• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Whenever you search in PBworks, Dokkio Sidebar (from the makers of PBworks) will run the same search in your Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Gmail, and Slack. Now you can find what you're looking for wherever it lives. Try Dokkio Sidebar for free.


The Hunt For Subversives

Page history last edited by Mr. Hengsterman 6 years, 9 months ago





The Atomic Bomb (1942 to 1946)  The Manhattan Project was responsible for developing the atomic bomb for the U.S.  On July 16, 1945, the first atomic bomb was detonated in the desert of New Mexico.  Three weeks later, on August 6, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan and three days later on Nagasaki, Japan.  Japan officially surrendered on August 14th.





Servicemen's Readjustment Act (1944) The law, which was later amended to include all veterans, originally guaranteed a year of college or trade education to ex-World War II servicemen with at least 90 days in the armed forces.


 It also mandated that they receive up to $500 a year for tuition, books, and supplies. Of the nearly 8 million veterans who took advantage of this first G.I. bill, 450,000 became engineers, 240,000 accountants, 238,000 teachers, 67,000 doctors, and 22,000 dentists, while thousands more chose other professional careers.  Veterans also made use of the bill’s guaranteed mortgages and low interest rates to buy new homes in the suburbs, kicking off a development boom.








Creation of the United Nations (1945) :  Established to promote international co-operation. A replacement for the ineffective League of Nations, the organization was created following the Second World War to prevent another such conflict. Similar to the League of Nations, the United Nations consisted of over 50 nations with the goal maintaining international peace and security.








Loyalty Review Board (1947) 
President Harry S. Truman signed United States Executive Order 9835, sometimes known as the "Loyalty Order", on March 21, 1947.The order established the first general loyalty program in the United States, designed to root out communist influence in the U.S. federal government. Truman aimed to rally public opinion behind his Cold War policies with investigations conducted under its authority. He also hoped to quiet right-wing critics who accused Democrats of being soft on communism.


Additionally, he advised the Loyalty Review Board to limit the role of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to avoid a witch hunt. The program investigated over 3 million government employees, just over 300 of whom were dismissed as security risks. Some in the Truman administration, such as Attorney General J. Howard McGrath, believed there were "many Communists in America." At the same time, Truman created a temporary commission on Employee Loyalty. The Loyalty Order was part of the prelude to the rise of Senator Joseph McCarthy, Republican of Wisconsin. It was mostly the result of increasing U.S.–Soviet tensions and political maneuvering by the president and Congress.  The order established a wide area for the departmental loyalty boards to conduct loyalty screenings of federal employees and job applicants. It allowed the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation to run initial name checks on federal employees and authorized further field investigations if the initial inquiry uncovered "derogatory information."



The Pollsters’ Defeat (1948) 

Democratic prospects seemed hopeless in 1948. Harry Truman, who had become President on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death in 1945, had little popular appeal.  He faced a strong Republican contender, Thomas E. Dewey, and third-party pressures from Progressives and “Dixiecrats.” (Southern Democrats in the States’ Rights Party)  Election Map 1948


Review: Third Party Movements 


Truman outlines the FAIR DEAL -  Continue/expand New Deal with special attention to economic security - 


Desegregated military


Employment Act 1946


Raised minimum wage


Expanded Social Security


Proposed civil rights program









HUAC (The House Committee to Investigate Un-American)

The House Committee to Investigate Un-American Activities was established in the House of Representatives in 1938 to hold hearings, examine witnesses, and issue reports concerning disloyalty.  HUAC first made headlines in 1947 when it began to investigate Communist influence in Hollywood.  Hollywood did contain a substantial number of left-wingers, socialists and communists.  The “Hollywood Ten” were witnesses who refused to “name names” of communists in the business and were sentenced to prison for refusing to cooperate with HUAC.  In response, Hollywood executives formed “blacklists” that banned those perceived to have an association with communism from working in movies.  Nearly 500 actors, writers, producers, and directors had their careers ruined because they could no longer work in film





Us vs. Them: Sacco and Venzetti (1920s)  - Ethel and Julius Rosenberg (1950s)


The Spy Trials:  Alger Hiss & The Rosenbergs

In 1948, a former Communist spy, Whittaker Chambers accused former State Department official Alger Hiss of spying for the Soviet Union.   Chambers revealed microfilm documents (hidden in a pumpkin patch), which supported his charges to a young Republican congressman named Richard Nixon.  Hiss was convicted of perjury (lying in court about the documents) and sent to jail.  Too many years had passed to convict him of espionage. 


That was not true with the Rosenbergs.  The Soviets developed an atomic bomb in 1949, giving atomic secrets to the Soviets and implicated the Rosenbergs as well.  They denied the charges but would not testify against themselves (Fifth Amendment.)  Still claiming they were being prosecuted for radical beliefs, the Rosenbergs were convicted and executed.   Often described as “hysteria” at the time because evidence in both cases was not overwhelming, Russian documents (Verona Papers) released in the 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union revealed Hiss and the Rosenbergs were indeed Soviet spies.


Review: Us vs Them

Seeing Red- A. Mitchell Palmer and Senator Joseph McCarthy


McCarthyism (The Second Red Scare) 

The most famous anti-Communist activist was Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy.  In 1950, he claimed to have a list with the names of Communists in the State Department and charged the Democratic Party with treason for allowing Communist infiltration of the J.S. government.  McCarthy never produced the list, but managed to conduct hearings that investigated government officials, colleges, and the media resulting in the ruining of many careers.  Many disliked his tactics, but supported his cause.   Finally in 1954, McCarthy made accusations against the U.S. Army, which resulted in a nationally televised Senate investigation.  McCarthy’s bullying methods and his reckless, unproven accusations discredited him.  The Senate condemned McCarthy for improper conduct and three years later McCarthy died a broken man.





The McCarran Internal Security Act (1950)  A McCarthy era federal law passed over President Harry Truman's veto. The anti-communist fervor was bi-partisan and only seven Democratic senators voted to uphold the veto.


It required Communist organizations to register with the United States Attorney General and established the Subversive Activities Control Board to investigate persons suspected of engaging in subversive activities or otherwise promoting the establishment of a "totalitarian dictatorship," either fascist or communist. Members of these groups could not become citizens and in some cases were prevented from entering or leaving the country. Citizens found in violation could lose their citizenship in five years. The act also contained an Emergency Detention statute, giving the President the authority to apprehend and detain “each person as to whom there is a reasonable ground to believe that such person probably will engage in, or probably will conspire with others to engage in, acts of espionage or sabotage.”

A key institution in the era of the Cold War, it tightened alien exclusion and deportation laws and allowed for the detention of dangerous, disloyal, or subversive persons in times of war or "internal security emergency". The Democratic-controlled Congress overrode President Harry S. Truman's veto to pass it.  President Truman called it "the greatest danger to freedom of speech, press, and assembly since the Alien and Sedition Laws of 1798," a "mockery of the Bill of Rights"and a "long step toward totalitarianism"


1952 Immigration and Nationality Act, a.k.a. the McCarran-Walter Act

Otherwise known as the McCarran-Walter Act, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 was meant to exclude certain immigrants from immigrating to America, post World War II and in the early Cold War. The McCarran-Walter Act moved away from excluding immigrants based simply upon country of origin. Instead it focused upon denying immigrants who were unlawful, immoral, diseased in any way, politically radical etc. and accepting those who were willing and able to assimilate into the US economic, social, and political structures, which restructured how immigration law was handled. Furthermore, the most notable exclusions were anyone even remotely associated with communism which in the early days of the Cold War was seen as a serious threat to US democracy. The main objective of this was to block any spread of communism from outside post WWII countries. The McCarran-Walter Act was a strong reinforcement in immigration selection, which was labeled the best way to preserve national security and national interests. President Truman originally vetoed the law, deeming it discriminatory; however there was enough support in Congress for the law to pass.

Review: Immigration Reactions;    Timeline of US Immigration Policy  1790 to 2011;  CHART - MAJOR IMMIGRATION POLICY 



Dennis v. United States, (1951),  was a United States Supreme Court case relating to Eugene DennisGeneral Secretary of the Communist Party USA. The Court ruled that Dennis did not have the right under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution to exercise free speech, publication and assembly, if the exercise involved the creation of a plot to overthrow the government.


In 1957, the Court in Yates v. United States restricted the holding in Dennis, ruling that the Smith Act did not prohibit advocacy of forcible overthrow of the government as an abstract doctrine. While Yates did not overrule Dennis, it rendered the broad conspiracy provisions of the Smith Act unenforceable. Finally, in



1969, Brandenburg v. Ohio held that "mere advocacy" of violence was per se protected speech. Brandenburg was a de facto overruling of Dennis, defining the bar for constitutionally unprotected speech to be incitement to "imminent lawless action"


Review: The Supreme Court





Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.