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Henry A. Wallace

Henry A. Wallace
Henry wallace.jpg
33rd Vice-President of the United States
Term of office
January 20, 1941 - January 20, 1945
Political party Democrat
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Preceded by John N. Garner
Succeeded by Harry S. Truman
Born October 7, 1888
Orient, Iowa
Died November 18, 1965
Danbury, Connecticut
Spouse Ilo Browne

Henry Agard Wallace (1888 - 1965) was a farm leader, agriculture secretary (1933–40) Democrat politician, and Vice President under Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1941–1945. A sympathizer of the Communist Soviet Union, Wallace was replaced as VP by the dying President Roosevelt, a Freemason, with fellow Freemason Harry Truman. Wallace then became Secretary of Commerce, but opposed then-President Truman on the Cold War, arguing for friendship with the Soviet Union. He was fired in 1946 by Truman for giving a pro-Soviet Union speech, and then ran as the Communist-supported Progressive Party candidate against Truman for President in 1948. The CPUSA took control of Wallace's campaign and he won few votes. By 1952 Wallace publicly repudiated Communism and even voted Republican, which caused the Left to ignore him in history books. Wallace returned to business, where his hybrid corn business was a huge financial success. Though a major New Deal spokesman and liberal leader in 1933–48, but gets no credit from liberals today.


During his political career Henry Wallace "advocated unilateral disarmament, the immediate end of the draft, and the end of the Marshall Plan (and of any assistance against Communist subversion anywhere), and declined to repudiate the endorsement he received from the American Communist party."[1]

Early life

Wallace was born in 1888 on an Iowa farm. He graduated from Iowa State Agricultural College in 1910 with a B.S. degree in animal husbandry in 1910 and worked on the staff of the nation's leading farm magazine, Wallace's Farmer, which had been founded by his grandfather. He was close to his grandfather, "Uncle Henry" Wallace, who taught the youth the superior virtue of agricultural civilization, the fundamental wisdom of Christian morality as a guide for daily living, the inherent good sense and dignity of common folk, and the need for cooperation and understanding among all peoples. Early in Henry's life, the Wallace family were good friends with George Washington Carver, and Carver made a profound impact on young Henry's views regarding agronomy.[2][3]

Working independently Wallace made some major contributions to statistics and agronomy, including an innovative use of multiple correlations correlations explaining levels for hogs. He experimented with various strains of corn and produced the first hybrid corn suitable for commercial use. In 1926, Wallace established the Hi-Bred Corn Company, which pioneered an important new industry and in time provided him with substantial financial returns.

His father Henry C. Wallace, a Republican, went to Washington in 1921 as Secretary of Agriculture and Henry became editor of Wallace's Farmer. He remained editor until 1931 and was one of the major intellectual figures in agriculture in the 1920s.

Department of Agriculture

In 1933 he was made Secretary of Agriculture by Roosevelt. He was a registered Republican at the time. Leftist intellectual Rexford Guy Tugwell took the #2 role as Assistant Secretary of Agriculture.

When Congress formed the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) in the early days of Roosevelt's New Deal, it became the main vehicle for ending the depression in farming. In the Department in his first big battle he took sides with the "agrarians" such as Chester Davis against the far-Left, led by Jerome Frank, Gardner Jackson, Lee Pressman and Rex Tugwell. The radicals were purged, with Tugwell moved to a new division.

War cabinet

As Vice President, Wallace chaired the Board of Economic Warfare (BEW) as a member of FDR's secret "war cabinet".

At President Roosevelt's request, Owen Lattimore and John Carter Vincent of the Institute of Pacific Relations (IPR) accompanied Wallace on a mission to China in 1944, for the US Office of War Information.[4] During this visit, which overlapped the D-Day landings, Wallace and his delegation stopped over in Siberia and were given a tour of the Magadan concentration camp at Kolyma. In a travelogue for National Geographic, Lattimore described this Siberian gulag as a combination of the Hudson's Bay Company and the TVA, gushing about how strong and well-fed the inmates were and ascribing to camp commandant Feliks Nikishov “a trained and sensitive interest in art and music and also a deep sense of civic responsibility.”[5] Nobel Laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote in The Gulag Archipelago that the entire city of Magadan was solely founded as a Soviet Gulag, and would never have come into existence for any other reason than as a Communist slave camp for the undesirables of Soviet society.[6] Commentator Cal Thomas wrote in 2007,

"While many Westerners recall Nazi-run death camps like Auschwitz and Buchenwald, few remember Soviet death camps named Kolyma and Magadan. True, Alexander Solzhenitsyn mentioned them in "The Gulag Archipelago" as did Varlam Sjalamov in "Tales from Kolyma," but as the late Swedish journalist Andres Kung wrote, "There are people who have still not heard of these communist extermination camps -- even though the communists preceded the Nazis in creating such camps and killed an even larger number of people in their camps."[7]

Upon his return from the Siberian journey Wallace was hailed by the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), Office of War Information, the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship, the American Slav Congress, and other Communist Front organizations as a world figure of the century of the common man.

In the second half of 1944, the Institute of Pacific Relations published a fifty-six-page pamphlet, Our Job in Asia, which was allegedly written by Wallace. The author says, "The Russians have demonstrated their friendly attitude toward China by their willingness to refrain from intervening in China's internal affairs." [8][9]

Wallace, as Vice President, spoke about encouraging a people's revolution in Europe to advance the cause of the common man.

Someone observed, he set himself up "as the conscience of the world." Roosevelt critic John T. Flynn characterized Wallace by saying, "Wallace was indeed as odd a bird as had ever perched upon a cabinet post...There was a good deal of the element of stage comedy in him - wide, queer streaks in his make-up that would excite laughter in the theater but which do not originate in any merry or comic sense in his own character and which cannot by any stretch of the imagination be regarded as funny against the dark background of the events of the time." [10]

Mystical beliefs

Wallace was interested in mysticism,[11] and joined Madame Blavatsky's Theosophical Society on June 6, 1925.[12] Blavatsky was also a major influence on Heinrich Himmler and Rudolf Hess at this time, among several other prominent early Nazis. His early life was in the Presbyterian Church, at college he became skeptical for a brief interval, but turned again to what he called "the necessity of believing in God, imminent as well as transcendental." He began attending the Roman Catholic Church, but later switched to the High Episcopal Church.

Several journalists have written about him say that he had probed into Buddhism, Confucianism and other mysteries and beliefs of the Orient, and that he studied astrology and knew how horoscopes were drawn.

Wallace told the Federal Council of Churches on December 7, 1933 that the times would have to get more difficult in order to soften the hearts of the people and move them "sufficiently so they will be willing to join together in the modern adaptation of the theocracy of old." Christian morality and the Social Gospel formed the fundamental inspiration behind his speeches.[13]

Some time in the twenties, Nicholas Constantin Roerich appeared as a highly self advertised great philosopher with a collection of admirers and disciples who addressed him as their "Guru." Roerich dispensed a philosophy of occult teachings that certain superior beings are commissioned to guide the affairs of humanity. He founded the Roerich Museum at Niagara, India and was the founder of the Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace, signed by 22 countries in 1935. This ceremony took place in the White House. Wallace arranged for the presentation and was named the American plenipotentiary to sign the pact. At the ceremony Wallace said: "I am deeply grateful to have been named by President Roosevelt to sign for the United States this important document in which I have been interested for many years and which I regard as an inevitable step in international relations. The Roerich Pact which forms this treaty provides that all museums, cathedrals, universities and libraries be registered by the nations and marked by a banner - known as the Banner of Peace - which designates them as neutral territory respected by all signatory nations." And on this occasion Wallace described Roerich as "a great versatile genius" and "one of the greatest figures and true leaders of contemporary culture."

A wealthy broker named Louis L. Horch raised money, putting up much of it himself, to erect a building in New York City, called the Roerich Museum. Pulitzer Prize journalist Westbrook Pegler brought much of this material to light. Roerich was a prolific painter and the first floor of the museum was used for the exhibition of his canvases. The remaining stories of the building served as apartments and offices for the elect. Roerich's pictures were believed to possess a peculiar power over the minds of those who sat quietly before them and contemplated them. Many disciples visited the building and did so, in search of "world awareness."

Horch put $1,100,000 into the Roerich program. Horch was appointed to the Agriculture Department as the senior marketing specialist of the Surplus Commodity Corporation which was directed by Milo Perkins.

Roerich decided that he wished to lead an expedition into Asia. Horch says that he expected to set up a new state in Siberia of which he would be the head. To make this possible, Wallace commissioned Roerich to go to China to collect wild grass seed. But stories in English language newspapers in China indicated Roerich applied to the 15th U.S. Infantry in Tientsin for rifles and ammunition.

Wallace apparently fired Roerich while he was in Asia. Subsequently, Horch filed suit to recover his investment of $1,100,000 and got possession of the Museum building. In 1942 Horch was transferred from the Department of Agriculture to the Board of Economic Warfare of which Wallace was the head and Milo Perkins executive director. When Wallace became Secretary of Commerce he made Horch chief of the supply division in the New York office of the Foreign Economic Administration.

Dear Guru letters

Just prior to the 1940 election Republican leaders received a batch of letters in handwriting on Department of Agriculture stationery written to Roerich. Having proved the authenticity of Wallace being the author through expert handwriting examination, they considered making them public. Harry Hopkins, then managing the Roosevelt/Wallace campaign, went to Wendell Willkie, the GOP candidate, and told him that if the Wallace correspondence became public, then so would embarrassing information about Willkie's adulterous private life.

In the letters, Wallace addressed Roerich as "My Dear Guru." Roosevelt was referred to as "The Flaming One," Winston Churchill as "The Roaring Lion," Secretary of State Cordell Hull as "The Sour One," and Russia as "The Tiger." One sentence gives a taste of Wallace's prose: "Yes, the search, whether it be for the lost world of Masonry or the Holy Chalice or the potentialities of the age to come is the one supremely worthwhile in objective. All else is Karmic duty. Here is life." [14]

The letters contained such insights as "May the Light of Northern Shamballa lead you and the Guru and the true expedition toward the eternal glory of the New Age. May strength, power and righteousness surround you. I have no definite cause for worry but certain extraordinary warnings are manifest." In another letter, Wallace referred to some disciple of Roerich and said, "I have as you know an enormous respect for F whose whole being has been centered to serve the Masters. That also is the center of my being..." Worry about these letters and Wallace's erratic behavior led to the decision to replace him as Vice President with Harry Truman on the 1944 ticket.[15]

1948 Presidential bid

Wallace with egg on his shirt

He ran as the Progressive Party nominee in the presidential election of 1948, but lost to Harry Truman. Far-Left elements and the Communist Party USA took control of most of his campaign. Throughout its existence until 1986, The Communist Party USA was under the direct control of the Soviet Politburo and Kremlin. Former New Deal economist and Soviet spy Harry Magdoff was an advisor and speechwriter during Wallace's 1948 unsuccessful bid.

At a campaign stops in Greensboro as well as Burlington, North Carolina, Wallace was pelted with eggs and tomatoes. Wallace rushed into the crowd at one of the stops and grabbed a man.[16][17]

Subversion in government investigation

In 1944 the Institute of Pacific Relations, according to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, "disseminated and sought to popularize false information including information originating from Soviet and Communist sources," [18] published a fifty-six-page pamphlet, Our Job in Asia, which was allegedly written by Vice-President Wallace. "The Russians," the author of the pamphlet claimed, "have demonstrated their friendly attitude toward China by their willingness to refrain from intervening in China's internal affairs." Some years later—after the collapse of the American allied Kuomintang government to the Comintern sponsored Maoist regime and in the midst of the Korean War which cost 53,000 American lives, on October 17, 1951, Wallace testified before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee. Wallace admitted: "It begins to look, for the time being at any rate, that my size-up as made in 1944 was incorrect."[19] Wallace further admitted under oath that most of a book entitled Soviet Asia Mission written under his name detailing his official trip to Soviet Siberia and China in 1944 had actually been written by Andrew J. Steiger, a person identified under oath as a member of the Communist Party USA. The CPUSA at that time advocated the violent overthrow of the United States Constitution. To Joseph Fels Barnes, Owen Lattimore, and Harriet Lucy Moore, all of whom had been named under oath as CPUSA members, Wallace expressed his gratitude for their "invaluable assistance in preparing the manuscript." [20]

Later career and death

Following the 1948 Presidential campaign, Wallace resumed his farming interests and resided in South Salem, New York. During this period, Wallace made a number of advances in agricultural knowledge, including a breed of chicken that at one point accounted for the overwhelming majority of all egg-laying chickens sold across the globe. The USDA Beltsville Agricultural Research Center is named for him.

In 1950, Wallace supported the United States' involvement in the Korean War. In 1952, Wallace published Where I Was Wrong which stated that his prior support of Stalin was based on not realizing the acts that Stalin had taken against the citizens of Russia, so the book took an anti-Communist view. He also supported the re-election of Republican Dwight Eisenhower in 1956.

Wallace experienced the onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 1964. He died in Danbury, Connecticut, on November 18, 1965.

Further reading

  • Culver, John C. and John Hyde. American Dreamer: A Life of Henry A. Wallace (2001) excerpt and text search, liberal biography
  • Markowitz, Norman D. The Rise and Fall of the People's Century (1973), favorable
  • Pietrusza, David 1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year that Changed America (2011)
  • Schapsmeier, Edward L. and Frederick H. Schapsmeier. Henry A. Wallace of Iowa (1968) and Prophet in Politics (1970), standard biography; written by two conservative scholars
  • Schmidt, Karl M. Henry A. Wallace: Quixotic Crusade, 1948 (1960)
  • Walker, J. Samuel Henry A. Wallace and American Foreign Policy (1976), critical
  • Walton, Richard J. Henry Wallace, Harry Truman and the Cold War (1976).
  • Yarnell, Allen Democrats and Progressives (1974).

Primary sources

  • Wallace, Henry. The Price of Vision, ed. by John Morton Blum (1973). Diaries from 1940s.


  2. The Seven Decisions: Understanding the Keys to Personal Success, Andy Andrews
  3. Century's Ebb: The Thirteenth Chronicle
  4. Yalta Betrayal, Wittmer, 1953, pg. 58. Retrieved from of Czechoslovakia 05/08/07.
  5. Paul Johnson, The Survival of the Adversary Culture (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1988) ISBN 1560005548, p. 180
  6. Islands of Slavery,, Time magazine, June 24, 1974.
  7. Monument to murder, By Cal Thomas, Washington Times, June 13, 2007.
  8. US Senate, 82nd Congress, 2nd Session, Committee on the Judiciary, Institute of Pacific Relations, Report No. 2050, p. 223.
  9. US Senate, 82nd Congress, 1st Session, Committee on the Judiciary, Institute of Pacific Relations, Part V, pp. 1302, 1206.
  10. The Roosevelt Myth, John T. Flynn, Fox and Wilkes, 1948, Book 2, Chapter 10, Henry Wallace.
  11. Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America: African diaspora traditions and other American innovations
  12. Theosophy on War and Peace
  13. Henry Agard Wallace, 33rd Vice President (1941-1945)
  14. The Wallace case - 50th anniversary of Democratic Party's Jul 21, 1944 selection of Harry S. Truman to replace Henry Wallace as Franklin Roosevelt's running mate, by Arnold Beichman, National Review, August 1, 1994.
  15. From Henry Wallace to William Ayers, Communists and the Progressive Movement, Herbert Romerstein, pp. 10-11.
  16. Burlington, N.C., finally losing his temper at a barrage of eggs and tomatoes hurled when he appeared here, Henry Wallace rushes into crowd grabbing a middle-aged man by the arms, shaking him bodily
  18. US Senate, 82nd Congress, 2nd Session, Committee on the Judiciary, Institute of Pacific Relations, Report No. 2050, p. 223.
  19. US Senate, 82nd Congress, 1st Session, Committee on the Judiciary, Institute of Pacific Relations, Part V, pp. 1302, 1206.
  20. The Yalta Betrayal, Felix Wittmer, Caxton Printers, 1953, pg. 59.