“Reformed Communist” Kenneth Goff’s Red Shadows was published two years after the initial shock of Sputnik, but the fear inspired by the famously beeping Soviet satellite was still reverberating across the nation in 1959. The cover of Mr. Goff’s self-published booklet exaggerates this residual paranoia nicely: It features an arresting rendering of an orbiting Sputnik projecting an image of a hammer and sickle directly onto the Midwest section of the United States.
The first page of this 93-page anti-Communist rant features the amusing grammatical error: “RED’S BLUEPRINT FOR WORLD CONTROL BY 1970.” We assume Mr. Goff was referring to the Soviet Union and not the owner of the Tube Bar. Regardless, as we all know, neither the Reds nor Red took over the globe by 1970.
With one notable exception, much of Red Shadows is a regurgitation of the views expressed in Mr. Goff’s numerous other alarmist pamphlets published during the Cold War such as Red Tide, Red Betrayal of Youth, and Will Russia Invade America. Towards the end of Red Shadows, Mr. Goff mixes things up a bit with a chapter entitled “Flying Saucers.” Leave it to Kenneth Goff to tie UFOs, Orson Welles and the golden age of radio to one world government and the Communist conspiracy:
During the past few years, the flying saucer scare has rapidly become one of the main issues, used by organizations working for a one-world government, to frighten people into the belief that we will need a super world government to cope with an invasion from another planet. Many means are being used to create a vast amount of imagination in the minds of the general public, concerning the possibilities of an invasion by strange creatures from Mars or Venus.
I do not believe that these things so erroneously called the flying saucers are from Russia or from another planet; rather I believe that they are the battle chariots of God, which play an important part in the destruction of the Godless alliances, which are led by Soviet Russia.Based on various press accounts that cite his age, Oliver Kenneth Goff was born in 1914 or 1915. He was raised in Delavan, Wisconsin and, by his own account, joined the Communist Party on May 2, 1936. According to the October 15, 1939 edition of the La Crosse (Wisconsin) Tribune and Leader-Press, Goff’s father was a respected physician and longtime member of the state legislature. The elder Goff was also a trusted adviser to Senator Robert M. La Follettee, a Republican from Wisconsin who ran for the presidency on the Progressive Party Ticket in 1924.
On October 9, 1939 Kenneth Goff made a name for himself in his own right by testifying before the Dies Committee, a special investigative branch of the House Un-American Activities Committee, about his three year membership in the Communist Party (Goff was a national committee member of the Young Communist League at the time of his testimony). Goff testified about all the scandalous activities of the Reds such as the alleged practice of using attractive white female party members to recruit “negro” men into the organization. He also named names including two members of the YWCA national board (who denied Goff’s accusation that they were members of the Young Communist League). This seemingly innocuous organization would be attacked again in the 1948 pamphlet “Behind the Lace Curtains of the YWCA” by Joseph P. Kamp. As a concluding flourish to Goff’s testimony, he read his resignation announcement from the Communist Party into the official record.
According to the Encyclopedia of White Power: A Sourcebook on the Radical Right by Jeffrey Kaplan (pages 120-122; Rowman Altamira, 2000):
The self-described “reformed Communist” Goff claimed that his congressional testimony “aided in removing 169 Communists from the federal payrolls.” Goff also claimed that he was a “marked man, and had received many bodily injuries.”
Several Internet sources examine a controversy over Goff’s 1955 book Brain-Washing: A Synthesis of the Russian Textbook of Psychopolitics. The book is a compilation of brain-washing manual summaries reputedly written by the head of the KGB, Lavrenti Beria (1899-1953). The controversy arises over who was originally responsible for the American version of the compilation. Some claim L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology, was the writer/editor and other claim it was Goff. Massimo Introvigne has a comprehensive study of the controversy here.
According to his obituary published in the April 13, 1972 edition of the Greely (CO.) Tribune (via Associated Press), Kenneth Goff died on April 11, 1972 at the age of 57 after collapsing on a street corner in Chicago, apparently from a heart attack. He was on a speaking tour at the time of his death.
The obituary notes that Goff, a Baptist minister, had “tangled” with people such as entertainer Steve Allen and U.S. Senator John A. Carroll during his long anti-Communist career. According to the obituary, Goff also waged a war against the fluoridation of water in Cortez, Colorado in 1960. Goff was a widower who later divorced from his second wife. The obituary states that Goff is “survived by three small children of the Denver area, two brothers and a sister all of Wisconsin.”
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