The Red Scare 1919-1920 Home Front USA - World War I: Prelude to the Red Scare During WWI, the Committee on Public Information was established created to influence U.S. public opinion regarding American participation in the war. George Creel Creel’s Two Themes: 1. Hatred of the enemy 2. Promote loyalty *Creel tapped into the divisive issue of national Identity, which caused many Americans to look suspiciously at immigrants – especially Eastern Europeans, Catholics, and Jews. **The CPI encouraged loyal associations to monitor suspicious people and report their activities - American Protective League. The APL in many regions was dominated by conservative bankers, business execs, and factory managers & owners. Home Front USA - World War I: Prelude to the Red Scare The “Creel Committee’s” Propaganda Campaign: • Deployed Four Minute Men to deliver patriotic speeches. (Junior FMM too.) • Staged patriotic events for different ethnic groups. • Fed news stories to the American Media. • Produced patriotic movies. • Produced patriotic posters. Civil Liberties Denied as a War Time Precaution Espionage Act: Made illegal spying, interfering with the draft, making false statements that might impede military success. Sedition Act: Made it a crime to make a spoken or printed statement that cast contempt, scorn, or disrepute on the form of government or advocated interference with the war effort. The Supreme Court Supports the War Schenck v. U.S. (1919) SCOTUS unanimously upheld the Espionage Act, which declared that people who interfered with the war effort were subject to imprisonment; declared that the 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech was not absolute; free speech could be limited if its exercise presented a “clear and present danger.” Post War Labor Unrest During the War: War Industries Board directed the economy. (Large swaths of the economy nationalized.) Labor benefited from scarcity of labor. Wartime contracts very profitable. Labor – “no strike” agreements during the war. Union membership increased. End of War: War ends sooner than anticipated. No transition plan ready. Returning vets flooded labor market. Many wartime jobs were eliminated. Wartime price controls ended = inflation. Wages for remaining workers were slashed. Many businesses used transition to eliminate unions. Seattle – Radical Hotbed Unions thrive in Seattle during WWI. The radical International Workers of the World (I.W.W. or “Wobblies”) are influential. Labor unrest turns into a GENERAL STRIKE in February 1919. Propaganda & tensions create a volatile atmosphere with the mayor calling union leaders “Bolsheviks”. Radicalization of Labor > Red Scare Populist / Progressive ideology (1880s – 1917) + Russian Revolution (1917) + Communist International in 1919 to export Communism + the founding of the American Communist Party (1919) + post-war inflation & economic recession/unemployment + nationwide strikes in 1919 (3,600 strikes of 4 million workers) + General Strike in Seattle + Growing violence and bombing incidents = Growing conviction among Americans that unions were no different from socialists & communists, all are RADICAL. Radicalization of Labor > Red Scare Notable Strikes in 1919 • • • • Seattle General Strike Boston Police Strike U.S. Steel Strike United Mine Workers Strike The Boston Police Strike ‘There is no right to strike against the public safety by anyone, anywhere, any time. ” – Gov. Coolidge Racial Violence during the Red Summer WWI Great Migration to the North Black WWI Veterans returning home 38 separate race riots A. Mitchell Palmer – Red Hunter Some politicians used public anxiety for political gain. Attorney General Palmer had presidential ambitions in 1920. Palmer given “green light from Congress to go after radical groups. A bomb, blamed on radicals, was detonated outside his home and on Wall Street, where 38 were killed. Palmer authorized raids by the newly formed General Intelligence Division, led by J. Edgar Hoover. Thousands of suspected radicals were arrested. 500 radical aliens were deported. A. Mitchell Palmer J. Edgar Hoover Legacy of the Red Scare • Increased suspicion of immigrants. • Distrust of labor unions. • Hostility to reformers. • Growing insistence on conformity. • Isolationist foreign policy. Why were the excesses of the Red Scare condoned by many Americans? Stifled dissent. Dealt Labor a major set back. Attacked radicalism. Addressed growing concerns about immigrants. Reestablished WASP hegemony. Why do Americans turn against Progressivism after World War I? The war ends abruptly with no sense of satisfaction – especially after Versailles. After 1920, economic prosperity from post-war economic spending & Euro recovery. Blowback from Labor strife and association with radicalism. Desire to roll back war time regulatory powers. Many Progressives had not supported the war. General reform fatigue. Growing sentiment that American liberalism was on the same side of the political spectrum as radical Bolshevism.