Friday, November 21, 2008

Dive Under Your Desk, The Communists Are Coming!

Remember air raid drills in elementary school and you had to get under your desk and cover your head in case the Russians dropped a bomb? Man, how stressful is that to a little kid? We didn't know what was going on, we were just scared. I really was getting paranoid when I found out my grandmother was from the Ukraine. I was sure the school was going to label me a Communist and put me in jail. On top of that, my other grandparents were German and I would be considered a Nazi, too. I was doomed!
During the 1950's bomb shelters were built, proving that the threats from the Russians were real. The United States feared the Soviets would take over the world.
The cold war in the 50's wasn't a declared war, but an arms race between the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States. Whoever has the most nuclear weapons and warheads wins. None of these weapons were ever deployed, but it was feared that at anytime, the Soviets could hit the US with a nuclear bomb. I wonder if kids in Russia had the same fear of us and they had to dive under their desks too?
"Are you, or have you ever been a member of the Communist party?" That was the question. President Harry Truman expressed this fear through the Truman Doctrine.
Communists should be exposed and eliminated. Between 1947-1952 6.6 million persons were investigated. Not one single case of espionage was uncovered.
School districts required teachers to take loyalty oaths and universities screened their staffs. There was actually a shortage of teachers in New York because of this.
Filmmakers were monitored and put on blacklists for any suspected Communists activity.
In 1951, Congress passed the McCarran Internal Security Act. It required every communist or so-called Communist organization to register with the government.
The board even set up concentration camps and gave the government the authority to lock up any supporters. Neighbor watched neighbor and liberals were evil. If you were a radical, then you must be a Communist!
All of this information was gathered by secret paid informers. Because of this, the personal rights of millions of Americans were destroyed.
Talk about paranoia. This was a bad trip. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, now, does it? Look at what is going on in this country now. Instill fear in the masses and they become easily controllable. It's that simple.

The Communist Manifesto (Penguin Classics)
McCarthyism, The Great American Red Scare: A Documentary History
The Cold War: A New History
One Nation Underground: The Fallout Shelter in American Culture (American History and Culture)

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