The Communist Party of the USA was for many years a reliable supporter of the Soviet version of communism. At one time, it was legal to belong to the Communist Party in New York but not in Moscow. During the 1930`s, many intellectuals, disillusioned with the capitalist system during The Great Depression, joined the Communist Party USA. One of them was Granville Hicks, who was fired from his teaching position at Renselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1935 and became the editor of New Masses, a Communist magazine. Many who had joined later repented, as they witnessed the Stalinist purges of 1937 and 1938, and the blatant opportunism of the Russo-German Non-Aggression Pact that Stalin signed in August 1939, opening the door to Hitler`s invasion of Poland within a matter of weeks. Hicks was one of those who resigned from the Communist Party as a result not so much of the pact but the mindless support given it by CPUSA, and in October, 1939, he explained his reasons in New Republic:
In common with many of my friends, I have been much more disturbed by what has happened in the American party in the past month than by what has happened in the Soviet Union. I cannot now defend the pact, but I can conceive of history`s justifying it. I can see no justification for the behavior of the party.