Hoover and the FBI

Aidan Barnett

Protecting America From Communism

John Edgar Hoover was born in Washington DC on January 1, 1895 and was appointed as director of the FBI in 1924 at the age of 29. As the fear of communism raged through the U.S in the 1950's, Hoover and his FBI worked with the Republican Party and started HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee). Hoover eagerly supplied the HUAC with information gathered by his FBI, intent on exposing communists in labor unions and other organizations.

Uncovering Communists

One example of Hoovers "heroics" was when the FBI uncovered an atomic spy ring seeking to sell nuclear bomb secrets to foreign nations. The arrests led to convictions and the executions of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in 1953. Both Julius and Ethel had been affiliated with the communist party from an early age and were working with a co-worker of Julius.
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Methods Questioned

Hoover worked hard to maintain a good public reputation throughout his career but upon his death in 1972, he had ordered his personal assistant to destroy all of his personal files. This included his tactics of surveillance, wiretaps, and numerous detailed files on people never charged with crimes. Suspicion of his actions arose and after his death in 1975 and 76. He became the subject of a Senate investigative committee who determined he had greatly abused his governmental authority. They concluded he violated the civil liberties of free speech and association by harassing those he considered a threat.

Impact on the Decade

Hoover and the FBI greatly impacted the 50's because they were directly related with the anti-communism movement and the prosecutions of hundreds of individuals linked to communism. Hoover drove the anti-communism movement even farther with the publishing of his book Masters of Deceit which educated people about communists and the threat they posed.
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Connection to Today and Solutions for the Future

Hoover made the FBI what it is today by directing it for almost 48 years. However, his methods of surveillance were heavily questioned by the public and were made illegal in the U.S. If those methods were still in effect, it would heavily change the way we look at interrogation.


(2009). J. Edgar Hoover: an American Legend (1972). World Book Year Books. World Book Publishing. Retrieved from http://elibrary.bigchalk.com

"The FBI defends Americans' rights." Washington Post. 2016, January 05: A12.

Hoover, J. Edgar. (2003). In A. McNeill, R. C. Hanes, & S. M. Hanes (Eds.), Great Depression and the New Deal Reference Library (Vol. 2, pp. 113-121). Detroit: UXL. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CCX3425600051&v=2.1&u=park99813&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w&asid=b8fc0e602a248f330f2f27d3e9b21337