Red Scare: FBI and the Origins of Anticommunism in the United States, 1919-1943

Red Scare: FBI and the Origins of Anticommunism in the United States, 1919-1943

Regin Schmidt

Language: English

Pages: 391

ISBN: 8772895810

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The anticommunist crusade of the FBI and its legendary director J. Edgar Hoover during the McCarthy era and the Cold War has attracted much attention from historians, but little is known about the Bureau's political activities during its formative years. This book breaks new ground by tracing the roots of the FBI's political surveillance to the involvement of the Bureau's predecessor, the Bureau of Investigation (BI) in the nation's first period of communist-hunting, the "Red Scare" after World War I. The book is based on the first systematic and comprehensive use of the early BI files from 1908 to 1922, which have only survived on difficult-to-read microfilms deposited in the National Archives, as well as numerous collections of personal papers. The FBI's political surveillance was an integrated part of the attempt by the modern federal state, to regulate and control any organized opposition to the political, economic and social order, such as organized labor, radical movements and African-American protest. The detailed reconstruction of the BI's role in the Red Scare during 1919-1920 show that federal intelligence officials played a crucial role in initiating the anticommunist hysteria in the United States. Even though the staff was small, the BI was able to dramatically influence national events through various methods including using Congressional committees to spread its message.

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TUSCULANUM PRESS UNIVERSITY OF COPENHAGEN 2000 [e-book – 2004] Regin Schmidt: Red Scare. FBI and the origins of Anticommunism in the United States, 1919-1943; e-book. 2004. ISBN 87 635 0012 4 Copyright © Museum Tusculanum Press Regin Schmidt: Red Scare. FBI and the origins of Anticommunism in the United States, 1919-1943; e-book © Museum Tusculanum Press 2004 English revision by Joyce Kling Composition by Ole Klitgaard ISBN 87 635 0012 4 An unchanged version in PDF format of the printed

Robert L. Hill had organized the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America in order to bargain collectively with the white planters about the price of their cotton. Determined to break up the union, a group of whites had opened fire on the church and, when the black sharecroppers and farmers tried to defend themselves, had hunted them down. Whereas only five whites were killed, an estimated 50 to 60 blacks died.99 The Little Rock field office was immediately instructed to investigate and

executive branch before World War I played a limited role in controlling labor relations (for example, the Department of Labor, originally established to compile labor statistics, was not elevated to 182 Letters, Mary Ogden ? to Woodrow Wilson, July 30, 1917; Jordan to Wilson, July 4, 1917, OG 28469, ibid.; William Holmes to Wilson, August 17, 1917, OG 3057, ibid. 183 Report, Warren W. Grimes, February 20, 1918, OG 369936, ibid. 184 Report, J. L. Webb, August 23, 1917; letter, Bielaski to T. W.

E. B. Sisk, to Hon. Thomas A. Flynn, September 3, 1919, BS 202600-282, RG65, NA. 41 Regin Schmidt: Red Scare. FBI and the origins of Anticommunism 91 in the United States, 1919-1943; e-book. 2004. ISBN 87 635 0012 4 Copyright © Museum Tusculanum Press Special Agent E. Kosterlitzky of the Los Angeles field office repeatedly recommended that radical papers be barred from circulation because of their “venomous radicalism,” because they were filled with “disrespectful comments on the laws of this

sympathy with the aims and objects of the WWV.” According to Hoover, this auxiliary was being used by “the I.W.W. and other groups of like character to gain control of the ex-soldiers” and he quoted uncritically from a Bureau report according to which it was the organization’s ultimate aim “to be the securing of complete political control of the country” by uniting all radical groups and parties in the US. This undocumented allegation led the Radical Division chief to the conclusion that it was

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