Serialized in the Daily Worker in March 1940, the book became "a rally point for the political left" which had opposed involvement in World War II during the period of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Shortly after the 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union, Trumbo and his publishers decided to suspend reprinting the book until the end of the war. After receiving letters from right-wing isolationists requesting copies of the book, Trumbo contacted the FBI and turned these letters over to them. Trumbo regretted this decision, which he later called "foolish," after two FBI agents showed up at his home and it became clear that "their interest lay not in the letters but in me."
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