Presentation on theme: "The Cold War at Home: The Second Red Scare. 1949: Anxiety over Communism 3/49: Soviet Union detonated an atomic bomb China: had been locked in a civil."— Presentation transcript:
1949: Anxiety over Communism 3/49: Soviet Union detonated an atomic bomb China: had been locked in a civil war since the 1920s –Nationalists led by Chiang Kai-shek –Communists led by Mao Zedong U.S. tried to back the Nationalists, but were unsuccessful –Communists claimed victory
Soviet Domination in Eastern Europe and the Communist takeover in China shocked the American public and fueled a fear that communism would spread around the world
It didn’t help that during WWII, as many as 80,000 Americans belonged to the Communist Party!
What was done to prevent the spread of Communism at home?
Loyalty Review Board Anti-Communist Republicans began accusing Truman of being “soft” on communism…so… Executive Order 9835: created the Federal Employee Loyalty Program – investigated gov’t employees and dismissed those who were found to be disloyal to the U.S.
Results of Review Board 91 organizations were investigated because of their suspicious views (KKK, Nazi Party, etc) 3.2 million employees were investigated (’47-’51) 212 people dismissed 2,900 resigned (violation of rights!)
HUAC 1938: investigated loyalty before WWII House Un-American Activities Committee –Investigated possible communist influence –Gov’t and movie industry HUAC claimed that Communists were sneaking propaganda into films
Why the Movies? Many Hollywood personalities were or had been members of the Communist party or supported ideas similar to communism Movies were thought to have a tremendous power to influence the public Hollywood had made movies favorable to the Soviet Union during the war (with encouragement from the gov’t!)
Hollywood 10 “Friendly” witnesses (actors, directors, producers) supported accusations that Communists had infiltrated the film industry 10 “unfriendly” witnesses were called to testify but refused –Became known as the Hollywood 10 –Said the hearings were unconstitutional –Sent to prison!
Result: Blacklisted! Hollywood executives instituted a blacklist, a list of people whom they condemned for having a Communist background (actors, writers, producers, and directors) – careers were ruined What effect did this have on the film industry?
Alger Hiss Former Communist spy Whittaker Chambers, accused Alger Hiss (former high-ranking State Dept official) of spying for the Soviet Union in the 1930s Chambers produced microfilms of documents supposedly typed on Hiss’s typewriter
Alger Hiss (cont) Couldn’t be accused of espionage because too much time had passed Convicted for perjury and sent to jail Hiss claimed his Innocence However, probably was guilty
The Rosenbergs March 1949: Soviet Union detonated an atomic bomb 1950: Klaus Fuchs admitted he gave Soviet Union information about America’s atomic bomb
The Rosenbergs (cont) Ethel and Julius Rosenberg (minor activists in the American Communist Party) were connected to the case and tried and found guilty of espionage –Executed! –Evidence later showed that Julius was guilty; Ethel’s role was probably minor
McCarthyism Joseph McCarthy – Republican Senator from Wisconsin Election time was near and McCarthy needed something…
McCarthyism (cont) McCarthy charged that Communists were taking over the government Made one unsupported accusation after another Claimed to have 205 names (then 81) of Communists in the State Department Blamed Democrats for allowing Communists to infiltrate the government
Reaction At first his fellow Republicans did little to stop him 1954: McCarthy claims the US Army is full of Communists Resulted in a televised investigation –McCarthy bullied witnesses and alienated the audience –Senate condemned him Died 3 years later