The Communist Menace J. Edgar Hoover

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The Communist Menace

J. Edgar Hoover

Historical Context:

J. Edgar Hoover was elected as the first director of the FBI in 1924. His peers looked upon him as a progressive, honest, efficient, and thoroughly modern manager. In 1947, Hoover appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). HUAC was investigating the American movie industry and the Communist influences within. This occurred during the post-war period and many were concerned that the Communists were trying to overthrow the US government.

Main Points:

  1. “The Communist movement in the United States stands for the destruction of free enterprise; and it stands for the creation of a “Soviet of the United States” and ultimate world revolution.” Hoover felt that the Communists wanted to overthrow the US government and establish a new world order.

  1. “The American progress which all good citizens seek, such as old-age security, houses for veterans, child assistance and a host of others is being adopted as window dressing by the Communists to conceal their true aims and entrap gullible followers.” Hoover believed that the Communists were using these ideals as a ploy to fool unsuspecting individuals.

  1. “The Daily Worker boasts of 74,000 members on the rolls…” The Communists claim “that for every party member there are 10 others ready, willing, and able to do the party[‘]s work” meaning that “there is one Communist for every 1,814 persons in the country…” Hoover believed that the persons that were ready, willing, and able to work were the greatest threat because they would be influenced to infiltrate and corrupt the American ideals.

Historical Significance:

This gave the American public the perception that an internal Communist threat was plausible. It gave people the demonized view that was held by the Truman administration about the Soviet Union. More than anything else, it gave legitimacy to the McCarthyism suppression of dehumanizing the Communists and turning them into ideological villains who deserved what they got in the end.

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