Presentation on theme: "Give Me Liberty! AN AMERICAN HISTORY FOURTH EDITION"— Presentation transcript:
1 Give Me Liberty! AN AMERICAN HISTORY FOURTH EDITION Norton Lecture SlidesbyEric FonerGive Me Liberty! AN AMERICAN HISTORY FOURTH EDITION
2 Chapter 23 Chapter 23 The United States and the Cold War, 1945–1953 On September 16, 1947, the 160th anniversary of the Constitution’s signing, the Freedom Train opened to the public in Philadelphia. The train, containing dozens of the most significant historical documents in American History, including the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg address, toured the nation. Visitors were asked to affirm American ideals by taking a Freedom Pledge and signing a Freedom Scroll. More than 3.5 million visited the train, and even more attended the educational programs and parades that accompanied it.Beneath the surface of the train’s exhibits lay conflict over the meaning of American freedom. Archivists who proposed the initial list of documents for the train intended to include the Wagner Act, which granted workers the right to organize unions, and President Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech, in which he articulated “freedom from want.” The conservative American Heritage Foundation, to which the Truman administration had given the train, eliminated these documents from the exhibit. The foundation also would not include the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, which had established equal and civil political rights regardless of race during Reconstruction. The train did not mention unions or social welfare, and only a few documents, such as the Emancipation Proclamation and Thirteenth Amendment (which outlawed slavery), spoke to black Americans’ History.The train showed how the Cold War affected America. Just before the train opened to the public, President Truman declared that the United States would adopt a policy of containing Soviet power across the world, and that disloyal Americans would be removed from government jobs. Government officials soon praised the train for contributing to the fight against communist subversion, and the FBI even reported on those who criticized the exhibit. The Freedom Train’s History shows how the Cold War transformed freedom by imbuing it with anti-communism, advocacy for “free enterprise,” and support for the status quo in American society.
3 Lecture Preview Origins of the Cold War The Cold War and the Idea of FreedomThe Truman PresidencyThe Anticommunist CrusadeThe subtopics for this lecture are listed on the screen above.
5 Origins of the Cold War Focus Question: What series of events and ideological conflicts prompted the Cold War?The purpose of the focus questions is to help students find larger themes and structures to bring the historical evidence, events, and examples together for a connected thematic purpose.As we go through each portion of this lecture, you may want to keep in mind how the information relates to this larger thematic question. Here are some suggestions: write the focus question in the left or right margin on your notes and as we go through, either mark areas of your notes for you to come back to later and think about the connection OR as you review your notes later (to fill in anything else you remember from the lecture or your thoughts during the lecture or additional information from the readings), write small phrases from the lecture and readings that connect that information to each focus question AND/OR are examples that work together to answer the focus question.
6 Origins of the Cold War: United States and ussr The Two PowersThe Roots of ContainmentAfter World War II, the United States possessed enormous industrial capacity, the largest navy and air force (the army was demobilized), and the only atomic bomb in the world. This made it the most powerful nation on Earth. Roosevelt had wanted to avoid a return to the isolationism of the post–World War I era and believed the United States should lead efforts to establish cooperation, democracy, and prosperity across the globe, in part through new institutions such as the World Bank and United Nations. U.S. leaders believed that America’s security depended on stability in Europe and Asia and that American prosperity required the rebuilding of economies worldwide. The chief obstacle to American leaders’ visions for the postwar world seemed to be the Soviet Union, whose victorious military occupied much of eastern Europe and eastern Germany. The Soviet Union’s triumph over Germany and its claim that communism modernized Russia appealed to colonized peoples who desired national independence, and like the United States, the USSR intended to reshape the world in its own image. Though Americans knew the Soviet military was too weak to directly threaten the United States, they accurately recognized Soviet intentions to dominate eastern Europe.The wartime alliance between the United States and the Soviet Union was formed only to defeat Hitler. Clashes between American and Soviet interests and values were bound to resurface after the war. The Cold War’s first event occurred in the Middle East, where Soviet troops occupied parts of northern Iran with rich oil fields. Pressured by Britain and the United States, the Soviets withdrew troops from Iran but simultaneously installed procommunist governments in Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria, a move they compared to U.S. domination in Latin America. To many Americans, Stalin seemed to violate his promise at Yalta for free elections in Poland. Soon thereafter, U.S. diplomat George Kennan, in his famous Long Telegram, told the Truman administration that communist ideology made the Soviet government inherently and permanently aggressive. Only America, he wrote, could prevent the extension of Soviet communist rule in the world. This was the basis for the policy of “containment,” in which the United States aimed to check all Soviet attempts to expand its power in the world.
8 Origins of the Cold War: Containment The Iron CurtainThe Truman DoctrineIn a speech in Missouri, former British prime minister Winston Churchill declared that an “iron curtain” had fallen over Europe, dividing the free West from the communist East. This reinforced emerging beliefs that a long-term struggle between the United States and the Soviets was at hand. In March 1947, Truman announced that the United States was now engaged in a global conflict with the Soviet Union. This new policy came to be called the Truman Doctrine.When he became FDR’s vice president in 1944, Truman was an obscure senator from Missouri with little foreign policy experience, and as president he soon faced daunting foreign policy challenges. He did not trust Stalin and believed the United States had to assume world leadership. Truman decided to embrace containment when Britain signaled it could no longer afford military aid to Greece, where a monarchy faced a communist-led revolt, and to Turkey, where the Soviets wanted joint control of the crucial straits linking the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. Britain asked America to step in. Though unrest in Greece and Turkey was mostly homegrown and incited by corrupt and undemocratic governments, these states were strategically important as doors to southern Europe and the oil-rich Middle East.To win Congress’s support for containment, Truman was told to frighten the American populace, and he repeatedly invoked the nation’s responsibility to defend freedom at home and abroad. Truman’s rhetoric laid the framework for how Americans viewed the postwar world, and it became the “guiding spirit of American foreign policy.” Republican and Democratic support for Truman’s policy initiated a long period of bipartisan backing for containment. And his speech showed the extent to which the Cold War was an ideological conflict, in which both powers claimed their social system was a model for other nations and that they advanced freedom and social justice while defending their own security. Congress’s approval of military aid to Turkey and Greece rescued these governments and checked Soviet power. Truman’s speech and policy committed the United States to a permanent responsibility in the world and set a precedent both for U.S. support of undemocratic, anticommunist regimes and for the creation of military alliances against the Soviets. The Truman administration soon established new “national security” agencies, such as the National Security Council and Central Intelligence Agency, which were removed from congressional oversight.
11 Origins of the Cold War: economic reconstruction The Marshall PlanThe Reconstruction of JapanPotential military action was only one element of containment. Secretary of State George C. Marshall outlined another in a speech in June 1947, in which he committed the United States to spending billions of dollars to finance Europe’s economic reconstruction. The destruction caused by the war, food scarcity, and inflation plagued the continent, and these crises expanded support for Communist Parties in France and Italy, which American leaders feared might go communist. The Marshall Plan promoted the idea that capitalism, even after the Great Depression, would flourish, and it defined as a threat to American security, not just Soviet military power, but the economic and political instability that nourished communism. The Marshall Plan gave a positive meaning to containment, making freedom more than just anticommunism. It represented a kind of New Deal for Europe that would establish mass industry and mass consumption in order to provide employment and a high standard of living for Europeans. In only a few years, production in Europe exceeded prewar levels. But the plan exacerbated tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, which refused to support a plan that would consolidate U.S. influence in Europe. With 23 other nations, the United States simultaneously created the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) to foster more free trade and create larger markets for American goods and investments.In Japan, General Douglas MacArthur administered a U.S. occupation that ended in 1948 with a new, democratic constitution and land reform. The new constitution gave women the vote and affirmed that Japan would never again wage war and would only maintain a small military force for self-defense. The United States supervised Japan’s economic recovery as well. Though the nation considered dissolving the giant industrial corporations that had enabled Japanese aggression, this idea was scrapped when U.S. policymakers determined that a strong Japanese economy would check communism in Asia. By the 1950s, Japan’s economy was booming.
13 Origins of the Cold War: checking communist aggression The Berlin Blockade and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)The Growing Communist ChallengeThe Cold War rapidly intensified. At the end of World War II, each winning power occupied and administered parts of Germany and its capital, Berlin, which was located far inside the Soviet zone. In June 1948, when the United States, Britain, and France started a process that would lead to a new West German government allied with them, the Soviets responded by blocking all traffic from the American, British, and French zones to the city. Western planes began an 11-month airlift of supplies to West Berlin. Stalin lifted the blockade, but two nations—East and West Germany—took form, each allied with a side in the Cold War, and Berlin stayed divided. West Berlin survived as an isolated city surrounded by communist East Germany, and only in 1991 was Germany reunified. In 1949, the Soviet Union also first tested an atomic bomb, thus ending the U.S. monopoly on nuclear arms. That year the United States, Canada, and 10 nations in western Europe created the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a mutual defense pact in the event of Soviet aggression in Europe. Many Europeans applauded when West Germany joined NATO, because they hoped it would prevent future German aggression and defend against Soviet advances. In turn, the Soviets in 1955 formed the Warsaw Pact, their own military alliance in Eastern Europe.Also in 1949, Chinese communists led by Mao Zedong won the civil war in that country, dealing a heavy blow to U.S. containment policy. The Truman administration, criticized by Republicans for having “lost” China to communism, did not recognize the new People’s Republic of China and prevented it from taking its seat in the United Nations. Until the 1970s, the United States defended the exiled regime in Taiwan as China’s legitimate government.In 1950, the National Security Council responded to the growing tensions in Germany, China’s new government, and the Soviet atom bomb with a policy of permanent military armament. The document expressing this new policy, called NSC-68, depicted the Cold War as an epochal conflict between “the idea of freedom” and the “slavery” of the Soviets that would determine whether the “free world” survived. NSC-68 spurred monumental increases in military spending.
16 Origins of the Cold War: korea The Korean WarThe Cold War turned “hot” not in Europe, but in Asia. In 1945, Korea was split into Soviet and American zones. These became two governments: a communist North Korea, and the anticommunist and democratic South Korea, aligned with America. In June 1950, North Korean troops invaded the South in an attempt to unify the peninsula under communist rule, and they nearly conquered all of South Korea. Truman interpreted the invasion as a Soviet challenge to U.S. containment policy, and the UN authorized military action. American troops led by General Douglas MacArthur launched a campaign that resulted in U.S. occupation of most of North Korea. But in October 1950, hundreds of thousands of Chinese troops crossed the border and pushed UN forces back down the peninsula. When MacArthur demanded the right to use nuclear weapons to repel the Chinese and perhaps even invade China, Truman declined. MacArthur’s refusal to recognize the president’s civilian control of the military led to his dismissal. The war stalemated, and in 1953, an armistice left the two prewar nations intact without any formal peace treaty.More than 33,000 Americans, 1 million Korean soldiers, 2 million civilians, and hundreds of thousands of Chinese troops died. The Cold War that began in Europe now became global in scope. Events since 1947 suggested that the world had not found peace, as had been hoped in 1945 when the UN was founded. Instead of one world living in harmony, the world was split between the United States, which led what became known as the West (including Japan), or the “Free World.” The United States formed more military alliances in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, effectively surrounding the Soviet Union and China.
20 Origins of the Cold War: Criticism Cold War CriticsImperialism and DecolonizationIn the Soviet Union, Stalin’s brutal regime had jailed or murdered millions. Its authoritarianism made the Soviet Union seem antithetical to “free enterprise” and democracy. But some Americans argued that approaching the Cold War as a titanic struggle between freedom and slavery was problematic. Even George Kennan, who inspired the containment policy, argued that U.S. leaders should avoid ideological decisions and view international crises on a case-by-case basis if they were to determine if freedom or American interests were in danger. Walter Lippman condemned turning foreign policy into an “ideological crusade” that required the United States to constantly intervene abroad and violate its own ideals by allying with authoritarian anticommunist governments, many of which faced rebellions sparked by domestic problems, not Soviet subversion. Lippman argued that communists were bound to be part of the movements for national independence that the United States should itself support.The war elevated awareness in the United States about imperialism and decolonization, even as anticolonial movements used the Declaration of Independence to make claims for self-government. Some liberals and black leaders pressed Truman to promote decolonization, and in 1946, the United States gave independence to the Philippines. But the Cold War saw the United States retreat from the pressure that FDR had exerted on America’s European allies to grant sovereignty to their colonies. Britain and France hoped to retain their possessions in Africa and Asia. While geopolitical and economic interests influenced U.S. foreign policy as much as ideas of freedom, U.S. policymakers used the language of freedom to justify actions that seemed to contradict freedom. Even extremely repressive governments were included in the “Free World” as long as they were anticommunist. One such ally was South Africa, where an apartheid regime preserved white supremacy and suppressed the black population.
21 The Cold War and the Idea of Freedom Focus Question:How did the Cold War reshape the ideas of American freedom?The purpose of the focus questions is to help students find larger themes and structures to bring the historical evidence, events, and examples together for a connected thematic purpose.As we go through each portion of this lecture, you may want to keep in mind how the information relates to this larger thematic question. Here are some suggestions: write the focus question in the left or right margin on your notes and as we go through, either mark areas of your notes for you to come back to later and think about the connection OR as you review your notes later (to fill in anything else you remember from the lecture or your thoughts during the lecture or additional information from the readings), write small phrases from the lecture and readings that connect that information to each focus question AND/OR are examples that work together to answer the focus question.
22 The Cold War and the Idea of Freedom: american culture The Cultural Cold WarFreedom and TotalitarianismThe Cold War was an ideological conflict in which both sides sought to win support across the world. Freedom was central to mobilizing public opinion, and in the 1950s freedom was a prominent theme in academia, the media and mass culture, and government. The Cold War set the boundaries for understanding freedom.Culture and history were mobilized for the Cold War. Historians argued that the American Creed of pluralism, tolerance, and equality had always defined American life, and neglected the ways in which race and ethnicity had restricted freedom. The federal government pressed Hollywood to make anticommunist films, from which all references to racism were to be removed. The CIA and the Defense Department patronized the arts, enlisting actors, dancers, and musicians to promote the superiority of American values at home and abroad, and sponsoring magazines and academic conferences. The CIA even funded the controversial abstract expressionist art of painter Jackson Pollock, whose canvasses, created by dropping and splashing paint, were said to embody cultural freedoms absent in socialist nations.The Cold War’s other master concept was “totalitarianism.” First used in World War II to describe fascist Italy and German as aggressive, ideological governments that harshly controlled all of civil society and denied the rights and alternative values that might lead to social change, totalitarianism soon came to describe the Soviet Union and its allies. This concept helped spread the belief that powerful governments were the greatest threat to freedom. Whatever the Soviet Union supported was automatically deemed antithetical to freedom. The American Medical Association launched the largest public relations campaign in history against Truman’s proposal for national health insurance, calling it “socialized medicine.” Soviet hostility to organized religion automatically made Christian worship a bastion of freedom.
25 The Cold War and the Idea of Freedom: human rights The Rise of Human RightsAmbiguities of Human RightsThe Cold War also shaped the idea of human rights. World War II’s atrocities and the Four Freedoms and Atlantic Charter sparked calls for a new global order ruled by universal rights for all of humanity. The war crimes trials of German officials showed that the international community would hold individuals accountable for violations of human rights. In 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which declared that all people should have basic rights to freedom of speech and religion, should be free from arbitrary government, and should enjoy social and economic entitlements such as housing, education, health care, and an adequate standard of living. Though the document could not be enforced anywhere, its assertion that governments were accountable for the way they treated their citizens became widely accepted.Debates over the UDHR showed the contradictions and tensions in the idea of human rights. How much human rights should supersede national sovereignty, and who or what should protect the human rights that governments violate, are still unsettled questions. Both the United States and the Soviet Union resisted the creation of a mechanism to enforce the UDHR because they feared outside interference in domestic and foreign policy. American leaders were particularly sensitive about race relations, which they feared might invite UN action against the United States. In the 1950s, Cold War considerations limited human rights and both America and the Soviet Union used human rights for their own interests. The USSR claimed to provide its citizens with social and economic rights, while the United States criticized the Soviets for violating democratic rights and civil liberties. Only in 1992 did Congress ratify the part of the UDHR that covers “Civil and Political Rights”; it has not yet ratified the declaration’s “Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.”
27 The Truman Presidency Focus Question: What were the major initiatives of Truman’s domestic policies?The purpose of the focus questions is to help students find larger themes and structures to bring the historical evidence, events, and examples together for a connected thematic purpose.As we go through each portion of this lecture, you may want to keep in mind how the information relates to this larger thematic question. Here are some suggestions: write the focus question in the left or right margin on your notes and as we go through, either mark areas of your notes for you to come back to later and think about the connection OR as you review your notes later (to fill in anything else you remember from the lecture or your thoughts during the lecture or additional information from the readings), write small phrases from the lecture and readings that connect that information to each focus question AND/OR are examples that work together to answer the focus question.
28 The Truman Presidency: economics The Fair DealAfter the war, President Truman faced the monumental task of shifting America from war to peace. The more than 12 million men still in the military in 1945 wanted to return to their families and jobs, and demobilization occurred rapidly. While some veterans found civilian life difficult, others used GI Bill benefits to build or buy homes, start small businesses, and go to college. Most veterans went into the labor force, taking jobs from more than 2 million women workers. The government dismantled wartime agencies that regulated industry and labor and set price controls, which sparked immediate inflation.Backed by Democratic liberals and unions, Truman in 1945 tried to revive New Deal politics with a program he eventually called the “Fair Deal.” This would improve the social safety net and raise living standards. Truman pressed Congress to hike the minimum wage, create a national health insurance system, and increase public housing, Social Security, and educational aid.
29 The Truman Presidency: strikes and republicans The Postwar Strike WaveThe Republican ResurgenceThe year 1946 was one of labor revolt. The AFL and CIO launched Operation Dixie to bring unions to the South and end the anti-labor conservatism of southern politics, sending hundreds of labor organizers into the region’s textile mills, steel factories, and fields. With no more overtime work for war production, and skyrocketing inflation caused by the end of price controls, workers’ real income dropped sharply. Workers responded by going on strike to demand wage raises—5 million of them. 750,000 steel workers conducted the largest single strike in U.S. history up to that point. The strike wave alarmed President Truman, who became hostile to the unions and won an injunction to force striking coal miners back to work.In the 1946 elections, middle-class voters scared by labor unrest voted Republican, and many workers angry at Truman’s policies stayed at home. The Democrats lost both houses of Congress to the Republicans for the first time since Operation Dixie capitulated to the opposition of southern employers and white workers’ racism, keeping intact southern political power in Washington. The 1946 elections secured the continuing domination of the Congress by a coalition of conservative southern Democrats and Republicans.
31 The Truman Presidency: civil rights Postwar Civil RightsTo Secure These RightsPresident Truman in his first term embraced civil rights for African-Americans, departing from the Roosevelt administration’s relative lack of concern. The war against Nazism and its racial theories had raised black militancy and consciousness about the plight of black Americans. Many states established fair employment practices commission and cities passed laws to end discrimination in jobs and public accommodations. A civil rights coalition of labor, religious, and black groups supported these efforts. By 1952, the NAACP had raised the number of black voters in the South to 20 percent, and in that year no lynchings took place, as many law enforcement agencies started to crack down on the practice. Sports started to desegregate after the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 added black athlete Jackie Robinson to their team.In 1947, a Commission on Civil Rights appointed by Truman issued a report, To Secure These Rights, calling on the federal government to end segregation and guarantee equal treatment in housing, employment, education, and criminal justice. The Truman administration, calling the report an “American charter of human freedom,” hoped to deflect Cold War criticisms that American racial relations violated democracy and human rights. Though Truman soon presented a comprehensive civil rights program to Congress asking for a federal civil rights commission, antilynching and anti-poll tax laws, and laws for equal access in jobs and education, Congress rejected it. But in the summer of 1948, Truman desegregated the military, and the military became the first large integrated institution in American history. Truman went on to help construct the most progressive Democratic platform in history for the 1948 elections, which included a robust civil rights plank.
34 The Truman Presidency: election of 1948 The Dixiecrat and Wallace RevoltsThe 1948 CampaignWhen liberals at the 1948 Democratic convention passed the civil rights plank, many southern delegates walked out. These so-called “Dixiecrats” soon formed the States Rights’ Democratic Party and nominated for president Strom Thurmond, the governor of South Carolina. This party’s platform called for “complete segregation of the races,” and though he denied being racist, Thurmond argued that the freedom of states to govern themselves was imperiled. Truman also faced a second political insurgency from the left. Left-wing critics of Truman’s foreign policy formed the Progressive Party and nominated Henry A. Wallace for president. Wallace proposed expanding the welfare state and denounced segregation more than Truman. Wallace differed most strongly from Truman over the Cold War. He called for international controls on nuclear weapons and advocated trade with the Soviet Union. Yet, when Wallace welcomed the support of socialists and communists, opening the party to communist influence, liberals abandoned his candidacy.Though Wallace threatened Truman on the left and Thurmond threatened him in the democratic South, Truman’s primary challenger was the uncharismatic Republican candidate, Thomas A. Dewey. Truman campaigned furiously, criticized the Congress for its inaction, and recycled New Deal critiques of Wall Street and warnings that Republicans wanted to end Social Security. This election was the last before television transformed electoral politics by minimizing in-depth debate and presentations of ideology and policy. Despite a widely predicted Dewey victory, Truman won an overwhelming majority in the electoral college. For the first time since 1868, blacks decisively influenced the outcome. Thurmond carried four southern states, anticipating a later shift of these Democratic states’ voters to the Republican Party. Wallace received fewer votes than Thurmond, an outcome that made criticism of America’s Cold War foreign policy even less acceptable.
36 The Anticommunist Crusade Focus Question:What effects did the anticommunism of the Cold War have on American politics and culture?The purpose of the focus questions is to help students find larger themes and structures to bring the historical evidence, events, and examples together for a connected thematic purpose.As we go through each portion of this lecture, you may want to keep in mind how the information relates to this larger thematic question. Here are some suggestions: write the focus question in the left or right margin on your notes and as we go through, either mark areas of your notes for you to come back to later and think about the connection OR as you review your notes later (to fill in anything else you remember from the lecture or your thoughts during the lecture or additional information from the readings), write small phrases from the lecture and readings that connect that information to each focus question AND/OR are examples that work together to answer the focus question.
37 The Anticommunist Crusade: American life Loyalty and DisloyaltyThe Cold War completely transformed American life. Society was permanently militarized. The military-industrial complex forged by World War II persisted and expanded. The United States retained a large and active federal government, which spent billions on weapons and overseas bases. National security justified enormous government projects and expenditures, including aid to higher education and the building of a national highway system. It also made government officials secret and dishonest, leading, for example, to the covering up of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons tests conducted on U.S. soldiers and civilians. Cold War spending fostered economic growth and scientific and technological innovation that greatly shaped civilian life, in medicine, computers, aircraft, and other products. Government research needs expanded higher education. The Cold War changed immigration policy to favor refugees from communist countries, and increased pressure on American officials to minimize segregation. And the Cold War, like World War I, created a culture that sharply differentiated the loyal from the disloyal and eroded civil liberties.In 1947, Truman created a loyalty review system, in which federal employees had to prove their devotion to America, without knowing who was accusing them of disloyalty, and on what basis. No espionage was revealed, but hundreds lost their jobs or resigned rather than be investigated. In 1947, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) held hearings about communist influence in Hollywood. Celebrities and famous writers and directors were forced to appear before the committee or face punishment. Though some, like Ronald Reagan, alleged that the entertainment industry was rife with communism, some refused to testify, claiming that HUAC violated constitutional protections for free speech and political association. A group called the Hollywood Ten went to jail for contempt of Congress, and Hollywood blacklisted them and hundreds of others who were accused of communist sympathies or who refused to identify alleged communists.
40 The Anticommunist Crusade: communist spies The Spy TrialsSeveral high-profile legal cases exacerbated the anticommunist craze. Whittaker Chambers, a Time magazine editor, charged that in the 1930s Alger Hiss, a State Department official, had given him secret documents to take to Soviet agents. Hiss denied the allegations, but was convicted for perjury and served five years in prison. The Truman administration put Communist Party leaders on trial for advocating revolution, and several were imprisoned.In 1951, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, working-class Jewish communists from New York, were convicted of conspiring to pass secrets about the atomic bomb to the Soviets during World War II. The evidence against them was deemed too secret to be revealed at the time, but later it became clear that Julius had not given “the secret of the bomb” to the Soviets, and that almost no evidence supported charges against Ethel. Even though their charges were less serious than spying or treason, the judge said they had helped “cause” the Korean War. They were sentenced to death, and executed in Whether or not Hiss or the Rosenbergs were actually guilty, their trials strengthened Americans’ sense that a massive spy network in the United States endangered the nation.
42 The Anticommunist Crusade: fear of communism in america McCarthy and McCarthyismAn Atmosphere of FearThis climate of fear allowed an obscure Wisconsin senator to lead a spurious anticommunist crusade. In 1950, Senator Joseph R. McCarthy delivered a speech in Wheeling, West Virginia, in which he claimed to have a list of 205 communists employed at the State Department. The charge was baseless, he constantly changed the numbers, and he never identified anyone who was actually disloyal. But McCarthy used his senatorial position to hold hearings and allege disloyalty at the Defense Department and other government agencies. Though many Republicans embraced McCarthy’s campaign as a way to damage the Truman administration, his attacks on government officials after Republican candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected president in 1952 alienated Republicans. In 1954, his allegations of disloyalty in the army led to televised hearings that exposed McCarthy’s tactics and led to his downfall. The Republican Senate condemned his action, and though McCarthy died three years later, “McCarthyism” came to refer to the abuse of power in the name of anticommunism.Although anticommunism most affected the national government, anticommunism pervaded local government and life as well. States created committees, based on HUAC, to ferret out alleged communists, and state and local authorities required loyalty oaths of teachers, pharmacists, and other professionals. Private groups like the American Legion and the National Association of Manufacturers also targeted individuals for their political beliefs. Organizations that had been influenced by communists in the 1930s and 1940s became tainted, and those who would not testify about their past and present political opinions or refused to name communists often lost their jobs. “Un-American” books, like stories of Robin Hood, were removed from local libraries. Universities refused to host left-wing speakers and fired teachers who would not take loyalty oaths. The courts did nothing to halt these violations of civil liberties, and the Supreme Court defended the imprisonment of communists for their beliefs.
45 The Anticommunist Crusade: conformity The Uses of AnticommunismThough Soviet spies certainly were in the United States, the minuscule Communist Party did not endanger American security. Most of those jailed or fired in the McCarthy era were guilty of only holding unpopular beliefs and engaging in lawful political activity. Anticommunism was a popular mass movement that had its uses. One basis was in ethnic groups with roots in eastern European countries dominated by the Soviets, like the Polish, and among American Catholics who opposed communist hostility to religion. Government agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, led by J. Edgar Hoover, used anticommunism to increase their power. Anticommunism was also used for purely partisan political purposes. McCarthy and other anticommunist leaders seemed to criticize the legacy of Roosevelt and the New Deal more than Stalin and communism. Many Democrats embraced anticommunism to deflect Republican allegations of disloyalty. The Democrats excluded many in the left and the Popular Front who had helped organize support for New Deal policies. Anticommunism made conformity the new definition of loyalty; any criticism of the status quo now appeared subversive. Business used anticommunism against unions, white supremacists used it against black civil rights, and others used it to defend sexual morality and traditional gender roles against feminism and homosexuality.
46 The Anticommunist Crusade: politics Anticommunist PoliticsAnticommunism, most pervasive from the late 1940s to the early 1960s, powerfully shaped American politics and culture. Republicans invoked communism to stymie Truman’s political program. Truman became alarmed by excesses of anticommunism, and he seemed to retreat from it in policies in government. In 1950, he vetoed a measure that required “subversive” groups to register with the government, denied passports to their members, and authorized the president to deport or detain them. But Congress overrode his veto and enacted it. In 1952, a new immigration law also passed over Truman’s veto, which shot down Truman’s proposals for immigration reform and allowed the deportation of communists, even if they were citizens. In 1954, the federal government’s Operation Wetback resulted in the military deportation of about 1 million Mexican-Americans alleged to be illegal aliens. Truman only barely expanded the coverage of Social Security, and instead of extending federal social welfare, private welfare prevailed. Union workers’ contracts provided them with health insurance, wage increases that followed the cost of living, pensions, and paid vacations, while all other workers remained covered. But only workers in the unionized heavy industries enjoyed these benefits in America. In Europe, all workers received these benefits from the government.
47 The Anticommunist Crusade: labor and civil rights The Cold War and Organized LaborCold War Civil RightsAll political and social groups had to comply with anticommunism or be destroyed, and this severely damaged the labor and civil rights movements that had benefited from dedicated communist organizers. After the 1947 passage of the Taft-Hartley Act, which withdrew bargaining rights and legal protections from unions whose leaders refused to swear that they weren’t communist, the CIO expelled left-wing unions with nearly 1 million members. Unions began to support Cold War U.S. foreign policies. Since left-wingers were often the most militant advocates of women’s rights and civil rights, their expulsion left unions unable to respond to the civil rights movement and an economy that shifted from manufacturing to service work.The civil rights movement changed. While major civil rights groups at first protested Truman’s loyalty program and criticized anticommunists for not defining racism as “un-American,” nearly all black leaders and civil rights organizations were pressured into joining the anticommunist crusade. Groups like the Southern Conference for Human Welfare, that had united communists and noncommunists in a struggle for both racial equality and social justice, disintegrated, leaving only legalistic groups like the NAACP. Black organizations adopted Cold War language to argue that segregation and racism in the United States gave credence to Soviet criticisms of America, and thus helped solidify Cold War understandings of freedom.In a climate of anticommunism and McCarthyism, criticisms of American policy, domestic or foreign, invited a harsh response. Truman’s civil rights program faltered. But the booming economy of the 1950s, which produced an “affluent society” in America for the first time, produced a widening gap between white affluence and black poverty and disenfranchisement that would help inspire a civil rights resurgence in the 1960s.
49 Review Origins of the Cold War The Cold War and the Idea of Freedom Focus Question: What series of events and ideological conflicts prompted the Cold War?The Cold War and the Idea of FreedomFocus Question: How did the Cold War reshape the ideas of American freedom?The Truman PresidencyFocus Question: What were the major initiatives of Truman’s domestic policies?The Anticommunist CrusadeFocus Question: What effects did the anticommunism of the Cold War have on American politics and culture?
50 MEDIA LINKS —— Chapter 23 —— TitleMedia linkEric Foner on the Freedom TrainEric Foner on the Cold War, pt 1: effects on American freedomEric Foner on the civil rights movement before BrownEric Foner on the Cold War, pt 2: McCarthyism
51 Next Lecture PREVIEW: —— Chapter 24 —— An Affluent Society, 1953–1960 The Golden AgeThe Eisenhower EraThe Freedom MovementThe Election of 1960
52 Independent and Employee-Owned Norton Lecture SlidesIndependent and Employee-OwnedbyEric FonerThis concludes the Norton Lecture Slides Slide Set for Chapter 23 Give Me Liberty! AN AMERICAN HISTORY FOURTH EDITION