Rice had said that it was not illegal under U.S. law to belong to the Communist
Wharton, pp. 209-10).
In a nine-month trial during 1949 eleven Communist party leaders were
convicted under the Smith Act of criminal conspiracy to teach and advocate overthrow
of the government by force and violence. Judge Harold R. Medina presided at the trial
in the U.S. Circuit Court in New York, and among those convicted were Henry Winston
and Gus Hall, national secretaries of the Communist party, and Robert Thompson, New York State chairman of the Communist party.
State Senator Jack B. Tenney, chairman of the California Senate Fact-Finding
Committee on Un-American Activities, issued voluminous committee reports during the
forties listing organizations designated as communist fronts and their members. Anderson is cited as member, Hollywood Writers' Mobilization, 1945; sponsor, National Council for Soviet-American Friendship, 1948; and signer, letter to Speaker of
the House Martin from the National Institute of Arts and Letters protesting
investigations by House Committee on Un-American Activities, 1948. Anderson was
not associated with the first two projects.
Omitted are four sentences in which Anderson names several people, still alive at
the time of this edition, and says they are members of the Communist party.
Rice had alluded to Barefoot in Athens and argued that Anderson was
inconsistent in supporting freedom of speech in the play and opposing it in the current
Wharton, p. 211). Alcibiades, as a young man a disciple of Socrates, became
an Athenian political and military leader during the Peloponnesian War and in 411 B.C.
persuaded the Athenians to replace their democracy with an oligarchy in the hope
(unrealized) of gaining Persian support against Sparta. Plutarch thus treated Alcibiades
together with the Roman traitor Coriolanus in the parallel Lives.
184. TO JOHN F. WHARTON
710 North Palm Drive
Beverly Hills, Calif. February 20, 1952
Many thanks for your letter and for exposing yourself to this
seemingly interminable correspondence. I don't like to go on with it
myself, but I'm driven to do it by a growing belief that the
Communists, while waging a real though undeclared war against us,
have gophered themselves inside the U.S. into our key labor unions,
into our government, into the publishing field, into journalism and
into what many people call the entertainment field, which is where I
work. And that they have so flooded our country with red propaganda
that the liberals talk and write red propaganda without knowing they
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Dramatist in America:Letters of Maxwell Anderson, 1912-1958.
Contributors: Laurence G. Avery - Editor, Maxwell Anderson - Author.
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press.
Place of publication: Chapel Hill, NC.
Publication year: 1977.
Page number: 257.
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