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The Cold War At Home. 18.3. Fear of Communist Influence. Soviet dominance shocked American public After WW2 – about 100,000 American’s claimed membership to the Communist Party. Loyalty Review Board March 1947 Executive Order: Federal Employee Loyalty Program

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fear of communist influence
Fear of Communist Influence
  • Soviet dominance shocked American public
  • After WW2 – about 100,000 American’s claimed membership to the Communist Party

Loyalty Review Board

    • March 1947
      • Executive Order: Federal Employee Loyalty Program
        • Purpose: to investigate government employees and to dismiss those disloyal to the U.S.
          • Investigated 3.2 million Americans between ‘47 and ’51 with 212 total dismissals

House of Un-American Activities Committee {HUAC}

    • Investigated Communist influence in movies
    • Subpoenaed 43 witnesses to testify against the movie industry
      • Hollywood Ten: 10 men who refused
        • stated it was unconstitutional  jailed
      • Made a blacklist of those with a Communist background and condemned them

The McCarran Act

    • 1950
    • Congress passed the McCarran Internal Security Act
      • Made I unlawful to plan any action that might lead to the establishment of a totalitarian dictatorship
        • Truman vetoed but Congress enacted the law over his veto
spy cases stun the nation
Spy Cases Stun the Nation
  • Alger Hiss
    • 1948
    • Accused of spying for the Soviet Union by Whittaker Chambers
      • Chambers produced microfilm evidence he claimed had come from Hiss’s typewriter
    • Convicted to perjury and sent to jail
    • Nixon gained fame for pursuing charges against Hiss
      • Led to him becoming Vice President
Alger Hiss

Whittaker Chambers


September 3, 1949

    • American’s learn that the Soviet Union exploded an atomic bomb
      • Predicted that it would take 3 to 5 more years before they had the technology
    • Led to wonder if Communist supporters had leaked the secrets
the rosenbergs
The Rosenbergs
  • 1950
  • Klaus Fuchs admits to giving the Soviet Union information about the atomic bomb
    • Implicated were also Ethel and Julius Rosenberg
      • Minor activists in the American Communist Party
    • Plead the 5th
      • Believed they were being persecuted for being Jewish and having radical beliefs
    • Found guilty of espionage and sentenced to death
  • Senator Joseph McCarthy
    • Republican from Wisconsin
    • Acquired a reputation for being an ineffective legislator
    • Looking for reelection, he claimed that Communists were taking over the government

Took advantage of the American people’s fears

    • Charged anywhere from 50 to 200 people with Communist activities
      • “I have in my hands!”
    • Charged the Democratic Party with “20 years of treason”
  • Republicans did little to stop him because they wanted to win the Presidential election in 1952
mccarthy downfall
McCarthy Downfall
  • 1954
    • Accused the Army of treason
      • Brought forth a nationally televised Senate investigation
      • McCarthy bullied the witnesses which cost him public support
      • Senate condemned him
other anti communist measures
Other Anti-Communist Measures
  • By 1953
    • 39 states passed laws making it illegal to advocate the violent overthrow of the government
      • Later these laws were declared unconstitutional