Author's Introduction to the thesis - July 2014 by []
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The despicable degenerates of lucre and the State Department investigation of the Sisson documents, 1918-1921

by Daniel John Homick; George Creel; Edgar Grant Sisson

  Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript   Archival Material

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Author's Introduction to the thesis - July 2014   (2014-07-16)

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President Woodrow Wilson's Committee on Public Information, or "Creel Committee," discovered in Russia a set of documents purporting to show a "German-Bolshevik conspiracy" involving Lenin and Trotsky. Named after Edgar Sisson, the Sisson Documents were used to justify the Allied intervention to topple the Bolsheviks. My "Despicable Degenerates of Lucre" title mirrors a tabloid headline when the documents, still thought to be genuine, were first released to the press.

Much has already been written about the “sealed train” that transported Lenin through Germany to Russia after the February revolution and books have been written about German support of the Bolshevik propaganda machine, but were Lenin and Trotsky actually German spies as the Sisson Documents claimed or just accepting help from the Kaiser to exploit the unpopular war in Russia? In 1918, American communist and journalist John Reed wrote a pamphlet clearly stating the Sisson Documents were forgeries.

The US State Department investigated the documents in 1918 but were silent as to the results of their investigation. Why? My research at the US National Archives showed that they had more than enough information by 1921 to prove key documents were cleverly faked, but the investigation results and the original documents remained hidden from public view for further scrutiny. 

When the originals were discovered in a White House safe in 1952, the famous US scholar on Russia, George F. Kennan, examined them and openly challenged their authenticity. More interesting though is that Soviet scholars were silent on this subject. Perhaps with the demise of the Soviet Union and access to its "secret archives," historians may learn more. 

The US - Allied intervention needed an excuse to overthrow the Bolsheviks. The Sisson Documents provided the excuse. The US Department of State never corrected this misinformation. 

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