HST210 – US History 1877 to Present
Lecture #13 – Cold War Continued
- Soviet Union detonates its first atomic bomb, years earlier than predicted
o Communists, under Mao Zedong, gain control of China and form the People's
Republic of China
o Americans lose China > Truman accused
o China invaded and occupied by Japan during WWII
o nationalists & communists (under Mao) worked together to defeat the Japanese
o civil war breaks out between nationalists and communists after WWII
o Mao popular in Chinese countryside (85% of population)
o forces in the US lobby Truman to save China (China Lobby)
o Truman doesn't do anything
doesn't want to start anything with communists bc war just ended
he didn't think he could win > "sending money to china would be like
throwing money down a rathole"
o communists won the civil war
Korean War (Korean Conflict)
- called a conflict bc it was a UN mission, US never declares war
- End ofWWII- Allies divide Korea, ceded by Japan, at the 38 parallel
- US backs pro-Western government in the South
- Soviet Union backs the communist government in the North (Kim Il Sung)
- kind of like Berlin, spoils of the war divided Korea
- 1950, North Korea invades South Korea and captures Seoul
o have the blessing of the USSR
- Truman scared that if North Koreans declare war, China and USSR will support N Korea
- US –led UN Force launches an amphibious landing at Inchon and retakes South Korea
- 1953-armistice returns Korea to its pre-war borders
Impact of Korean War
- demonstrates that the US is committed to the containment of communism in Western
Europe and Asia
- Expands the geographical scope of the Cold War to East Asia.
- Increases tensions between China and the U.S.
- Ensures public and executive support for the military spending recommended by NSC-
- drafted in 1950 > beginning of Korean war
- commits the US to a broad crusade against communism everywhere it existed - Called for a vastly enlarged military budget and covert operations to counter Soviets
- calls for covert actions to stop the speed of communism
- By the time the Korean War ended, the defines budget had quadrupled from 13.5 billion
to more than 52 billion.
- Inaugurates a period of huge government deficits and massive military spending.
- 1950s is characterized by intense fears about the threat of Communism at home (in
reality, only 30,000 Americans belong to the U.S. Communist Party).
o most of them weren't trying to start a revolution
o attracted to stance on labour issues, civil rights
o most were loyal to US government, not trying to overthrow it
o there were a few communists who were spies
- Federal government, President Truman, the media and FBI play key roles in fomenting
public fear of domestic Communism
o if you weren't anti-communism, you wouldn't get elected
Rooting Out Communists in Government
- Truman established the Federal Employees’Loyalty and Security Program (1947) to purge
Communists from the federal government.
o federal government employees could be called before a hearing where they
would asked about political leanings, etc
o if reasonable grounds found, you were fired
o disloyal action was defined broadly
o state/city government also institute loyalty programs
o between 1947 & 1951: about 3000 workers are fired from the federal
government bc of their supposed disloyalty > a few were actually communist
- J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI carry out the security checks
House Un-American Activities Committee(HUAC)
- formed during WWII to investigate fascism in the US
- Standing committee of the House of Representatives that investigated threats of
- In 1947, HUAC holds hearings into the Communist influence in Hollywood.
- Friendly witnesses like Ronald Reagan testify before HUAC and name names
Hollywood Ten Refuse to Testify Before HUAC and Are Jailedfor Conpempt of Congress
- government used hollywood during WWII to pump out propaganda films
- government understood the power hollywood had, so they wanted to control the
- assumption that there were lots of communists in hollywood
- directors/producers refused to testify on the grounds of the 5th amendment > yes, they
- those who refused to testify went to jail or lost their jobs Spies!
- Alger Hiss, a former State Department official, spied for the Soviet Union in the 1930s.
- Because of Hiss’s association with the New Deal, conservatives use his 1949 conviction
to tarnish the New Deal.
- prosecuted for lying under oath and sentenced to 4 years in jail
- Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed in 1953 for spying- foments fears of domestic
subversion and fuels McCarthyism
o jewish couple, members of communist party
o plotted to pass on nuclear secret to Stalin
- McCarthy gave a speech at a republican women's group > said US was losing the war bc
of all the traitors in government
o said he had a list of 205 car carrying communists working in the
state department > not true, fabrication
- Senator Joseph McCarthy (Wisconsin) led a four-year witch hunt to root out communists
o takes away books from libraries
o 10,000 people lose their jobs
o broad public support >