Harry L. Hopkins

Harry L. Hopkins


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Harry Lloyd Hopkins was born in Sioux City, Iowa, on 17th August, 1890. After graduating from Grinnell College in 1912 he became a social worker in New York City. He was also active in the Democratic Party and a strong supporter of Alfred Smith.

In 1931 Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Hopkins as the executive director of the New York State Temporary Emergency Relief Administration. The historian, William E. Leuchtenburg, has argued: "Harry Hopkins... directed relief operations under Roosevelt in Albany. For a social worker, he was an odd sort. He belonged to no church, had been divorced and analyzed, liked race horses and women, was given to profanity and wisecracking, and had little patience with moralists... A small-town Iowan, he had the sallow complexion of a boy who had been reared in a big-city pool hall... He talked to reporters - often out of the side of his mouth - through thick curls of cigarette smoke, his tall, lean body sprawled over his chair, his face wry and twisted, his eyes darting and suspicious, his manner brusque, iconclastic, almost deliberately rude and outspoken."

When Roosevelt became president he recruited Hopkins to implement his various social welfare programs. As John C. Lee has pointed out: "On the whole, it is apparent that the mission of the Civil Works Administrator had been accomplished by 15th February 1934. His program had put over four million persons to work, thereby directly benefiting probably twelve million people otherwise dependent upon direct relief. The program put some seven hundred million dollars into general circulation. Such losses as occurred were negligible, on a percentage basis, and even those losses were probably added to the purchasing power of the country."

Frances Perkins later recalled: "Hopkins became not only Roosevelt's relief administrator but his general assistant as no one had been able to be. There was a temperamental sympathy between the men which made their relationship extremely easy as well as faithful and productive. Roosevelt was greatly enriched by Hopkins knowledge, ability, and humane attitude toward all facets of life."

The artist, Peggy Bacon met Hopkins during this period: "Pale urban-American type, emanating an aura of chilly cynicism and defeatest irony like a moony, melanchology newsboy selling papers on a cold night." Robert Sherwood, one of President Roosevelt's closest advisors, described him as "a profoundly shrewd and faintly ominous man."

The journalist, Raymond Gram Swing, became a close friend and argued in his book, Good Evening (1964): "One of my friendliest sources in the government was Harry Hopkins, who never was too busy to answer the telephone or see me in an emergency.... The public distrusted him for being a professional social worker who suddenly came to execute high government policy under the New Deal. That the policies he helped create turned out to be beneficial and preserved the American way of life, free enterprise included, will in time be recognized."

Hopkins worked for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (1933-35) and the Works Projects Administration (1935-38). In a speech in 1936 Hopkins argued: "I believe the days of letting people live in misery, of being rock-bottom destitute, of children being hungry, of moralizing about rugged individualism in the light of modern facts - I believe those days are over in America. They have gone, and we are going forward in full belief that our economic system does not have to force people to live in miserable squalor in dirty houses, half fed, half clothed, and lacking decent medical care." As head of the WPA Hopkins employed more than 3 million people and was responsible for the building of highways, bridges, public buildings and parks.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized Hopkins to set up the Civil Works Administration (CWA). William E. Leuchtenburg, the author of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal (1963), has pointed out: "CWA was a federal operation from top to bottom; CWA workers were on the federal payroll. The agency took half its workers from relief rolls; the other half were people who needed jobs, but who did not have to demonstrate their poverty by submitting to a means test. CWA did not give a relief stipend but paid minimum wages. Hopkins, called on to mobilize in one winter almost as many men as had served in the armed forces in World War I, had to invent jobs for four million men and women in thirty days and put them to work. By mid-January, at its height, the CWA employed 4,230,000 persons."

During the four months of its existence, the CWA built or improved some 500,000 miles of roads, 40,000 schools, over 3,500 playgrounds and athletic fields, and 1,000 airports. The CWA employed 50,000 teachers to keep rural schools open and to teach adult education classes in the cities. The CWA also hired 3,000 artists and writers. It has been estimated that the CWA put a billion dollars of purchasing power into the sagging economy.

Roosevelt became concerned about creating a permanent class of people on relief work. He told Hopkins: "We must be careful it does not become a habit with the country... We must not take the position that we are going to have permanent depression in this country, and it is very important that we have somebody to say that quite forcefully to these people." Despite the protest of political figures such as Robert LaFollette and Bronson Cutting, the program came to an end in March, 1934.

The Federal Emergency Relief Administration now took up the relief burden again. It continued the CWA's unfinished work projects. FERA also erected five thousand public buildings and seven thousand bridges, cleared streams, dredged rivers and terraced land. FERA also employed teachers and over 1,500,000 adults were taught to read and write. It also ran nursery schools for children from low-income families, and helped 100,000 students to attend college.

By 1935 a total of $3,000,000,000 was distributed. Most of this money went to Home Relief Bureaus and Departments of Welfare for Poor Relief. Franklin D. Roosevelt felt he had little to show for this money. The Great Depression continued and over 20 million men were still receiving public assistance. He wrote to Edward House in November, 1934: "What I am seeking is the abolition of relief altogether. I cannot say so out loud yet but I hope to be able to substitute work for relief."

In January, 1935, Roosevelt proposed a gigantic program of emergency public employment, which would give work to 3,500,000 people without work. Roosevelt told Congress that relief was "a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit... I am not willing that the vitality of our people be further sapped by the giving of cash, a market baskets, of a few hours of weekly work cutting grass, raking leaves or picking up papers in the public parks. The Federal Government must and shall quit this business of relief."

The Works Projects Administration (WPA) was established in April 1935. Harold Ickes wanted to head the agency. He argued that Harry Hopkins was an irresponsible spender and was not "priming the pump" but "just turning on the fire-plug". Ickes wanted the money spent on heavy capital expenditures whereas Hopkins advocated putting to work as many men as he could who were presently on relief. Roosevelt's main objective was to reduce the numbers on relief and he gave Hopkins overall control of the WPA.

In 1935 the WPA spent $4.9 billion (about 6.7 percent of GDP). The main objective was to provide one paid job for all families in which the breadwinner suffered long-term unemployment.Over the next few years the WPA built more than 2,500 hospitals, 5,900 school buildings, 1,000 airport landing fields, and nearly 13,000 playgrounds. At its peak in 1938, it provided paid jobs for three million unemployed men (and some women).

Hopkins also worked as Secretary of Commerce (1938-40). During the early stages of the Second World War he was Roosevelt's personal envoy to Britain. He was also a member of the War Production Board and served as Roosevelt's special assistant (1942-45). William Leahy worked closely with Hopkins: "Hopkins had an excellent mind. His manner of approach was direct and nobody could fool him, not even Churchill. He was never influenced by a person's rank. Roosevelt trusted him implicitly and Hopkins never betrayed that trust. The range of his activities covered all manner of civilian affairs - politics, war production, diplomatic matters - and, on many occasions, military affairs.... By his brilliant mind, his loyalty, and his selfless devotion to Franklin Roosevelt in helping carry on the war, Harry Hopkins soon erased completely any previous misgivings I might have held."

Raymond Gram Swing has pointed out: "It was his position as President Roosevelt's chief assistant in World War II that, in particular, needs to be better appreciated and valued. He was not Mr. Roosevelt's closest friend, for the President of the United States does not have friends in the true sense of the word. He cannot have loyalty to individuals, since he has placed his loyalty to the country first. And to be his first assistant calls for humility as well as devotion, and an ability almost on a par with his leader's. In the innumerable conferences Harry Hopkins attended abroad as the President's emissary, he was blunt of speech, adroit of mind, and dedicated to the requirements of victory."

Hopkins became involved in controversy while at the Yalta Conference. The journalist, Drew Pearson, claimed that it was agreed that the Red Army should be the first military force to enter Berlin. Hopkins issued a statement on 23rd April, 1945: "There was no agreement made at Yalta whatever that the Russians should enter Berlin first. Indeed, there was no discussion of that whatever. The Chiefs of Staff had agreed with the Russian Chiefs of Staff and Stalin on the general strategy which was that both of us were going to push as hard as we could. It is equally untrue that General Bradley paused on the Elbe River at the request of the Russians so that the Russians could break through to Berlin first."

On the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt Hopkins helped arrange the Potsdam Conference for Harry S. Truman but retired from public life soon afterwards. Hopkins told his friend, Robert E. Sherwood: "You and I have got something great that we can take with us all the rest of our lives. It's a great realization. Because we know it's true what so many people believed about him and what made them love him. The President never let them down. That's what you and I can remember. Oh, we all know he could be exasperating, and he could seem to be temporizing and delaying, and he'd get us all worked tip when we thought he was making too many concessions to expediency. But all of that was in the little things, the unimportant things - and he knew exactly how the little and how unimportant they really were. But in the big things - all of the things that were of real, permanent importance - he never let the people down."

Harry Lloyd Hopkins died of cancer in New York City on 29th January, 1946.

Hopkins became not only Roosevelt's relief administrator but his general assistant as no one had been able to be. Roosevelt was greatly enriched by Hopkins knowledge, ability, and humane attitude toward all facets of life.

One of my friendliest sources in the government was Harry Hopkins, who never was too busy to answer the telephone or see me in an emergency. I visited him often, and during his illness talked with him more than once while he occupied the celebrated Lincoln bedroom in the White House.

I wish to add a comment about Harry Hopkins. I consider him only temporarily debarred from recognition as one of America's invaluable men, and am confident historians will rediscover him and his stature among the great world leaders during World War II. Possibly one reason lie is not yet so regarded is that personally he was brash and indifferent to social niceties. He was playfully a kind of tough guy, talked like one, dressed carelessly, and made no salaams to the great proprieties which most men in public life take for granted they must do.

The public distrusted him for being a professional social worker who suddenly came to execute high government policy under the New Deal. That the policies he helped create turned out to be beneficial and preserved the American way of life, free enterprise included, will in time be recognized.

It was his position as President Roosevelt's chief assistant in World War II that, in particular, needs to be better appreciated and valued. In the innumerable conferences Harry Hopkins attended abroad as the President's emissary, he was blunt of speech, adroit of mind, and dedicated to the requirements of victory. It is well to recall that Prime Minister Churchill, in a burst of cordiality, told him that after the war he must come to live in England so that he could be given a peerage and be known as "Lord Heart of the Matter." As chief of the Munitions Assignment Board he had some control of strategy in the war; and because the United States was a member of a coalition, he had some control of world strategy. He was an invaluable liaison between the Pentagon and the White House. It was he who proposed General George C. Marshall to be chief of staff. He also was constantly concerned about the work of cabinet offices. His relationship with the President made such activities inevitable. The amount of work he did would have staggered a healthy man, but he carried the load without complaint until his cancer brought his services to an end.

I believe the days of letting people live in misery, of being rock-bottom destitute, of children being hungry, of moralizing about rugged individualism in the light of modern facts - I believe those days are over in America. They have gone, and we are going forward in full belief that our economic system does not have to force people to live in miserable squalor in dirty houses, half fed, half clothed, and lacking decent medical care.

The accomplishments of the CWA were possible through the arduous efforts of Mr. Hopkins and the group of able young assistants which he has assembled and inspired. They have worked daily long into the night with a morale easily comparable to that of a war emergency. These assistants address Mr. Hopkins fondly as "Harry". There is no rigidity or formality in their staff conferences with him, yet he holds their respect, confidence, and seemingly whole-souled co-operation. Practically all have had active experience in social welfare or other work of a relief nature.

On the whole, it is apparent that the mission of the Civil Works Administrator had been accomplished by 15th February 1934. Such losses as occurred were negligible, on a percentage basis, and even those losses were probably added to the purchasing power of the country.

Thus, Mr. Hopkins' loose fluidity of organization was justified by the results achieved. It enabled him to engage for employment in two months nearly as many persons as were enlisted and called to the colors during our year and a half of World War mobilization, and to disburse to them, weekly, a higher average rate of wages than Army or Navy pay.

As was so often the case, "Harry the Hop," as we called him around the White House, would remain silent for long intervals during any discussion, but he would usually be the first man to put a finger on the essential element of a problem.

Churchill's jesting title, "Lord Root of the Matter," was an accurate description. Hopkins had an excellent mind. The range of his activities covered all manner of civilian affairs - politics, war production, diplomatic matters - and, on many occasions, military affairs. We saw a great deal of each other. The only previous impressions I had of Hopkins concerned his various relief activities in the first years of the Roosevelt administration, and I, perhaps, held some prejudices against him. I frequently joked with him about those days and sometimes called him "Pinko" or "Do-Gooder." He took it all in good spirit and we never had any major differences of opinion. By his brilliant mind, his loyalty, and his selfless devotion to Franklin Roosevelt in helping carry on the war, Harry Hopkins soon erased completely any previous misgivings I might have held.

Though it may get official denial the real fact is that American advance patrols on Friday, April 13th, one day after President Roosevelt's death, were in Potsdam, which is to Berlin what the Bronx is to New York City but the next day withdrew from the Berlin suburbs to the River Elbe about 50 miles south. This withdrawal was ordered largely because of a previous agreement with the Russians that they were to occupy Berlin and because of their insistence that the agreement he kept.

This story by Drew Pearson is absolutely untrue. There was no agreement made at Yalta whatever that the Russians should enter Berlin first. The Chiefs of Staff had agreed with the Russian Chiefs of Staff and Stalin on the general strategy which was that both of us were going to push as hard as we could.

It is equally untrue that General Bradley paused on the Elbe River at the request of the Russians so that the Russians could break through to Berlin first. Bradley did get a division well out towards Potsdam

but it far outreached itself ; supplies were totally inadequate and anyone who knows anything about it knows that we would have taken Berlin had we been able to do so. This would have been a great feather in the army's cap, but for Drew Pearson now to say that the President agreed that the Russians were to take Berlin is utter nonsense.

I wished him (Roosevelt) a happy holiday in Warm Springs, then went down to the Cabinet Room-where Hopkins, Rosenman and I had worked so many long hours - and I wrote the memorandum on MacArthur, then walked to the Carlton Hotel and told my wife that the President was in much worse shape than I had ever seen him before. He had seemed unnaturally quiet and even querulous - never before had I found myself in the strange position of carrying on most of the conversation with him; and, while he had perked up a little at lunch under the sparkling influence of his daughter Anna, I had come away from the White House profoundly depressed. I thought it was a blessing that he could get away for a while to Warm Springs, and I was sure the trip across the country to San Francisco would do him a lot of good. The thought never occurred to me that this time he might fail to rally as he always had. I couldn't believe it when somebody told me he was dead. Like everybody else, I listened and listened to the radio, waiting for the announcement - probably in his own gaily reassuring voice - that it had all been a big mistake, that the banking crisis and the war were over and everything was going to be "fine-grand perfectly bully." But when the realization finally did get through all I could think of was, "It finally crushed him. He couldn't stand up under it any longer." The "it" was the awful responsibility that had been piling up and piling tip for so many years. The fears and the hopes of hundreds of millions of human beings throughout the world had been hearing down on the mind of one man, until the pressure was more than mortal tissue could withstand, and then he said, "I have a terrific headache," and then lost consciousness, and died. "A massive cerebral hemorrhage," said the doctors - and "massive" was the right word.

The morning after Roosevelt's death Hopkins telephoned me from St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. He just wanted to talk to somebody. There was no sadness in his tone; he talked with a kind of exaltation as though he had suddenly experienced the intimations of immortality. He said, "You and I have got something great that we can take with us all the rest of our lives. But in the big things - all of the things that were of real, permanent importance - he never let the people down."


Harry Hopkins

The distinguished life and career of Harry Lloyd Hopkins in the first half of the 20th century lay at the core of major social changes that defined modern America in the latter 20th and early 21st centuries. Hopkins began his career as a 22-year-old social worker in the ghettos of New York. He eventually rose to a close working relationship with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt. Hopkins was the principal architect of FDR's New Deal and was the president's political "point man." In that role, Hopkins performed as liaison and negotiator between FDR, Britain's Winston Churchill and the Soviet Union's Joseph Stalin. Working with Eleanor Roosevelt, Hopkins hammered out the logistics and operations of New Deal programs conceived by the "Brain Trust" of academics and social policy experts. Hopkins was born on August 17, 1890 at Sioux City, Iowa, the fourth child of David and Anna (Pickett) Hopkins. He was reared in Grinnell, Iowa, and graduated from Grinnell College in 1912. He married Ethel Gross in October 1913, and the couple produced three sons. Grinnell was a prosperous, small prairie town with progressive religious values. The community economy was based upon agriculture and the citizenry were primarily Protestant. Indeed, Grinnell clergy, influenced by the Social Gospel Reform Movement, founded Grinnell College. Academic programs offered by the school also reflected those principals and values. Basically, those values held that every man is his brother's keeper. Soon after graduation from Grinnell College, Hopkins accepted employment at the Christadora House, an "Intentional Community" in New York City's Lower East Side ghetto. Soon, he accepted a position with the New York-based Association for Improving the Conditions of the Poor, (AICP). Starting in the position of "friendly visitor," Hopkins became the superintendent of the Employment Bureau for that agency. In 1915, New York Mayor John P. Mitchell appointed Hopkins to the position of secretary in the Bureau of Child Welfare. Around the time of America's entry into World War I (1917), Hopkins moved his family to New Orleans, where he worked as director of Civilian Relief, American Red Cross Gulf Division. He was appointed general manager in 1921. Hopkins facilitated the draft of a charter for the American Association of Social Workers (AASW), and was elected its president in 1923. Returning to New York City in 1922, Hopkins assumed the position of general director of the New York Tuberculosis Association (NYTA), and it grew enormously.

Soon noticed by then New York governor Franklin Roosevelt, Hopkins was asked to run the first state relief organization in the nation, the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration (TERA). By the time FDR gained the presidency in 1933, 25 percent of the American work force was unemployed, in spite of former President Hoover's eventual recognition of the depth of the continuing economic depression. Hopkins was recruited into FDR's Brain Trust, which included several of Hopkins’s Grinnell College alumni. Hopkins served as Secretary of Commerce from 1938 to 1940. With the national stage set for massive changes, the Brain Trust explored economic and social policies that would begin to stabilize the American economy. Taking America off the Gold Standard, creating the Emergency Banking Act/Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) are but two examples. They also created policies to provide direct aid to Americans through the new Federal Emergency Relief Administration, (FERA). Hopkins was the first chief of FERA. The FDR administration soon increased funds to FERA, and added additional programs to get people back to work and revitalize the American economy. Hopkins and the Brain Trust were criticized for excessive spending by conservative members of Congress, who claimed that the economy would sort itself out in the long run. To which Hopkins replied, "People don't eat in the long run, they eat every day." There were other sinister forces to the left of the Democratic Party that concerned FDR. Louisiana U.S. Senator and firebrand populist Huey P. Long believed FDR had not gone far enough to help America’s poor, and the Communist Party was gaining political ground at the time. Hopkins worked closely with the First Lady to promote and defend other relief agencies that include the Civil Works Administration (CWA), the Federal Surplus Relief Administration, (FSRA), the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Most of those programs existed to the end of their usefulness, some were challenged in court and eventually cancelled, but the TVA remains a powerful and accepted agency to this day. The National Labor Relations Act, (Wagner Act, 1935), which instituted collective bargaining in the workplace, and the creation of the Social Security Administration, were two of the most powerful and durable programs of the New Deal. While most of the work force existed in the East, most of the projects were in the West. Many of America's hospitals, municipal swimming pools, parks, highways, bridges, dams and unique structures, dating to those days, remain in use today. For example, the WPA's Federal Theater Project (Library of Congress) stands as a cultural monument the FERA and the CCC produced the Golden Gate Bridge, Bonneville Dam, Hoover Dam and thousands of other projects across the land. As FDR's point man or unofficial emissary, Winston Churchill held Hopkins in high esteem, once remarking, "He was the most faithful and perfect channel of communication between the president and me." And in reference to Hopkins' grasp and appreciaton of Europe’s struggles with Germany, Churchill said, "It was to be the defeat, ruin and slaughter of Hitler to the exclusion of all other purposes, loyalties, or aims." Such critiques of Roosevelt and Hopkins as the notorious book, Verona Secrets, paint Hopkins as a Russian spy. No such allegation has been substantiated or proven. Hopkins died in early 1946, succumbing to a long and debilitating illness.


Harry Hopkins, Soviet agent

As a law student in the late 1940s, I became fascinated with the revelations of Communist penetration of American society, including Soviet espionage against the U.S. government. The sworn testimony of former spy couriers Whittaker Chambers and Elizabeth Bentley made it plain at least to me that hundreds of highly placed American citizens had betrayed their country to advance the cause and ultimate victory of the Soviet Union.
That conviction, which was shared by millions of my fellow Americans, resulted in the ferocious controversy that divided the country for more than a decade after the end of World War II, as the Cold War began. As the situation escalated with the conviction of Alger Hiss, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, for perjury in denying that he had been a Soviet spy, the battle seemed to sway in our favor. But the liberals, dreading the charge that they had ignored the peril, counterattacked, turning Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy into an all-purpose villain who allegedly smeared innocent victims with groundless charges of communism or pro-communism, and gradually the tide turned. By the end of the 1950s the battle was over, and it seemed clear that the “anti-anti-communists” had won.
What no one but a few intelligence professionals knew was that in the early 1940s our government had recorded thousands of coded messages from Soviet agents in Washington and New York to their Moscow superiors, and in the ensuing years they had managed to decode many of them. These messages clearly demonstrated that our side in the great controversy was right. Alger Hiss had indeed been a Soviet spy, as charged. So had Julius Rosenberg and scores of others.
Yet for reasons still not explained, this enormously important information was withheld from the American public until a few short years ago, when Sen. Daniel Moynihan, New York Democrat, insisted that the damning documents be declassified. Under their code name, “The Venona Papers” are now available to everyone through the Library of Congress.
To read these dispatches from Moscow’s top spies is to glimpse the scope and success of their efforts, and the priceless help they received from hundreds of American traitors. As a guide to them, one cannot do better than to read “The Venona Secrets” (Regnery 2000), a new book by Herbert Romerstein and the late Eric Breindel.
Nearly 50 years have passed since this controversy was at a boil, and at least 60 since Soviet espionage was at its peak, so it is hardly surprising that there are many millions of Americans to whom even the name Alger Hiss is utterly meaningless. But there are still many people alive who can remember when the chief confidant of President Franklin Roosevelt was a man named Harry Hopkins. And they will be understandably astonished to learn that in a message dated May 29, 1943, Iskhak Akhmerov, the chief Soviet “illegal” agent in the United States at the time, referred to an Agent 19 who had reported on discussions between Roosevelt and Winston Churchill in Washington at which the agent had been present. Only Harry Hopkins meets the requirements for this agent’s identity. Small wonder that Akhmerov, in a lecture in Moscow in the early 1960s, identified Hopkins by name as “the most important of all Soviet wartime agents in the United States.”
It took 50 years to bludgeon Alger Hiss’ defenders into admitting that this suave bureaucrat, who rose to be chief of the State Department’s Office of Special Political Affairs, had actually been a Soviet agent all along. And it will probably take another 50 to force Franklin Roosevelt’s admirers to concede that their hero’s closest confidant and adviser was yet another Soviet agent.
But the documents and the testimony are now on the public record, and they make it plain that those of us who sounded the warning about Soviet espionage and policy subversion 50 years ago didn’t know the half of it.
“The Venona Secrets” contains much else that will shock those too young to remember these ancient battles. And for those of us who do remember, it is comforting evidence that the truth, however belatedly, has a way of coming out.

William Rusher is a distinguished fellow of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy.


Harry Hopkins and New Deal Policies

The cultural and political currents that shaped American society during the early decades of the twentieth century had a decided effect on the configuration of the American welfare system as it appeared in the 1930s. Social workers, politicians, and reformers carried those currents into the maelstrom of the Great Depression to influence New Deal policy. New York City took the lead in many of the movements that influenced the way Franklin Roosevelt’s administration addressed problems arising out of economic crises during the Great Depression–the city’s innovative approach to unemployment became a prototype for work relief programs the charities controversy conditioned much of the later policy surrounding public subsidies and child care the city’s widows’ pension program laid the foundation for the Aid Dependent Children (ADC) program. There were, of course, many social and political leaders from New York who brought their ideas and attitudes to Washington in 1933, including Frances Perkins, Homer Folks, and Jane Hoey. Harry Hopkins was unique among them because he seemed to combine all of the experiences that contributed to America’s emergent welfare system. His proposed job assurance program was neither ameliorative nor preventive. Rather, it was meant to place economic agency in the hand of the worker because Roosevelt’s federal relief administrator believed that relief did not improve status of the worker only the security of an assured wage could do this.

Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins wrote Harry Hopkins a letter in 1940 when she thought (incorrectly, it turned out) that he was leaving the administration, recalling “that evening in March 1933 when you and I and Bill Hodson argued out the urgency of the relief situation and devised ways and means of bringing it to the attention of the President… It was through your leadership the whole country, including the Government, discovered a new human area.” Perkins praised Hopkins’ creativity in constructing “a decent, reasonable relief system” that she predicted would give rise to real reforms in the future. Despite the efforts of some of the nation’s best leaders, this never happened.

Hopkins did not intend to construct a permanent relief system. He wanted to employ the temporarily unemployed. Moreover, for a time at least, Hopkins was successful in overcoming Americans’ traditional aversion to direct, public relief. In 1933 the federal government, for the first time, accepted responsibility for the welfare of the people. This was innovative. Only the severity of the economic crisis allowed Hopkins’ relief programs to be initiated. People were starving, and any program that would help them out of their misery, even the dole, would have their grateful support. Both Roosevelt and Hopkins believed that direct relief was inappropriate for most Americans. The able-bodied unemployed should be given the opportunity to earn wages that would provide security for the family and stimulate the economy through consumer spending. If all workers could be guaranteed a job, either through private enterprise or through government projects, the economic health of the nation would be assured.

Hopkins’ work programs became the centerpiece of his plan for economic security. He first expressed this preference for work over relief in 1915 when he helped administer the Bronx Zoo project, which can be seen as a pilot program for New Deal work relief. During the 1930s the government spent billions to provide jobs for America’s idle workforce through the FERA, CWA, and WPA as well as through Harold Ickes’ PWA. The WPA, the culmination of Roosevelt’s program to get workers back on the job and to stimulate the economy, did provide work for millions. Although the program had its critics, it was enormously popular. The significance of the WPA to the story of the development of America’s welfare system lies in the ideals that led to its creation and the compromises that it demanded.

Hopkins believed that the nature of America’s economic system inevitably would lead to “reservoirs of unemployed knocking on the gates of our factories” because cyclical unemployment would become a permanent feature of the industrial system. Thus it was up to the government to provide sufficient benefits for those unable to find employment in private industry. Those temporarily in need because of involuntary unemployment should no longer have to rely on private charity but should be provided for out of the national income. Yet what Hopkins had hoped would become the third instrument of government relief policy never materialized. His proposed work program did not become a permanent part of the 1935 legislation. Loyalty to President Roosevelt as well as a practical turn of mind convinced Hopkins to accept the WPA as a compromise. At a time when most people believed that the nation was on its way to economic recovery, Hopkins could not have been surprised that the administration hesitated to take such a radical step. Government jobs had a socialistic tinge, might compete unfairly with private business, and could prove to be outrageously expensive.

The 1935 Social Security Act thus led America on a different path to becoming a welfare state from what Hopkins had envisioned. Workers would be protected by federally-mandated, time-limited, and state-administered unemployment insurance and, when they retired, by old-age insurance. There would be no government-assured job when unemployment insurance ran out. Means-tested public assistance would help those whose poverty did not result from unemployment due to the economic crisis, mainly mothers with dependent children and the elderly. Hopkins recognized that poor children probably comprised the largest single group of needy. Furthermore, while the Social Security measures might well be extended to many poor children, many others would remain beyond help. Those children would be reliant on ADC, whose benefits, Hopkins knew, were “far too meager in many states.”

In 1935 relief became a state-level responsibility. When the Social Security Act passed, Hopkins declared: “We are going to quit Federal relief on November 1st.” He called upon the states to assume responsibility for those unable to work, insisting that they had the resources. “There is no state in the Union that hasn’t the power and wealth to take care of the unemployables if they want to. . . . And the Federal government isn’t leaving them high and dry.” However, Hopkins regarded federal monies for these programs and the federal mandate as a legitimizing element for this assistance, pointing out that the states received 50 percent of the cost of Old Age Assistance and one-third of the cost of ADC from the federal government. Thus, according to Hopkins’ plan, every family with an employable member would be supported by his or her earnings, and families with no employable member would be cared for by the state.

Hopkins never gave up his commitment to a permanent program of countercyclical government projects to absorb unemployed industrial workers. For him unemployment was no longer just a temporary effect of the Great Depression. It would always be a pressing social problem, the result of technological advances, of normal business cycles, or of the market economy. The Social Security Act, Hopkins declared, is only the beginning employment assurance must be added to public assistance and social insurance in order to complete the package. At the end of 1936, he wrote an article for the New Republic in which he stated: “If it becomes evident that private enterprise cannot make the most efficient use of all available manpower and all available resources, people will look to public services as a means of supplementing private employment.” The federal government, he wrote, should augment unemployment insurance with public works not only to employ idle workers but “also to release the productive energies of persons who would otherwise be unemployed.” He insisted that if industry was unable to employ enough workers, then it must be prepared to pay its share of the cost of employing workers on public projects as well as the cost of unemployment insurance. For years he had vigorously defended his program of government jobs for the able-bodied unemployed as the American way to welfare. Government work projects would stimulate the economy through public money, which would be spent for materials to support these projects and then respent by newly confident, wage-earning workers. Government jobs would prime the economic pump. And this, Hopkins declared, “is as American as corn on the cob.”

Hopkins knew what he was talking about, being from Iowa. The nature of the programs that he directed during the 1930s reflected much of his rural background and education as well as his early social work experiences. The commitment to public service, to democracy, and to capitalism that he took from his Grinnell experience never wavered. Neither did his belief that social justice was attainable. He rejected the formal religion of his mother and the religious impulse that had been so strong at Grinnell College and Christodora House for a more personal ethic. His moral standards simplified into a do-unto-others ideology and he discarded any notion that relief should be used as a lever for adjusting the behavior of its recipients. Practicality took root during Hopkins’ early career when he realized that he needed a platform of power from which to implement his ideas. His belief that prevention of poverty was just as important as amelioration but that the security of a job paying a living wage was more important than either remained with him throughout the New Deal years.

Hopkins’ administration of work-relief and widows’ pensions programs in New York City during the Progressive Era carried over into the New Deal with particular significance. Like many progressive reformers in the New Deal, he jockeyed for position within the Roosevelt administration in order to implement his policies and programs. However, unlike most, by 1935 Hopkins had an extremely close relationship with the president, which allowed him latitude and influence. Thus the programs he administered and the attitudes he imparted had an enormous impact on the nature of American social policy.

Harry Hopkins’ ideal welfare state has never been realized. He clearly recognized the shortcomings of the Social Security Act of 1935. Yet although the act did not include a permanent job assurance or a national health program, programs he had campaigned for, it still established federal responsibility for the welfare of Americans. For this reason, Hopkins felt the act was an important step along the American way to welfare.

A belief in the pauperizing effect of relief in any form and a tendency to judge relief recipients in moral instead of economic terms always has been an integral part of the national mind. This prevented America’s welfare system from maturing into its complete form, with a work-assurance component. Although Hopkins recognized this, he could not change it. Several months before his death in late January 1946, Harry Hopkins expressed his disdain of the paralyzing fear of doing harm by doing good. He challenged the fear that many of his critics expressed, the fear that if the government ensured its citizens of the opportunity to work, “it would destroy the incentive for hard work which is so characteristic of our American tradition.” Hopkins did not believe in moralizing he did not worry that people’s character would be destroyed if they got old-age benefits or government jobs. In a democracy, the government had a responsibility to ensure the welfare of its citizens. He argued that “full employment must and can be attained within the framework of our traditional democratic processes” and that it was “a contradiction in terms” to fight for democracy abroad while admitting “that the system may not be able and certainly should not attempt to assure every man able and willing to work a right to an opportunity to secure the reasonable necessities of life that make up what we know as the American standard of living.”

How to Cite this Article (APA Format): Hopkins, J. (2009). Harry Hopkins: Sudden hero, brash reformer. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan. Retrieved [date accessed] from /eras/harry-hopkins-influence-new-deal/.


A Soviet Agent? Harry Hopkins?

The former K.G.B. agent Oleg Gordievsky seems intent on making the same muddle of history that Kremlin planners have made of the economy. He has captured headlines by claiming that Harry L. Hopkins, Franklin D. Roosevelt's trusted friend and adviser, was an "agent of major significance" of the Soviet Union.

What is infuriating is how the West ern press is aiding Mr. Gordievsky's efforts to craft a best-seller. In the excerpts of his book, "KGB: The Inside Story," I have seen, he never calls Mr. Hopkins a spy. Yet headline writers do. The book says, "Hopkins was an American patriot with no admiration for either the principle or the practice of the Communist state." Absurdly, the author also says, "Hopkins had been an unconscious rather than a conscious agent."

What deeds did Mr. Hopkins commit that may, in the popular mind, attach the monicker "spy" to him? According to Mr. Gordievsky, who was in knickers when Mr. Hopkins died in 1946, the former social worker advocated positions favored by Moscow. Under this definition, King George VI and Ronald Reagan could be considered Soviet agents.

More specifically, Mr. Hopkins is accused of influencing the U.S. to accept Soviet control over Poland, the Baltic states and Romania. I hope Mr. Gordievsky provided more accurate information than this to British intelligence during the two decades he was allegedly a double agent.

As Mr. Gordievsky hits the book promotion trail, perhaps he can explain why he did not identify Winston Churchill as a Soviet agent. After all, Mr. Churchill entered into the highly secret, ill-advised "percentages" agreement with Stalin in October 1944, conceding major portions of Central and Eastern Europe to Soviet domination. Such cynical "spheres of influence" were anathema to Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Hopkins.

Mr. Hopkins refused to allow the White House to dispatch a cable to Mr. Churchill -- drafted by the Joint Chiefs and approved by the President -- out of fear that it might be construed as American approval for Churchill to enter into such arrangements with Stalin. In May 1945, Mr. Hopkins warned Stalin to his face that "the entire structure of world cooperation and relations with the Soviet Union would be destroyed" if he would not allow a free Poland to emerge from the ashes of war, as he had promised to do at Yalta.

Mr. Gordievsky indicts Mr. Hopkins for a post-Yalta euphoria. But as Sir John Martin, Mr. Churchill's principal private secretary, who was there told me, everyone, British and American alike, believed in the immediate aftermath of Yalta that they had just fashioned an enduring blueprint for peace and freedom. After five years of war, maybe they were entitled to a moment of euphoria.

Mr. Gordievsky is continuing the crusade started by Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin: half truths, innuendo, distortions, third-hand information -- all fused into a grand name-smearing indictment.

Like Senator McCarthy, if Mr. Gordievsky is to prosper he must make news. But the other revelations in his long-awaited book are rather thin gruel. He "solves" the insipid hunt for the so-called fifth man in the Kim Philby, Donald Maclean, Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt spy circle by offering up an individual who confessed to being a Soviet agent nearly 25 years ago. And his salutation to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg as "dedicated and courageous Soviet agents" merely echoes the more authoritative voice of Nikita S. Khruschev.

Gen. George C. Marshall predicted that Mr. Hopkins's enormous contributions to his country would never be appreciated. But then, as that renowned savant Senator McCarthy warned us, General Marshall was always in Stalin's hip pocket.


Book Review: Wartime Missions of Harry L. Hopkins (Matthew B. Wills) : WW2

The lengthy travels of Harry L. Hopkins, FDR’s trusted lieutenant, did much to foster cooperation among the Allies.

Politically, he was not the most popular of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s lieutenants. But historically, Harry L. Hopkins played a crucial role for the Allies in World War II. Indeed, he was vital to FDR’s success. He lived at the White House for 3 1/2 wartime years, but he held no military rank or cabinet post, not even an ambassadorship. At age 50, his stomach shrunken by cancer sur-gery, he was an unlikely warrior. Long before America officially entered World War II after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and long before Hopkins embarked on his exhausting, high-risk wartime missions, FDR told others, “The doctors have given Harry up for dead.” And yet, Hopkins somehow survived the four war years still to come–he even outlived Roosevelt, albeit by less than a year.

Hopkins’ role during World War II and his service to FDR are revealed in incisive book by Colorado attorney Matthew B. Wills, Wartime Missions of Harry L. Hopkins (Pentland Press, Raleigh, N.C., 1996, $17.95). Wills reminds us of this New Deal bureaucrat’s remarkable travels that took him to No. 10 Downing Street and the Kremlin as President Roosevelt’s personal emissary to Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin.

Hopkins first met “Former Naval Person” Churchill when he spent the better part of a month visiting at various British venues with him, as Wills notes in considerable yet fascinating detail. That trip took place in early 1941, when the Roosevelt administration unofficially was doing its best to shore up the sagging British against the Nazi behemoth that was chewing up Western Europe.

Hopkins then traveled east shortly after Germany’s invasion of its own ally, the Soviet Union, in late June 1941. The trip required a two-stage journey. On the first leg Hopkins crossed the Atlantic from Washington, D.C., to England, then he endured a dangerous 2,000-mile, flight from the British Isles to Archangel󈞀 hours nonstop aboard a lumbering American-made Consolidated PBY Catalina. “The responsibility for getting Hopkins to Russia fell squarely on the shoulders of 28-year-old Flight Lieutenant David McKinley,” writes author Wills. “Although McKinley had experience with long range patrols over the North Atlantic, he had never flown around the North Cape of Norway to Archangel.”

Hopkins’ greatest risk during the flight was from attack by German fighters based in occupied Norway, notes Wills. Determined to include as much fresh detail as possible in his book, Wills got in touch with retired Air Vice Marshal McKinley, now living in the Channel Islands, to obtain a firsthand account of that flight. McKinley recalled: “I was attacked many times by German and Italian fighters in the Mediterranean and each time I dived to sea level where the fighters seemed unable to pull out and so plunged into the water. I would have tried like tactics had I been attacked on the Archangel route.”

Fortunately, they were not attacked on the way to Archangel, but Hopkins, already exhausted, still had to face the four-hour flight from Archangel to Moscow. He had gotten only two hours of sleep–and eaten a sumptuous, vodka-laced dinner aboard a Soviet admiral’s yacht.

This taxing trip brought Hopkins to his first meeting with Soviet dictator Josef Stalin (known as “Uncle Joe” during those wartime years). The exhausted traveler extended FDR’s promise of materiel help for the staggering Soviets, and Stalin furnish-ed a monstrous list of Soviet war needs and also made various claims and assurances that later turned out to be not entirely truthful.

That would not be Hopkins’ only encounter with Stalin, as Wills relates, often including more personal detail supplied by the players themselves (or by intimates such as family members). Hopkins and Stalin would meet again at the international Allied conferences at Yalta and then when Hopkins accompanied FDR’s successor, Harry S. Truman, to Potsdam.

As is well known, it was never easy to deal with Stalin. To make matters more difficult, by the time of Yalta and Potsdam, Stalin clearly had his eye on the subjugation of Central Europe in the postwar world. Ever since Yalta, critics have accused FDR and Hopkins of caving in to Stalin’s demands. They claim that Stalin’s motives should have been no surprise, since the Allies knew that the Soviets had joined Nazi Germany in the rape of Poland at the war’s outset.

Wills also turns his detail-focused eye upon another major conference of World War II, one often forgotten today–the crucial meeting in London during the summer of 1942, when the American military chiefs and their British counterparts (with Hopkins again representing FDR) assembled to iron out conflicting grand strategies for defeating Nazi Germany in Africa, Europe and the Soviet Union. The most urgent question was when and where to go on the offensive and assault the formidable Nazi redoubt. That summertime conference resulted in the decisions to invade North Africa that fall and to postpone any cross-Channel assault on occupied France until the Allies were strong enough to land and stay, as they did at Normandy two years later.

Hopkins was presented the Distinguished Service Medal in September 1945, just days after the official surrender of the Japanese aboard USS Missouri. Hopkins’ citation said: “At major conferences of world powers he threw his every effort toward the speedy solution of weighty problems. With deep appreciation of the armed forces’ needs and broad understanding of the commander-in-chief’s overall policy, with exceptional ability to weld our Allies to the common purpose of victory over aggression, Mr. Hopkins made a selfless, courageous and objective contribution to the war effort.”

Wartime Missions–an eminently readable 73-page volume that includes notes, a bibliography, historical photos and an index–features a foreword written by Robert Hopkins, Harry’s son. Robert Hopkins capsulizes this dedicated World War II warrior’s prewar career as a New Deal ally and political lieutenant to the man–the other man–in the White House.


The Significance of New Deal Architect Harry Hopkins

Harry Lloyd Hopkins (August 17, 1890 – January 29, 1946) was an American social worker, the 8th Secretary of Commerce, and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt‘s closest advisor on foreign policy during World War II. He was one of the architects of the New Deal, especially the relief programs of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which he directed and built into the largest employer in the country. In World War II, he was Roosevelt’s chief diplomatic troubleshooter and liaison with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. He supervised the $50 billion Lend-Lease program of military aid to the Allies.

Harry Hopkins’ Significance

At the Yalta conference of February 1945, the second meeting of the Big Three, Stalin got practically everything he wanted, including a free hand in Eastern Europe. Yet Harry Hopkins, FDR’s close aide, told the president, “The Russians have given us so much at this conference that I don’t think we should let them down.” What the Russians had granted was their willingness for the Soviet Union to have three votes in the proposed United Nations instead of the sixteen that they had originally demanded. (How generous.) Stalin had been somewhat forthcoming on the issue of the United Nations since he could see the importance that FDR attached to it, and realized that he was likelier to win concessions for himself on other issues if he made conciliatory gestures on this one, which he considered of relatively little significance.


Harry Lloyd Hopkins

Harry Lloyd Hopkins (August 17, 1890 – January 29, 1946) was one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's closest advisers. He was one of the architects of the New Deal, especially the relief programs of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which he directed and built into the largest employer in the country. In World War II he was Roosevelt's chief diplomatic advisor and troubleshooter and was a key policy maker in the $50 billion Lend Lease program that sent aid to the allies.

Harry Hopkins was born at 512 Tenth Street in Sioux City, Iowa, the fourth child of four sons and one daughter of David Aldona and Anna (nພ Pickett) Hopkins. His father, born in Bangor, Maine, ran a harness shop, after an erratic career as a salesman, prospector, storekeeper and bowling-alley operator but his real passion was bowling, and he eventually returned to it as a business. Anna Hopkins, born in Hamilton, Ontario, had moved at an early age to Vermillion, South Dakota, where she married David. She was deeply religious and active in the affairs of the Methodist church. Shortly after Harry was born, the family moved successively to Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Kearney and Hastings, Nebraska. They spent two years in Chicago, and finally settled in Grinnell, Iowa.

Hopkins attended Grinnell College and soon after his graduation in 1912 took a job with Christodora House, a social settlement in New York City's Lower East Side ghetto. In the spring of 1913 he accepted a position from John A. Kingsbury of the New York Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor (AICP) as "friendly visitor" and superintendent of the Employment Bureau within the AICP's Department of Family Welfare. During the 1915 recession, Hopkins and the AICP's William Matthews, with $5,000 from Elizabeth Milbank Anderson's Milbank Memorial Fund, organized the Bronx Park Employment program, one of the first public employment programs in the U.S.

Social and public health work

In 1915, New York City Mayor John Purroy Mitchel appointed Hopkins executive secretary of the Bureau of Child Welfare which administered pensions to mothers with dependent children.

Hopkins at first opposed America's entrance into World War I, but when war was declared in 1917 he supported it enthusiastically. He was rejected for the draft because of a bad eye. Hopkins moved to New Orleans where he worked for the American Red Cross as director of Civilian Relief, Gulf Division. Eventually, the Gulf Division of the Red Cross merged with the Southwestern Division and Hopkins, headquartered now in Atlanta, was appointed general manager in 1921. Hopkins helped draft a charter for the American Association of Social Workers (AASW) and was elected its president in 1923.

In 1922, Hopkins returned to New York City where the AICP was involved with the Milbank Memorial Fund and the State Charities Aid Association in running three health demonstrations in New York State. Hopkins became manager of the Bellevue-Yorkville health project and assistant director of the AICP. In mid-1924 he became executive director of the New York Tuberculosis Association. During his tenure, the agency grew enormously and absorbed the New York Heart Association.

In 1931, New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt named R. H. Macy's department store president Jesse Straus as president of the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration (TERA). Straus named Hopkins, then unknown to Roosevelt, as TERA's executive director. His efficient administration of the initial $20 million outlay to the agency gained Roosevelt's attention, and in 1932, he promoted Hopkins to the presidency of the agency. Hopkins and Eleanor Roosevelt began a long friendship, which strengthened his role in relief programs.

In March 1933, Roosevelt summoned Hopkins to Washington as federal relief administrator. Convinced that paid work was psychologically more valuable than cash handouts (the "dole"), Hopkins sought to continue and expand New York State's work-relief programs, the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration. He supervised the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), the Civil Works Administration (CWA), and the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Over 90% of the people employed by the Hopkins programs were unemployed or on relief. He feuded with Harold Ickes, who ran a rival program—the Public Works Administration—which also created jobs but did not require applicants to be unemployed or on relief.

FERA, the largest program from 1933 to 1935, involved giving money to localities to operate work relief projects to employ those on direct relief. CWA was similar, but did not require workers to be on relief in order to receive a government sponsored job. In less than four months, the CWA hired four million people, and during its five months of operation, the CWA built and repaired 200 swimming pools, 3,700 playgrounds, 40,000 schools, 250,000 miles (400,000 km) of road, and 12 million feet of sewer pipe.

The WPA, which followed the CWA, employed 8.5 million people in its seven-year history, working on 1.4 million projects, including the building or repair of 103 golf courses, 1,000 airports, 2,500 hospitals, 2,500 sports stadiums, 3,900 schools, 8,192 parks, 12,800 playgrounds, 124,031 bridges, 125,110 public buildings, and 651,087 miles (1,047,823 km) of highways and roads. The WPA operated on its own, and on selected projects in cooperation with local and state governments, but always with its own staff and budget. Hopkins started programs for youth (National Youth Administration) and for artists and writers (Federal One Programs). He and Eleanor Roosevelt worked together to publicize and defend New Deal relief programs. He was concerned with rural areas but increasingly focused on cities in the Great Depression.

During the war years, Hopkins acted as Roosevelt's unofficial emissary to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Roosevelt dispatched Hopkins to assess Britain's determination and situation. Churchill escorted Hopkins all over the United Kingdom, and converted him to the British cause. At a small dinner party before he returned, Hopkins rose to propose a toast. "I suppose you wish to know what I am going to say to President Roosevelt on my return. Well I am going to quote to you one verse from the Book of Books . "Whither thou goest, I will go and where thou lodgest I will lodge, thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God." Hopkins became the administrator of Lend Lease.

Hopkins had a major voice in policy for the vast $50 billion Lend Lease program, especially regarding supplies, first for Britain and then (upon the German invasion) the USSR. He went to Moscow in July 1941 to make personal contact with Joseph Stalin. Hopkins recommended, and the president accepted, the inclusion of the Soviets in Lend Lease. He then accompanied Churchill to the Atlantic Conference. Hopkins promoted an aggressive war against Germany and successfully urged Roosevelt to use the Navy to protect convoys before the U.S. entered the war in December 1941. Roosevelt brought him along as advisor to his meetings with Churchill at Cairo, Tehran, Casablanca in 1942-43, and Yalta in 1945. He was a firm supporter of China, which received Lend Lease aid for its military and air force. Hopkins wielded more diplomatic power than the entire State Department. Hopkins helped identify and sponsor numerous potential leaders, including Dwight D. Eisenhower. He continued to live in the White House and saw the president more often than any other advisor.

Although Hopkins' health was steadily declining, Roosevelt sent him on additional trips to Europe in 1945 he attended the Yalta Conference in February 1945. He tried to resign after Roosevelt died, but President Harry S. Truman sent him on one more mission to Moscow. American Ambassador to Moscow Averell Harriman reported to a class at George Washington University in the Fall of 1992 that it was in 1945 that he observed how Stalin once abruptly terminated a conversation and proceeded to cross the span of the a large hall at the Kremlin to personally greet Hopkins as he and Harriman entered. Harriman indicated that this was considered by all those present to be an strong indication of the Soviet view of the respect that the Soviets had for Hopkins personally, that such a breech of protocol was signaling a great honor.

Hopkins had 3 sons who served in the armed forces during the war, Robert, David and Stephen. Stephen was killed in action serving in the United States Marine Corps, during the landing on Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Theater.

Hopkins was the top American official charged with dealing with Soviet officials during World War II and spoke with many Russians, from middle ranks to the very highest. He often explained to Stalin and other top Soviets what Roosevelt was planning, in order to enlist Soviet support for American objectives. As a major decision maker in Lend Lease, he expedited the sending of material to the Soviet Union, as Congress had ordered, in order to end the war as quickly as possible. This included accepted shipments of uranium and offered shipments of "ferro-uranium from Latrobe". George Racey Jordan, a lend-lease major in the Air Force, accused Hopkins of passing nuclear weapons plans to the USSR, but a congressional committee stated the charges were dubious.

It is likely that Soviets who spoke to Hopkins would have been routinely required to report the contact to the NKVD, the Soviet national security agency. Mark (1998) says that some Soviets such as master-spy Iskhak Akhmerov thought he was pro-Soviet while others thought he was not. Verne W. Newton, author of FDR and the Holocaust, said that no writer discussing Hopkins has identified any secrets disclosed, or any decision in which he distorted American priorities in order to help Communism. As Mark demonstrates, Hopkins was not in fact pro-Soviet in his recommendations to FDR, he was anti-German and pro-U.S. Any "secrets" disclosed were authorized. Mark says that at this time any actions were taken specifically in order to help the American war effort and prevent the Soviets from making a deal with Hitler.

Hopkins died in New York City in January 1946, succumbing to a long and debilitating battle with stomach cancer. His body was cremated and the ashes interred in his old hometown of Grinnell, Iowa.

There is a house on the Grinnell College campus named after him.

Presidential Cabinet Secretary. He served as United States Secretary of Commerce from 1938 to 1940 during the Second Administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.


Accuracy in Media

A new book titled The Sword and the Shield has attracted considerable media attention, because it is based on copies of KGB documents that were smuggled out of the Soviet Union six years ago. Vasily Mitrokhin a KGB archivist had painstakingly copied KGB files for many years. He had kept his copies hidden under the floor of his country house until 1992, when British intelligence managed to get both him and his six trunks of copied documents out of Russia. Christopher Andrew, a Cambridge don, has now published a book based on them.

The New York Times, The Washington Post, 60 Minutes and Nightline have all done substantial stories about the revelations Christopher Andrew has plucked from Mitrokhin?s archive. They have exposed an 87-year-old English grandmother who fed atomic secrets to the Soviets beginning during World War II and who has never been prosecuted. They have told about Soviet plans to sabotage our electric power facilities and oil pipelines in the event of war. They have told about a Soviet effort to blame the spread of the AIDS virus on the U.S. military, disinformation that Accuracy in Media exposed 12 years ago when Dan Rather put it out on the CBS Evening News.

But they have all overlooked the biggest news in the Andrew book? New evidence that proves that Harry Hopkins, the closest and most influential adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II, was a Soviet agent. Andrew had reported this in a book he had written in 1990 based on information provided by Oleg Gordievsky, a high-level KGB officer who had also been smuggled out of the Soviet Union by British intelligence. Gordievsky reported that Iskhak Ahkmerov, the KGB officer who controlled the illegal Soviet agents in the U.S. during the war, had said that Hopkins was “the most important of all Soviet wartime agents in the United States.”

Hopkins secret meetings with Ahkmerov were not known to anyone until Gordievsky revealed them. They began before Hopkins made a trip to Moscow in July 1941, a month after the Germans invaded the Soviet Union. His insistence that aid be extended to Stalin with no strings attached justifies Ahkmerov?s evaluation of his performance. There is evidence that Hopkins even went so far as to arrange for the shipment of uranium to the Soviet Union to help them develop the atomic bomb. Despite this, Andrew argued that Harry Hopkins was “an unconscious rather than a conscious agent.”

Mitrokhin?s documents showed that Hopkins had warned the Soviet ambassador that the FBI had learned through a bug it had placed in the home of Steve Nelson, a Soviet illegal agent, that Nelson was getting money from the embassy. He met Ahkmerov from time to time, giving him information to send to Moscow and receiving secret messages from Stalin.

Andrew tries to put an innocent face on this, saying Hopkins was using Ahkmerov as a “back channel” to communicate with Moscow. Ray Wannall, former FBI assistant director for counter-intelligence, says he always suspected that Hopkins was a Soviet agent and that this is proof of his treachery.

Reed Irvine and Cliff Kincaid

Ready to fight back against media bias?
Join us by donating to AIM today.


Personal

In 1913, Harry Hopkins married Ethel Gross. They had three sons and then divorced in 1929. He married his second wife, Barbara Duncan in 1931, but she died in 1937. They had a daughter. His third marriage was to Louise Gill Macy in 1942.

In 1939, Harry Hopkins was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He lived until 29th January 1946, and even though several years had passed, it is believed he died from the complications of the stomach cancer.


Watch the video: David Roll - The Hopkins Touch