From Boomers to Millennials: A Modern US History Podcast

Episode 4 – 1949: The Curse of the Cold War

October 01, 2019 Logan Rogers Season 1 Episode 4
From Boomers to Millennials: A Modern US History Podcast
Episode 4 – 1949: The Curse of the Cold War
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From Boomers to Millennials: A Modern US History Podcast
Episode 4 – 1949: The Curse of the Cold War
Oct 01, 2019 Season 1 Episode 4
Logan Rogers

In 1949, a re-elected Pres. Harry Truman attempted to push through a Fair Deal of domestic reforms, but with little success. Instead, the US government’s attention fixated upon the “Red” threat after a Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War & the Soviet acquisition of the atomic bomb. As a charter member of the new NATO military alliance, the United States committed itself to counter these red gains by crushing Communist influences, both at home & abroad. This show profiles some of the individuals brought under suspicion in the search for “enemies within” that followed, including Alger Hiss, the Rosenbergs, Elizabeth Bentley, Kim Philby, & Klaus Fuchs. It also introduces a young & ruthless anti-Communist politician named Richard M. Nixon. The Red Scare ended up costing many innocent people their jobs based only upon them having previous left-wing political affiliations, & the Lavender Scare resulted in federal employment discrimination against gay & lesbian Americans based upon the dubious notion that they were all somehow “security risks.” The curse of the Cold War was the fear that gripped people throughout the USA, as they came to dread that their neighbor might be a Commie traitor, that their co-worker could get them fired by smearing them as a Red, & that a nuclearized World War III may be just around the corner.

Show Notes Transcript

In 1949, a re-elected Pres. Harry Truman attempted to push through a Fair Deal of domestic reforms, but with little success. Instead, the US government’s attention fixated upon the “Red” threat after a Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War & the Soviet acquisition of the atomic bomb. As a charter member of the new NATO military alliance, the United States committed itself to counter these red gains by crushing Communist influences, both at home & abroad. This show profiles some of the individuals brought under suspicion in the search for “enemies within” that followed, including Alger Hiss, the Rosenbergs, Elizabeth Bentley, Kim Philby, & Klaus Fuchs. It also introduces a young & ruthless anti-Communist politician named Richard M. Nixon. The Red Scare ended up costing many innocent people their jobs based only upon them having previous left-wing political affiliations, & the Lavender Scare resulted in federal employment discrimination against gay & lesbian Americans based upon the dubious notion that they were all somehow “security risks.” The curse of the Cold War was the fear that gripped people throughout the USA, as they came to dread that their neighbor might be a Commie traitor, that their co-worker could get them fired by smearing them as a Red, & that a nuclearized World War III may be just around the corner.

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[inaudible]

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boomers to millennials is a modern us history podcast, providing a fresh look at the historical events that shaped current generations from 1946 to the present. Welcome to 1949 AKA episode four the curse of the cold war. In recent episodes, we discussed president Harry Truman's role in the rise of the cold war and his improbable comeback victory to win a second presidential term in 1949 a succession of crises which shock Truman's presidential administration and the American public. Suddenly the threat of international communism and the danger of potential military conflict with the USSR would Allume larger than ever. Furthermore, instead of struggling to scare Congress into taking action against foreign communists as he had done with the Truman doctrine speech back in 47 the president would be on the defensive and his administration would stand accused of not doing enough to stop the spread of international communism. In early 1949 Truman proposed a new slate of domestic legislation that he branded as the fair deal, which he hoped would be his answer to his popular predecessor FDRs new deal.

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Truman's allies in Congress were able to push through a social security expansion and a minimum wage hike. However, despite the democratic congressional majority, a conservative coalition that combined most of the Republicans with a significant minority of Democrats would block the path of most other fair deal reforms, including Truman's proposal for national health insurance. Monumental foreign relations developments within the first two years of Truman. Second term would keep Congress and the nation primarily focused on troubling specters of external threat rather than upon dreams of internal reform. The first major geopolitical earthquake of 1949 emerged out of the far East where a long simmering political struggle concluded with an outcome that shocked and demoralized Americans during the 1930s a multifunction struggle for political control. The vast nation of China was complicated when the empire of Japan invaded and conquered much of the region. Two main forces competed to control China while simultaneously resisting the Japanese occupation.

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A nationalist faction led by Chiang Kai Shek and a communist faction led by Mousay dong. According to historian George C. Herring during world war II, the U S provided military and economic aid to Chiang intended to damage our Chinese foes and to quote, solidify nationalists control over a free China. The reasons for U S investment in the region had deep historical roots. America had a unique and in some ways less transactional relationship with China than it had with other distant foreign lands. Many world powers, most infamously the British empire had over the previous two centuries schemed their way into gaining control of economic enclaves in China. Hence one of the planets, great Imperial civilizations became an feeble and divided victim of colonialism. The Americans fancied themselves. Opponents of such colonialism. Despite having picked up the Philippines and a few other colonies. By the mid 20th century, U S elites viewed their intentions in China as more pure than those of the other powers involved in the region.

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Since the 19th century, American Protestants had viewed the nation as the world's last great unchurched. He then civilization, and therefore, as the biggest and most promising mission field on the planet, American missionaries entered China and found some receptive converts, but other Chinese groups were violently hostile to their presence. The most strenuous backlash occurred during the boxer rebellion of 1900 when armed bands tried to expunge foreign influence from China. According to herring, this uprising resulted in the deaths of over 200 missionaries and around 2000 Chinese Christian converts, but the U S and other Western nations sent troops to protect the Christians, repulse the anti foreign forces and demand financial reparations from Chinese officials. After this Protestant missionary work in the far East resumed until it was disrupted by the Japanese invasion and communist uprisings in China. During world war II, the nationalist forces of Chiang Kai Shek learned to play upon Americans attachment to China in order to win American political and financial support for their regime.

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Chiang was a convert to Christianity and his wife had been educated at a prestigious U S university. These facts became important for a China lobby that persuaded prominent Americans to back Chinese nationalism. One of the most important pro China lobbyists was Henry Luce the head of the Time-Life media empire. He was the son of missionaries who had proselytized in China and his publications promoted sympathetic portrayals of the Chinese people and the nationalist cause among the China lobbies. Other enthusiasts was president Franklin D Roosevelt, who intended Chang's China to be one of the four powers alongside the USA U K and D USSR that would cooperate to govern the post world war two world. However, herring notes that chains regime was quote, weak, divided internally riddled with corruption and lacking in popular support. Closed quote, historian James T. Patterson recounts that American military officials sent to assist Chiang during world war II were frustrated because he focused more on squabbling with Chinese rivals then on repelling the Japanese invaders.

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Despite warnings from some state department officials about the unpopularity and incompetence of Chang's faction, few U S officials anticipated that the communists would win complete control of the Chinese mainland. They had hoped that their friend Chang would be running a functioning nationalist government. That would comprise much, if not all of the vastness of China. That abruptly changed in 1949 when news broke that the civil war was over and the communists had one Chiang Kai Shek and his nationalists had fled the Chinese mainland for the Island of Taiwan. This meant that the commies now controlled both the world's largest nation by land area, the Soviet union, and the world's largest nation by population size. China now officially called the people's Republic of China back in Washington, D C now's victory was met with furious congressional denunciations of Truman administration, foreign policy hearing rights for quote right wing Republicans. Chang's most ardent supporters, the fall of China provided a political windfall that was ideal to use against the president.

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These conservative legislators demanded to know who exactly was responsible for losing China. This was the language they used, which displayed how the cold war was already distorting American geopolitical thinking. In the late 1930s the U S Congress under the sway of a powerful isolationists faction had passed neutrality acts that according to herring opposed the quote notion that the United States had the answer to world problems. Close quote, just a decade later, members of the same Congress were acting as though the U S somehow owned or controlled the entire non-communist world and therefore if any nation went red, the U S had somehow lost it even when we never really had it. The growing tensions regarding communists gains around the world. By 1949 led to a new official entrenchment of the political division through the heart of Europe. This divide began when the Anglo American forces and Soviet armies had gobbled up and occupied different portions of the defeated Nazi empire during the second world war.

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West Germany and East Germany now officially became separate countries rather than just different occupations zones and spoiler alert, they would remain divided for 50 years after the Berlin crisis had brought East and West perilously close to war in 1948 the U S and its Western European allies had been working toward a mutual defense pact that would create an official organization uniting the allied anticommunist forces. In 49 these efforts came to fruition and the North Atlantic treaty organization or NATO was born that summer, president Truman signed the treaty making the USA a member of NATO. This meant that if there was an attack against any one of the other NATO member countries, the U S was now obligated by treaty to defend it. The communist block would counter by organizing its countries into the Warsaw pact during the early fifties as a rival Alliance to NATO, the two sides then armed and entrenched against each other, preparing for the distinct possibility of a third world war.

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This arms race kicked off with a bang and September, 1949 as the news broke that the Soviet union had successfully detonated its first atomic bomb in the four years from August, 1945 to August, 1949 it's nuclear monopoly had given the United States a confidence swagger and its conduct of foreign affairs. Now its greatest geopolitical foe had acquired the American's most feared weapon. President Truman approved us scientific research aiming to develop an even more powerful super bomb or hydrogen bomb. As a counter measure, us officials and the public were alarmed to discover that the Soviets had developed nuclear weapons technology so quickly in part because their espionage network had stolen some of America's atomic secrets. Now Americans wondered whether communist spies would continue to be a serious threat to the USA as national security. We will now step a bit outside the confines of the year 1949 in order to tell the story of the so called red scare during the early cold war over the late 1940s and early 1950s revelations about communist espionage within the U S and the UK governments would lead to a public outcry and a hunt for communists or reds within almost every major sector of American life.

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However, we will save the series of baseless allegations made by an opportunistic Midwestern Senator named Joseph McCarthy for a couple of episodes down the road. The panic of 1949 is a great jumping off point for a discussion of this red scare which got its start in 1947 and built momentum in the years that followed. As mentioned in episode two, the federal government started investigating the loyalty of its employees under the Truman administration's policies in 47 with the intention of kicking out communists and other potential subversives. This effort was followed up by a series of hearings held by the GOP led Congress in 1948 investigating allegations of communist subversion by various figures. One key individual accused of Soviet espionage had been on the joint U S UK team of scientists during world war II attempting to perfect the atomic bomb with the New Mexico based Manhattan project. He was a German born scientist named Klaus Fuchs.

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His last name is spelledF , U C H. S. and you might want to be careful how you pronounce that if you see it in print. Fuchs was the son of a socially conscious Lutheran pastor. He studied mathematics and physics at the university of Leipzig. He also became interested in left-wing ideas as a young man and joined socialist organizations amidst the politically chaotic climate of the Weimar Republic. When the Nazis Rose to power, Fukes fled Germany and became a resident of the United Kingdom. He soon found work doing scientific research at a British university and the talented young physicist jumped at the chance to assist in the development of the atomic bomb in partnership with the Americans. But in January, 1950 UK officials arrested him for passing atomic secrets to the Soviets during his time in New Mexico during the forties according to historian James T, Patterson, Fukes was convicted and sentenced to prison, but he was paroled after nine years and quote lived many years thereafter as an honored citizen in East Germany.

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Close quote, how had someone with red sympathies been allowed into a secret us government weapons program? One has to remember that the Soviet union was our ally at the time during world war II. So pro Soviet sentiments weren't as troubling as they would be later. Many talented scientists from this era were immigrants or were educated abroad and many had the left wing political leanings. Had we excluded all the brilliant scientists who had flirted with ideas outside of the U S mainstream, we might have lost the race to develop the atomic bomb before the Nazis did. With hindsight, we know that security measures should have been better, but the main allied priority in the middle of world war II was keeping secrets safe from the access powers, not from a potential communist threat. Julius Rosenberg was distantly tied to Fuchs via the Soviet atomic spy network. He was American born the son of Jewish immigrants from Russia who had settled in New York city's lower East side.

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He married Ethel Greenglass who had a similar background and both of them had pro-communist political views. Ethel's brother David worked as a machinist on the Manhattan project in New Mexico. The Rosenberg's convinced David to send them classified U S nuclear secrets, which they then turned over to the Soviets. Both Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were charged with to commit espionage on behalf of the Soviet union as alleged traders. During the height of the American public outrage over the red scare, the Rosenbergs would face a far harsher fate than Fuchs had received. A U S federal district court convicted them and sentenced them both to death. During 1951 David Greenglass was given 15 years in prison for passing them the secrets, and he may have spared himself a tougher sentence by agreeing to testify against his sister, Ethel Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed via electric chair at sing sing prison in New York during June, 1953 government officials who supported the execution's hope they would deter future subversive and disloyal activities, but the early cold war is most famous.

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Accused spy might be the unfortunately named Alger hiss. It all began in 1948 when the house on American activities committee or [inaudible], which was created to investigate subversive political groups, brought in some admitted former communists for congressional questioning. One of them Whitaker chambers had a disturbing confession. He claimed that he had formerly been a spy for the Soviet union during the 1930s and that some of his fellow members of the communists by ring now held prominent government positions. One of these men he insisted was Alger hiss respectable pillar of the establishment in the state department. Hiss was born into a prominent Baltimore wasp family. He attended prestigious Johns Hopkins university in his hometown and then earned a law degree from Harvard. After graduation, he worked for multiple federal government agencies. During the new deal years, he became a high ranking member of the state department during world war II. Even joining the U S delegation to the Yalta conference where FDR, Churchill and Stallen had met to plan the postwar world pack in 1945 but now chambers was accusing this well-respected public servant of being a trader.

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One of the main congressional prosecutors of the case against Alger hiss was representative Richard Milhous. Nixon, a young and aggressive politician who will become a recurring character in modern us history. And in this podcast, Nixon grew up in a lower middle class. Quaker family in Southern California. He attended local Whittier college and earned a law degree from Duke university. Nixon worked as an attorney before enlisting in the Navy upon the outbreak of world war II, he served in the Pacific theater before returning to Southern California with the intention of carving out a career in politics. He was gifted with political skill, strategic vision, and incredible tenacity. But according to historian James T. Patterson quote, even partisan allies sometimes found him cold and excessively ambitious. Close quote Nixon first one election in 1946 by upsetting a popular incumbent representative Jerry Vorhees, one of Nixon's biographers, Johnny Farrel writes that in polls of congressional staffers and reporters quote the handsome Vorhees one top 10 rankings for diligence and integrity.

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Close quote. However, according to Farrel, Nixon proved a far more energetic and pugnacious campaigner for, he's had the smarts to be a good politician, and he looked the part, but he was a boring public speaker. And in 46 spouts of ill health hampered him on the campaign trail. Nixon publicized for. He's his past support of socialist writer Upton Sinclair's run for governor during the 1930s he also implied that [inaudible] was a communist sympathizer because he had been endorsed by labor political action committee with alleged red ties. These methods succeeded in helping Nixon become part of the Republican wave that crashed upon the long democratic U S political establishment in the 1946 midterm congressional elections. The victorious Nixon later said quote, of course I knew Jerry Vorhees wasn't a communist, but I had to when Nixon went on to target the golden States open Senate seat in 1950 and he used similar smears to defeat liberal Democrat Helen Gahagan Douglas, a former actress and wife of movie star Melvin Douglas.

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According to Patterson, Nixon called her quote pink down to her underwear. This gendered form of red baiting may have been successful in getting Nixon into the Senate, but Kahan Douglas did manage to tag Nixon with an unflattering nickname that would follow him throughout the rest of his political career. Tricky Dick, but we're getting ahead of ourselves. Nixon first made a national splash in the house of representatives as a member of the famed house on American activities committee. When the committee began its investigation of communist espionage chambers wasn't as smooth as hiss and as public testimony. He was disheveled and sometimes emotionally manic. However, his personal narrative was compelling to many Republican members of Congress. Chambers told of being saved from an amoral life span in service to atheistic communism by his conversion to Christianity. Representative Nixon, who always felt disrespected because of his humble background, intensely resented the snobbish Eastern and doggedly sided with chambers and against his.

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During the hearings, his indignantly parried, Nixon's accusatory inquiries, and confidently stated that there was no substance to chambers as allegations according to Patterson hiss, even threatened to Sue chambers claiming that his good name had falsely been slandered. However, chambers then produce secret state department documents from his that had been provided to him when they had both been part of the spiring. This evidence made his denials seem less plausible. Alger hiss was convicted of perjury in early 1950 and sentenced to five years in prison. However, there would remain a politically charged debate among historians for decades over whether he had been guilty of being a spy or whether he was an innocent victim of conservatives. Red baiting witch hunt. After the fall of the Soviet union, further evidence from Soviet archives emerged that points in the direction of hisses guilt. Dean Atchison, the secretary of state by 1949 who had replaced to the esteemed George C. Marshall was an Ivy leaguer like his, and he had been eager to vouch for hiss and defend his reputation.

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Atchison seemed to share biases common to his class who could see lower class people of recent immigrants stock as being vulnerable to radicalism, but who regarded members of high pedigree, old stock families as nothing to worry about. In fairness, Atchison sympathies with his, we're deeper than just class or ethnic prejudice. He knew the his family well. According to authors, Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas Algers brother Donald hiss worked in [inaudible] law firm. His had a very similar background to Atchison, so Ashton saw hiss as almost a younger version of himself. After all, both had been star students at Harvard law school and had clerked for us Supreme court justices both dressed impeccably and were known for their aristocratic self-confidence, eloquence and charm. Atchison thus refused to seriously consider that hiss might actually be guilty. Unfortunately for Atchison, assumptions based upon personal connections or social class about who is susceptible to being a spy could be inaccurate and dangerous as the British government would soon learn. The men who ran am I six the British equivalent of the CIA often assumed that radical agitators would be products of Britain's industrial working class slums. They didn't count on the emergence of the Cambridge five a group of Soviet spies who first met and gain their political convictions while students at the UKs elite Cambridge university, most infamous among them was Kim Philby, who eventually became a high ranking intelligence officer in [inaudible].

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The transformation of hisses public perception from a suave all American diplomat to a shady probable spy was part of a broader pattern that benefited the political right, which now channeled populist impulses to its benefit. Blue blood graduates of Ivy league universities had long been beneficiaries of an old boy network that gave them a better chance of breaking into the key institutions of American society, ranging from wall street to government jobs in Washington DC. For example, a great many top officials in the recently established CIA such as Yale graduate James Angleton had come from upper crust backgrounds, but some conservative Republicans from the Midwest and far West such as Richard Nixon and Joe McCarthy were now portraying silver spoon backgrounds as evidence of pampered softness and even quote unquote feminist C, they characterize such Eastern elites as less trustworthy than hardscrabble, quote unquote real Americans objectively discriminating either for or against someone based upon their educational background.

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Social class or geographic origin seems both morally problematic and strategically misguided. Nevertheless, regional rivalries and class resentments did play a role in the debates of this era. On the one hand, Nixon, McCarthy and others, suspicious of people with fancy educational credentials can be seen as promoters of a foolish anti intellectual wisdom. People with privileged backgrounds may have gained expertise that would make them effective public servants. Why keep talented, well-trained people out of government just because they came from an advantageous background. On the other hand, the bias of some early architects of the cold war such as Atchison and his fellow Wiseman toward those with elite backgrounds caused major blind spots and strategic blenders such as Addison's denial about his as probable guilt and the Anglo American intelligence communities. Betrayal by Kim Philby, the aristocratic Phil B's pro communist, treachery damaged both great Britain and the United States because there was a close relationship and considerable intelligence sharing between the CIA and mic six the CIA's James Angleton became friends with Kim Philby who would take him out for lengthy, boozy lunch conversations when Philby was stationed in Washington D C according to Ben McIntyre's book, a spy among friends Philby would act like Angleton's most charming and Woody Powell, making sure the alcoholic cocktails kept coming.

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All the while subtley probing for bits of confidential information that he would then report back to his Soviet handlers. Phil B used his high government position and methods of false camaraderie to pry secrets out of many prominent contacts around the world, partly due to an unwarranted trust in Philby. Due to his uppercrust pedigree and elite education, the British missed this secret communist in an intelligence agency tasked with stopping communists. Philby was finally brought under suspicion. By the mid 1950s the agency exonerated him of criminal wrongdoing, but maintained enough suspicion to dismiss him from [inaudible]. Phil B then moved to Lebanon after being hired by a prominent British newspaper as a middle East correspondent. New evidence against him came to light in the early sixties but Philby was tipped off and he escaped arrest by defecting to the Soviet union. Like many such defectors, Phil B soon found that he liked the idea of communism better than the experience of actually living under that system.

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Despite his deep disillusionment and decades of heavy drinking, there'll be somehow lived on until 1988 dying in Moscow have a heart attack just in time to miss the fall of the Soviet system that he had betrayed his country for and devoted his professional life. To one more early cold war spy merits our attention. Elizabeth Bentley showed that international espionage wasn't just a man's world. She had a background that in some ways resembled that of Alger hiss. She came from a prosperous Northeastern wasp family and attended a quality private liberal arts college. However, Bentley would have little interest in maintaining the genteel and respectable image that his projected as a graduate student. During the 30s she studied abroad in Italy and joined a student group promoting Italian leader, Benito Mussolini's fascist movement. However, according to biographer, Catherine Olmsted Bentley soon ran into academic difficulties and she was on the verge of being kicked out of her program.

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She broke off the love affair she was having with her professor, abandoned her studies in Italy and returned to the USA. Bentley moved to New York city where she became lonely and depressed until she fell in with another fringe ideology. She joined the communist party and eventually became a trusted party operative. She was enlisted as a paid asset of the communist spy network and also became the girlfriend of a high ranking Soviet spy master named Jacob Golos. However, Golos died in the mid forties and a grieving and anxious Bentley became convinced probably erroneously, that the FBI was on to her and that she was in danger of having her Soviet spy status discovered in a bold move beginning another dramatic shift in her affiliations. Bentley walked right into an FBI office and confessed everything she offered to identify and provide information about her various communist contacts. Bentley testified before he wack and named names of Soviet spies and communist party members.

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This audacious maneuver did save her from serious criminal consequences, although it left her nervously looking over her shoulder, fearing retribution at the hands of the feared Russian KGB. Bentley later made a living on the lecture circuit explaining her latest transfer of allegiances. Bentley converted to Catholicism and rebranded herself as a tragic victim of communist propaganda who had repented like Whitaker chambers. She cooperated with a writer to produce a biography that took advantage of the gender expectations of the era. She was portrayed as a passive, innocent female victim of communism for a time. Bentley taught political science at a Catholic college in Louisiana, but it closed and she eventually drifted from job to job. She struggled with alcoholism and sometimes abusive relationships with men before her death. At age 55 Olmsted writes that Bentley was no passive victim quote. She was a strong woman who defied limits, laws, and traditions.

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She made her own decisions and she paid the price for them. Close quote, the exposure of these spies who had betrayed us. National security based upon their secret allegiance to communism naturally caused widespread alarm among the American public. President Truman responded to the public outcry by prosecuting and convicting the leaders of the American communist party as being part of a conspiracy with the intent to overthrow the U S government. Because some Soviet spies had worked within the U S government. The Truman administration's decision to begin internal loyalty investigations was also understandably necessary to protect national security. However, it's also important to acknowledge that the red scare kicked off by these revelations caught up and kicked out several government employees who weren't guilty of genuine disloyalty. People were fired from their government jobs simply because they once belonged to left wing organizations on a list. According to Patterson, sometimes the accused were not informed by federal investigators who exactly they're anonymous accusers were.

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All of this was uncomfortably reminiscent of common practices in communist countries were informants often denounced people as traders to secret police. Of course, the United States provided far more legal due process to the accused than Eastern block governments did, but the FBI's activities still sometimes trampled on individual rights in the name of national security. Patterson suggests that quote, by mid 1952 Truman administration loyalty boards had investigated many thousands of employees of whom 1200 were dismissed and another 6,000 resigned. Rather than undergo the indignities and potential publicity of the whole process. Close quote, such scrutiny often wasn't limited to government investigators. Labor unions and civil rights organizations purge their ranks of suspected communists, most famously in Hollywood, but also in other industries. Employers blacklisted politically suspicious people making it difficult for them to find work. Public academic institutions in Washington state and California required faculty to take loyalty oaths, disclaiming communism.

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Those who refuse these oaths out of political objections and free speech principles soon found their job's gone and their academic careers over the federal government did not limit itself to outright communists in its attempt to remove employees at deemed to be security risks. The red scare was accompanied by what historian David K. Johnson has called the lavender scare, which sought to identify gays and lesbians and dismiss them from sensitive government positions. The supposed rationale for this was that any individual's homosexuality made them a black male of risk as they supposedly might do anything, even compromise national security to prevent this quote unquote dark secret about them from being revealed to the world. However, if you think that being openly gay would eliminate this blackmail risk and thus protect one from the rationale for being fired, you're clearly not thinking like the people who are pushing this policy.

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Back in the late 1940s generally, a common cultural view of the era was that homosexuality was sinful, shameful, or at least distasteful. Practicing. Gays and lesbians were often perceived as having poor character for acting upon same sex desires. The red scare provided an excuse for the growing national security state to drive them out of the U S government. This occurred against the backdrop of the 1948 publication of a controversial study of human male sexuality by a biologist at Indiana university named Alfred Kinsey. His book became a surprise bestseller Kinsey's book about sex outsold his previous book about entomology who could have yest. Many people were shocked by the wide range of sexual activities that it reported to be relatively common among Americans, many of which occurred outside the bounds of heterosexual marital relationships that were supposed to be the norm in the allegedly clean cut and pious USA.

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Kinsey's findings included survey data indicating that many American men reported having at least one homosexual experience. James T. Patterson documents that quote, many writers disputed Kinsey statistics, contending that they were based on interviews with people, including large numbers of prisoners who may have spun, elaborate tales about non-existent sexual exploits. Close quote, regardless of the accuracy of Kinsey's data, he brought attention to existing behaviors that were rarely discussed at the time. All. Today's socially liberal person is generally tolerant of sexual relations between consenting adults. Many mid 20th century Americans had a very different attitude regarding the Kinsey report. They were often troubled by the alleged prevalence of quote unquote unorthodox sexual acts and orientations. In a sense, there was a parallel between the growing paranoia about communism and the paranoia about homosexuality. In both cases, many Americans found it unnerving that someone who seemed perfectly quote unquote normal could secretly be part of a circle practicing quote unquote abnormal activities, either by violating mainstream Christian morality with their sexual behavior or by betraying the American state with acts designed to further the cause of an allegedly sinister ideology.

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The excesses of the red and lavender scares reflect the growing paranoia in the United States about enemies. Within in 1949 Republicans tried to exploit this national mood by accusing the very democratic administration that launched the cold war crusade against communism of not doing enough to stop it spread. In some ways, the Truman administration was a victim of its own success. In 1947 it had tried to scare the hell out of the American people. Regarding the communist threat, helping to create an anticommunist frenzy, a monster that it was now losing control of secretary of state. Dean Atchison had approved the language of the Truman doctrine. However, according to Isaacson and Thomas, he knew it was unrealistic for the U S government to literally enforce the doctrine that it would support every democratic government in the world threatened by outside pressures or armed minorities. Atchison had thought such over the top language necessary to sway the conscience of the nation and had calculated that spreading the notion that commies halfway around the world were a threat to us.

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National security was necessary to win over formerly isolationist politicians. Now to the indignation of the famously egotistical Atchison, he and original cold warrior was being accused by conservative politicians of being soft on communism or even of being some kind of pinko Soviet sympathizer because he had defended his, which he later admitted had been a mistake and he had failed to prevent us from losing China. For example, herring notes that congressional critics such as Nixon charge that left leaning diplomats and Atchison state department quote had undermined support for Chang. Thus ensuring and eventual enemy triumph. Closed quote, according to Isaacson and Thomas, some in the China lobby wanted the U S military to assist Chang in an invasion of the Chinese mainland. Future engagements in Korea and Vietnam would demonstrate to Americans that will land war in Asia was no picnic yet Atkinson's most zealous to tractors. In light of our total victory in world war II assumed that the U S state department could have easily stopped Mao before and that the U S army could expeditiously saved China from communism.

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In 1949 Isaacson and Thomas recount that a friend told and embattled and exasperated at JSON, the by assuming that basic facts would appease his Inquisitor's on the China matter. He was quote, persisting against overwhelming evidence to the contrary in the belief that the human mind can be moved by facts and reason. Close quote, Atchison offered to resign fearing he'd become a political liability for president Truman. The president insisted that he remained on as secretary of state, noting that only the most right wing faction in Congress took insinuations of Addison's personal disloyalty. Seriously. However, the Truman administration now faced constant suspicion and scrutiny that threatened to push its officials toward hawkish and risky foreign policies in order to protect themselves from domestic political criticism. The cold war and the red scare agitated the American people into a national state of fear and paranoia that was beginning to eclipse the spirit of optimism that had accompanied the prosperous years following the S A's victory in world war II.

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Americans had hoped for a postwar world that lived up to the promises of the four freedoms, championed by FDR, freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, freedom from fear, but now many feared that their freedoms were being threatened in some cases by the machinations of a global communist conspiracy. In other cases, by an increasingly aggressive government and corporate targeting of people based upon political suspicions, some feared that their neighbors might be communists betraying their nation, while others feared that their neighbor might ruin their lives by falsely accusing them of being communists. Some folks were probably worried about both of these things at the same time. To top it all off. The Soviet communists now had the capacity to build atomic bombs raising the prospect of an arms race, nuclear weapons that could, if both sides developed large stockpiles and then use them against each other, bring an end to the civilized world. This pervasive anxiety that was gripping postwar America truly was the curse of the cold war. The one constellation thus far was that the U S government had at least avoided direct military conflict with international communism, but unfortunately this was about to change in the year 1950

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from boomers to millennials is produced by Aaron Rogers logo design by Kamie Schafer and Aaron Rogers, written and narrated by Logan Rogers. Donate to our Patrion at patrion.com/boomer to millennial two L's, two ends in millennial. You can follow us on Instagram at boomers, to millennials and on Twitter at boomer underscore too. If you have comments or suggestions about our podcast, you can email us@boomertomillennialatoutlook.com the audio quality in episode three about 1948 was not up to our usual standard. We apologize, but thanks to support, we have been able to improve our microphone and it should not happen again. Esteemed listeners. Yes, that means you. Please do us a favor and tell a friend or family member about this podcast if you enjoy our historical storytelling, please join us next time as we begin to describe why the 1950s were a far more turbulent decade than most people realize, and as always, thank you for listening.