The baby boom generation grew up in this environment. They grew up with missile drills and McCarthy’s witch-hunt of communists within the government. Communism was something to be feared, and America knew it.
The list accused 151 writers, directors and performers and claimed they were member of the Communist organization during World War II. The blacklist against Communists would make it significantly more difficult for a person to find employment in most industries and most likely would get a person fired just for even being interrogated or being any form of a suspect of Communism. Even a person who worked with a person accused of Communism had significantly less chance to be able to find a job. Ten stars that were most famous for standing up for themselves and pleaded the 5th amendment when asked to name Communists were known as the Hollywood ten. Their names were Herbert Biberman, Albert Maltz, Lester Cole, Adrian Scott, Samuel Ornitz, Dalton Trumbo, Edward Dmytryit, Ring Lardner Jr., John Howard Lawson and Alvah Bessie. The ten did not defend themselves because they were prideful Americans who saw their rights and the rights of others being harmed and decided to do something about, no. They were already asked if they were Communists when they went on a trip to California and they did not want to get charged with perjury. Some Americans did take action and saw that their rights were being put into question and decided to protect themselves, for example Alger Hiss who was accused and in order to solidify the fact that he was a Communist lawyers used his day to day schedule in full detail to solidify that his behaviors were that
I find it interesting that so many people were swayed by what they were being told by the government. I have the impression that American are very gullible and naïve. There had to be more to what they were doing to convince Americans that Hollywood was friendly with Communists and poisoning them with their movies. When I think of Americans today, many of them raise an eyebrow to what the government is telling them. They will also often times do the exact opposite of what the government is asking them to do. When Mike Bloomberg suggested making it illegal for restaurants to sell extra large sodas, many people that I know went crazy and would deliberately get extra large sodas. These people didn’t necessarily like soda or need one of that size and most definitely knew that it was not good for them; however they didn’t like the fact that someone from the government was telling them what they could and could not drink. These people felt that their rights were being violated. This is how I view most Americans today, they are stubborn and are very protective of their rights. Which is why I find it hard to believe that people actually bought into the idea that Hollywood was poisoning them with Communist ideas and were in cahoots with Russia?
Post World War 1 there was a manifestation of Communist influence in the United States. The influence began forming itself in 1919. There was a division within the country between those who followed the beliefs of Communism and those who were against it. However the majority of Americans were against Communism and the spread of it. In J.Edgar Hoover’s testimony before the HUAC,
In reference to the research question “To what extent did the Red Scare create a pseudo “reign of terror” in the United States, ” authors Wendy Wall and Alexander Stafford provide adequate information about the affects of the red scare on society. Wall goes into a detailed description the Federal Loyalty-Security Program and the House Un-American Activities Committees. Both of these programs set up by the government were a form of oppression to the American citizens, inquiring personal information that should have not been public information. The Federal Loyalty-Security Program put regulations on employment agencies and required employers to take loyalty oaths. This can be seen as a violation of the constitution, as it oppresses one’s personal points of view and violates their right to freedom of speech. The House Un-American Activities Committees (HUAC) questioned workers of film in Hollywood and blacklisted those who were seen as untrustworthy. Those blacklisted thus had a difficult time finding employment.
Would you want to live in a society where you didn’t have any freedom, and were being controlled by your government? Americans in the late 1940’s to late 1950’s certainly didn’t. Their government wanted to control the possessions people had and how they acted politically, economically, and socially in their everyday lives. The Americans worried about this state of having no freedom. This created a fear that spread all over the United States, called the Red Scare. During the Red Scare, people worried about communism becoming part of the U.S. and feared the influencers that fueled it to become a countrywide panic.
The First and Second Red Scare of the United States paved the way for a long standing fear of communism and proved to be one of America’s largest periods of mass hysteria. Throughout the years authors and analysts have studied and formed expository albeit argumentative books and articles in an attempt to further understand this period of time; the mindset held during this period however is shown to be completely different compared to now.
Communism was covering Asia and Europe, striking fear in individuals as country after country fell into communism. As American politicians strengthened the idea of containment, and cabinet members such as John Foster Dulles spread the idea that "if world communism...will increase the danger to the entire free world," Americans were greatly fearing communism. Citizens began believing others when they announced that communism was "endangering the peace of America" (Document B) and when they addressed the problem they had created by making statements such as "we fear the men in the Kremlin." American citizens highly feared this horrific government of communism, and the Eisenhower Administration did nothing to little to prevent these fears. Even though they acknowledged these fears, they used this fear as support for spending on military defense. The Americans fear during this time period was also displayed
As you can see many people, many important people had been affected. Many books were also burned or banned such as Robin Hood, Civil Disobedience, etc (Anti-Communism). As was stated before many people had lost their jobs because the government was suspicious of people.
Americans became very fearful of Communism and rightfully so. By 1950, fear of Communism was reaching a fever pitch as depicted in a staged communist takeover of a tiny Wisconsin town. American fears of Communism had dated back many years and by 1917 with the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia these fears were being realized. More recently however, by March 1945 U.S. government agents had secured classified documents belonging to Amerasia magazine, a pro-communist magazine. Generally, loss of the American dream was a driving force perpetuating fears of communist takeover. Specifically however each U.S. citizen had their own version of fears. For example a business person might fear wealth being distributed equally under a system of communism
That fear caused the Communist witch hunt, where innocent people were accused of being communist, and everyone was frightened. political cartoonists saw how the witch hunt was affecting American society. (Doc. 2) The witch hunt was so notorious, that even politicians was being accused of being communists. If someone supported communism, it was impossible for that person to get a job in the government. (Doc.1) Another case that happened in the government during the Cold War, was when McCarthy sent a letter to the president Truman, accusing 57 people of being communist in the government, and saying that if the president did not remove these people from the government, he would also be considered a communist. The United States created The Marshall Plan which the goal was to rebuild Western European economies, United States needed to help them, because if America did not help, Russia would and communism would spread easily. The speech that Marshall delivered at the Harvard University talked about communism in a discreet way: “Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine, but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos.” The Cuban missile crisis was another episode that scared Americans. Cuba is just 90 miles away from the coast of Florida, and fearing the missiles and the communism ideas that were in Cuba, the United States made a blockade around Cuba and tried to kill the Cuban President.
In the United States the main concern of the government was maintain the loyalty of their citizens. This was made even more evident by the second red scare that happened post WWII. The reason behind this scare was that information was leaked that there was espionage going on in the US and this caused Americans to fear that this will eventually lead to the overthrow of the government. Another fear was the rapid spread of communism into countries in Eastern Europe and Asia. As concern of the public grew in regards to the spread of communism the government
Since so much of Communism’s ideas were put in place to protect the government from rebellion, it came with no surprise that one of the most important things to a dictator was loyalty. Under this philosophy, criticism was not tolerated for it was seen as disloyalty. Therefore, the dictator was always right even if he was not. However, for a country to flourish, it needed accurate information instead of what the dictator wanted to hear. This was one of the main reasons Communism failed. People told lies in order to stay alive, for no one could be truly trusted. Another major thing that was important to a dictator was the military because the country had to be run by physical force and the fear of it. For example, the Soviet Union spent twenty percent of its budget on the military. The United States only used four percent of its budget. The problem with this was that the Communist invested a large percent of their money on something that had no economic return, which was a costly drain of their resources (Nielsen).