The Hearings of 1947

Reynold Humphries

in Hollywood's Blacklists

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780748624553
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651153 | DOI:
The Hearings of 1947

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The implications of the congressional hearings that took place in Washington in October 1947 and which were to usher in a period of fear, betrayal and a concerted attack on civil liberties cannot be fully grasped without a brief discussion of the activities of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) during the period 1938–1944, when presided over by Martin Dies, a conservative Democrat from Texas. Dies is notorious for his denunciation of Hollywood in 1938 as a den of ‘premature anti-fascists’, meaning that he was not opposed to fascist regimes until they waged war on the United States. Research has shown that he maintained close relations with various organisations which supported fascism and anti-Semitism, and which were in favour of his singleminded attacks on subversives (read: Communists). The Ku Klux Klan, the pro-Nazi American Bund, a convicted Nazi agent and William Dudley Pelley, founder of the fascist Silvershirts, all expressed their agreement with Dies' anti-Communist agenda.

Keywords: HUAC; Hollywood; Martin Dies; congressional hearings; fascism; anti-Semitism; Communists; civil liberties

Chapter.  13023 words. 

Subjects: Film

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