What Is Communism? • A government system in which all property is community property. • Everyone works. • The government provides food, housing, healthcare, etc., but little to no wages. • No one owns land, houses, etc.
Red Scare • Cold War began after WWII • Red Scare was a time when people were extremely fearful of communism • Fueled by Korean Conflict • People were extremely suspicious of Asians • Paranoia centered on anyone who worked with Asians or who had worked in Asia • People were accused of spying for the Russians • People accused each other of being communists • Suspected communists were persecuted and prosecuted.
Red Scare • Two Red Scares – First after WWI • The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) was created in 1938 to investigate alleged disloyalty and subversive activities on the part of private citizens, public employees, and those organizations suspected of having Communist ties. • Through its power to subpoena witness and hold people in contempt of Congress, HUAC often pressured witnesses to surrender names and other information that could lead to the apprehension of Communists and Communist sympathizers. Committee members often branded witnesses as "red" if they refused to comply or hesitated in answering committee questions. • http://www.gwu.edu/~erpapers/teachinger/glossary/huac.cfm
Red Scare • Throughout the 1940s and 1950s America was overwhelmed with concerns about the threat of communism growing in Eastern Europe and China. Capitalizing on those concerns, a young Senator named Joseph McCarthy made a public accusation that more than two hundred “card-carrying” communists had infiltrated the United States government. Though eventually his accusations were proven to be untrue, and he was censured by the Senate for unbecoming conduct, his zealous campaigning ushered in one of the most repressive times in 20th-century American politics. • http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/arthur-miller/mccarthyism/484/
Senator McCarthy • February 1950, McCarthy claimed to have a list of 205 names of people who were “shaping the state department” who were known communists. • List later reduced to 57. • List based on rumor. • McCarthy’s popularity continued to grow as he made accusations against people and continued to make people fearful of communism. • McCarthy started “witch-hunting” for possible communists. • Burned books that were thought to be written by communists, former communists, or pro communists. • Conducted trials using tactics created by The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) • http://www.mtholyoke.edu/~lillsie/McCarthyism/Persecution.html
McCarthyism • While the House Un-American Activities Committee had been formed in 1938 as an anti-Communist organ, McCarthy’s accusations heightened the political tensions of the times. Known as McCarthyism, the paranoid hunt for infiltrators was notoriously difficult on writers and entertainers, many of whom were labeled communist sympathizers and were unable to continue working. Some had their passports taken away, while others were jailed for refusing to give the names of other communists. The trials, which were well publicized, could often destroy a career with a single unsubstantiated accusation. Among those well-known artists accused of communist sympathies or called before the committee were Dashiell Hammett, Waldo Salt, Lillian Hellman, Lena Horne, Paul Robeson, Elia Kazan, Arthur Miller, Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Charlie Chaplin and Group Theatre members Clifford Odets, Elia Kazan, and Stella Adler. In all, three hundred and twenty artists were blacklisted, and for many of them this meant the end of exceptional and promising careers. • http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/arthur-miller/mccarthyism/484/
Effects of McCarthyism • Those accused of having sympathetic communistic tendencies often lost their jobs. • Teachers, professors, etc. • Children of accused communists shunned at school. • Relationships destroyed because no one knew who they could trust. • Innocent people traumatized by false accusations. • Individual expression stifled – if you spoke out, you could be accused of being a communist. • http://www.mtholyoke.edu/~lillsie/McCarthyism/aftermath.html
Blacklisted • Hundreds of actors and writers were blacklisted because they were thought to have communist sympathies • Ronald Reagan and Walt Disney testified to the problem of communism in the industry. • Others, such as Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and Danny Kaye protested the government was targeting their industry and violating their first amendment rights.