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The Korean War
Korean War on the Homefront
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Causes of the Korean War
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Click Here to view US Troops engaging in battle at Inchon

Click Here to Listen General Douglas MacArthur retire before Congress and here his opinion on the Korean War

While the Korean War was taking place overseas the Second Red Scare emerged within the US.  The Korean War with its communist undertone allowed for the fear of a communist invasion within the US once again. There were many anticommunist efforts such as employee loyalty programs, congressional investigations and criminal prosecutions. The Korean War allowed for another wave of communist persecution in the US.

            The communist party began to decline after WWII however with the US involvement in the Korean War the communist fear was renewed. There became “legitimate concerns about espionage mixed with suspicions that communist sympathizers were helping Stalin and Mao.” (Goldfield, pg. 872). The Korean War, “had a noticeable effect on the opinions of Americans in general regarding their own security, and gave rise to the very specific fear centered upon a supposedly inevitable nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Widespread belief that communist spies and sympathizers were constantly working to bring the downfall of the United States added to the mood of the era.”( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Scare) So using this fear the Republicans began to use it as a political technique for election. Truman responded to this by initiating the Executive Order 9835 in 1947 which initiated a loyalty program for federal employees. It authorized the attorney general to prepare a list of communist organizations and made the membership or association to these groups as grounds for dismissal. “The program created review boards to investigate federal employees and terminate them if there were doubts as to their loyalty” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Scare) Federal employees began to work under tremendous fear and this loyalty program resulted in “1210 firings and 6000 resignations under Truman and comparable numbers under Eisenhower’s first term.”(Goldfield, pg 872-873) The Korean War paved the way for communist persecution.

            The executive branch was not alone in the hunt for communism with the congressional investigations that followed soon after the US involvement in the Korean War. The first order of business in the Congressional investigations was the creation of the House Committee on Un-American Activities or called HUAC in 1945. “HUAC concentrated on investigating the possibility that the American Communist Party had infiltrated the Works Progress Administration, including the Federal Theatre Project. The Dies Committee also carried out a brief investigation into the wartime internment of Japanese Americans living on the West Coast. The investigation primarily concerned security at the camps, youth gangs allegedly operating in the camps, food supply questions, and releases of internees. With the exception of Rep. Eberharter the members of the committee seemed to support internment.”(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_Un-American_Activities_Committee) HUAC also focused on targeting Hollywood trying to make sure that no, “un-American messages were being peddled through American’s most popular entertainment.” (Goldfield, pg 873) The Korean War helped reaffirm the communist fear seen through the US.

            In addition the Employee and Congressional restrictions regarding communism subversion trials also took place following the US involvement in the Korean War. “In 1948, the Justice Department indicted the leaders of the American Communist party under the Alien Registration Act of 1940. Eleven men and women were convicted in 1949 of conspiring to advocate the violent overthrow of the US government through their speech and publications.” (Goldfield, pg 874) The communist trials showed the American people that the government meant business when it came to the getting rid of communists within the US, and struck more fear in the public.

            During the Korean War another Red Scare emerged within the US. Employee loyalty programs, congressional investigations, and criminal prosecutions took over the US as the fear of communist spread and espionage was invoked in the lives of the American people. “There were also effects on America's way of life as a result of the Red Scare and the nuclear arms race, which contributed to the popularization of fallout shelters in home construction and regular duck and cover drills at schools.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Scare) The Korean War set the stage for a political war within the US.

 

 

 

Work Cited

 

Goldfield, David. The American Journey. Upper Saddle River. New Jersey. Prentice Hall 1998.

 

Red Scare. Online. Internet. 1 June 2006. Available http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Scare

 

House Committee on Un-American Activities. Online. Internet. 1 June 2006. Available.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_Un-American_Activities_Committee

 

 

 

           

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