The 1950’s and the Cold War

Tuesday, February 19, 2013
10:00 am - 11:30 am (EST) Enter Classroom Enter Forum


Steve Whitfield
Max Richter Professor of American Civilization, Brandeis University

About the Seminar

In the early years of the Cold War, fear of the Soviet Union led some Americans to conclude that Soviet subversion was destroying American society from within. If not actual spies, then certainly enemies--some deliberate apostles of Communism, others unwitting dupes--were everywhere--in the universities, in the entertainment industry, in journalism, even in the federal government. What fueled the anti-Communist frenzy? How did it manifest itself? What impact did it have on American life?

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Assigned Readings

  1. "Elia Kazan," from Thirty Years of Treason.
  2. "Larry Parks," from Thirty Years of Treason.
  3. Senator Joseph McCarthy's speech at Wheeling, West Virginia.

Suggested Additional Resources

  1. Teaching With Documents: Telegram from Senator Joseph McCarthy to President Harry S. Truman. From the National Archives.
  2. Senate Resolution 301: Censure of Senator Joseph McCarthy (1954). From the National Archives.