Research Papers on the House Un-American Activities Committee
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The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) that had been established in 1938 had been made permanent in 1948 following American disenchantment with Soviet Communists after the necessity of allying with them in World War II was over. The House Un-American Activities Committee had decided that the Ku Klux Klan and American Nazi Party were “American traditions” and they were not subjects for investigation, but the foreign-based Communist party had been identified by the HUAC, CIA and FBI as an enemy to America and to the free world as Communist states pursued expansionist policies, taking over Poland, Czechoslovakia, East Berlin, China, and Korea.
The early years of the HUAC were headed by the following committees:
- Overman Committee (1919)
- Fish Committee (1930)
- McCormack-Dickstein Committee (1934–1937)
- Dies Committee (1938–1944)
When in 1949 the former Soviet allies exploded an atomic bomb, American fears of Communism were greatly increased. American Communists came to be viewed not as political party members, but as possible enemy agents, serving a threatening and ambitious Soviet Communism as exemplified by Stalin’s totalitarian state. Both Congress and President Truman had moved to arouse anti-Communist support from the public. While Truman demonized the Soviet Union, J. Edgar Hoover defined the “Red Menace” for the House Un-American Activities Committee. Communists in America were depicted as fanatics and puppets of Stalin, as secretive people who lied about their Party affiliation and were intent on infiltrating American’s hearts, minds and government, instead of openly expressing their belief in Communist ideals of sharing and equality, which most found were mythical as they became less naive about the Party.