People who believed in Communism but did not join the party Some, feeling communism might destroy wealth and prosperity, accused people of being disloyal and subversive (overthrow gov’t) Loyalty Oath and background ensued causing hundreds to lose their jobs
Investigated film industry and other groups for communists Studios blacklisted people ruining many careers 1957, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution does not give Congress unlimited power to investigate citizens’ private lives. Hollywood 10
Advisor to President Roosevelt accused of being a spy and convicted of perjury. confirmed suspicion that Soviet spies were working in the United States. Led to more fear and accusation
charged with passing atomic secrets to the USSR. After a trial, both were executed Some questioned whether the search for communists was going too far some protested the severity of the sentence.
the practice of publicly accusing someone of subversive activities without sufficient evidence creating a climate of fear
On a scale from 1 to 10, how concerned do you think Americans should have been about the possibility of communist subversion and the presence of Soviet spies in the United States during the Cold War? Do you think the United States had the right to complete background checks and require loyalty oaths of government employees? Why or why not? Were the actions of the House Un-Americans Activities Committee appropriate? Why or why not? Does the government ever have the right to limit or even take away some of our freedoms in order to keep us safe ?
How might 1950s fifth graders have felt during a duck-and-cover lesson? In what ways could such a lesson make you feel safer against the threat of a nuclear attack? What anxieties might have remained? After learning to duck and cover, how might you have tried to change how you lived your life? Why do you think the government would want to teach such a lesson to children?