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The Cold War at Home. Scenario:.

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You have recently won a full scholarship to your dream university. The week before the end of your senior year, you are called into the principal’s office. The principal tells you that he has received information from a student that you have been dealing drugs on campus with another student. He offers you a deal: admit to the charge and give him the name of the other student, and you will not get into any trouble. If you refuse to give him the name of the other student, he will contact your future university, which will rescind your full scholarship. You have never dealt drugs on campus and do not know definitively of any other students that have dealt drugs. However, if you do not admit blame and name a fellow student, you will lose all that you have worked for. What do you do?

domestic war on communism
Domestic War on Communism

I. Loyalty Review Board:

A. Designed to rid the federal government of “reds, phonies, and parlor pinks”

1. supervisors reviewed the loyalty of their employees, then discharged employees without any trial or chance to clear their names

2. eventually extended to any employee that was “potentially disloyal” or a “security risk”

3. Loyalty Review Boards increased anti-Communist feelings

II. HUAC (House Committee on Un-American Activities) and Blacklisting
  • HUAC: Committee formed by the House of Representatives to investigate the Communist influence in Hollywood
    • public hearings were held, and many Hollywood actors, screenwriters, and directors were questioned and asked to “name names”
    • Some complied: Ronald Reagan
    • Others refused: “Hollywood Ten”
    • blacklists were created to condemn actors, writers, directors with a supposed Communist influence; ruined many careers
huac cont
HUAC, cont.

B. Virtually no evidence of Communist subversion was uncovered, but HUAC hearings led to:

1. Anti-Communist movies in the 1950s

2. Studios blacklisting anyone accused of Communist activity

C. Blacklisting:

1. Actors, screenwriters, and directors were purged from studio activity in Hollywood

2. Ruined many careers; even after HUAC hearings ended, it was difficult for the accused to clear their names or escape Communist stigma

iii spy cases
III. Spy Cases
  • A. Alger Hiss: former Communist spy accused Alger Hiss, a former State Department worker, of being a spy
    • 1. produced microfilm of government documents typed on Hiss’s typewriter
    • 2. Richard Nixon (Congress member at the time) pursued charges
    • 3. Hiss denied charges, but Soviet cables released in the 1990s suggest his guilt

The name "Pumpkin Papers" comes from the fact that the rolls of 35 mm film were found wrapped in waxed paper inside a hollowed-out pumpkin on Whittaker Chambers‘ Maryland farm.

iii spy cases cont
III. Spy Cases, cont.
  • B. Ethel and Julius Rosenberg: minor activists in the American Communist Party implicated in a spy case that led to Soviets gaining information about the development of the atom bomb
    • 1. Rosenbergs denied charges and refused to answer questions, claiming they were targeted due to their Jewish and radical background
    • 2. found guilty of espionage and sentenced to death
IV. McCarthyism:

A. Senator Joseph McCarthy (WI) created a list of “card-carrying Communists” and “egg-sucking phony liberals” in the State Department

1. McCarthy led hearings: “are you, or at any time have you been, a Communist”

2. charges were never supported with evidence, and eventually McCarthy lost credibility when he charged high military officials of Communist activity

3. McCarthyism was a political tool that the Senator used to gain influence; supported by many Republicans, Catholic leaders, isolationists, and anti-immigration organizations

4. McCarthy was censured by Senate after he accused members of the military; McCarthyism ended

V. Results of Domestic War on Communism:

A. state laws requiring government employees to take loyalty oaths and disclose what newspapers they read and what records they listened to

B. some libraries banning books (an Indiana library banned Robin Hood)

C. increased fear and anti-Communist hysteria; dulled culture of the 1950s into themes of anti-intellectualism and conformity (?)