Nobody knows exactly how many people were sent to their deaths by Joseph Stalin. Many objective historians put the number at about 60 million. Most Russian researchers, who have examined the once top-secret Soviet archives, agree with the 60 million murdered figure. Stalin, like most people who become a Communist or Socialist, had significant psychological problems. He was a paranoid man who saw enemies everywhere and who could not tolerate opposing viewpoints- even when those viewpoints were proven to be correct. Sound familiar? Every part of pre-Soviet, Russian history which was in conflict with his communist ideology had to either be revised, publicly repudiated or eliminated from history books altogether. Gee, I’m glad this doesn’t happen anymore.
Stalin was the man who famously said, “a single death is a tragedy. A million deaths is just a statistic.” In the mass murder department, Stalin dwarfed Hitler’s six million murders which amounted to little more than a so-so calendar year for the Soviet dictator. While Hitler preferred to finish off his victims with poisonous gas, Stalin believed his victims should first be tortured then, placed in gulags or work camps under minimal rations until they died from starvation, disease or the regular beatings the condemned received from NKVD camp guards. Stalin’s view was that the condemned should be of use to the Communist state as they were slowly killed off- men, women, their children and the elderly.
Joseph Stalin was a huge fan of American western movies and would often have the latest American Western films rushed into the Soviet Union where that nation’s best actors would hastily dub over the dialogue in Russian. He would often keep his underlings such as Nikita Khrushchev, Gregory Malenkov and his most evil head of the Soviet secret police, Lavrentiy Beria, with him until the wee hours watching American Western movies.
After each movie, Stalin would critique the film, to his underlings, for both for its political content and artistry. He saw himself, like a Western movie hero. As a protector who, after gunning down his antagonist, rode off into the sunset, content with having saved the day.
When the Soviet filmmaker and Communist Party member, Sergei Gerasimov, attended a so called “peace conference” held in New York City in 1949, he learned about John Wayne and his anti-communist beliefs from other American Communists who had organized the event. These American communists, knowing that Gerasimov had Stalin’s ear, told the Soviet filmmaker to relay to Stalin that, “something needed to be done with John Wayne.” Communist all over the world despised Wayne for his film characters who represented the American values of freedom, self-reliance and the individual over the collective. Wayne himself was an outspoken critic of both communism and its ugly, evil twin- socialism.
Knowing that Stalin admired Wayne, when Gerasimov returned to the Soviet Union he immediately told the dictator about John Wayne. Stalin became furious over Wayne and his films were banned in the USSR. Interestingly enough, Stalin continued to have Western films brought into the Soviet Union for his viewing which starred the likes of Randolph Scott, Tim Holt, Tex Ritter, Gene Audrey and even Ronald Reagan. In a strange twist of fate, that neither Stalin nor anyone else could have predicted, it would later be Reagan who, as the US President, would place the Communist empire of evil onto the ash heap of history.
The plan was put in place. Stalin ordered Beria to dispatch NKVD assassins to California to assassinate Wayne. Stalin also involved local American Communist Party members, who were accustomed to taking their orders from Moscow, to assist. Local American communist cells in Southern California had already bern threatening Wayne as well as movie stars Reagan, Jimmy Stewart and Bob Hope.
According to Michael Munn, a film historian and author of “John Wayne — The Man Behind The Myth,” Wayne learned of the plan through FBI agents. Other sources corroborate Munn’s claim with some indicating further that Wayne first laughed them off saying, “they wouldn’t dare.” Finally, when FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover contacted Wayne about the plot, an annoyed Duke told Hoover, “Let them come. I’ll take care of them on myself!”
Wayne was quite serious. He was appalled by the notion that he needed the government’s help in dispatching what he referred to as, “some communist scum.” Unlike traditional actors who can effect different personalities, gestures and accents, John Wayne was merely a performer who simply portrayed himself, as he really was, in his films. Wayne or “Duke” as he was fondly referred to, was every bit the man’s man he portrayed on the silver screen. The sharp shooting former USC football star felt he could handle the communists assassins on his own. “Besides,” Duke said, “The FBI will be far nicer to those communists bastards than me.” The communist assassins, first sent to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico, eventually made their way into the United States through the porous and largely unguarded Mexican/US border. Some things just never change. Wayne kept in touch with the FBI and some of his stuntman friends (Wayne himself performed his own film stunts) infiltrated various Communist Party cells in the Los Angeles area. These plants were able to provide Wayne with even more intelligence that the FBI.
According to Munn’s book, Wayne and tough guy Hollywood scriptwriter, Jimmy Grant, were waiting for the Communist assassins who were assisted in their murderous plot by local American Communist Party members. When the Soviet NKDV killers made their way onto Wayne’s property, the Duke and Grant got the drop on them. Other sources, apart from Munn, say Wayne disarmed the Soviets then, “roughed them both up pretty good.” Duke was amused over how the communist agents cowered before him.
Wayne and Grant tied up the two assassins and placed them in the trunk of Duke’s car. The pair drove their would be assassins, in the night, to a deserted section of the Southern California coast. On a deserted beach, Duke and Grant staged a mock execution. Duke laughed over how the supposedly Soviet tough guys pleaded for their lives- as so often most Communists do near the point of their demise. Wayne decided he had had enough amusement from the bungling assassins and called one of his FBI contacts who picked up the beaten and embarrassed pair. Munn explains, in his book that the NKDV assassins chose to stay in the United States and work with the FBI. I suppose after seeing America, in all it’s abundance, it must have been an easy choice for them to make. It appeared that not even Soviet NKDV agents would want to return to their communist homeland after seeing how well people lived in these United States. The NKDV agents were also instrumental in identifying Communist traitors here in America.
Yet still, as Munn’s book points out, there would be more communist plots to kill Wayne. The book also explains how Soviet agents tried to assassinate John Wayne on the set of 1953’s Hondo in Mexico. After the Russian assassins failed, a group of American communists, from a cell within the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale, also failed in their later attempt. Still later, as Duke visited soldiers and Marines in Vietnam, during the middle 1960’s where he was enthusiastically received by the G.I.s, a captured North Vietnamese sniper claimed that he was hired by communists to take the actor out on his visit to troops there. Duke, was again amused to hear of these incidents and seemed saddened that the government got to his would be killers, “before I could have some fun with them.” Liberals forever hated Duke for his criticisms of Communism which they undoubtedly recognized as being too similar to their own dysfunctional views. Lenin praised socialism as the pathway to communism while recognizing that Western liberalism was the pathway to socialism.