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Communism In America

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Joseph Raymond McCarthy was a Republican Senator from the state of Wisconsin between 1947 and 1957. Between 1950 and 1954, McCarthy became noted for unsubstantiated claims that there were Communist and Soviet spies and sympathizers inside the federal government.

Beginning in the late 1940s, as the Cold War escalated between the United States, the Soviet Union and the Peoples Republic of China, the United States went through a period of intense anti-communist tensions and suspicion. Many thousands of individuals were suspected of being Soviet spies, Communists, or communist sympathizers. Although the American Communist Party was never illegal under Federal law, membership in the party or support of its goals were regarded by many as tantamount to treason. Beginning in 1950, McCarthy became the most visible public face of this era of anti-communism. The term McCarthyism was coined that same year to describe and condemn the senator's methods, which were widely seen as demagogic and based on reckless, unsubstantiated accusations. Later the term was applied more generally to the anti-communism of the late 1940s through the late 1950s; today, it is often used even more broadly, to describe public attacks made on persons' character and/or patriotism that involve the sort of tactics associated with McCarthy.

In 1948, Time magazine's managing editor Whittaker Chambers , a former Communist spy turned government informer, accused Alger Hiss of being a member of the Communist party and a spy. According to Chambers, Hiss was a member of the Ware group, an underground cell of Communists that Chambers said had engaged in espionage for the Soviet Union. In August or September of 1934, Hiss met Chambers and allegedly started paying Communist Party dues. He allegedly began working with the GRU in 1935 with Chambers acting as courier. GRU Illegal Rezident (a Soviet spymaster who resides in the U.S. undercover, rather than as an embassy employee) Boris Bykov instructed Hiss in espionage procedures. These included bringing files home nightly and retyping them for later transfer to Chambers.

Hiss and his supporters pointed out that Chambers had asserted to government officials for ten years preceding 1948 that Hiss was neither a Communist nor a spy. Chambers admitted at the Hiss trials that he had previously committed perjury several times.

Alger Hiss voluntarily appeared before House Comities on un-American activities

to deny Chambers's accusations. Some Committee members had misgivings at first about attacking Hiss, but Congressman Richard Nixon , acting on information he had been secretly receiving from the FBI and Roman Catholic priest John Francis Cronin pressed the Committee to continue the investigation. After being asked to identify Chambers from a photograph, Hiss indicated that his face might look familiar and requested to see him in person. When he later confronted Chambers in a hotel room, with HUAC representatives present, Hiss claimed that he had known Chambers as George Crosley, and had allowed him to live in his home when Crosley was destitute in the mid-1930s. Later, Hiss claimed that he had given Crosley an old car, which allegedly ended up in the hands of the American Communist party.

Because Chamber's testimony was given in a congressional hearing, his statements were privileged against defamation suits. Hiss challenged him to repeat his charges in public without the benefit of such protection. After Chambers publicly reiterated his charge that Hiss was working for the Soviets on the radio program Meet the Press , Hiss instituted an eventually unsuccessful libel lawsuit against Chambers. Chambers, in his defense, presented the Baltimore Documents, which were copies of a series of government documents that he had allegedly obtained from Hiss in the 1930s. Some of these were indeed classified (though of trivial trade regulations rather than military affairs). Both Chambers and Hiss had denied any act of espionage in their testimony to Congress. By introducing the Baltimore Documents, Chambers opened both Hiss and himself to perjury charges. Chambers claimed that the government documents had first been re-typed by Hiss's wife, Priscilla, and that these copies were then photographed and passed on to the spy network. This was seen as one of the weakest parts of the Chambers's story since the original documents could have been directly photographed, and retyping them could have generated errors. Hiss was linked to the Baltimore Documents by the matching of the type to the Hiss family's old typewriter. There has been much subsequent controversy about the correctness of this typewriter identification and the date of the typewriter's manufacture. Hiss supporters contend that the typewriter introduced as evidence could not have been the Hiss family typewriter because its serial number indicated it was manufactured after the date that Priscilla's father originally purchased it.

Later, Chambers produced the so-called Pumpkin Papers: four rolls of microfilm of State Department documents, which Chambers had hidden in a hollowed-out pumpkin on his Maryland farm and gave to Richard Nixon on December 2

The case against the Rosenbergs

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