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Hollywood and The Red Scare - Essay Example

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So much so that it had become a normal part life. Newsreels, movies, newspapers and even cartoons were rife with pro-America, anti enemy language. After the war,…
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Hollywood and The Red Scare
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Hollywood and The Red Scare

Download file to see previous pages... In the end, it was the enemy from within acting as the nation’s protector that caused hardships for many Americans and not communism. The most evident example of this exploitation for personal gains comes from Hollywood due to its high profile status.
In 1950, what had been a largely ineffectual and obscure U.S. Senator, who was riddled with bribery scandals, gave a speech in West Virginia that would make him a powerful and famous legislator. Senator Joseph McCarthy told those gathered at the Republican Women’s Club “The State Department is infested with Communists.” (Roberts, 2010). He further claimed to possess 205 names of known, avowed communists who were working for the U.S. State Department. This was untrue but the speech served its purpose, by shifting the accusing public spotlight from him to others. Soon afterward the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) began hearings in an effort to root-out communist sympathizers and subversives.
HUAC began by calling to testify movie stars and moguls who the government knew were staunchly anti-communist such as Louis B Mayer, Jack earner, Robert Taylor, Gary Cooper and Walt Disney, a movie making icon that was certain “Commies” were attempting to ruin his business and his good name. Disney was eager to offer names of suspected communist. He even went as far as to make wild, unsubstantiated assumptions of a person being communist due to this individual having “no religion and had spent considerable time at the Moscow Art Theatre studying art direction, or something.” (Rad, 2009) It was later discovered Disney had been an FBI informant from the time WWII ended until his death in the mid 1960’s. An opposition group called the Committee for the First Amendment protested the congressional investigations. Among the groups members were high profile Hollywood celebrities such as Lucille Ball, Lauren Bacall, Gene Kelly and Humphrey Bogart.
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