House Un-American Activities Committee


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House Un-American Activities Committee

(HUAC), a committee (1938–75) of the U.S. House of Representatives, created to investigate disloyalty and subversive organizations. Its first chairman, Martin DiesDies, Martin, Jr.
, 1901–72, American political leader, b. Colorado, Tex. A lawyer, he represented Texas as a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1931–45; 1951–59).
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, set the pattern for its anti-Communist investigations. The committee's methods included pressure on witnesses to name former associates, vague and sweeping accusations against individuals, and the assumption of an individual's guilt because of association with a suspect organization. Witnesses who refused to answer were cited for contempt of Congress. A highly publicized 1947 investigation of the entertainment industry led to prison sentences for contempt for a group of recalcitrant witnesses who became known as the Hollywood Ten. In 1948, Whittaker ChambersChambers, Whittaker,
1901–61, U.S. journalist and spy, b. Philadelphia. He joined the U.S. Communist party in 1925 and wrote for its newspaper before engaging (1935–38) in espionage for the USSR. He left the party in 1939 and began working for Time magazine.
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 made sensational accusations of Soviet espionage against former State Dept. official Alger HissHiss, Alger
, 1904–96, American public official, b. Baltimore. After serving (1929–30) as secretary to Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Hiss practiced law in Boston and New York City.
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; those hearings kept the committee in the headlines and provided the first national exposure for committee member Richard NixonNixon, Richard Milhous,
1913–94, 37th President of the United States (1969–74), b. Yorba Linda, Calif. Political Career to 1968

A graduate of Whittier College and Duke law school, he practiced law in Whittier, Calif.
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. Critics of the committee contended that it disregarded the civil liberties of its witnesses and that it consistently failed to fulfill its primary purpose of recommending new legislation. After 1950, Sen. Joseph McCarthyMcCarthy, Joseph Raymond,
1908–57, U.S. senator from Wisconsin (1947–57), b. near Appleton, Wis. He practiced law in Wisconsin and became (1940) a circuit judge. He served with the U.S. marines in the Pacific in World War II, achieving the rank of captain.
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 borrowed many of the committee's tactics for his own Senate investigations. The committee (renamed the House Internal Security Committee in 1969) was abolished in 1975.

Bibliography

See study by W. Goodman (1968).

House Un-American Activities Committee

conducted investigations to purge government of foreign influences. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 1641]
References in periodicals archive ?
For images and transcriptions of historic documents from various sites arranged in topical order from African Americans, to Amistad Civil Rights, to House Un-American Activities Committee, to Love Canal, and more, visit Federal Government Resources: Historic Documents at www.
Miller grappled with the weightiest matters of social conscience in his plays," swooned our Paper of Record, "and in them often reflected or reinterpreted the stormy and very public elements of his own life--including a brief and rocky marriage to Marilyn Monroe and his staunch refusal to cooperate with the red-baiting House Un-American Activities Committee.
She did not need the added attention and "commy" labels during a mayoral administration framed by, what Thomas Kessner reminds us was, the era of the Cold War mentality, the fears that led to the excesses of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), of the new conservatism, and of the passing of insurgency politics.
The only real difference between McCarthyite repression of unsound artists and that in the Soviet Union, admittedly an important one, was that the House Un-American Activities Committee did not have the power to execute its victims, only to deprive them of their livelihood, and sometimes imprison them.
But in perhaps the most meaty and revealing excerpt, Ernest Demaio explains how General Electric (GE) used the Taft-Hartley Act and the House Un-American Activities Committee to oust the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers Union (UE) out of GE.
At the apex of his career, he reluctantly became an informant for the FBI and then a star witness of the House Un-American Activities Committee in which he implicated Hiss--and himself--as former Soviet agents.
Senator Joseph McCarthy's House Un-American Activities Committee by an entire decade, the "Tenney Committee," as it came to be known, was charged with investigating and ascertaining "all facts causing or constituting interference with the National Defense Program in California or rendering the people of the State .
Smears Endanger Nation" reported physicists' concerns in 1948 that the Communist-hunting tactics of the House Un-American Activities Committee threatened atomic energy research.
Before McCarthyism earned its permanent place in the political lexicon, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) was traversing the U.
The Weavers' recordings received their greatest public acceptance during the time Seeger himself was under attack by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in the early 50s.
The political Hoover is fighting most often inside the government, against kindred spirits such as House Un-American Activities Committee Chairman Martin Dies.
It talks about the past -- including the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee and its witch-hunting excursions in the late Forties, (which sent a number of Hollywood writers to jail) and the infamous McCarthy period.