The Second Red Scare


Second Red Scare, How it all went down

(May 17, 1938) Dies Committee, later known as the House Un-American Activities Committee, is formed to investigate subversive activities within the United States. The committee, headed by Texas Democrat Martin Dies, initially targets Nazi sympathizers but eventually come to focus entirely on the Communist threat.

( June 28, 1940) Congress passes the smith act, which makes it illegal to assist any groups "who teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of the government of the United States by force or violence." Hundreds of American Communists will later be charged for violations of the smith act.

(February 4, 1945) Yalta, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Josef Stalin meet in the Soviet resort town Yalta to make plans for the postwar era. In a problematic compromise, Roosevelt accedes to Churchill's and Stalin's plans for spheres of influence in Europe even while convincing the British and Soviet leaders to sign on to a statement affirming the principles of Democracy.

(April 12, 1945) Roosevelt Dies, Franklin Delano Roosevelt dies of Cerebral Hemorrhage just 82 days into his fourth term, elevating newly installed Vice President Harry S. Truman to the presidency.

(March 5, 1946) Iron Curtain Speech, Former British prime minister Winston Churchill delivers his famous Iron Curtain Speech at a college in Missouri. From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, Churchill declares an Iron Curtain has descended across the continent of Europe.

(February 25, 1948) Czech Coup, A coup in Czechoslovakia installs a Communist government, heightening American fears that communists will seize power in Eastern Europe by any means necessary.

(March 12, 1947) President Harry S. Truman request congressional funding to support the government of Greece in its Civil War against Communists insurgents, couching his request in dramatic rhetoric now known as the Truman Doctrine, which defines communist victory anywhere in the world as a threat to American security.

(March 21, 1947) Truman Loyalty Oaths, President Harry S. Truman issues Executive Order 9835 establishing a Loyalty- Security Program for all federal employees. Designed to preempt Republican charges of communist infiltration of the government, Truman's loyalty oaths only heighten the country's growing fears of Communists subversion.

(June 3, 1947) Taft-Hartley Act, Congress passes the Taft-Hartley Labor-Management Relations Act over President Truman's veto, sharply curtailing the rights of organized labor while forcing unions to purge communists from their ranks.

(October 27, 1947), John Lawson Refuses, Screenwriter John Howard Lawson, a hostile witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee, refuses to answer, on constitutional grounds, whether he is or was a member of the communist party. He is ejected from the hearing and later charged with Contempt of Congress.

(November 24, 1947), Hollywood Ten, The House of Representitives issues citations for Contempt Of Congress to the Hollywood Ten- John Howard Lawson, Alvah Bessie, Herbert Biberman, Lester Cole, Edward Dmytryk, Ring Lardner Jr., Albert Maltz, Samuel Ornitz, Adrian Scott, and Dalton Trumbo.

(November 25, 1947) Hollywood Blacklisting, The Motion Picture Association confirms the Blacklisting of the Hollywood Ten from employement in the film industry.

(May 1, 1948) Arrest in Alabama, Glenn Taylor, Progressive Party canidate for Vice President on Henry Wallace's ticket, is arrested in Alabama for violating Segregation Laws by attempting to hold an intergrated political rally. Taylor's jailor is Birmingham police commisioner Bull Connor, who will later become famous for unleashing attack dogs on peaceful civil rights protestors associated with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

(June 24, 1948) Berlin Airlift, The Soviets Blockade West Berlin, leaving the city- which is surrounded on all sides by communist East Germany without access to food and supplies. The Truman administration organizes a military airlift to supply the besiged city. The Berlin Airlift will last for nearly a year, delivering 1.5 million tons of supplies via 200,000 seperate flights before the blockade is lifted in May 1949.

(July 2, 1948) Soviets Reject Marshall Plan, The Soviet Union rejects participation in the Marshall Plan, with Stalins Foriegn Minister, V.M. Molotov, calling it an imperialist plot to enslave Eastern Europe.

(August 25, 1948) First TV Broadcast of Congressional Hearing, Alger Hiss and Whitaker Chambers both testify in a televised hearing of the House Un-American Activities Committee. It is the first time any congressional hearing has been broadcast over television.

(August 29, 1949) Soviet Atomic Bomb, The Soviet Union successfully detonates its first atomic Bomb. The loss of its atomic monopoly comes as a terrible shock to the United States and its people.