Skip to main content

Were Sacco And Vanzetti Guilty? Was Hiss?

July 2024
1min read

I think the two greatest mysteries in American history concern the Sacco-Vanzetti and Alger Hiss cases. With regard to the first, Felix Frankfurter once wrote his friend William L. Marbury, a Baltimore attorney, that when he reached heaven, he wanted the divine authorities to give him the true story of that case. Were the two Italians guilty of murder, or were they victims of unjust prejudice against Italians and against anarchism when the state of Massachusetts sent them to their death?

Equally intriguing is the role that Alger Hiss may or may not have played in the transmission of American diplomatic secrets to the Soviets on the eve of the Second World War. If I had a battery of graduate students, I would like them to rummage in the files of the Soviet intelligence agencies to locate whatever materials might shed light on the matter. Certainly there are mysteries surrounding the affair that Alien Weinstein’s study, Perjury , could not resolve beyond a shadow of doubt.

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.