Anti-Communism in Twentieth-Century America: A Critical History

Anti-Communism in Twentieth-Century America: A Critical History

Anti-Communism in Twentieth-Century America: A Critical History

Anti-Communism in Twentieth-Century America: A Critical History

Synopsis

In the United States today, communism is an ideology or political movement that barely registers in the consciousness of our nation. Yet merely half a century ago, "communist" was a buzzword that every citizen in our nation was aware of--a term that connoted "traitor" and almost certainly a characterization that most Americans were afraid of.

"Anti-Communism in Twentieth-Century America: A Critical History" provides a panoramic perspective of the types of anti-communists in the United States between 1919 and the collapse of the Soviet Union. It explains the causes and exceptional nature of anti-communism in the United States, and divides it into eight discrete categories. This title then thoroughly examines the words and deeds of the various anti-Communists in each of these categories during the three "Red Scares" in the past century. The work concludes with an unapologetic assessment of domestic anti-communism. This book allows readers to more fully comprehend what the anti-communists meant with their rhetoric, and grasp their impact on the United States during the 20th century and beyond--for example, how anti-communism has reappeared as anti-terrorism.

Excerpt

Anti-communism was one of the strongest political forces affecting the United States during the twentieth century. Loudly and repeatedly heralded as an indispensable component of national security, it provoked three “red scares,” all of which had deleterious effects on significant numbers of people, organizations, institutions, and national values. These “red scares” amplified and institutionalized two fears: fear of what the Soviet Union might do if not contained and fear of what the members, ex-members, and sympathizers of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) might do if not exposed and their actions proscribed. These fears were then magnified into threats and effectively wielded by political elites, making communism and Communists appear to be larger-than-life bogies, requiring extreme measures to counteract. But why? Why did a significant number of people and organizations feel so threatened by communism and Communists that they worked so assiduously, for so many years, to embed anti-communism into the political culture of the United States? An adequate answer to that question requires a more systematic and objective analysis than the topic of anti-communism has heretofore received. A full, critical treatment of anti-communism is necessary if

*In this book, the convention is to capitalize “Communist” (an adherent to a political party)
but not “communism” (a political doctrine).

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