Quest for Inclusion: Jews and Liberalism in Modern American

By Marc Dollinger | Go to book overview
Save to active project

The Struggle for Civil Liberties:
The Cold War, Anti-Communism,
and Jewish Liberal Reform

THE END OF World War II heralded an era of renewed hope in the United States. After fifteen years of depression and war, Americans looked forward to better, more secure days. The postwar economy boomed. By 1960, 75 percent of American families piled into their own automobiles, 87 percent tuned in their own televisions to their favorite programs, and 75 percent enjoyed the luxury of a washing machine. The GI Bill of Rights funded thousands of college educations, new home purchases, and small business loans. In politics, fear of Soviet Communism eclipsed anti-German and anti-Japanese sentiment. Democrats and Republicans alike eschewed extreme ideologies in favor of what Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., called “the vital center.” The nation joined in a consensus that celebrated economic expansion, ridiculed Stalin and his system of government, and hailed American democracy as the quintessential model of freedom and liberty. 1

Despite its benevolent outward appearance, the anti-Communist consensus also created a political culture ripe for abuse. In 1947, President Truman investigated the political backgrounds of more than three million federal employees. Three years later, the government ignored due process rights when it dismissed individuals it considered security risks. In Hollywood, scores of actors and actresses faced blacklisting for their supposed association with Communists. Public libraries removed liberal magazines from their shelves while schools across the country banned classic works of literature out of fear that they might turn the nation's children toward the Soviet system of government. The nation's morbid obsession with anti-Communism led to the rise of Joseph McCarthy, the junior senator from Wisconsin, who took to the television airwaves with far-flung accusations linking U.S. army personnel to Communist subversion. 2

The Jewish community straddled both experiences. By 1960, it enjoyed many of the benefits of middle-class citizenship. The size of the Jewish working class shrunk as professional fields opened to Jews for the first time. Cold War policies such as the GI bill helped Jewish veterans enroll


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Quest for Inclusion: Jews and Liberalism in Modern American


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 296

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?