Tell me more about these Finns
February 13, 2011 3:37 AM   Subscribe

Winston Burdett, one of the original Murrow's Boys, was a reporter for CBS Radio. He covered World War II, the invasion of Norway, the Axis retreat in North Africa (mp3), the invasion of Sicily (mp3), the invasion of Italy (mp3) and the capture of Rome (mp3). But from 1940 - 1942 Winston Burdett was also a spy for the Soviet Union.

In Stockholm a "Mr. Miller" gave him $200 and orders to report on Finnish morale. Burdett was visiting Finnish army positions when Finland capitulated three weeks later. When he went back to Stockholm, he met his contact, Miller. "Well," Miller asked, "how did the Finns take the end of the war?" Burdett said that they "were prepared to go on fighting." "Well, Mr. Burdett," said Miller, handing him $400, "thank you very much. That's everything. Here is your money to go back to the U.S.

Burdett revealed his tale of international espionage during a hearing before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee in 1955. He also named names, and subpoenas were issued. Dozens of journalists and newsroom employees were forced to testify about their affiliation with the Communist Party. The New York Times' Melvin Barnet lost his job. Burdett left the party, and the spygame, in 1942, the year his wife, anti-fascist Italian journalist Lea Schiavi, was murdered. Winston Burdett died in 1993 at age 79.
posted by IvoShandor (3 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Interesting post IvoShandor. Thanks.

I seem to remember reading somewhere that both Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt were also rather chummy with the communists from 1940-1942. Indeed America and Britain not only provided intelligence to the communists, but also weapons. Hell they went as far as to organize an invasion of France to take the pressure off them on the Eastern front.
posted by three blind mice at 4:53 AM on February 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

The enemy of my enemy is my friend. A great way to win wars. And start other ones.
posted by gjc at 6:29 AM on February 13, 2011

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