Loyalty and Liberty
American Countersubversion from World War I to the McCarthy Era
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Illinois Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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This book would never have been completed without the support, encouragement, and advice of many people over several years.
I am particularly indebted to those who have read sections of this work or work on which this was based and provided invaluable comments and suggestions, particularly Tony Badger, Jonathan Bell, Owen Dudley-Edwards, Patrick ...
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The fear of subversion has been a persistent theme in the history of the United States of America. We most commonly associate it with the divisions, investigations, and accusations of the McCarthy era, but in the first half of the twentieth century warnings about the dangers of conspiracy were already being expressed with volume.1 In response, the state and various private-sector ...
PART I: The Revolutionary Challenge
1. Policing Politics
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President Woodrow Wilson and his supporters presented the decision to join the war in Europe as the beginning of a great coming together—a moment when, faced with existential threats, the inhabitants of the towns, cities, and countryside would bind themselves as one in a shared commitment to liberty and independence. “As a nation we are united in spirit and intention,” Wilson ...
2. War and Peace
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Six months after the Armistice, around midafternoon on the second Thursday in June 1919, New York state troopers and private detectives from the Adams-Grunewald detective agency, maybe twenty in all, swept through Ludwig Martens’s office door. Martens was a mechanical engineer by trade, but since January he had been head of the Bolshevik government’s new and rather ...
3. Red Scare
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Hindsight encourages us to see 1919 as an auspicious moment for countersubversive politics, with the war’s legacy of intolerance and the global climate of insecurity leading to a yearlong campaign of domestic repression. But despite the disorder emanating from Europe and the controversy over the presence ...
PART II: Professional Patriots
4. Divided Loyalties
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“Like a prairie-fire,” attorney general A. Mitchell Palmer wrote in 1920, “the blaze of revolution” had swept across America. It had eaten “its way into the homes of the American workman, its sharp tongues of revolutionary heat were licking the alters of the churches, leaping into the belfry of the school bell, crawling into the sacred corners of American homes, seeking to replace...
5. Red Herrings
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In the immediate aftermath of the October Revolution, expansion abroad had seemed to be both a rhetorical commitment and a strategic priority for the Bolshevik movement. The seizure of power in Russia was the first stage in a global revolution that would witness the end of warring nationalities...
6. Subversive Capitalism
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Detroit had become a center of American manufacturing in the early twentieth century in large part because of its reputation for amenable, docile, mostly immigrant labor. It was known as the open shop capital of the country, brought about through the assiduous efforts of the local Employers Association, city police, and government in breaking strikes and undermining union ...
7. Troubled Spirits
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Somewhat improbably, German American writer and propagandist George Sylvester Viereck found himself interviewing Henry Ford in 1928 for an article in the Rosicrucian journal, the Mystic Triangle. After being shown in to the industrialist’s office and exchanging the usual pleasantries, Viereck began quizzing Ford on his religious beliefs, which Ford expounded upon with ...
PART III: The New Anticommunism
8. American Fascism
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In 1932 Franklin Delano Roosevelt won New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts—and every state south or west of Pennsylvania. The new president received seven million more votes than the incumbent, Herbert Hoover. Not even Al Smith’s home state of New York had voted Democrat in 1928, yet in 1932 Democrats swept to victory from the Hudson to the San...
9. A Mirror Image
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By 1937 Henry Ford was the only major automobile manufacturer still refusing to negotiate with the United Auto Workers. Ford was at the forefront of resistance to the New Deal, not only on the union issue but also attacking plans to regulate the economy, increase taxes on the rich, and introduce other reforms that he saw as monopolistic or hostile to business. His example set the ...
10. The Big Truth
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As the scandal over Communism in Germany unfolded, Ralph Montgomery Easley had remained blithely convinced of his innocence. Despite repeatedly making anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi comments, he did not believe himself to be an anti-Semite, on the grounds he was willing to associate with...
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As the Second World War drew to an end, the U.S. economy was booming and the memories of the longest depression in the nation’s history had begun to fade. The war drew a line between a new America built in the forge of conflict and the struggling and self-critical nation that had preceded it, home to tens of millions of unemployed and tens of thousands of revolutionaries. Doubts about...
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Page Count: 344
Publication Year: 2013