Alfred Kohlberg (San Francisco, California, 1887 – New York City, 7 April 1960) was an American textile importer and staunch anti-Communist—being a member of the called "China lobby", a close ally of Roman Catholic Republican Senator, (1946–1957), for Wisconsin Joseph R. McCarthy, a guide to former candy lollipops manufacturer Robert W. Welch Jr. and founding director of the staunch right-wing activist John Birch Society.
Born in San Francisco, Kohlberg moved to New York and set up a business buying linen in Ireland, that was then sent on to China where his agents would hire thousands of poorly-paid local weavers to turn the raw linen into fine textiles. These were then exported to the United States where they were marketed and sold to wealthy consumers as high-priced luxury fabrics. This earned him significant profits and wealth.
Due to his business interests he made many trips to China. During the course of one of these trips in 1943 after inspecting the progress of the Chinese war-effort, he became convinced him that the many stories in the American press of Chiang Kai-shek's corruption were false and were being spread by communist-sympathizers. Subsequently he founded a journal Plain Talk intended to rebut the claims made by the China Hands and support the Nationalist Government of Chiang Kai-Shek, thus becoming an influential member of the China Lobby.
Kohlberg was also a sometime board member of the Institute of Pacific Relations, though he later claimed that it was infiltrated by communists. He was the financial backer of Plain Talk, which merged with The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty, published by the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) in 1950.
Kohlberg married Jane Myer in 1921 and had two daughters and two sons.
- Herzstein, Robert E. (2006-06-01). "Alfred Kohlberg: Counter-Subversion in the Global Struggle against Communism, 1944-1960". Globalization, Empire, and Imperialism in Historical Perspective. University of North Carolina. Retrieved 2006-08-02.
- McCarran Committee testimony, April 16, 1952
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