Nicolas Parent                                        000307156Did Communism threaten America’s internal       security af...
Nicolas Parent                                                   000307156                    Table of ContentsA. Plan of ...
Nicolas Parent                                                                                        000307156A. Plan of ...
Nicolas Parent                                                                                        000307156However, th...
Nicolas Parent                                                                                          000307156C. Evalua...
Nicolas Parent                                                                                          000307156McCarthy ...
Nicolas Parent                                                                                          000307156the Sovie...
Nicolas Parent                                                                                                 000307156hi...
Nicolas Parent                                                                                   000307156F. Bibliography“...
Nicolas Parent                                                                                  000307156Nixon, Richard. "...
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Did Communism threaten America's internal security after World War 2?

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Did Communism threaten America's internal security after World War 2?

  1. 1. Nicolas Parent 000307156Did Communism threaten America’s internal security after World War II? Nicolas Parent 000307156 Mr. Soule IB History SL May 2012 Word Count: 2,040 1
  2. 2. Nicolas Parent 000307156 Table of ContentsA. Plan of Investigation…………………………………………………………………………...1B. Summary of Evidence………………………………………………………………………..1-2C. Evaluation of Sources………………………………………………………………………..2-3D. Analysis……………………………………………………………………………………...3-4E. Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………………...5F. Bibliography………………………………………………………………………………….6-7 2
  3. 3. Nicolas Parent 000307156A. Plan of Investigation The purpose of the investigation is to determine whether or not Communism was a threatto the internal security of the United States of America. The investigation will concentrate onthe role the American government held in sensationalizing Communism and the general opinionthe public held of it in order to determine the effects Communism had on the fabric of society.During the Cold War, a large amount of politicians exploited the irrational fear the averageAmerican citizen had of the Reds. Many a politician’s career was launched thanks to theapprehension and misgivings of the malleable population, only feeding the already raging fire ofdistrust in everything Communist. To carry out the investigation, both primary and secondary sources will be used. Venona:Decoding Soviet Espionage in America by John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, and Nightmarein Red: the McCarthy Era in Perspective by Richard M. Fried are the two main sources ofinformation. These books will then be evaluated in origin, purpose, values, and limitations.B. Summary of Evidence At the conclusion of World War II in 1945, Europe was affected by a power vacuum.Two superpowers sought dominance in the region. On one side was the United States ofAmerica, or the West, and on the other was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. After itsdefeat, Germany was partitioned into four occupational zones, as per the guidelines set forth bythe Yalta Conference. However, deterioration in diplomatic ties between the USA and USSR ledto an environment of political tension known as the Cold War. In 1943, deputy Chief of Military Intelligence Carter Clarke called for the creation of theVenona Project. Clarke initiated the program due to his lack of trust in Stalin’s intentions (“TheVenona Story”). His initial fear was that Stalin would attempt to secure an independent peacewith Hitler, a course of action which would then allow Nazi Germany to utilize most of itsresources against its enemies to the West (Harvey and Klehr 8). Among the communicationlines being monitored by the Venona Project were nearly three thousand telegraph cables that ranfrom Soviet spies in the United States to their superiors in Moscow (Harvey and Klehr 1). 3
  4. 4. Nicolas Parent 000307156However, the code used by the Soviets was much harder to break than Clarke anticipated. Thefirst messages were only rendered in 1946, making the program useless for its intended task.What the encrypted messages were shown to contain were quite shocking: Soviet espionage wasin effect in the United States. The deciphered cables showed that professional Soviet spies werebeing placed in the United States since 1942. As well, a confirmed 349 American citizens,immigrants, and permanent residents were recruited into the espionage effort (Harvey and Klehr9). Since the vast majority of the messages were not analyzed, it is safe to assume that the actualnumber of Soviet spies is much greater. This development alarmed government officials andhelped contribute to the Red Scare that would grip the nation in the decades to come. The sudden proliferation of Communism brought concern to the capitalist-centered West.This phenomenon would come to be known as the Second Red Scare. The fear of Sovietespionage supported by important events like the arrests and executions of communist spiesseemed to take root in the collective psyche of the American peoples. This phobia ofcommunism led to the advent of a phenomenon known as McCarthyism (Fried 9). Named afterSenator Joseph McCarthy, this mindset was one of absolute opposition towards anythingremotely related to the left wing of politics. Combined with the apparent threats of Soviet-owned nuclear weapons and the control of mainland China by Mao Zedong in 1949,McCarthyism as it came to be known became an extremely widespread concept amongAmerican citizens (Fried 131). After almost fifty years of “war”, the USSR was attempting to revive its economy.Mikhail Gorbachev, the General Secretary of the USSR, called for a series of reforms that wouldhopefully restart the Soviet economy. However, these further weakened the Soviets, leading to arapid decline. Many nations seceded from the union. However, since there was no militarypower to enforce itself, the USSR was no more. The Cold War came to an official end onDecember 25th 1991 with the dissolution of the USSR. 4
  5. 5. Nicolas Parent 000307156C. Evaluation of SourcesHaynes, John Earl and Harvey Klehr. Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America. Yale University. Yale University Press. 1991. Print Both authors are from the United States of America. The text was published at the YaleUniversity Press. It was published in 1991, only two years after the end of the Cold War. Thismeans that the authors cannot truly benefit from hindsight. The book was written to expose theextent to which Soviet espionage infiltrated the inner workings of the agencies, unions, andgovernment, of the United States of America. While the influence of Soviet spies had not goneunknown during the Cold War, newly opened archives in Moscow finally allowed Americanhistorians to bear witness to the raw size of the community of Soviet espionage. This granted theauthors of the text new evidence as to the dangers posed by the CPUSA, an organizationpreviously thought to have had a low impact on American politics. The fact that the majority ofthe archives were available to the investigators, the information gleaned from the recordscontributed to a new viewpoint that had previously been limited to speculation. Since the extentof Soviet espionage in America is the reason for the writing of the text, the amount of researchthat was put into its publication must have been staggering. Since the book was published in theearly 1990’s and mostly treats on the early to mid-Cold War era, the authors are able to exercisea form of hindsight in which they go over the decisions made by American Senators andPresidents during the Cold War. John Earl Haynes is an American historian who also specializesin 20th century political history. Harvey Klehr is a professor of both politics and history atEmory University in Atlanta, Georgia. These credentials combined with his large amount ofexperience on Soviet espionage makes the book a valuable resource due to its highly recognizedand reliable authors.Fried, Richard M. Nightmare in Red: The McCarthy Era in Perspective. Oxford University. Oxford University Press. 1990. Print. Richard Fried is an American professor of history at the University of Illinois at Chicago.The book was published by the Oxford University Press in 1990. The purpose of the text wasalso to educate the general public about the history of the Cold War and specifically about the 5
  6. 6. Nicolas Parent 000307156McCarthy Era (1940’s-50). This era was the genesis of the “Red Scare”, where the effects ofCommunism were allegedly played above what they could truly accomplish. The text shows theeffects of the Red Scare not only on the political landscape of the United States of America, butthe effects on the ordinary population. The portrayal of the general public during this eraincludes anecdotes of people ranging from college students to factory workers. The width of theresearch that came about in order to get accurate records from such people is also testament tothe dedication of the author. The text presents an alternate viewpoint when compared to sourcesfrom the same time period. Whilst texts like the first source (Venona: Decoding SovietEspionage in America) state that damage to internal security was directly the fault of Sovietspies, Fried comes to the conclusion that most of the problems outlined by politicians at the timewere blown out of proportion in order to gain political power. This view is, as can be expected,quite controversial. The evidence needed to make such claims is not quantifiable, and so it isdifficult to support. As well, the allegation that the effects of Communism on the populace weremore or less psychological is also difficult to support and so is nearly impossible to refute.D. Analysis Among the different perspectives regarding the extent to which Communism was a threatto the internal security of the Unites States of America, some historians believe that Communismwas a true danger. According to historians John Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Communist spieshad infiltrated all levels of the American government (Haynes and Klehr 9). One of the greatestthreats to American security was the trading of atomic secrets to the USSR. Atomic-powered“hot war” could have occurred due to the actions of many American and foreign scientistsemployed by the US government (Lawrence). One of these scientists was Klaus Fuchs, anatomic physicist, and was one of the Soviets’ most important sources of information. Along withTheodore Hall and David Greenglass, Fuchs supplied the USSR with the complex formula forthe extraction of weapons-grade uranium from normal uranium ore along with principles forimplosion techniques and technical plans for the construction of atomic-bomb productionfacilities (Haynes and Klehr 170). Both Haynes and Klehr stress the importance that theinfiltration of the American atomic program held for the Soviets. At the time Fuchs was active, 6
  7. 7. Nicolas Parent 000307156the Soviet atomic program was severely behind the Americans’ (Haynes and Klehr 310). Assuch, a large amount of resources were dedicated to the proper execution of all atomic espionageoperations. Another credible threat to the internal security of the United States was theinfiltration of the American government by Soviet spies (Haynes and Klehr 10). Some of theseagents held senior positions. Harry White, the second-most powerful official in the USDepartment of the Treasury, advised Soviet diplomats on how the American diplomatic strategycould be countered and halted (Haynes and Klehr 9). Lauchlin Currie, the economical advisor toRoosevelt himself was a Soviet agent. He helped the KGB it its operations by warning themwhen one of their spies was under investigation (Haynes and Klehr 9). Intelligence agencieswere not impervious to the machinations of the KGB either. Maurice Halperin, the head ofresearch at the Office of Strategic Services, a precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency,turned over hundreds of secret American diplomatic messages to the KGB (Haynes and Klehr10). All in all, many Cold War historians believe that Communism presented a plausible threatto the internal security of the United States of America. An additional viewpoint to the issue is that Communism was not as important of a threatto American internal security as people thought. American historian and professor Richard M.Fried believes that “Americans developed an obsession with domestic communism that outranthe actual threat and gnawed at the tissue of civil liberties” (Fried 3). According to him, thepublic opinion of Communism was shaped by politicians in order to influence the rate ofapproval they received and thus affect their political careers (Fried 16). Rather, the largest threatto internal security was the people itself. More specifically, the massive display of anti-Communism in the USA was a self-destructive force which damaged the American way of life.Invasive acts were passed that allowed the government to ignore certain civil liberties set by theAmerican Constitution in an effort to monitor suspected Communist sympathizers (“InternalSecurity Act of 1950”). As well, the mass-hysteria that was the Red Scare influenced manypeople to keep their political opinions to themselves under fear of being branded as Communists.University and college professors withheld their personal opinions, afraid that they would affecttheir job security (Fried 162). Sadly enough, even charities and non-profit organizations werefound to be suspicious by anti-Communists in Congress. The recycling of wealth back intosociety was seen as extremely radical and would not be tolerated (Fried 158). As such, certain 7
  8. 8. Nicolas Parent 000307156historians believe that the zealous movement of anti-Communism was a greater threat toAmerican internal security than Communism itself.E. ConclusionUltimately, the effects of communism on the internal security of the United States of America aredebatable. Both Haynes and Klehr believe that the operations carried out by Soviet spies activelydamaged the infrastructure of the American government. Fried’s belief was that the xenophobic and anti-Communist sentiments encouraged by some American politicians only served to sensationalize and blowout of proportion the actions of Soviet spies, damaging the life of American citizens. It is possible thatthe answer to the question is a combination of both fields. The threat of Soviet espionage to the internalsecurity of the United States of America is undeniable. The level of infiltration achieved by these spies, asoutlined by the chronicles of the Venona Project, is quite surprising. As well, the activities of Communistspies in government departments and labor groups served in greatly damaging the trust which the regularAmerican citizen had in their fellow man. Along those lines, the effects of McCarthyism on Americansociety were indisputably negative. Therefore, communism was, to a large extent, a threat to the internalsecurity of the United States of America. 8
  9. 9. Nicolas Parent 000307156F. Bibliography“Communist Control Act.” Documents of American History. tucnak.fsv.cuni.cz, Web. n.d. 31 January 2012.“Communist Manifesto.” Marxists.org/archive. marxists.org, n.d. Web. 31 January 2012.Fried, Richard M. Nightmare in Red: The McCarthy Era in Perspective. Oxford University. Oxford University Press. 1990. Print.Haynes, John Earl and Harvey Klehr. Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America. Yale University. Yale University Press. 1991. Print.“Internal Security Act.” Documents of American History. tucnak.fsv.cuni.cz, Web. n.d. 31 January 2012.Lawrence, David. “Barn Door Still Unlocked; How Do We Treat Traitors?” St. Petersburg Independent (17 May 1958): 4-A. Google News. Web. 30 November 2011. 9
  10. 10. Nicolas Parent 000307156Nixon, Richard. "Statement on Signing Bill Repealing the Emergency Detention Act of 1950." September 25, 1971. The American Presidency Project. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley.Sensing, Thurman. “U.S. Needs Internal Security Act, The Time to Pass Act Is Now.” The Southeast Missourian (11 March 1968): 6. Google News. Web. 30 November 2011.“The Venona Story.” NSA Government Publications. web.archive.org, n.d. Web. 30 January 2012.Zubok, Vladislav and Constantine Pleshakov. Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War: From Stalin to Khrushchev. Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harvard University Press. 1996. Print. 10

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