With Direct Reference to at Least One Film, How Did Hollywood Address the Paranoid, Hysterical Political Climate of the 50s?

1685 Words Nov 6th, 2013 7 Pages
With direct reference to at least one film, how did Hollywood address the paranoid, hysterical political climate of the 50s?

The Cold War began in 1947 between the USSR and the USA. After World War II, both countries began to distrust each other, as they knew the amount of power each country had in terms of nuclear weapons. Not only did they distrust each other, but they lacked a mutual understanding of each other’s culture. The USA believed in capitalism and the USSR believed in communism. This lack of mutual understanding caused mass paranoia within America as they feared that communists would infiltrate their society. This hysteria was known as the Red Scare which lead to “a range of actions that had a profound and enduring effect on
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HUAC however disagreed and all ten were “found guilty of contempt of congress and each were sentence to between six and twelve months in prison”(Simkin, 1997) In 1950, Edward Dmytryk came forward and “testified at a HUAC hearing and provided the names of more than 20 industry colleagues he claimed were communists” (Hollywood Ten, 2013). This led to the beginning of a movie industry blacklist, “studio executive did not want their business to be associated with radical politics in the minds of the movie-going public and therefore agreed they would not employ anyone suspected of being affiliated with the Communist Party” (Hollywood Ten, 2013). After the hearings in 1951, others such as Elia Kazan began to cooperate with HUAC by providing names. A list of 324 names became available to HUAC, “Names of those cited as communists by cooperative witnesses were listed alphabetically. Everyone cited was blacklisted in the studios”. (Cogley, 1985, p. 492)

Public confessions were considered “personally welcomed” as it served a “means of atonement for past actions” (Genter, 2012, p. 130). Witnesses who chose to not respond were “those with something to hide” (Genter, 2012, p. 130) these confessions instigated a massive debate over “the legality of such confessions, coerced or not.” (Genter, 2012, p. 130),as employees were forced to confess due to the threat of losing their job. The defenders of the investigations argued that the confessions “helped to cleanse…