Hollywood's Blacklists: A Political and Cultural History

By Reynold Humphries | Go to book overview

5
None Shall Escape: The Hearings of 1951-1953

OPENING REMARKS

There was little cause for optimism in Hollywood in 1948, yet the events that came to pass within three years must have exceeded the worst fears. In 1949 the Soviet Union exploded its first atom bomb and the Communists seized power in China. In February 1950 Senator McCarthy claimed the State Department was harbouring 205 Communists and four months later the Korean War erupted when the Communist North invaded the pro-American South.1 When the Rosenbergs were sentenced to death in 1951, the judge stated in court that he held them personally responsible for the American deaths in Korea.2 He received a letter of congratulations from Hedda Hopper (Slide 2007: 211).

There is something uncanny about McCarthy's timing, as if he guessed that an international emergency was about to occur. Rather it was a case of creating in the domestic arena a state of mind so that the public would interpret the international situation in paranoid terms: the Soviets were just itching to expand their empire, even to overthrow the American government and way of life. The groundwork for this mindset had been laid in 1947 by what was called the 'Truman Doctrine'.3 Faced with what he presented to Congress and the public as Soviet-dominated Communist insurgencies in Greece and Turkey, Truman pledged economic and military aid to the two countries in the name of democracy. This prompted certain Democrats, in both Congress and the Senate, to demand that economic aid be channelled to Greece through the United Nations and to oppose aid to Turkey. A conservative Senator opposed all aid, given the 'venal' and 'hated' monarchy in Greece and the danger that

-105-

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Hollywood's Blacklists: A Political and Cultural History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • The Background 1
  • I - Drawing Up the Battle Lines 7
  • Introduction 9
  • 1: Hollywood and the Union Question 27
  • 2: Thewaryears, 1939-1945 40
  • 3: Hollywood Strikes, the Right Strikes Back 62
  • II - From the Hot War to the Cold War 75
  • 4: The Hearings of 1947 77
  • 5: None Shall Escape 105
  • 6: The Anti-Communist Crusade on the Screen 128
  • 7: Life (And Death) on the Blacklist 144
  • Conclusion 159
  • Archival Sources 164
  • Bibliography 166
  • Index 175
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