproar, he will seek emergency powers that when elected will, in Mrs. Iselin's words, "make martial law seem like anarchy." Mrs. Iselin tells Shaw that while she had requested a programmed assassin for the task, she never knew it would be her own son, selected by the communists in order to bind her more to their cause. Kissing Shaw on the lips in a hint at the novel's incestuous relationship, she vows that once in power she will exact revenge for her son's selection as an assassin. Shaw enters the convention hall disguised as a priest and takes up a sniper's position high in its farthest reaches.
Alarmed by Shaw's failure to call by the appointed time and his supervisor, Colonel Milt, race to the hall to find and stop him. When the moment to shoot comes, Shaw instead kills Senator Iselin; when Marco arrives an instant