The Second Red Scare

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Transcript The Second Red Scare

The Second Red Scare
in the United States
Fear and Loathing in the States 1945-1955
Essential Questions
• Discuss the impact of the Cold War on society
and culture in the United States.
• Describe the rise of McCarthyism and its effect
on domestic and foreign policy in the United
States.
• Assess the impact of McCarthyism and anticommunism on the politics and policies of the
two major political parties in the U.S.
And so it begins…
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Unlike the first Red Scare in the 1920’s, in the 1950’s, communism
was not an imagined enemy, it had concrete shape in the form of
the Soviet Union and Joseph Stalin.
U.S. faced several setbacks in the early days of the Cold War:
 The Korean deadlock
 Red China
 The development of the atomic bomb by the Soviets
The American public and government officials looked for a reason
why communism was gaining ground in the Cold War. For some ,
the answer was communist conspiracy within the United States.
State and local governments, the judiciary, schools and universities,
labor unions – all sought to rid themselves of real or imagined
subversives.
Fear gave way to paranoia led to extraordinary actions taken by the
government. (witch hunts)
Political motivations
Timeline
Truman, Exec Order 9835…
• Truman's Executive Order 9835 (1947) established the
Federal Employee Loyalty Program - FBI would conduct
background checks on 2 million existing federal employees
plus all new applicants
• “Derogatory information" was reviewed by government
Loyalty Boards - Employee could be fired if "reasonable
doubt" of loyalty was established by 6 categories: crimes,
violent overthrow, breach of official duty or disclosure of
confidential information, or membership in or association
with any subversive organization
• No appeal beyond loyalty boards , no permission to confront
a "confidential informant"
• 5000 voluntary resignations resulted from investigations
before hearings conducted for great variety of reasons - only
378 employees were dismissed or denied employment by
boards and none of these were spies.
Truman, Exec Order 9835…
• Truman had to work with a
Republican controlled Congress
• 9835 and Loyalty Boards
answer Republican criticism
that Democrats were soft on
communism
• Also put the process in the
hands of the executive branch
to avoid a witch hunt by
Congress
• Under the order 5000 federal
employees resigned, only 300
were dismissed as security
risks, no one was jailed as a
spy.
House Un-American Activities Committee
• Originally assembled in the
US House to investigate Nazi
activities in the US during
WWII , under Republican
control HUAC will begin
hunting for communist
sympathizers in 1947
• Committee members where
notorious for asking leading
questions and badgering
witnesses
• “Are you now, or have you
ever been a member of the
Communist Party?”
HUAC vs. Hollywood
• The movie industry was the first Cold War target of HUAC, accused
of imbedding films with communist propaganda.
• Writers and producers were called to testify before HUAC
• Hollywood Ten refused to testify:
– Fined
– sentenced to prison for contempt of Congress,
– blacklisted from working in the film industry in Hollywood until the 1960's
when the ban was lifted.
• Many cooperated with HUAC for ideological reasons (Gary Cooper)
others to avoid scrutiny (Elia Kazan)
• Ronald Reagan, then president of the Screen Actors Guild ,
launches his political career after HUAC testimony
HUAC vs. Hollywood
Walt Disney testified that communists had
infiltrated Disney’s animation staff as evidence
by the artist’s attempt to unionize and go on
strike.
Actor Gary Cooper “I have turned down quite a
few scripts because I thought they were tinged
with communistic ideas.”
Herblock on Hysteria
Herblock Online
Algier Hiss Case
• HUAC investigates US government
officials in 1948
• Based only on the testimony of
Whitaker Chambers, HUAC launches
an investigation that Algier Hiss, a
state department official, was a spy
for the Soviet Union.
• Hiss was never proven to be a spy but
was convicted of perjury for lying
about his membership in the
Communist Party.
• Politics of the Red Scare:
– Nixon uses his role in HUAC to
strengthen his anti-communist credibility
and increase name recognition to run for
higher office
– Democrats get pegged with “pinko” label
for having communist sympathizers in
their ranks
McCarran Act
• Internal Security Act (1950) McCarran
– Passed over Truman’s veto
– Required all communist organizations in
the US register with attorney general
– Full government access to the documents
of any organization deemed suspect, ex
labor unions
• FBI and J. Edgar Hoover zealous
enforcers of the act
– Questionable wiretaps of suspects,
including civil rights activists, and labor
union officials
– FBI plays a major role in providing HUAC
and McCarthy with information.
– FBI agent William Sullivan, later admitted,
"We were the ones who made the
McCarthy hearings possible. We fed
McCarthy all the material he was using."
– Red Channels
Rosenberg Trial
• US UK collaboration on VENONA leads
to Klaus Fuchs a British spy guilty of
passing US atomic bomb secrets to the
Soviet Union
• Fuchs > (Harry Gold > David Greenglass
> Ruth Greenglass) = Julius and Ethel
Rosenberg
• Rosenbergs declare their innocence of
espionage
• Convicted 1951, executed by the US
government 1953. Only people to be
executed for espionage in the US during
the Cold War
• 1996, Greenglass recants his testimony
of his sister Ethel, but maintained Julius
was a spy.
McCarthyism
• Sen. Joseph MacCarthy (R. WI) Feb. 9th
1950. Wheeling Speech, Republican
Women’s Club Wheeling West Virginia
McCarthy declares~
– I have in my hand a list of 205 names made
known to the Sec. of State of members of
the Communist Party still working and
shaping policy in the State Department.
• The McCarthy Hearings lasted 4 years
– Inconsistent claims,
– No evidence
– Bullying tactics (violation of 5th 6th Amend.)
• David Schine, Roy Cohn and the FBI
• Truman stood up (sort of), Eisenhower
shut up
McCarthyism
• Among those accused:
– Owen Lattimore- college
professor
– Adlai Stevenson – Illinois
governor, democratic party
presidential candidate
– Dean Acheson – U.S. Secretary of
State
– George Marshall
– The Democratic Party
• Truman publicly refuted
McCarthy as well as journalists
Edward Murrow, and Herb
Block
• McCarthy had wide popular
support, until….
McCarthyism
• The most courgeous man in the Senate
was a woman, Margaret Chase Smith (R,
Maine)
• Known as “the conscience of the Senate” ,
first to condemn the witch hunts after just
one year in office.
• "The nation sorely needs a Republican
victory," she declared, "but I don't want to
see the Republican Party ride to political
victory on the four horsemen of--fear,
ignorance, bigotry, and smear."
• Truman publicly refuted McCarthy as well
as journalists Edward Murrow, and Herb
Block
• McCarthy had wide popular support,
until….
McCarthy vs. U.S. Army
• 1954 Army-McCarthy Hearings
– Who provoked whom?
– David Schine drafted, Cohn tries to use his position with McCarthy to secure
non-combat position for Schine
– McCarthy claimed the Army made the charge in response to his
subcommittee investigation of officers in the US Army
• Hearings were televised
– Public saw McCarthy for what he was, public approval plummeted
– December Senate voted 67-22 to condemn McCarthy for abuse of power,
removed as subcommittee chair.
• McCarthy died in 1957 from effects of acute alcoholism
• The politics of McCarthyism
– Congressional Republicans found McCarthy useful in smearing political
opponents and painting Democrats as Red (or at least Pink)
– Democrats could not attack McCarthy for fear of confirming Republican
claims (Catch 22)
McCarthy vs. U.S. Army
• 1954 Army-McCarthy Hearings
– Who provoked whom?
– David Schine drafted, Cohn tries to use his position with McCarthy to secure
non-combat position for Schine
– McCarthy claimed the Army made the charge in response to his subcommittee
investigation of officers in the US ArmyP
– Televied hearings and public saw McCarthy for what he was, public approval
plummeted
• Senate Reaction
– December Senate voted 67-22 to condemn McCarthy for “conduct
unbecoming a member of the Senate”, removed as subcommittee chair.
• McCarthy died in 1957 from effects of acute alcoholism
• The politics of McCarthyism
– Congressional Republicans found McCarthy useful in smearing political
opponents and painting Democrats as Red (or at least Pink)
– Democrats could not attack McCarthy for fear of confirming Republican claims
(Catch 22)
SocioCultural Impact
• Culture was permeated with anti-Communism
– Genuine fear among many that our way of life was
threatened.
– Fear of losing our democratic principles OR our
consumer/material values?
• Film
– HUAC had the industry running scared. Turned out
films that condemned communism (My Son John)
also condemned nonconformity (The Wild Bunch)
– Significant allegorical work High Noon and The
Crucible
– SciFi films The Thing, Invasion of the Body
Snatchers, the Day the Earth Stood Still
• Television
– Growing influence, decline in newspaper
readership
– CBS birth of TV News, Murrow See it Now took on
McCarthy
– Westerns and game shows = us vs. them,
materialism
SocioCultural Impact
• Education
– “Under God” added to the pledge
in 1954
– Compulsory classroom patriotism
– National Defense Education Act
(1958)
– Indoctrination
• Literature
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Nuclear holocaust literature
Nevil Shute- On the Beach
Roger Zelazney- Damnation Alley
Peter George- Red Alert
• Academia
– C Wright Mills – The Power Elite
– John Kenneth Galbraith – The
Affluent Society
Thank goodness that’s over
Oh well,
Never mind.