Spring Prologue Magazine Highlights Wartime Themes: Espionage, Conspiracies, Art Theft -- and Baseball
Press Release · Friday, April 12, 2002

College Park, MD

Some of the many intriguing sidebars of World War II history-from the war front, the home front, and its aftermath in a changed America-are explored in articles in the Spring issue of Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration. The issue also provides important guides to the 1930 census records, which the National Archives opened on April 1.

In "A Time to Act: The Beginning of the Fritz Kolbe Story, 1900-1943," author Greg Bradsher recounts how Fritz Kolbe, a hard-working, mid-level official in the German Foreign Office, won access to some of the Third Reich's most important military and intelligence secrets. Eventually, writes Bradsher, an archivist at the National Archives who is working on a book on the subject, Kolbe "would supply the Allies with some of their most important intelligence of World War II."

"Spoils of War Returned: U.S. Restitution of Nazi-Looted Cultural Treasures to the USSR, 1945-1959," recounts U.S. efforts to return to their proper owners various works of art looted by the Nazis from all across Europe. At the same time, author Patricia Kennedy Grimsted, a leading authority on archives of the former Soviet Union and its successor states, notes that the Soviet Union considers the stolen art it seized from the Nazis, regardless of its proper owner, to be justified spoils of war.

For more than 30 years, Prologue has shared with readers the rich resources and programs of the National Archives, its regional archives, and the Presidential libraries. From the First Continental Congress to the conflict in Vietnam, Prologue tells the story behind the story, revealing many intriguing and little-known details from our nation's past. In every issue, there are thought-provoking and entertaining articles-based on research in the National Archives' magnificent holdings-written by noted historians, archivists, and experts recognized in their fields. The Washington Post said, "Prologue . . . can be regarded quite literally as an invitation for further study. It is also consistently absorbing reading."

The Spring Prologue also features President Franklin D. Roosevelt giving a strong endorsement to continue major league baseball during World War II in his famous "Green Light Letter" to Baseball Commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis. "I honestly feel that it would be best for the country to keep baseball going," wrote Roosevelt, a lifelong baseball fan, to Landis in early 1942. The article, by Gerald Bazer and Steven Culbertson, dean of arts and sciences and professor of communications/humanities, respectively, at Owens Community College in Toledo, OH, recounts the impact- both at home and on the front lines-of continuing baseball throughout the war.

In "The Idea of 'Conspiracy' in McCarthy Era Politics," author Richard Fried describes the extent of anti-communist hysteria-the "red menace" phenomenon-in U.S. politics in the post-World War II era that was exploited by Senator Joseph McCarthy, the Wisconsin Republican. Fried is professor of history at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the author of three books on the McCarthy era.

This issue also features important guides for researchers for the 1930 census records, which were made public by NARA on April 1, 2002, at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, and at 13 regional archives around the country. In upcoming issues, Prologue articles will explore the 1930 census records further.

The "Spotlight on NARA" reports on the new state-of-the-art additions at the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, MO, one of ten Presidential libraries administered by the National Archives. The library, built in 1957, recently underwent a $22.5-million renovation that added more space for exhibitions and educational programs. For more information, visit the library online at

Samples from the National Archives acclaimed traveling exhibition, "American Originals," are featured in this issue. The exhibition, a collection of significant milestone documents in U.S. history, will be at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago through April 28. It will then go to the Ohio Historical Center in Columbus from May 24 to September 2, 2002. For more information and other locations, visit

You can view selected articles from the Winter 2001 Prologue and other past issues at its web site at

Prologue can be purchased in the Publications Sales Office (Room 406) at the National Archives Building in Washington and the Publications Sales Office at the Archives in College Park, MD. A 1-year subscription to Prologue costs $16. To begin your subscription, call 301-837-1800 or 1-800-234-8861, or print out the order form found on the web site at www.archives/publications/prologue/subscribe_to_prologue.html.

For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail. Visit the National Archives Home Page on the World Wide Web at


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