Family History    Wines

Photography       Books

Amazon Bestsellers

Site Contents

Home Page

Book Resources

Family History



Wildlife Photos

Wine Tastings
 - Bottled Poetry

Other Pages

About Us

Contact Us

Privacy Policy


Site Map

Affiliate Sites

Deal of the Day

Powell's Books - Outdoor Gear

Additional Affiliate Programs

This article by Frank Munk was published on the Op-Ed page in The Oregonian on January 24, 1997 in response to an article titled “Reed still feels Red heat 42 years later” that was published on December 22, 1996. Frank was 96 years old. It was the last article that he published.


I Acted In Defense Of Academic Freedom
By Frank Munk

The Fall 1996 Issue of the “Oregon Historical Quarterly” contains a well-documented essay by Michael Munk about the controversy surrounding the firing by Reed College of Professor Stanley Moore in 1954. It may seem that something that happened under entirely different circumstances more than forty years ago is of little interest today, but I don’t think so.

It is important to return to it because now, for the first time, we have the proof of what at that time seemed to be unfounded assertions. Now that Soviet archives have finally been opened, we know as a fact that the American Communist Party was neither American, nor a genuine political part, but only a branch of the Soviet party and government and more specifically of its secret service.

The fact that most members of the party were unwary of this fact does not change this reality, except that many members got suspicious before long and left the party in protest. That included Stanley Moore.

I would like to emphasize that there existed a real threat to academic freedom in the United States in the 1950s: from the right and from the left.

From the right, it was Sen. Joseph McCarthy and his like, and from the left, the Communist Party. It may seem ridiculous at the present time, when communists cannot be taken seriously, but at that time Marxism-Leninism in its Soviet disguise held a strange attraction to many academicians, at least temporarily. Their influence on American campuses during that period could not have been ignored.

I made no secret, then or now, that I am against appointing persons who advocate Communist, Fascist, Nazi or racist doctrines to teaching positions in American universities. I oppose them because I have seen with my own eyes how they can undermine and ultimately destroy the freedom to teach and to learn.

In this connection, I would like briefly to comment about the article’s reference to me as a European refugee: I am not alone. The very idea of academic freedom is, in a way, a refugee from Europe. It did not originate in the United States, but strangely enough in Central Europe at the time of Frederick the Great, expanding there later in the 19th century.

British and American universities were at that time still intimately connected with established or other religions and could therefore not abide free discussion of important subjects.

It was always clearly understood in Europe that academic freedom was incompatible with social control from the outside, especially by governments. It can only be defined by and through the academic faculties themselves, by their constant vigilance against those who would destroy it. The refugees who came to this country in the period from 1930 to 1970 had firsthand experience with Nazi and communist total control of educations, at a time when many American scholars were deaf and blind to reality. Many of them still denied there was such a thing as totalitarian control.

There is a corollary in the real political world. Prior to her confirmation, Madeleine Albright commented that “her mindset was Munich,” and, one could add, the communist takeover of Czechoslovakia in 1938. My mindset was very similar.

That reminds me, incidentally, of my repeated discussions, privately in his home and at academic sessions, with Albright’s father, Professor Josef Korbel. His views on communism were, by the way, identical with mine.

In conclusion, I would like to express my thanks to my son Michael for having brought back to light my modest contribution to academic freedom in America.


Frank Munk of Southwest Portland is professor emeritus of political science at both Reed College and Portland State University. He was a member of the Reed faculty from 1939 to 1965 and was one of only two faculty members to support the college’s dismissal of Professor Stanley Moore for refusing to say whether he was a communist.


TheRagens Home Page   Family History   Recommended Book Lists   Wine Tastings and Recommendations   Wildlife Photos   Feedback and
Site Registration


Amazon Logo


by title by author