Alger Hiss (November 11, 1904 - November 15, 1996) was a U.S. State Department official and involved in the early United Nations. In 1948, Whittaker Chambers accused Hiss of being a Communist and a spy for the Soviet Union. After two trials, Hiss was convicted of perjury in 1950. Subsequent evidence from Soviet Union KGB archives has led many of Hiss's former supporters to acknowledge his guilt. Post-Cold War archival evidence from US and Soviet services continue to fuel the controversy over Hiss's conviction. Hiss continued to maintain his innocence and was successful in reversing his disbarment, but ultimately failed in his life-long goal of complete exoneration by the U.S. Supreme Court.
People's opinion of the Hiss case often reflected their attitudes on the Cold War. Cold War hawks saw the Hiss case as yet another case of massive infiltration of the US government by Communists, Communist sympathizers, and fellow travelers. Cold War doves saw the Hiss conviction as the destruction of a loyal and dedicated civil servant by those whose goals were the discrediting of both the United Nations and the entire New Deal.