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What we underestimated was the direct connection between the Cold War abroad and repression at home. . . . There was a logic to the reactionary position that we underestimated. —Paul Jarrico, 1987 As the Hollywood Ten began their three-year effort to stay out of prison, the nation descended further into the polar regions of the cold war. Relations between the Soviet Union and the United States steadily worsened, a nuclear arms race began, and, in two instances (the Berlin blockade of 1948 and the Korean War), the war turned hot. At home, the domestic version of the cold war also increased in intensity. The major event was the presidential campaign of Henry Wallace, who had been fired as secretary of commerce because of his public opposition to Truman’s increasingly hard-line foreign policy. Some of those who opposed Truman’s foreign policy wanted Wallace to challenge Truman for the Democratic nomination for president, while others pushed him to establish a third party. In California, for example, Robert Kenny established a Democrats for Wallace organization, while Hugh Bryson, president of Marine Cooks and Stewards, formed the Independent Progressive Party. When, in December 1947, the PCA endorsed the Independent Progressive Party, the CPUSA accepted it. Many rank-and-file party members, like Jarrico, devoted a great deal of time and energy to the Wallace campaign. They did not consider it a quixotic cause but rather a potent means of protest5 The Interregnum, 1948–50 ing against the international and domestic cold war. Jarrico wrote two pamphlets and arranged the program for a Wallace speech at Gilmore Stadium. The first pamphlet, Are You Intimidated? stated, “The barrage of propaganda accusing Wallace of being a ‘tool of the Communists,’ a ‘Soviet foreign agent,’ etc. has been so tremendous that even a great many people who know it isn’t true are afraid to speak out, for fear of being red-baited themselves.” The second pamphlet, Can Wallace Win? argued that the more votes Wallace received, the better chance the country had of preserving peace. For the Gilmore event, Jarrico recruited Howard Da Silva, Dalton Trumbo, Charlotta Bass (publisher of the black newspaper California Eagle), and several labor and religious spokespeople.1 As Communists became more involved in the Wallace campaign, liberals began to leave the Independent Progressive Party, and Wallace, who had not sought Communist support, became increasingly antagonistic toward them.2 But this disarray within was nothing compared to the red-baiting from without: from the Truman campaign, liberal organizations, and the CIO. In November 1947, Clark Clifford, one of Truman’s advisors, counseled the president to make every effort “to identify him [Wallace] in the public mind with Communists” and to point out that the core of Wallace’s supporters were “Communists and fellow-travelers.” The liberal Americans for Democratic Action unreservedly condemned the Wallace campaign, and Philip Murray formally associated the CIO with that group.3 During the campaign, the Truman administration and Congress playedpoliticswithinformers’testimonies.InJune,formerCommunist Elizabeth Bentley revealed to a federal grand jury her participation in a Soviet spy ring and named its members. When she failed to produce any evidence to support her charges, the Department of Justice, to cover its embarrassment (and to avoid weakening Truman’s reelection chances), decided to seek indictments of the top leadership of the CPUSA. On July 20, twelve CPUSA leaders were charged with violating the Alien Registration Act.4 In the election, Wallace garnered just over one million votes (2.4 percent), and Truman was narrowly reelected (with the full support of the AFL and the CIO). Although the Democrats regained numerical control of Congress, both houses were effectively controlled by a 102 BLACKLIST conservative, anti-Communist majority in the form of a Republican– southern Democratic bloc. The president was now even more firmly committed to prosecution of the cold war at home and abroad, the AFL and CIO had formally enlisted in the cold war, and the Communist Party had been severely damaged.5 Jarrico remained optimistic despite Wallace’s poor showing at the polls, the pending defeat of the third CSU strike (which further weakened the progressive labor movement in Hollywood), and the incessant red baiting by the MPA, Roy Brewer, and Billy Wilkerson.6 Though he acknowledged that “the forces of reaction” were attempting to remove “progressive content” from movies and make them “more and more openly a weapon of fascist propaganda,” Jarrico was certain that Hollywood remained a progressive community and that “no Thomas Committee witchhunt...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780813173009
Related ISBN
9780813124537
MARC Record
OCLC
182624495
Pages
352
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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