A Professor and a Patriot
George H. Blakeslee arrives at Clark as a young professor of history, and during his long tenure at the University he becomes a transformative force in both higher education and U.S. foreign policy. On Blakeslee’s advice, Clark introduced international relations as a course of study, a noteworthy departure from the customary academic concentration on Western and Central Europe. In 1906, on a trip to Czarist Russia, he narrowly escaped being blown up when a bomb destroyed the house of the Russian premier. Blakeslee was subsequently arrested in Russia on suspicion of being a spy because of his association with radicals and revolutionaries, but was eventually released. Though Blakeslee was a member of the Clark faculty until 1944, he also moonlighted for the federal government as a foreign policy adviser under five presidents, from Woodrow Wilson through Harry Truman.
The FBI makes a dramatic bust of a Russian spy ring, exposing 10 secret agents who had sought to gather secret intelligence. In a Cold War-style swap, U.S. authorities exchanged the Russian spies for four Russians who had been imprisoned on charges of spying for the West.
Did You Know?
In 1931 and 1932, Blakeslee served under Herbert Hoover’s Secretary of State, Henry Stimson, on the Lytton Commission, investigating Japan’s seizure of Manchuria. According to a story later told by a member of the Japanese royal family, Blakeslee and others on the commission survived an attempted poisoning during their 1931 Manchurian trip.