Presentation on theme: "Fear of Communist Influence In the early years of the Cold War, many American’s were concerned about the security of the U.S. due to the Soviet domination."— Presentation transcript:
Fear of Communist Influence In the early years of the Cold War, many American’s were concerned about the security of the U.S. due to the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe & the Communist takeover in China. Several factors contributed to a growing suspicion of Communist influence within the U.S. –During WWII, 80,000 Americans claimed membership in the Communist Party. –In 1945, two State Department workers & one Naval intelligence officer had stolen classified documents & passed them to a pro- Communist magazine. –In 1945, spies also stole documents that provided the Soviets with secret information about the atomic bomb.
Congress & Truman Act In 1947, Truman vowed to be tough on Communism & issued an executive order setting up the Federal Employees Loyalty & Security program, which included the Loyalty Review Board. It’s purpose was to investigate government employees & to dismiss those who were found to be disloyal to the U.S. Govt. From 1947-1951, government loyalty boards investigated 3.2 million employees & dismissed 212 as security risks. 2,900 resigned because they felt their constitutional rights were being violated. Individuals under investigation were not allowed to see the evidence against them.
The House of Un-American Activities Committee HUAC developed from a Congressional Committee created to search out disloyalty before WWII. HUAC first made headlines in 1947 when it began to investigate Communist influence in the Movie Industry. Hollywood did have a large number of current & former Communists. HUAC wanted to rid Hollywood of these Communist because of their great influence over the American people (pro Soviet films)
Hollywood Ten HUAC subpoenaed 43 witnesses from the Hollywood Film Industry. Many witnesses were cooperative, but ten “unfriendly” witnesses (Hollywood 10) decided not to cooperate because they believed that the hearings were unconstitutional. When the Hollywood Ten refused to answer questions from the committee, they were sent to prison. In response to the hearing, Hollywood executives instituted a blacklist, a list of people whom they in effect condemned for having a Communist background. 500 actors, writers, producers, & directors had their careers ruined because of being blacklisted.
The McCarran Act In 1950, Congress passed the McCarran Act, which made it unlawful to plan any action that might lead to an establishment of a Totalitarian dictatorship in the U.S.
McCarthyism The most famous anti-communist was Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. Known for being a very ineffective Senator is first 3 years in office, McCarthy knew he needed to gain attention or he wasn’t going to be reelected. Taking advantage of people’s concerns about Communism, McCarthy started making unsupported accusation after another. At various times he claimed to have the names of 50 – 200 Communists in our Government (never actually produced a single name). McCarthy’s techniques became known as McCarthyism. When challenged, he responded by making another accusation. He only did his name calling in the Senate, where he had legal immunity that protected him from being sued for slander.
Downfall of McCarthy 1954, McCarthy made accusations against the U.S. Army, which resulted in a nationally televised Senate investigation. McCarthy’s bullying of witnesses alienated the audience & cost him public support.
Effects of McCarthyism Millions of Americans were forced to take loyalty oaths & undergo loyalty investigations. People were hesitant to speak out on public issues for fear they will be accused of having Communist leanings. Anti-Communism continues to drive U.S. foreign policy.