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HI114 Lecture Notes - National Lawyers Guild, Communist Party Usa, First Red Scare

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Darren Mulloy

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October 26
Hoover and McCarthy
Hoover ran the FBI forever, he insisted that FBI agents conform to his sense of
he was a dedicated anti-communist, was involved in the First Red Scare
FBI didn’t get involved in politics initially, it was a law enforcement agency
1934 - authorized to investigate Nazis in US
1936 - “subversive activities … particularly Fascism and Communism”
Hoover takes it and runs with it.
FBI = “the bureaucratic heart of the McCarthy era” (Schrecker)
I. Dennis et al v. United States (1951)
in 1945 Hoover told FBI agents to collect information on the American Communist
The Smith Act, 1940
“willfully advocate … or teach the duty … of overthrowing or destroying any
government in the United States by force or violence”
or belong to any group or organization with this aim
none of this evidence found that the communist party was NOT trying to overthrow
the government, they were in fact being peaceful
decided they would rely on the historic mission of the communist party, using Marx
and Lennon, propaganda, etc
Aesopian Language” - things aren’t exactly as they appear. would often say things
that mean the opposite, they spoke in code, they were intending to overthrow the
Trial beings January 17, and ends October 14 1949
Harold Medina (judge) believed that the communist party was trying to make him
die so the trial could be declared, he was very biased. Feared the communists had
planted hypnotists to change his verdict
Dennis et al. are found guilty, appeal, and are found guilty again
Impact of the Dennis Case
big success for the FBI
more legitimacy to the anti-communist campaign
a disaster for the Communist Party
II. The FBI and Truman’s Loyalty Programme
FBI Growth
3,559 agents in 1946 to 7,029 agents in 1952
budget $35m in 1947, $53m in 1950, $130m in 1962
1952 - 2 million federal employees screened, 20,000 full-field investigations
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