hiss, alger

Cultural Dictionary
Hiss, Alger [(al-juhr)]

An official in the Department of State who, in 1948, was accused by a former communist, Whittaker Chambers, of having been a secret agent for the Soviet Union during the 1930s. Hiss denied the charge but was later convicted of lying under oath and was imprisoned.

Note: The Hiss case is still controversial. Some have argued that Hiss was the victim of hysteria against communists. Others contend that Chambers was telling the truth. Chambers's accusation against Hiss was made before a committee of the House of Representatives.
Note: Congressman Richard Nixon, later president, became known nationwide through his part in the investigation of the charge.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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