America's Communism Scare And The Hollywood Blacklist

1825 words - 7 pages

BLACKLIST - A list of persons who are under suspicion, disfavor, or censure, or who are not to be hired, served, or otherwise accepted.
-- http://www.merriam-webster.com/

During the late 1940’s and throughout the 1950’s, there was a great fear of Communism in America and abroad. The House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) was created in 1938 as a means to investigate and weed out Communists and Communist supporters from American society. Its first major attack was on the Hollywood film industry. Blacklisting of Hollywood writers, actors, producers, directors and others suspected of Communist affiliations began with the committee's hearings in October of 1947, and flourished throughout the 1950s. Senator Joseph McCarthy conducted “witch hunts” in an attempt to find and eliminate suspected Communists. The Hollywood Ten, a group of distinguished writers and directors, were cited for contempt of Congress and jailed for failing to cooperate with the house committee.

As World War Two ended, and the once widely popular and accepted Communist movement began to fade away, Congress started becoming highly concerned with the possibility of a Communist revolt. People in influential positions, such as Senator Joseph McCarthy, believed that such an uprising would begin from within Hollywood, as there were many popular and powerful directors, producers and writers there, who had easy access in reaching people across over America (Cole Hollywood Red). The Senate committee believed strongly that left-wing ideas were a threat to traditional American society and its values. Meanwhile, the FBI was intent on crushing any possible skirmishes before they could start by infiltrating the communist party; dividing the party amongst its own members, and having it destroy itself.

Although there was a growing fear of Communism invading American society during the Cold War era, the blacklisting of writers and others in Hollywood because of their political beliefs should not have occurred during the Cold War, or any other period of time. The individuals, who were persecuted during what is now referred to as the “McCarthy Era,” had their once prominent careers destroyed. They lost their friends and family, and all based on untrue rumors which were spread about them, such as planning to start a revolution and attempt to overthrow the Government of the United States. At no time did the Communist Party have the manpower or financial resources to do anything more than a small demonstration and no party member from Hollywood gave serious thought to even that idea.

Blacklisted writers, such as Walter Bernstein, Abraham Polonsky, and Lester Cole had a very difficult time finding work and trying to survive during the period of the blacklist. Suspected Communist sympathizers went through a horrifying experience during the HUAC hearings, as they were constantly and consistently harassed by the FBI and other agencies and people who tried to force...

Find Another Essay On America's Communism Scare and the Hollywood Blacklist

Comparing the Salem Witch Trials and the Red Scare

1294 words - 5 pages Inspired by the Red Scare, which was fuled by use of the either-or ( black and white) fallacy of thinking, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible depicts the village of Salem undergoing its own period of black and white thinking along with the suspicion and hysteria which followed. Miller exploits the literary element of setting to support the portrayal of the effects of black and white thinking in Salem Witch Trials of 1692. The

Taxi Driver and the Hollywood Renaissance

2330 words - 9 pages Largely influenced by the French New Wave and other international film movements, many American filmmakers in the late 1960s to 1970s sought to revolutionize Hollywood cinema in a similar way. The New Hollywood movement, also referred to as the “American New Wave” and the “Hollywood Renaissance,” defied traditional Hollywood standards and practices in countless ways, creating a more innovative and artistic style of filmmaking. Due to the advent

The Rise and Fall of Communism

1819 words - 8 pages Everyone would like to live in a perfect society, and in Germany, Karl Marx set out to do just that by creating the government system known as Communism. Though, this system has failed in many countries all over the world because of many significant flaws in the very foundation of the system. Some of the most feared probabilities in society that Communism was created to eliminate still prevailed and were at the heart of the system’s downfall. If

The Basics of Socialism and Communism

1301 words - 5 pages The Basics of Socialism and Communism The radical political essay, Communist Manifesto- written by the German revolutionary philosopher Karl Marx, addresses numerous sociological problems of the 1800’s. In it, Marx basically calls for a proletariat, or working class, revolt and the installation of communism. Communism, also known as “scientific socialism”, like the latter name points out, is derived from socialism. These two

Stalin's Worldview and the Application of Communism

3037 words - 12 pages 1.0 Introduction This essay investigates to what extent Josef Stalin’s personal and political worldviews shape and reflect his application of Communism. By examining the people that surrounded Stalin at a young age, the places where he grew up and went to school, the ideas that he latched on to, and the people and theories he believed in, his basic personality can be determined. Through the investigation of his political career, Stalin’s most

The Past and Future of Communism

1387 words - 6 pages Communism is an ideal society that is unrealistic for humans to maintain. In this system major resources and means of production are owned by the community rather than by individuals. The society is without money, without a state, without property and without social classes. All people would contribute to the society according to their ability and take from the society according to their needs. Fredrick Engel's believed that a proletarian

Karl Marx and the Authorship of communism

3229 words - 13 pages final result of this class revolution would be socialism or communism, in which the State, on behalf of all the people not just the bourgeoisie, controls the means of production, ensuring that everyone benefits equally. Not all authors agree to this, however. Avinervi states that Marx's greatest intellectual achievement is also his greatest weakness, and his description of communism is strongly related to the a priori systems of utopian

Hysteria in The Crucible by Arthur Miller and in the Red Scare

1670 words - 7 pages accusations and a person was almost guaranteed to be accused if they stood up to the court and accusers. It just goes to show how a little fear, a little panic, and a couple of wild teenagers can create a widespread hysteria and make this hysterical society cause its own downfall. A similar thing happened with the McCarthy hearings in the 1950’s. It was not long after World War II, the cold war was taking place and Americans abhorred Communism

Describe and Evaluate Ways the US Tried to Contain Communism

1076 words - 4 pages 'threat', some of which worked well, and others of which the same cannot be said; main focus shall be on the effective methods.One way in which the US tried to contain communism was by economic means. The most prominent example of an economic stance of containment was most definitely the Marshall Plan of 1947, in which the US gave 13 billion dollars of financial aid to the countries of Western Europe. This was a particularly effective strategy of

Ho Chi Minh and the Success of Vietnamese Communism

1824 words - 7 pages Communism as a political philosophy has had both its critics and nationalist proponents throughout recent history. As a tool for nationalistic movements in recent, one of the most compelling examples is how communism was introduced and used by Ho Chi Minh to help Vietnam become a unified and independent nation in the 1970s. Ho Chi Minh, a Marxist Leninist, charismatic and populist leader, adopted communism through his experiences, struggles, and

Orwell's Comparing Animal Farm and The Russian System Of Communism

1438 words - 6 pages Orwell's Comparing Animal Farm and The Russian System Of Communism Animal Farm is a satire and prophecy of the Russian revolution, which was written by George Orwell in 1945. George Orwell was a political satirist who led a somewhat strange life. His original name was 'Eric Arthur Blair', which was later changed to his familiar pen name for its 'manly, English, country-sounding ring'. He was a lonely boy and had many

Similar Essays

The House Of Un American Activities Committee, Hollywood And The Red Scare

1991 words - 8 pages ideas, works focused less on the social problems of the time, and more on pure entertainment. Those that did focus on the social side promoted anti-Communism and patriotism with war films. Hollywood avoided anything that showed concern for minorities, criticized big business, or showed sympathy for the weaker competitors (Lev). HUAC even reviewed through writings and films and removed those from the market that they believed have Communist

The South And Hollywood Essay

1894 words - 8 pages facts of the Civil Rights era. For Blount, the Help’s overarching “Hollywood narrative” is kinship, the ultimate bond formed between a white woman and a group of black women, a theme that eclipses the real issues of racism. The film does not tell the story of far-reaching social change—but rather the story of the less significant, anecdotal tolerance of a few individuals. “You don’t get enough of a sense of African-Americans as actors on a

Joseph Mc Carthy And The Red Scare

696 words - 3 pages Joseph McCarthy, senator of Wisconsin during 1947 to 1957 was the man behind the mask of the red scare in the mid fifties. While still in office as a senator Joseph McCarthy talked himself and many others into the fact that communists where trying to infiltrate the country. He soon began to accuse completely innocent people of being in the communist party, many completely innocent people were charged, held in prison, or put on trial just because

Red Scare Describes The Causes And Consequences Of The Red Scare Of 1919

1128 words - 5 pages take place. America had learned how to deal with reds, and these lessons would be effectively applied in the next crusade against communism in America.Finally, a more visible and immediate consequence of the Red Scare of 1919 was the mass fear of immigration that took place afterwards. The highly visual raids by Palmer had a deep effect on Americans because the raids exposed the "enemy." Restrictions and quotas were placed on immigration