A Letter From The Publisher, Feb. 13, 1978

The Soviets exploded their first atomic bomb, China fell to the Communists, and the House Un-American Activities Committee was trumpeting after subversives. The year was 1949 and the Red Scare was spreading when Alger Hiss went on trial. The confrontation between Hiss and Whittaker Chambers, his accuser, was to become a haunting symbol of the era's fears and suspicions. Conservatives tended to trust Chambers' claims that Hiss had passed secrets to the Soviets; many liberals believed that the poised State Department official with the splendid record of service had been wrongfully and villainously attacked.

In this week's Nation section, TIME re-examines...

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