The great fear: balancing freedom against security in the mccarthy era resources

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  1. Introduction

PDF Resource: The Great Fear Poster. Provides background information on the “Great Fear” period (1947-1956) including information on HUAC, the Rosenberg Trial, Alger Hiss, the Hollywood Ten and Senator Joseph McCarthy. Also includes a general timeline of national and international events.
Book Resource: Mitchell, Marcia and Thomas Mitchell. 2002. The Spy Who Seduced America: Lies and Betrayal in the Heat of the Cold War: The Judith Coplon Story. Montpelier, VT: Invisible Cities Press. Contains transcripts of court documents and other related primary information.
Web Resource: PBS American Experience “Race for the Superbomb” ( Highlights the people, events, and politics surrounding the development of atomic weapons including a biography of Klaus Fuchs and a transcript of his 1950 confession.

  1. Who Lost China?

Web Resource: “The Dixie Mission.” A photo-documentary by Captain John “Jack” P. Klein – US Army Signal Corp. (O.S.S.). Tour of duty February to October 1945 in Yan'an, China (
PDF Resource: 40th Bomb Group Association, Issue #14, March 1987. The Dixie Mission to the Communist Chinese. Louis Jones’ personal account of his experience in 1945 as a US intelligence officer working with the Communist Chinese.
PDF Resource: Federal Bureau of Investigation Reports: Owen Lattimore. Scan of reports from the 1940's-1950's espionage investigation of Owen Lattimore conducted as a result of allegations linking him to Soviet espionage – released by way of the Freedom of Information Act. Much of the information in the report is still “blacked out.”
PDF Resource: United States v. Lattimore. Presents the case United States v. Lattimore argued before the US Supreme Court on May 2, 1953. Includes opening arguments, listing of the grand jury indictments, conclusions of the court, and comments by judges.

  1. Alger Hiss: Betrayer of the Plain Men and Women

Web Resource: Famous Trials: The Alger Hiss Trials [1949-50] ( Includes a comprehensive archive of images, transcripts, letters, information about the “Pumpkin Papers” and additional commentary. Hosted by the University of Missouri [Kansas City] Law School.
Web Resource: The Alger Hiss Story. Hosted by New York University ( This site contains a comprehensive archive of primary documents, court proceedings and new commentary about Alger Hiss based on recently released Soviet and US intelligence information. This site also includes a link to numerous video clips.
Book Resource: Hiss, Alger. In the Court of Public Opinion. New York: Knopf, 1957.

  1. HUAC: Finding the Un-Americans

Web Resource: The HUAC Testimony of Whitaker Chambers, August 3, 1948 ( From the Trials of Alger Hiss webpage.
Web Resource: The House Un-American Committee (44 minutes). Produced by and posted on YouTube ( Has a definite anti-HUAC bias, but contains great footage of events and testimony. Spans the history of HUAC from 1938 to 1960.

  1. You Ought not to be in Pictures

PDF Resource: Testimony of Walt Disney at the HUAC hearings, October 24, 1947.
PDF Resource: Testimony of Ronald Reagan (SAG President) at the HUAC hearing, October 23, 1947.
PDF Resource: The Man From Moscow: Gerhart Eisler. Time Magazine Article (February 17, 1947). Time-CNN Online Archive.
Web Resource: The World Was at Stake: Three “Friendly” HUAC Hollywood Witnesses Assess Pro-Soviet Wartime Films. Testimony of Ayn Rand, Jack Warner (Warner Bros.) and Louis Mayer (MGM). Source: History Matters ( Created by the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning (Graduate Center, CUNY) and the Center for History and New Media (George Mason University).
JPG Resource: Photo of the Hollywood Ten with caption. From
Web Resource: Audio - Katherine Hepburn’s Speech against HUAC, 1947 (from YouTube at
PDF Resource: Blacklisted Hollywood: Seeing Red (October 24, 1997). After excerpts from the PBS documentary "The Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist" (1987), Elizabeth Farnsworth talks with writer/producer Paul Jarrico and actress Marsha Hunt about their experiences on the blacklist. Source: PBS Online Focus. This website also includes a RealAudio (requires RealPlayer) download for this interview (audio only).
PDF Resource: The Hollywood Ten. Time Magazine Article (April 24, 1950). Time-CNN Online Archive.
PDF Resource: I’m No Communist (Photoplay, March 1948). Humphrey Bogart’s newspaper editorial about the accusations of Communist sympathies.

  1. A Slow, Lingering Death

  1. Joe McCarthy: Stalking the Wild Communist

PDF Resource: Political Divisions of the U.S. Congress. Chart shows the political divisions in the House and Senate from 1899 to 2009, includes a timeline of Presidents and major events.
Book Resource: Goldman, Eric F. 1961. The Crucial Decade – and After (America, 1945-1960). New York: Vintage Books. Chapter VII: Dinner at the Colony – highlights the conversation between McCarthy and Father Walsh.
Web Resource: Enemies from Within: Senator Joseph R. McCarthy’s Accusations of Disloyalty. McCarthy speech in Wheeling West Virginia on Feb. 9, 1950 (205 communists) and his letter to President Truman on Feb. 11, 1950 (57 communists). Source: History Matters ( Created by the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning (Graduate Center, CUNY) and the Center for History and New Media (George Mason University).
PDF Resource: McCarthy’s Speech on Communists in the State Department. CNN Interactive: The Cold War (Episode 6: Reds). Transcript of the speech to Congress (regarding the “57” suspected communists in the State Department).
Web Resource with Primary Documents: Teaching with Documents: Telegram from Senator Joseph McCarthy to President Harry S. Truman ( Includes featured documents: Telegram from McCarthy to Truman restating his accusation of communists in the State Department and Truman’s draft reply (probably not sent) vilifying McCarthy.
PDF Resource: Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Lists and Venona, by historian John Earl Haynes of the Library of Congress. Contains a comprehensive list of those people McCarthy accused during his many speeches 1950-1951 and notations on the source of the information. Haynes also includes insightful commentary on the “truth” of these accusations.
PDF Resource: McCarthy Speech regarding General Marshall, 1951. From the Internet Modern History Sourcebook. Provides a good example of McCarthy’s inflammatory style.
Web Resource: Excerpt from the Army-McCarthy Hearing 1953-54 (“have you no decency” speech by Mr. Welch). Source: History Matters ( Created by the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning (Graduate Center, CUNY) and the Center for History and New Media (George Mason University).
Web Resource: Army-McCarthy Hearing ( An online video of the McCarthy accusations and Welch’s “have you no decency” response.
PDF Resource: Senate Resolution 301: Censure of Joseph McCarthy (1954). From Contains explanatory narrative and an image of the original document.
JPG Resource: Herblock’s “You mean I’m supposed to stand on that!” (March 29, 1950) cartoon first coining the term “McCarthyism” published in the Washington Post. Source: Library of Congress.
PDF Resource: A collection of photos of McCarthy and the Army-McCarthy Hearings (sources listed on photos).

  1. Bombshell: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg Must Die

Curriculum Resource (drama): The curriculum guide “The Great Fear” contains a dramatic script about the Rosenberg Trial.
Web Resource: History and Trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (1951). From the Famous Trials page sponsored by the Law School at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. ( Of interest (aside from the actual trial transcripts) is the Judge’s statement on sentencing the Rosenbergs, Ethel Rosenberg’s last letter to her sons on the day of execution, and various images of the players in this drama.
PDF Resource: Images of the Rosenbergs and the “Atomic Spies” Trial (sources shown on photos).

  1. Disturbances in Eden: McCarthyism in the Pacific Northwest

Web Resource: Communism in Washington State: History and Memory Project (Chapter 6: War and Red Scare, 1940-60). Source: Pacific Northwest Labor History Project, Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, University of Washington ( Detailed narrative about the controversy surrounding Washington’s loyalty oath and the firing of the University of Washington professors.

Web Resource: In the Eye of the Storm. Reed Magazine, August 1997 ( An article about the firing of Stanley Moore from Portland’s Reed College.

  1. Freedom or Security

Data and Map Resources:
National Election Data: The McCarthy Era (1944-1958). Source: ICPSR. Compiled excel spreadsheets and thematic maps of the results of presidential and mid-term congressional elections, 1944 through 1958, at a national level (by county). The rise and waning of anti-communist sentiment and the political machinations of Joseph McCarthy and others can be explored using the political geography of the McCarthy era as a backdrop, including Roosevelt’s landslide victory in 1944, Truman’s sensational upset over Dewey in 1948, and the transfer of presidential power to the Republican party by Eisenhower’s election in 1952.
The Gallup Polls, Vol. I & II (1935-1958). Compiled Excel spreadsheets and graphs/charts of selected Gallup Poll questions spanning the period from 1945-1958. Question categories include Russia, Communism (in America), McCarthy, and China. American opinions and attitudes about these topics provide a backdrop for the “Great Fear” and illustrate the rise and fall of support for McCarthy.

  1. McCarthyism, the Constitution and the Courts

PDF Resource: Adler v. Board of Education of the City of New York (1952). Source: Contains the text of the majority opinion and two dissenting opinions.
PDF Resource: Edward R. Murrow on Joseph McCarthy, on See It Now (CBS-TV, March 9, 1954). Source: University of Maryland. Murrow’s scathing expose on McCarthy that hailed the beginning of McCarthy’s downfall. In the interest of the “fairness doctrine,” McCarthy was given an equal amount of time for a rebuttal.
PDF Resource: Senator Joseph McCarthy: Reply to Edward R. Murrow on See It Now (CBS-TV, April 6, 1954). Source: University of California, Berkeley. Transcript of a televised broadcast in rebuttal to Murrow’s now famous half-hour expose on McCarthy.
Web Resource: E.R. Murrow’s response to McCarthy’s 4/6/54 broadcast available in text, audio and video (

Audio/Web Resource: NPR’s All Things Considered, See It Now and McCarthy – 50 years later. Source: NPR ( Walter Cronkite narrates a look-back to the See It Now programs that pitted Murrow against McCarthy in March-April 1954. Available as an audio download (12:35 minutes).
Book Resource: Lief, Michael S. and H. Mitchell Caldwell. 2004. And the Walls Came Tumbling Down: Closing Arguments that Changed the Way We Live (Chapter 3: The Enemy Within – Radio Star John Henry Faulk Challenges the McCarthy-Era Blacklist). New York: Scribner. A thorough account of the final drama around the trial between Faulk and AWARE.
PDF Resource: Slochower v. Board of Education, 1956. Source: Justia – US Supreme Court Center. Transcript of the majority opinion.
PDF Resource: Yates v. United States, 1957. Source: Justia - US Supreme Court Center. Transcript of the Judge Hugo Black’s opinion.
PDF Resource: Watkins v. United States, 1957. Source: Justia – US Supreme Court Center. Transcript of Chief Justice Warren’s opinion.
PDF Resource: Kent v. Dulles, 1958. Source: Justia – US Supreme Court Center. Transcript of Judge Douglas’ opinion.

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