Alger Hiss Trial

Alger Hiss

Alger Hiss was born in Baltimore on November 11th, 1904. He attended John Hopkins University and Harvard Law School . He later became the president of the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace. During 1948, Hiss decided to go in front of the HUAC after being accused of being Communist by the editor of Time Magazine, Whittaker Chambers. But Chambers then stated that Hiss was not a communist, but Richard Nixon, a congressman, had been receiving information form Father John Cronin, a communist hunter, and information from the F.B.I. and had suspected that Hiss was keeping something secret and wanted the Committee to do something about it. Hiss stated that he never even knew who Whittaker Chambers was. Chamber later on re-stated that Hiss was a Communist and stated that Hiss had been spying for the Soviet Union. Chambers showed the “Baltimore Documents.” This was a series of government papers that Chambers claimed that Hiss had in his procession. According to Chambers, Priscilla, HIss' wife, had re-typed these documents and later copied and sent to the spy network. Hiss denied this, but was charged with perjury. But the Baltimore Documents had looked Hiss’s first trial resulted in a undecided jury but the second trial called Hiss guilty and sent Hiss to prison for five years. In the second trial in 1949, Chambers was forced to finally admit that he had lied about Hiss being apart of the socialist party and being a communist spy.
Alger Hiss went on in life to become a salesman and kept on denying that he was guilty. He presented the "coram nobis" which scientifically proved that the type writer that Chamber had previously stated that Hiss' wife had used was a re-make and was forgery. And wanted a new trial. It is said in John Dean's book "Blind Ambition" that he was told that President Nixon had once had a conversation with Charles Colson and told him that they had a type writer rebuilt during the Hiss trial. But this conversation was never found in Nixon's tapes and Hiss was therefor denied another trial.
Nixon had presented the “Pumpkin films” during the cases. Later the Freedom of Information Act released recordings of one of the films being blank, and others were random topics that had nothing to do with the presented topic.
In 1996 the U.S. government brought upon the Venona papers. These were Russian intercepts from 1940. In This document it had mentioned a Soviet Spy at the State Department. The code name was “Ales” Some were matching to Hiss and others were dealing with the military. The names were never the names of the real people, but rather nick names, like “Clever Girl” or “Albert.” Hiss’s case is still unproven although many do have their opinions.

Work Cited:

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Spartacus Educational - Home Page. Rep. Web. 25 Mar. 2011. <>.