Communism And Communism

1744 Words 7 Pages
After the Bolsheviks overthrew the Romanoff dynasty in 1917, they instituted communism as the national ideology. Communism is a political theory that advances a classless society where, where property is owned by the government with each person being employed by and paid by the government according to their abilities and need, as deemed necessary by the government (Source). A heightened awareness and concern of communism began to evolve that was legitimate in theory but paranoid in practice. United States political leaders were concerned communist ideas would gain traction and become embraced over economic and social anxieties of the time. Certain events only solidified this paranoia and anxiety. In 1919 alone, radicals denotated …show more content…
In 1947, HUAC began to investigate Hollywood to examine the level of communist support and sympathy in the industry. Republicans on the committee were concerned with the sympathetic depictions of Russia by Hollywood and subversive propaganda in the films there to indoctrinate an unsuspecting public (Theoharis, Repression, 7). The committee held hearings to address these depictions. Each witness was asked a serious of questions that took on a ritualistic quality after a while, the most popular being called the “64,000 Question” after a popular game show, “Are you now, or have you ever been a member of the Communist party of the United States” (Sbardellati, 132). In addition to being grilled about suspected communist propaganda, witnesses were also asked to the name anyone who they believed to be a communist or who supported communist ideology in any fashion. Citing free speech and free expression concerns, some refused to answer the questions. These people were a group of screenwriters and directors who became known as the Hollywood Ten. These ten refused to answer the questions of the committee by asserting their fifth amendment rights. They were held in contempt of court and later sentenced to one year in prison (Walker …show more content…
government, President Truman signed the Loyalty Security Program in 1947 (Theoharis, Repression, 100). The federal loyalty program allowed the government to investigate all federal employees for signs of disloyalty, required all existing and potential employees to pledge loyalty to the United States government, outlined investigations of applicants and ordered disciplinary punishments for those not sufficiently loyal. The program also directed the Attorney General to generate lists of subversive citizens and their organizations (Walker 133-135). The Loyalty Security Program was used as a personal weapon by a J Edgar Hoover and the FBI to punish enemies, sully rival agencies, build a database of his enemies and retaliate against state loyalty boards who did not take his informants seriously enough (Stone 25-30). (Theoharis, Repression, 102). States across the nation instituted their own loyalty programs as well (Source.) Senator Joseph McCarthy (R) Wisconsin became chairman of HUAC in 1952 and made an impact almost immediately. McCarthy defied the norms and roles that were historically respected in the Senate, had a contempt for senatorial traditions and was viewed by fellow Senators as irresponsible for his confrontational debating tactics and style (Matusow 15). While his tactics were irresponsible, they worked, in that senators were afraid to confront him fearing his

Related Documents