Red Scare

Topics: Socialism, Communism, Industrial Workers of the World Pages: 7 (2647 words) Published: April 18, 2013
It was November 18, 1918, the day WWI had officially ended. The last cry of help had been heard and peace was supposedly coming to the United States or it had seemed. An ideological war which prompted mass paranoia had caused, among many other things, what would be known as the Red Scare (****). The Red Scare was the label given to the actions of legislation, the race riots, and the hatred and persecution of "subversives" and conscientious objectors during that period of time. The purpose of this research is to explore the threat that plagued the United States in its’ time of great panic and anxiety, during the “first” Red Scare which lasted between 1919 to 1921. This powerful threat turned out to be Communism and it was greatly feared by almost every U.S. citizen. Communism is “system of social and economic organization in which property is owned by the state group, to be shared in common or to be disturbed among members of the community equally or in proportion to their respective needs. In 1919, no more than one-tenth of the adult American population belonged to the newly formed communist movement, and even this small percentage were greatly persecuted. After the real war ended in 1918, the ideological war, turned against conscientious objectors and other radical minorities such as Wobblies, who were members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), and also Socialists. It was thought that the Wobblies and the Socialists were trying to overthrow the United States government. Wobblies, were persecuted against for speaking out against the capitalist system. Most of what they said, was only to attract attention, but it was taken seriously by the government. From the very beginning of the Red Scare, the Wobblies were attacked by the government because they were a symbol of radicalism. The government placed legislation not only against the Wobblies but also against Socialists and Communists. In 1917, the US government made a law which gave the Secretary of Labor the power to arrest or deport any alien advocating or teaching destruction of property or the overthrow of government by force. The government used deportation as a cure for the antigovernment views of its enemies. The unfair legislation passed by the government, everything was soon to become a disaster. All that everyone needed was for someone to take advantage of the anti-radical legislation and that is what Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer did in the years 1919-1920. Palmer deported members of the IWW. His Palmer raids had two main targets, which were the Communist Party and the Communist Labor Party. These two groups grew out of the IWW and the largest of the three, the Socialist Party of America, had split because of a dilemma over World War I. The Palmer Raids were attempts by the United States Department of Justice to arrest and deport radical leftists, especially anarchists, from the United States. The raids and arrests occurred in November 1919 and January 1920 under the leadership of Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer. Though more than 500 foreign citizens were deported, including a number of prominent leftist leaders, Palmer's efforts were largely frustrated by officials at the U.S. Department of Labor who had responsibility for deportations and who objected to Palmer's methods. Once Europe entered the war, the split occurred; this break up hurt the Socialist party and many who were not Socialists opposed the draft, but the party was the point of opposition. These people became targets for attack by American nationalists and the American government; members were lynched and important Socialist documents were burned. One Friday, January 2, 1920 to be exact, agents from the Department of Justice raided a Communist hideout and began arresting thousands of people in major American cities throughout the nation. They raided people who stayed in private homes, clubs, pool halls and coffee shops. The raiding got so hectic that in many places that they...
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