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THE RISE AND FALL OF MCCARTHYISM. 1917-1920: FIRST RED SCARE The First Red Scare begins during World War I. The Bolshevik revolution in Russia and the.

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Presentation on theme: "THE RISE AND FALL OF MCCARTHYISM. 1917-1920: FIRST RED SCARE The First Red Scare begins during World War I. The Bolshevik revolution in Russia and the."— Presentation transcript:


2 1917-1920: FIRST RED SCARE The First Red Scare begins during World War I. The Bolshevik revolution in Russia and the ensuing Russian Civil War inspire a widespread campaign of violence in the U.S. by various anti- government groups. It effectively ends when A. Mitchell Palmer says that there is going to be a massive communist uprising on May Day of 1920, but no such uprising comes about.

3 1938: HOUSE UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES COMMITTEE (HUAC) The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), established in 1938, is the most prominent and active government committee involved in anti- Communist investigations. HUAC investigates a variety of “activities,” including those of German- American Nazis during World War II. The Committee soon focuses on Communism, beginning with an investigation into Communists in the Federal Theatre Project in 1938.

4 1942: THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES (CPUSA) The CPUSA, in existence for decades and reaching a peak of 50,000 members in 1942, is now viewed as a threat to U.S. national security.

5 1945: CHINA FALLS TO THE COMMUNISTS Mao Zedong’s Communist army gains control of mainland China despite heavy financial support of the opposing Kuomintang by the U.S.

6 1945+: POST-WORLD WAR II DISTRUST OF THE SOVIET UNION With the end of World War II, the Cold War begins almost immediately, as the Soviet Union installs repressive Communist puppet régimes across Central and Eastern Europe.

7 MARCH 21, 1947: EXECUTIVE ORDER 9835 (THE LOYALTY ORDER) The Truman administration bars Communists or people associated with Communists from government jobs. The order establishes a wide area for the departmental loyalty boards to conduct loyalty screenings of federal employees and job applicants. It allows the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation to run initial name checks on federal employees, and authorizes further field investigation if the initial inquiry uncovers “derogatory information.”

8 OCTOBER 1947: THE HOLLYWOOD TEN HUAC begins to subpoena screenwriters, directors, and other movie industry professionals to testify about their known or suspected membership in the Communist Party, association with its members, or support of its beliefs. It is at these testimonies that what becomes known as the “$64 question” is asked: “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party of the United States?” Among the first film industry witnesses subpoenaed by the Committee are ten who decide not to cooperate. These men, who become known as the “Hollywood Ten” cite the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech and free assembly, which they believe legally protects them from being required to answer the Committee’s questions. This tactic fails, and the ten are sentenced to prison for contempt of Congress.

9 NOVEMBER 25, 1947: THE WALDORF STATEMENT This statement announces the firing of the Hollywood Ten and states: “We will not knowingly employ a Communist or a member of any party or group which advocates the overthrow of the government of the United States[…]” This open capitulation to the attitudes of McCarthyism marks the beginning of the Hollywood blacklist. In spite of the fact that hundreds are denied employment, the studios, producers and other employers do not publicly admit that a blacklist exists.

10 1949: JOE I The first Soviet atomic test is First Lightning (Первая молния) August 29, 1949, and is code- named by the Americans as Joe 1. It is a replica of the American Fat Man bomb, whose design the Soviets know from espionage.

11 1949: ALGER HISS In January, Alger Hiss, a high-level State Department official, is convicted of perjury. Hiss is in effect found guilty of espionage; the statute of limitations has run out for that crime, but he is convicted of having perjured himself when he denies that charge in earlier testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

12 1949: LOYALTY OATH The University of California starts requiring all employees to sign an anti-Communist loyalty oath. Many faculty and staff object to the oath, calling it a political test as a condition of employment.

13 1950: KOREAN WAR The Korean War pits U.S., U.N. and South Korean forces against Communists from North Korea and China.

14 1950: THE ROSENBERGS Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are charged with conspiracy to commit espionage (they allegedly sold secrets about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union). They plead not guilty. The Rosenbergs are convicted of spying, sentenced to death, and then executed in 1953.

15 FEBRUARY 9, 1950: SENATOR JOSEPH MCCARTHY’S RISE TO FAME Senator Joseph McCarthy announces in a speech that he has a list of 205 Communists in the U.S. Department of State.

16 1950-1954: MCCARTHY’S ATTACKS Senator McCarthy’s fame following these allegations (which are never proven) allows him to publically attack various government agencies, including the U.S. Army. He also accuses high-level government officials of being Communists.

17 MARCH 29, 1950: “MCCARTHYISM” The first recorded use of the term McCarthyism is in a March 29, 1950 political cartoon by Washington Post editorial cartoonist Herbert Block. The cartoon depicts four leading Republicans trying to push an elephant to stand on a teetering stack of ten tar buckets, the topmost of which is labeled “McCarthyism.”

18 1951-1954: J. EDGAR HOOVER FBI director J. Edgar Hoover is one of the nation’s most fervent anti-communists, and one of the most powerful. The FBI operate a secret “Responsibilities Program” that distributes anonymous documents with evidence from FBI files of Communist affiliations on the part of teachers, lawyers, and others. Many people accused in these “blind memoranda” are fired without any further process.

19 1952: THE CRUCIBLE The 1952 Arthur Miller play The Crucible used the Salem witch trials as a metaphor for McCarthyism, suggesting that the process of McCarthyism-style persecution can occur at any time or place. The play focused heavily on the fact that once accused, a person would have little chance of exoneration, given the irrational and circular reasoning of both the courts and the public.

20 MARCH 9, 1954: EDWARD R. MURROW Edward R. Murrow broadcasts the program “See It Now,” focusing on Senator McCarthy. This report, which marks the beginning of the end for the senator, is told mainly from McCarthy’s own words and pictures. After the show airs, McCarthy says he wants more air time to respond to the remarks made about him. During this broadcast, Murrow says, “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty.”

21 APRIL 22-JUNE 17, 1954: ARMY-MCCARTHY HEARINGS Senator McCarthy conducts television hearings of those in the U.S. Army thought to be affiliated with the Communist party. Republicans worry that McCarthy’s public hearings are beginning to make him (and the entire Republican party) look ridiculous.

22 DECEMBER 2, 1954: CENSURE AND THE WATKINS COMMITTEE Vermont Republican Senator Ralph E. Flanders introduces a resolution to censure McCarthy. A special committee, chaired by Senator Arthur V. Watkins, is appointed to study and evaluate the resolution. After two months of hearings and deliberations, the Watkins Committee recommends that McCarthy be censured on two of the 46 counts. By a vote of 67 to 22, Senator McCarthy is censured.

23 MAY 2, 1957: THE END Senator McCarthy dies of hepatitis at the age of 47.

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