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Red Scare: The first attack on the “Hollywood Left”

Posted by: | October 20, 2014 | No Comment |

On this day in history in 1947, Congress began its investigation into Communist influence in Hollywood in what was known as the beginning of the “Red Scare.”

dailyecho.wikspaces.com

dailyecho.wikspaces.com

The Cold War was heating up and the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union were becoming increasingly suspicious of each other’s motives. In Washington, conservatives led by Senator Joseph McCarthy had been “outing” suspected communists in the government but were now turning their attention to the left-leaning movie industry.

westernjournalism.com

westernjournalism.com

Throughout the remainder of the month, the House Un-American Activities Committee interrogated prominent members of the movie industry such as Walt Disney, Elia Kazan, and Gary Cooper who all gave the committee names of colleagues they suspected of being communists.

wikipedia.org

wikipedia.org

In face of (mostly) baseless accusations, group of artists known as the “Hollywood Ten” resisted Congress’s attempts to intimidate the media. They were all subsequently convicted of obstructing the investigation and were thrown in jail. In the years following, some 325 screenwriters, actors, and directors were “blacklisted” by the Hollywood establishment.

wikipedia.org

wikipedia.org

McCarthy, who had become the face of the anti-communist movement was eventually stopped in his pursuit of communists by Joseph Welch who famously asked McCarthy during the hearing: “have you no sense of decency sir?”

under: Comm 455
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