House Un-American Activities Committee

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Chairman Dies of HUAC proofs his letter replying to President Roosevelt's attack on the committee, October 26, 1938. Chairman Dies of House Committee investigating Un-American activities.jpg
Chairman Dies of HUAC proofs his letter replying to President Roosevelt's attack on the committee, October 26, 1938.

The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC, or House Committee on Un-American Activities, or HCUA; from 1969 House Committee on Internal Security) was an investigative committee of the United States House of Representatives. The HUAC was created in 1938 to investigate alleged disloyalty and subversive activities on the part of private citizens, public employees, and those organizations suspected of having Communist ties. When the House abolished the committee in 1975, [1] its functions were transferred to the House Judiciary Committee.

United States House of Representatives lower house of the United States Congress

The United States House of Representatives is the Lower House of the United States Congress, the Senate being the Upper House. Together they compose the national legislature of the United States.

Communism socialist political movement and ideology

In political and social sciences, communism is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.

United States House Committee on the Judiciary Standing committee of the United States House of Representatives

The U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, also called the House Judiciary Committee, is a standing committee of the United States House of Representatives. It is charged with overseeing the administration of justice within the federal courts, administrative agencies and Federal law enforcement entities. The Judiciary Committee is also the committee responsible for impeachments of federal officials. Because of the legal nature of its oversight, committee members usually have a legal background, but this is not required.


The committee's anti-communist investigations are often compared with those of Joseph McCarthy [2] who, as a U.S. Senator, had no direct involvement with this House committee. [3] McCarthy was the chairman of the Government Operations Committee and its Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the U.S. Senate, not the House.

Joseph McCarthy 20th-century American politician

Joseph Raymond McCarthy was an American politician who served as a Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957. Beginning in 1950, McCarthy became the most visible public face of a period in the United States in which Cold War tensions fueled fears of widespread Communist subversion. He is known for alleging that numerous Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers had infiltrated the United States federal government, universities, film industry, and elsewhere. Ultimately, the smear tactics that he used led him to be censured by the U.S. Senate. The term "McCarthyism", coined in 1950 in reference to McCarthy's practices, was soon applied to similar anti-communist activities. Today, the term is used more broadly to mean demagogic, reckless, and unsubstantiated accusations, as well as public attacks on the character or patriotism of political opponents.

United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Standing committee of the United States Senate

The United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is the chief oversight committee of the United States Senate. It has jurisdiction over matters related to the Department of Homeland Security and other homeland security concerns, as well as the functioning of the government itself, including the National Archives, budget and accounting measures other than appropriations, the Census, the federal civil service, the affairs of the District of Columbia and the United States Postal Service. It was called the United States Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs before homeland security was added to its responsibilities in 2004. It serves as the Senate's chief investigative and oversight committee. Its chair is the only Senate committee chair who can issue subpoenas without a committee vote.

The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), stood up in March 1941 as the "Truman Committee," is the oldest subcommittee of the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.


Precursors to the committee

Overman Committee (1918)

Lee Slater Overman headed the first congressional investigation of American communism in 1919. Lee salter overman.jpg
Lee Slater Overman headed the first congressional investigation of American communism in 1919.

The Overman Committee was a subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary chaired by North Carolina Democratic Senator Lee Slater Overman that operated from September 1918 to June 1919. The subcommittee investigated German as well as Bolshevik elements in the United States. [4]

Overman Committee

The Overman Committee was a special subcommittee of the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary chaired by North Carolina Democrat Lee Slater Overman. Between September 1918 and June 1919, it investigated German and Bolshevik elements in the United States. It was an early forerunner of the better known House Un-American Activities Committee, and represented the first congressional committee investigation of communism.

North Carolina State of the United States of America

North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. North Carolina is the 28th largest and 9th-most populous of the 50 United States. North Carolina is bordered by Virginia to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Georgia and South Carolina to the south, and Tennessee to the west. Raleigh is the state's capital and Charlotte is its largest city. The Charlotte metropolitan area, with an estimated population of 2,569,213 in 2018, is the most populous metropolitan area in North Carolina and the 23rd-most populous in the United States and the largest banking center in the nation after New York City. North Carolina's second largest metropolitan area is the Research Triangle, which is home to the largest research park in the United States.

Democratic Party (United States) Major political party in the United States

The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with its rival, the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.

This committee was originally concerned with investigating pro-German sentiments in the American liquor industry. After World War I ended in November 1918, and the German threat lessened, the committee began investigating Bolshevism, which had appeared as a threat during the First Red Scare after the Russian Revolution in 1917. The committee's hearing into Bolshevik propaganda, conducted February 11 to March 10, 1919, had a decisive role in constructing an image of a radical threat to the United States during the first Red Scare. [5]

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

First Red Scare Early 20th-century American historical event

The First Red Scare was a period during the early 20th-century history of the United States marked by a widespread fear of Bolshevism and anarchism, due to real and imagined events; real events included the Russian Revolution and anarchist bombings. At its height in 1919–1920, concerns over the effects of radical political agitation in American society and the alleged spread of communism and anarchism in the American labor movement fueled a general sense of concern.

Russian Revolution 20th-century revolution leading to the downfall of the Russian monarchy

The Russian Revolution was a pair of revolutions in Russia in 1917 which dismantled the Tsarist autocracy and led to the rise of the Soviet Union. The Russian Empire collapsed with the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II and the old regime was replaced by a provisional government during the first revolution of February 1917. Alongside it arose grassroots community assemblies which contended for authority. In the second revolution that October, the Provisional Government was toppled and all power was given to the Soviets.

Fish Committee (1930)

Congressman Hamilton Fish III (R-NY), who was a fervent anti-communist, introduced, on May 5, 1930, House Resolution 180, which proposed to establish a committee to investigate communist activities in the United States. The resulting committee, commonly known as the Fish Committee, undertook extensive investigations of people and organizations suspected of being involved with or supporting communist activities in the United States. [6] Among the committee's targets were the American Civil Liberties Union and communist presidential candidate William Z. Foster. [7] The committee recommended granting the United States Department of Justice more authority to investigate communists, and strengthening of immigration and deportation laws to keep communists out of the United States. [8]

Hamilton Fish III American politician, player of American football

Hamilton Fish III was a soldier and Republican politician from New York State. Born into a family long active in the state, he served in the United States House of Representatives from 1920 to 1945 and during that time was a prominent opponent of United States intervention in foreign affairs and was a critic of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. When Fish celebrated his 102nd birthday in 1990, he was the oldest living American who had served in Congress.

American Civil Liberties Union Legal advocacy organization

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nonprofit organization whose stated mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States." Officially nonpartisan, the organization has been supported and criticized by liberal and conservative organizations alike. The ACLU works through litigation and lobbying and it has over 1,200,000 members and an annual budget of over $100 million. Local affiliates of the ACLU are active in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The ACLU provides legal assistance in cases when it considers civil liberties to be at risk. Legal support from the ACLU can take the form of direct legal representation or preparation of amicus curiae briefs expressing legal arguments when another law firm is already providing representation.

William Z. Foster American politician

William Z. Foster was a radical American labor organizer and Marxist politician, whose career included serving as General Secretary of the Communist Party USA from 1945 to 1957. He was previously a member of the Socialist Party of America and the Industrial Workers of the World, leading the drive to organize the packinghouse industry during World War I and the steel strike of 1919.

McCormack–Dickstein Committee (19341937)

From 1934 to 1937, the Special Committee on Un-American Activities Authorized to Investigate Nazi Propaganda and Certain Other Propaganda Activities, chaired by John William McCormack (D-MA) and Samuel Dickstein (D-NY), held public and private hearings and collected testimony filling 4,300 pages. The committee was widely known as the McCormack–Dickstein committee. Its mandate was to get "information on how foreign subversive propaganda entered the U.S. and the organizations that were spreading it", and it was replaced with a similar committee that focused on pursuing communists. Its records are held by the National Archives and Records Administration as records related to HUAC.

Samuel Dickstein (congressman) American politician

Samuel Dickstein was a Democratic Congressional Representative from New York and a New York State Supreme Court Justice. He played a key role in establishing the committee that would become the House Committee on Un-American Activities, which he used to attack fascists, including Nazi sympathizers, and suspected communists. In 1999, authors Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassiliev learned that Soviet files indicate that Dickstein was a paid agent of the NKVD.

National Archives and Records Administration independent agency of the United States government which preserves and provides access to federal records

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is an independent agency of the United States government charged with the preservation and documentation of government and historical records. It is also tasked with increasing public access to those documents which make up the National Archive. NARA is officially responsible for maintaining and publishing the legally authentic and authoritative copies of acts of Congress, presidential directives, and federal regulations. NARA also transmits votes of the Electoral College to Congress.

The committee investigated allegations of a fascist plot to seize the White House, known as the "business plot". Although the plot was widely reported as a hoax, the committee confirmed some details of the accusations.[ citation needed ]

It has been reported that while Dickstein served on this committee and the subsequent Special investigation Committee, he was paid $1,250 a month by the Soviet NKVD, which hoped to get secret congressional information on anti-communists and pro-fascists. It is unclear whether he actually passed on any information. [9]

Dies Committee (19381944)

Conservative Texas Democrat Martin Dies served as chair of the Special Committee on Un-American Activities, predecessor to the permanent committee, for its entire seven-year duration. 370403-Dies-Martin.jpg
Conservative Texas Democrat Martin Dies served as chair of the Special Committee on Un-American Activities, predecessor to the permanent committee, for its entire seven-year duration.

On May 26, 1938, the House Committee on Un-American Activities was established as a special investigating committee, reorganized from its previous incarnations as the Fish Committee and the McCormack-Dickstein Committee, to investigate alleged disloyalty and subversive activities on the part of private citizens, public employees, and those organizations suspected of having communist or fascist ties; however, it concentrated its efforts on communists. [10] [11] It was chaired by Martin Dies Jr. (D-Tex.), and therefore known as the Dies Committee. Its records are held by the National Archives and Records Administration as records related to HUAC.

In 1938, Hallie Flanagan, the head of the Federal Theatre Project, was subpoenaed to appear before the committee to answer the charge the project was overrun with communists. Flanagan was called to testify for only a part of one day, while a clerk from the project was called in for two entire days. It was during this investigation that one of the committee members, Joe Starnes (D-Ala.), famously asked Flanagan whether the Elizabethan era playwright Christopher Marlowe was a member of the Communist Party, and mused "Mr. Euripides" preached class warfare. [12]

In 1939, the committee investigated leaders of the American Youth Congress, a Communist International affiliate organization.[ citation needed ]

The committee also put together an argument for the internment of Japanese Americans known as the "Yellow Report". [13] Organized in response to rumors of Japanese Americans being coddled by the War Relocation Authority (WRA) and news that some former inmates would be allowed to leave camp and Nisei soldiers to return to the West Coast, the committee investigated charges of fifth column activity in the camps. A number of anti-WRA arguments were presented in subsequent hearings, but Director Dillon Myer debunked the more inflammatory claims. [14] The investigation was presented to the 77th Congress, and alleged that certain cultural traits – Japanese loyalty to the Emperor, the number of Japanese fishermen in the US, and the Buddhist faith – were evidence for Japanese espionage. With the exception of Rep. Herman Eberharter (D-Pa.), the members of the committee seemed to support internment, and its recommendations to expedite the impending segregation of "troublemakers", establish a system to investigate applicants for leave clearance, and step up Americanization and assimilation efforts largely coincided with WRA goals. [13] [14]

In 1946, the committee considered opening investigations into the Ku Klux Klan, but decided against doing so, prompting white supremacist committee member John E. Rankin (D-Miss.) to remark, "After all, the KKK is an old American institution." [15] Instead of the Klan, HUAC concentrated on investigating the possibility that the American Communist Party had infiltrated the Works Progress Administration, including the Federal Theatre Project and the Federal Writers' Project. Twenty years later, in 1965–1966, however, the committee did conduct an investigation into Klan activities under chairman Edwin Willis (D-La.). [16]

Standing Committee (19451975)

Democrat Francis E. Walter of Pennsylvania was chair of HUAC from 1955 until his death in 1963. 3909-walter-francis-e.jpg
Democrat Francis E. Walter of Pennsylvania was chair of HUAC from 1955 until his death in 1963.

The House Committee on Un-American Activities became a standing (permanent) committee in 1945. Democratic Representative Edward J. Hart of New Jersey became the committee's first chairman. [17] Under the mandate of Public Law 601, passed by the 79th Congress, the committee of nine representatives investigated suspected threats of subversion or propaganda that attacked "the form of government as guaranteed by our Constitution". [18]

Under this mandate, the committee focused its investigations on real and suspected communists in positions of actual or supposed influence in the United States society. A significant step for HUAC was its investigation of the charges of espionage brought against Alger Hiss in 1948. This investigation ultimately resulted in Hiss's trial and conviction for perjury, and convinced many of the usefulness of congressional committees for uncovering communist subversion. [19]

Hollywood blacklist

In 1947, the committee held nine days of hearings into alleged communist propaganda and influence in the Hollywood motion picture industry. After conviction on contempt of Congress charges for refusal to answer some questions posed by committee members, "The Hollywood Ten" were blacklisted by the industry. Eventually, more than 300 artists – including directors, radio commentators, actors, and particularly screenwriters – were boycotted by the studios. Some, like Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, Alan Lomax, Paul Robeson, and Yip Harburg, left the U.S or went underground to find work. Others like Dalton Trumbo wrote under pseudonyms or the names of colleagues. Only about ten percent succeeded in rebuilding careers within the entertainment industry.[ citation needed ]

In 1947, studio executives told the committee that wartime films such as Mission to Moscow , The North Star , and Song of Russia could be considered pro-Soviet propaganda, but claimed that the films were valuable in the context of the Allied war effort, and that they were made (in the case of Mission to Moscow) at the request of White House officials. In response to the House investigations, most studios produced a number of anti-communist and anti-Soviet propaganda films such as The Red Menace (August 1949), The Red Danube (October 1949), The Woman on Pier 13 (October 1949), Guilty of Treason (May 1950, about the ordeal and trial of Cardinal József Mindszenty), I Was a Communist for the FBI (May 1951, Academy Award nominated for best documentary 1951, also serialized for radio), Red Planet Mars (May 1952), and John Wayne's Big Jim McLain (August 1952). [20] Universal-International Pictures was the only major studio that did not produce such a film.

Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss

Whittaker Chambers (1948) Whittaker Chambers.jpg
Whittaker Chambers (1948)

On July 31, 1948, the committee heard testimony from Elizabeth Bentley, an American who had been working as a Soviet agent in New York. Among those whom she named as communists was Harry Dexter White. The committee subpoenaed Whittaker Chambers for August 3, 1948. Chambers, too, was a former Soviet spy, by then a senior editor of Time magazine.[ citation needed ]

Alger Hiss (1950) Alger Hiss (1950).jpg
Alger Hiss (1950)

Chambers named more than a half dozen government officials including White as well as Alger Hiss (and Hiss' brother Donald). Most of these former officials refused to answer committee questions, citing the Fifth Amendment. White denied the allegations, and died of a heart attack a few days later. Hiss also denied all charges; however, doubts about his testimony, especially those expressed by freshman Congressman Richard Nixon, led to further investigation that strongly suggested Hiss had made a number of false statements. Hiss challenged Chambers to repeat his charges outside of a Congressional committee, which Chambers did. Hiss sued for libel, leading Chambers to produce copies of State Department documents which he claimed Hiss had given him in 1938. Hiss denied this before a grand jury, was indicted for perjury, and was convicted and imprisoned. [21] [22] The present-day House of Representatives website on HUAC states that, "In the 1990s, relying on Soviet archives and records from the Venona project – a secret U.S. program that decrypted Soviet intelligence messages – some scholars argued that Hiss had indeed been a spy on the Kremlin's payroll." [23]


Democrat Richard Howard Ichord Jr. of Missouri was chair of the renamed House Internal Security Committee from 1969 until its termination in January 1975. Ichord-Richard-1969.jpg
Democrat Richard Howard Ichord Jr. of Missouri was chair of the renamed House Internal Security Committee from 1969 until its termination in January 1975.

In the wake of the downfall of McCarthy (who never served in the House, nor HUAC), the prestige of HUAC began a gradual decline beginning in the late 1950s. By 1959, the committee was being denounced by former President Harry S. Truman as the "most un-American thing in the country today". [24]

In May 1960, the committee held hearings in the San Francisco City Hall that led to the infamous riot on May 13, when city police officers fire-hosed protesting students from UC Berkeley, Stanford, and other local colleges and dragged them down the marble steps beneath the rotunda, leaving some seriously injured. [25] [26] Soviet affairs expert William Mandel, who had been subpoenaed to testify, angrily denounced the committee and the police in a blistering statement which was aired repeatedly for years thereafter on Pacifica Radio station KPFA in Berkeley. An anti-communist propaganda film, Operation Abolition, [27] [28] [29] [30] was produced by the committee from subpoenaed local news reports, and shown around the country during 1960 and 1961. In response, the Northern California ACLU produced a film called Operation Correction, which discussed falsehoods in the first film. Scenes from the hearings and protest were later featured in the Academy Award-nominated 1990 documentary Berkeley in the Sixties .

The committee lost considerable prestige as the 1960s progressed, increasingly becoming the target of political satirists and the defiance of a new generation of political activists. HUAC subpoenaed Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman of the Yippies in 1967, and again in the aftermath of the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The Yippies used the media attention to make a mockery of the proceedings. Rubin came to one session dressed as a Revolutionary War soldier and passed out copies of the United States Declaration of Independence to those in attendance. Rubin then "blew giant gum bubbles, while his co-witnesses taunted the committee with Nazi salutes". [31] Rubin attended another session dressed as Santa Claus. On another occasion, police stopped Hoffman at the building entrance and arrested him for wearing the United States flag. Hoffman quipped to the press, "I regret that I have but one shirt to give for my country", paraphrasing the last words of revolutionary patriot Nathan Hale; Rubin, who was wearing a matching Viet Cong flag, shouted that the police were communists for not arresting him as well. [32]

Hearings in August 1966 called to investigate anti-Vietnam War activities were disrupted by hundreds of protesters, many from the Progressive Labor Party. The committee faced witnesses who were openly defiant. [33] [34]

According to The Harvard Crimson :

In the fifties, the most effective sanction was terror. Almost any publicity from HUAC meant the 'blacklist'. Without a chance to clear his name, a witness would suddenly find himself without friends and without a job. But it is not easy to see how in 1969, a HUAC blacklist could terrorize an SDS activist. Witnesses like Jerry Rubin have openly boasted of their contempt for American institutions. A subpoena from HUAC would be unlikely to scandalize Abbie Hoffman or his friends. [35]

In an attempt to reinvent itself, the committee was renamed as the Internal Security Committee in 1969. [36]


The House Committee on Internal Security was formally terminated on January 14, 1975, the day of the opening of the 94th Congress. [37] The Committee's files and staff were transferred on that day to the House Judiciary Committee. [37]


Source: [38]

Notable members

See also

Related Research Articles

The Special Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws, 1951–77, more commonly known as the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee (SISS) and sometimes the McCarran Committee, was authorized under S. 366, approved December 21, 1950, to study and investigate (1) the administration, operation, and enforcement of the Internal Security Act of 1950 and other laws relating to espionage, sabotage, and the protection of the internal security of the United States and (2) the extent, nature, and effects of subversive activities in the United States "including, but not limited to, espionage, sabotage, and infiltration of persons who are or may be under the domination of the foreign government or organization controlling the world Communist movement or any movement seeking to overthrow the Government of the United States by force and violence". The resolution also authorized the subcommittee to subpoena witnesses and require the production of documents. Because of the nature of its investigations, the subcommittee is considered by some to be the Senate equivalent to the older House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).

Martin Dies Jr. American politician

Martin Dies Jr. was a Texas politician and a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives. He was elected as a Democrat to the Seventy-second and after that to the six succeeding Congresses. In 1944, Dies did not seek renomination to the Seventy-ninth Congress, but was elected to the Eighty-third and to the two succeeding Congresses. Again, he did not seek renomination in 1958 to the Eighty-sixth Congress. In 1941 and 1957, he was twice defeated for the nomination to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate. Dies served as the first chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Un-American Activities from 1937 through 1944.

Elizabeth Bentley spy

Elizabeth Terrill Bentley was an American spy and member of the Communist Party USA who served the Soviet Union from 1938 until 1945. In 1945, she defected from the Communist Party and Soviet intelligence by contacting the FBI and reporting on her activities.

Donald Hiss, AKA "Donie" and "Donnie", was the younger brother of Alger Hiss, who in 1948 was accused of spying for the Soviet Union, and who, in 1950, was convicted of perjury before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).

J. Peters American spymaster

J. Peters was the most commonly known pseudonym of a man who last went by the name "Alexander Stevens" in 1949. Peters was an ethnic Jewish journalist and political activist who was a leading figure of the Hungarian language section of the Communist Party USA in the 1920s and 1930s. From the early 1930s, Peters was actively involved in the espionage activities of the Soviet Union in the United States, fabricating passports, recruiting agents, and accumulating and passing along confidential and secret information.

Marion Bachrach (1898–1957) was the sister of John Abt and also a member of the Ware group, a group of government employees in the New Deal administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt who were also members of the secret apparatus of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) in the 1930s.

The Business Plot was an alleged political conspiracy in 1933 in the United States. Retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler claimed that wealthy businessmen were plotting to create a fascist veterans' organization with Butler as its leader and use it in a coup d'état to overthrow President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1934, Butler testified before the United States House of Representatives Special Committee on Un-American Activities on these claims. No one was prosecuted.

Louis F. Budenz American politician

Louis Francis Budenz was an American activist and writer, as well as a Soviet espionage agent and head of the Buben group of spies. He began as a labor activist and became a member of the Communist Party USA. In 1945 Budenz renounced Communism and became a vocal anti-Communist, appearing as an expert witness at various governmental hearings and authoring a series of books on his experiences.

The Ware group was a covert organization of Communist Party USA operatives within the United States government in the 1930s, run first by Harold Ware (1889–1935) and then by Whittaker Chambers (1901–1961) after Ware's accidental death on August 13, 1935.

Kit Francis Clardy was a politician from the U.S. state of Michigan. He was also known as Michigan's McCarthy, referring to his affinity for the controversial anti-communist U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Jerry J. OConnell American politician

Jerry Joseph O'Connell was an American attorney and politician. He is most notable for his service as a member of the United States House of Representatives from Montana.

Perjury: The Hiss–Chambers Case is a 1978 book by Allen Weinstein on the Alger Hiss perjury case. The book, in which Weinstein argues that Alger Hiss was guilty, has been cited by many historians as the "most important" and the "most thorough and convincing" book on the Hiss–Chambers case. Weinstein drew upon 30,000 pages of FBI documents released through the Freedom of Information Act, the files of the Hiss defense attorneys, over 80 interviews with involved parties and six interviews with Hiss himself. In 1997, Weinstein published an updated and revised edition of Perjury, which incorporated recent evidence from Venona project decrypted cables, released documents from Soviet intelligence archives and information from former Soviet intelligence operatives.

Benjamin Mandel (1887-1973) AKA "Bert Miller" was a New York city school teacher and communist activist who later became a ex-communist director of research for the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee (SIS).

Nicholas "Nick" Dozenberg (1882–1954) was an American political functionary with the Communist Party USA in the 1920s. Late in 1927 Dozenberg was recruited into the underground Soviet military intelligence network, for which he worked for more than a decade under the pseudonym "Nicholas Ludwig Dallant." Apprehended by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in December 1939, Dozenberg cooperated with the investigation fully, giving oral or written testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) on three separate occasions. Never charged for espionage, Dozenberg pleaded guilty to a charge of passport fraud in 1940 and received a comparatively light jail term of one year and one day. He lived a quiet and private life following his release from prison in 1941.

Maxim Lieber was a prominent American literary agent in New York City during the 1930s and 1940s. The Soviet spy Whittaker Chambers named him as an accomplice in 1949, and Lieber fled first to Mexico and then Poland not long after Alger Hiss's conviction in 1950.

Henry Hill Collins Jr. (1905–1961), AKA Henry H. Collins, Jr., and Henry Collins, was an American citizen employed in the New Deal National Recovery Administration in the 1930s and later the Agricultural Adjustment Administration. He was a member of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) and the Washington D.C. based Ware group, along with Alger Hiss, Lee Pressman, Harry Dexter White and others. He was also a "pioneer in the compiling of ornithological field guides."

Nathan Levine (1911–1972) was a 20th-Century American labor lawyer and real estate attorney in Brooklyn, New York, who, as attorney for his uncle, Whittaker Chambers, testified regarding his uncle's "life preserver." This packet included papers handwritten by Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White, as well as typewritten by the Hiss Family's Woodstock typewriter. It also included microfilm, paraded to the public by U.S. Representative Richard M. Nixon and HUAC investigator Robert E. Stripling, dubbed the "Pumpkin Papers" by the press, which helped lead to the U.S. Department of Justice to indict Hiss for perjury.

Robert E. Stripling was a 20th-century civil servant, best known as chief investigator of the House Dies Committee and its successor the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), particularly for collaboration with junior congressman Richard Nixon and for testimony gleaned from witness Elizabeth Bentley and Whittaker Chambers, the latter of whose allegations led indirectly to indictment and conviction of State Department official Alger Hiss in January 1950.

Louis J. Russell was an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), senior investigator of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), and private detective.


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  2. For example, see Brown, Sarah (February 5, 2002). "Pleading the Fifth". BBC News. McCarthy's House Un-American Activities Committee
  3. Patrick Doherty, Thomas. Cold War, Cool Medium: Television, McCarthyism, and American Culture. 2003, pp. 15–16.
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  5. Schmidt, p. 144
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  7. Memoirs, pp. 41–42
  8. To Added Law for Curb on Reds The New York Times, November 18, 1930 p. 21
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  13. 1 2 Myer, Dillon S. Uprooted Americans. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1971. p. 19.
  14. 1 2 Niiya, Brian. "Dies Committee". Densho Encyclopedia. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  15. Newton, Michael. The Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi A History. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co, 2010, p. 102.
  16. Newton, p. 162.
  17. Walter Goodman, The Committee, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1968
  18. "University of Kentucky archive" (PDF).
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  23. "Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives". Archived from the original on September 16, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
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  29. Operation Abolition (1960) on YouTube
  30. "Operation Abolition", and Time magazine, Friday, March 17, 1961.
  31. Youth International Party, 1992.
  32. Jerry Rubin, A Yippie Manifesto .
  33. John Herbers (August 17, 1966). "War Foes Clash With House Panel in Stormy Session After Judges Lift Hearing Ban". The New York Times. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  34. Jim Dann and Hari Dillon. "The Five Retreats: A History of the Failure of the Progressive Labor Party CHAPTER 1: PLP AT ITS PRIME 1963–1966". . Retrieved December 11, 2016. PLP brought 800 people for 3 days of the sharpest struggle that Capital Hill had seen in 30 years. PL members shocked the inquisitors when they openly proclaimed their communist beliefs and then went on into long sharp detailed explanations, which didn't spare the HUAC Congressmen being called every name in the book.
  35. The Harvard Crimson : Thomas Geogheghan, "By Any Other Name. Brass Tacks", February 24, 1969, accessed May 25, 2018
  36. Staples 2006, p. 284.
  37. 1 2 Charles E. Schamel, Records of the US House of Representatives, Record Group 233: Records of the House Un-American Activities Committee, 1945–1969 (Renamed the) House Internal Security Committee, 1969–1976. Washington, DC: Center for Legislative Archives, National Archives and Records, July 1995; p. 4.
  38. Eric Bentley, Thirty Years of Treason: Excerpts from Hearings Before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, 1938–1968. New York: The Viking Press 1971; pp. 955–957.

Works cited

Further reading