In Europe Berlin Airlift: Stalin seals off West Berlin (which was inside the Soviet Zone) in 1948, hoping that the U.S. would abandon it. We fly in for over 15 months, until Stalin abandons the blockade.
In Asia China falls to Mao Zedong and his communist forces (they had been fighting since the 1920’s).
In Asia We initially help the Chinese government, but realize that the fall is inevitable, we withdraw aid Losing China is a BIG BLOW to the Truman administration
Nuclear Weapons When we learn that the Soviets have the atomic bomb, Truman authorizes research on a thermonuclear bomb, which is many times more powerful than an atomic bomb.
At home… Remember: Many Americans had joined communist or socialist organizations during the Depression. Loyalty Programs: all federal employees were subject to investigations
HUAC HUAC: began to probe the U.S. (Especially Hollywood) for Communist influences. The Hollywood Ten: group a writers, directors, actors, and producers who refused to testify before the HUAC. All were fined or jailed
Blacklists People who were seen as un-American or disloyal were blacklisted, which meant that no studios would hire them.
McCarran-Walter Act Re-instated immigration quotas from the 1920’s. Senator McCarran believed most disloyal Americans were immigrants. –This bill passed over Truman’s veto.
Spy Cases: Algar Hiss was a former high ranking official who was put on trial for espionage
Spy Cases: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of giving atomic secrets to the Russians. Both were executed.
According to released Soviet documents, Julius Rosenberg and Algar Hiss were guilty, Ethel was probably not.
Loyalty Programs, Committee investigations, Blacklists and highly publicized spy cases convinced many Americans that the threat of spies was very real and lead to a climate of great suspicion in America. Many people’s civil rights were violated during this period.
Permanent increase in the military budget –Creates a permanent “military- industrial” complex. –Alliance of the military, industrial and scientific communities. –The fear is that this “complex” will affect American Policy.