The American labor movement seemed poised on the threshold of unparalleled success at the beginning of the post-World War II era. Fourteen million strong in 1946, unions represented thirty five percent of non-agricultural workers. Why then did the gains made between the 1930s and the end of the war produce so few results by the 1960s?
This collection addresses the history of labor in the postwar years by exploring the impact of the global contest between the United States and the Soviet Union on American workers and labor unions. The essays focus on the actual behavior of Americans in their diverse workplaces and communities during the Cold War. Where previous scholarship on labor and the Cold War has overemphasized the importance of the Communist Party, the automobile industry, and Hollywood, this book focuses on politically moderate, conservative workers and union leaders, the medium-sized cities that housed the majority of the population, and the Roman Catholic Church. These are all original essays that draw upon extensive archival research and some upon oral history sources.
In 1965–66, army-organized massacres claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of supporters of the Communist Party of Indonesia. Very few of these atrocities have been studied in any detail, and answers to basic questions remain unclear. What was the relationship between the army and civilian militias? How could the perpetrators come to view unarmed individuals as dangerous enemies of the nation? Why did Communist Party supporters, who numbered in the millions, not resist?
Drawing upon years of research and interviews with survivors, Buried Histories is an impressive contribution to the literature on genocide and mass atrocity, crucially addressing the topics of media, military organization, economic interests, and resistance.
Dark Days in the Newsroom traces how journalists became radicalized during the Depression era, only to become targets of Senator Joseph McCarthy and like-minded anti-Communist crusaders during the 1950s. Edward Alwood, a former news correspondent describes this remarkable story of conflict, principle, and personal sacrifice with noticeable élan. He shows how McCarthy's minions pried inside newsrooms thought to be sacrosanct under the First Amendment, and details how journalists mounted a heroic defense of freedom of the press while others secretly enlisted in the government's anti-communist crusade.
Relying on previously undisclosed documents from FBI files, along with personal interviews, Alwood provides a richly informed commentary on one of the most significant moments in the history of American journalism. Arguing that the experiences of the McCarthy years profoundly influenced the practice of journalism, he shows how many of the issues faced by journalists in the 1950s prefigure today's conflicts over the right of journalists to protect their sources.
Detroit's Cold War locates the roots of American conservatism in a city that was a nexus of labor and industry in postwar America. Drawing on meticulous archival research focusing on Detroit, Colleen Doody shows how conflict over business values and opposition to labor, anticommunism, racial animosity, and religion led to the development of a conservative ethos in the aftermath of World War II.
Using Detroit--with its large population of African-American and Catholic immigrant workers, strong union presence, and starkly segregated urban landscape--as a case study, Doody articulates a nuanced understanding of anticommunism during the Red Scare. Looking beyond national politics, she focuses on key debates occurring at the local level among a wide variety of common citizens. In examining this city's social and political fabric, Doody illustrates that domestic anticommunism was a cohesive, multifaceted ideology that arose less from Soviet ideological incursion than from tensions within the American public.
Author Barry B. Witham reclaims the work of Manny Fried, an essential American playwright so thoroughly blacklisted after he defied the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1954, and again in 1964, that his work all but completely disappeared from the canon. Witham details Manny Fried’s work inside and outside the theatre and examines his three major labor plays and the political climate that both nurtured and disparaged their productions. Drawing on never-before-published interview materials, Witham reveals the details of how the United States government worked to ruin Fried’s career.
From Red-Baiting to Blacklisting includes the complete text of Fried’s major labor plays, all long out of print. In Elegy for Stanley Gorski, Fried depicts one of the many red-baiting campaigns that threatened countless unions in the wake of the Taft-Hartley Act and the collusion of the Catholic Church with these activities. In Drop Hammer, Fried tackles the issues of union dues, misappropriation, and potential criminal activities. In the third play, The Dodo Bird, perhaps his most popular, Fried achieves a remarkable character study of a man outsourced from his job by technology and plant closures.
Manny Fried’s plays portray the hard edges of capitalism and government power and illuminate present-day struggles with hostility to labor unions and the passage in several states of right-to-work laws. Fried had no illusions about the government’s determination to destroy communism and unionism—causes to which he was deeply committed.
John Hoerr tells the story of three men—his uncle, Congressman Harry Davenport, union leader Tom Quinn, and Father Charles Owen Rice—whose lives became intertwined during the anti-Communist witch hunts of the McCarthy Era. The story helps illuminate one of the more repressive periods in American history, when thousands of Americans guilty only of enlisting in leftist causes were caught up in dragnets cast by overzealous Communist hunters on behalf of the House Un-American Activities Committee and other bodies. Much has been written about well-known cultural figures (the Hollywood Ten), and prominent writers (Arthur Miller and Lillian Hellman) who contended with HUAC. Hoerr tells of mostly ordinary Americans who were largely unknown at the time, but whose stories are nonetheless remarkable.
Writing from personal experience with the title characters, as well as archival research, Hoerr recreates the events of the 1949 HUAC hearings, where rigged testimony by a few workers cast suspicion on their union brothers. The results would echo through the years, causing people to lose jobs, marriages, and self-respect. Hoerr traces the paths followed by Harry, Tom, and Father Rice and relates their individual experiences to the great conflict between anti-Communist and Communist forces in the American labor movement, leading to the eventual demise of the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations).
The compelling story of a teenage girl caught up in the throes of the McCarthy era.
Margaret Fuchs was thirteen in June 1955 when she learned that her parents had been Communists while working for the U.S. government in the 1930s and '40s. This book chronicles the years during which her parents were exposed and her father was subpoenaed before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Eventually he named names, and subsequently lost his job as a law professor at American University, and was blacklisted from teaching ever again. Legacy of a False Promise also details the author's quest as an adult to learn whether or not her parents ever spied for the Soviet Union.
Based on eight years of research using family records, FBI files, American University archives, personal interviews, and the recently declassified Venona cables, Legacy of a False Promise offers unique insights into the McCarthy Era. Most "red-diaper babies" who have written on the subject had parents who refused to give in to HUAC's demands. Singer's work instead recounts the shame and series of betrayals that her father's decision to name names brought to her family. Furthermore, it explores the campaign of the liberal anti-Communist movement to publicize its political position while defending a fired ex-Communist professor, the nature and activities of secret Communist underground cells, and the motivation of New Deal government workers who spied for the Soviets.
This is a poignant meditation on family secrets, father-daughter relationships in times of crisis, teenage loneliness in the midst of trauma, and the effects of parents' actions on the lives of their children. It also serves as a timely reminder of the dangers of sacrificing civil liberties in the name of national security.
Loyalty and Liberty offers the first comprehensive account of the politics of countersubversion in the United States prior to the McCarthy era. Beginning with the loyalty politics of World War I, Alex Goodall traces the course of American countersubversion as it ebbed and flowed throughout the first half of the twentieth century, culminating in the rise of McCarthyism and the Cold War. This sweeping study explores how antisubversive fervor was dampened in the 1920s in response to the excesses of World War I, transformed by the politics of antifascism in the Depression era, and rekindled in opposition to Roosevelt's ambitious New Deal policies in the later 1930s and 1940s.
Identifying varied interest groups such as business tycoons, Christian denominations, and Southern Democrats, Goodall demonstrates how countersubversive politics was far from unified: groups often pursued clashing aims while struggling to balance the competing pulls of loyalty to the nation and liberty of thought, speech, and action. Meanwhile, the federal government pursued its own course, which alternately converged with and diverged from the paths followed by private organizations. By the end of World War II, alliances on the left and right had largely consolidated into the form they would keep during the Cold War. Anticommunists on the right worked to rein in the supposedly dictatorial ambitions of the Roosevelt administration, while New Deal liberals divided into several camps: the Popular Front, civil liberties activists, and embryonic Cold Warriors who struggled with how to respond to communist espionage in Washington and communist influence in politics more broadly.
Rigorous in its scholarship yet accessible to a wide audience, Goodall's masterful study shows how opposition to radicalism became a defining ideological question of American life.
The forgotten history of American terrorists who, in the name of God, conspired to overthrow the government and formed an alliance with Hitler.
On January 13, 1940, FBI agents burst into the homes and offices of seventeen members of the Christian Front, seizing guns, ammunition, and homemade bombs. J. Edgar Hoover’s charges were incendiary: the group, he alleged, was planning to incite a revolution and install a “temporary dictatorship” in order to stamp out Jewish and Communist influence in the United States. Interviewed in his jail cell, the front’s ringleader was unbowed: “All I can say is—long live Christ the King! Down with Communism!”
In Nazis of Copley Square, Charles Gallagher provides a crucial missing chapter in the history of the American far right. The men of the Christian Front imagined themselves as crusaders fighting for the spiritual purification of the nation, under assault from godless Communism, and they were hardly alone in their beliefs. The front traced its origins to vibrant global Catholic theological movements of the early twentieth century, such as the Mystical Body of Christ and Catholic Action. The front’s anti-Semitism was inspired by Sunday sermons and by lay leaders openly espousing fascist and Nazi beliefs.
Gallagher chronicles the evolution of the front, the transatlantic cloak-and-dagger intelligence operations that subverted it, and the mainstream political and religious leaders who shielded the front’s activities from scrutiny. Nazis of Copley Square is a grim tale of faith perverted to violent ends, and a warning for those who hope to curb the spread of far-right ideologies today.
Actor and singer Paul Robeson's performances in Othello, Show Boat, and The Emperor Jones made him famous, but his midcentury appearances in support of causes ranging from labor and civil rights to antilynching and American warmongering made him notorious. When Robeson announced at the 1949 Paris Peace Conference that it was "unthinkable" for blacks to go to war against the Soviet Union, the mainstream American press declared him insane.
Notions of Communism, blackness, and insanity were interchangeably deployed during the Cold War to discount activism such as Robeson's, just a part of an array of social and cultural practices that author Tony Perucci calls the Cold War performance complex. Focusing on two key Robeson performances---the concerts in Peekskill, New York, in 1949 and his appearance before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956---Perucci demonstrates how these performances and the government's response to them are central to understanding the history of Cold War culture in the United States. His book provides a transformative new perspective on how the struggle over the politics of performance in the 1950s was also a domestic struggle over freedom and equality. The book closely examines both of these performance events as well as artifacts from Cold War culture---including congressional documents, FBI files, foreign policy papers, the popular literature on mental illness, and government propaganda films---to study the operation of power and activism in American Cold War culture.
In the 1920s, cultural and political reactions to the Red Scare in America contributed to a marked shift in the way Americans thought about sexuality, womanhood, manhood, and family life. The Russian Revolution prompted anxious Americans sensing a threat to social order to position heterosexuality, monogamy, and the family as a bulwark against radicalism.
In her probing and engaging book, Red War on the Family, Erica Ryan traces the roots of sexual modernism and the history of antiradicalism and antifeminism. She illuminates how Americans responded to foreign and domestic threats and expressed nationalism by strengthening traditional gender and family roles-especially by imposing them on immigrant groups, workers, women, and young people.
Ryan argues that the environment of political conformity in the 1920s was maintained in part through the quest for cultural and social conformity, exemplified by white, middle-class family life. Red War on the Family charts the ways Americanism both reinforced and was reinforced by these sexual and gender norms in the decades after World War I.
Seeks evidence from media artifacts to reveal aesthetic, cultural, ideological, generic, and historical dimensions from classic television broadcasts
See It Now, Edward R. Murrow and Fred W. Friendly’s early documentary television program, has come to be recognized as the exemplar of nonfiction television. One important element in its reputation is a series of four telecasts directly dealing with abuses of McCarthyism and the Red Scare. This book is about those programs, but it is also about the early 1950s in America, the troubled era in which these programs were broadcast. This book is, then, both cultural history and media analysis.
As media analysis, this book seeks to understand the symbolic form, the aesthetic construction, and the subsequent experience that these four programs offered viewers. This sort of critical analysis is a development of recent vintage in American media studies. Whereas a decade ago television and the media were studied largely through an empiricist social scientific paradigm, now humanistic approaches to media discourses engage the interest of scholars in history, rhetoric and communication, political science, anthropology, and American studies. As case study, then, this book bridges classical humanist and contemporary mass media approaches, and as we go, I shall essay the utility of humanistic methods for the understanding and explication of mass media that is primarily visual in nature.
As cultural history, this book seeks to illuminate a unique era in the recent American past. My aim is to understand the programs as articulations of public “common sense” and as artifacts that help convey this common sense. Thus, a second theme of this book will be to locate-through the analysis of public discourse cast in the television documentary form—an American ideology: a set of “templates” that both ground the programs and reveal the cultural assumptions of the historical period.
In addition, from a slightly different historical perspective, our increased understanding of these See It Now broadcasts gives us an appreciation of the development of the television industry and the genre of television documentary. Coming at a time when few Americans had television sets, these See It Now programs coincided with an exponential increase in television ownership and popularity. As an elaborate defense of free speech for the medium, these documentaries may have helped to establish autonomy and a direction for a nascent broadcasting industry. More specifically, as the paradigm for the television documentary and as the first regularly scheduled documentary series, these See It Now programs shaped expectations and set the benchmark to which all nonfiction television, from Twentieth Century to White Paper to Sixty Minutes, has been compared. Thus, a third theme will be the implications of these seminal programs for media institutions and for the genre of television news documentary.
During World War I, fear that a network of German spies was operating on American soil justified the rapid growth of federal intelligence agencies. When that threat proved illusory, these agencies, staffed heavily by corporate managers and anti-union private detectives, targeted antiwar and radical labor groups, particularly the Socialist party and the Industrial Workers of the World.
Seeing Reds, based largely on case files from the Bureau of Investigation, Military Intelligence Division, and Office of Naval Intelligence, describes this formative period of federal domestic spying in the Pittsburgh region. McCormick traces the activities of L. M. Wendell, a Bureau of Investigation “special employee” who infiltrated the IWW’s Pittsburgh recruiting branch and the inner circle of anarchist agitator and lawyer Jacob Margolis. Wendell and other Pittsbugh based agents spied on radical organizations from Erie, Pennsylvania, to Camp Lee, Virginia, intervened in the steel and coal strikes of 1919, and carried out the Palmer raids aimed at mass deportation of members of the Union of Russian Workers and the New Communist Party.
McCormick’s detailed history uses extensive research to add to our understanding of the security state, cold war ideology, labor and immigration history, and the rise of the authoritarian American Left, as well as the career paths of figures as diverse as J. Edgar Hoover and William Z. Foster.
The McCarthy-era witch hunts marked the culmination of an anticommunist crusade launched after the First World War. With Bolshevism triumphant in Russia and public discontent shaking the United States, conservatives at every level of government and business created a network dedicated to sweeping away the "spider web" of radicalism they saw threatening the nation. In this groundbreaking study, Nick Fischer shines a light on right-wing activities during the interwar period. Conservatives, eager to dispel communism's appeal to the working class, railed against a supposed Soviet-directed conspiracy composed of socialists, trade unions, peace and civil liberties groups, feminists, liberals, aliens, and Jews. Their rhetoric and power made for devastating weapons in their systematic war for control of the country against progressive causes. But, as Fischer shows, the term spider web far more accurately described the anticommunist movement than it did the makeup and operations of international communism. Fischer details how anticommunist myths and propaganda influenced mainstream politics in America, and how its ongoing efforts paved the way for the McCarthyite Fifties--and augured the conservative backlash that would one day transform American politics.
Un-American Womanhood studies the Red Scare of the 1920s through the lens of gender. Kim Nielsen describes the methods antifeminists used to subdue feminism and other movements they viewed as radical. By tapping into widespread anxieties about Bolshevism and the expansion of the state, antifeminist women fought against certain social welfare programs such as the Sheppard-Towner Act and the Children’s Bureau and resisted efforts to legitimize the female citizen as an autonomous political figure. The book also considers the seeming contradictions of outspoken antifeminists who broke with traditional gender norms to assume forceful and public roles in their efforts to denounce feminism.