The Start of the Cold War and the Second Red ScareHow is the great fear of Communism during the ColdWar relevant to today? Are we, as Americans, fearful of other ideologies?
Communism is a sociopoliticalphilosophy that abolishes social classesto create a stateless society in whichdecisions are made based on the best interestof the collective society. Also referred to as “RevolutionaryProletarian Socialism” or “Marxism”. Communism is enclosed in two Writings: 1). Communist Manifesto (Karl Marx) 2).Principles of Communism
The Clash Between the United States and the Soviet Union The United States and Soviet Union viewed thepostwar world differently. The United States believed in democratgovernment and capitalistic society, whereas theSoviet Union believed in a communistic economyand totalitarian government. The USSR helped install Communist – dominatedgovernments in Poland, Bulgaria, and Romania(1945).
Winston Churchill told an American audience, an “iron curtain” had descended across Europe, separating the “free” democratic nations of the west from the “captive” Communist nations of the East.
The Second Red Scare 1947- 1957:Americans fear of the SovietUnion spreading communism across theword through revolution. Liberals openly admitted there was athreat for communismand they took on an anti-communistposition. In 1949 ten well known U.S.communists were sent to jailfor 5 years.
The House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) Created in 1938 Held publicized investigations to prove that underDemocratic rule the government had tolerated orencouraged communist subversion. Committee turned to the movie industry, arguingcommunist were in Hollywood and American films hadcommunist propaganda. “The Hollywood Ten” – Writers and Producers werecalled to testify and when they refused to do so theywere sent to jail.
Loyalty Checks and Internal Security: (1947) Under Executive Order, President Truman created theFederal Employee Loyalty Program. More than 3 million government workers wereinvestigated and cleared, 2,000 resigned, and around 200were dismissed from their jobs. Workers had to take a loyalty oath – stated that was notor has never been part of the Communist Party Internal Security Act or McCarran Act: (1950) Required Communist and Communist Organizations toRegister with the Attorney General, also prohibitedemployment of communist in the defense department
Republican elected the Wisconsin Senator toCongress in 1946.In 1950 during a speech he claimed to have a listdetailing known communist working for the StateDepartment.Exploited fear of communism and attacked thegovernment on its inability to counter it toincrease his own political standing.
Blacklisted public servants Listed 205 state department workers … little to no evidence House on Un-American Activities Committee Summoned 2300+ men and women costing them their jobs 400 went to jail with lack of a free trialThe Hollywood Ten 9500 civil servants dismissed including teachers
Fear: Accused often left lawyer-less, lawyers feared being labeled communist of communist sympathizers Invasion and censorship of Hollywood HUAC investigated Hollywood Oscar nominated Sam Jaffe – progressive not a communist, reduced from career in Hollywood to teaching math (Fewer the 10 percent of those blacklisted would get their jobs back) 1th Amendment implications Freedom of speech… unless McCarthy thinks you’re a communist
John Henry Faulk- comedy radio host fired for “communist disloyalty” sued AWARE in ‘57 and won in ‘62 creating a precedent for blacklisted celebrities Yates vs. US(57) – overturned conviction of 14 communist on grounds of insignificant evidence Watkins vs. US(57) – curtailed power of HUAC Kent vs. Dulls(58) – halted State Department power to refuse or revoke a passport based on communist beliefs
In 1954 the Watkins Committee lead by Senator Arthur Watkins was opened to investigate McCarthy on charges of contempt of the Subcommittee on Rules and Administration and abuse of General Zwicker. He was found guilty and this verdict destroyed his political career . Without his drive the anti-communist drive lost steam. The HUAC would lose power and prestige after McCarthy’s fall and would finally disband in 1975.
Today McCarthyism is used to refer to the practice of making poorly supported accusations, attacking a persons patriotism, and using accusations of disloyalty to force a person to submit to popular policy or discredit a person Many comparison are drawn between hunt for communist back then and the hunt for terrorist today Right accuses left of interfering in the War on Terrorism like they impeded hunt for communist Left accuses right of overreacting and abusing civil rights to hunt shadows