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 ?
High Noon was released in 1952, but Frankel begins five years earlier, with the first HUAC sessions in 1947.
Guthrie had already seen his close friend and protege, Pete Seeger, pilloried in the anti-communist "smear sheet," Counterattack--like Red Channels, in which he was also named, a major resource for the HUAC.
Screenwriter Richard Collins, for example, set out to minimize the impact of his disclosures by naming people who were deceased; by naming people who, having already come before HUAC, were already stuck; and by naming people who had set aside Marxism-Leninism long ago and, so, would not be of interest to the authorities or the public.
37) Unlike Alan Lomax, Botkin, and countless others, MacLeish was never directly questioned by the FBI or called to testify at an HUAC hearing.
Carl Foreman signed a contract with Columbia Pictures to produce four films after seeking a clearance from HUAC in which the screenwriter of High Noon (1952) renounced his communist past but refused to name former associates.
Seeger saw himself as a continuation of that heroic past, and the concluding verse is about the HUAC itself and its tactics of forcing people to testify against their will.
HUAC today treats its witnesses far less sadistically than in the past, and isn't taken half so seriously.
Bentley's voice explains that in October 1947 HUAC undertook "hearings regarding Communist infiltration of the motion picture industry," calling numerous Hollywood notables, including notorious red-baiters Walt Disney and Ronald Reagan, and eleven so-called unfriendly witnesses, of whom only Brecht gave testimony.
This sentence suggests that Lochner may really be seeking a "heart of red" concealed within his prey in the manner of many aggressive and prejudiced interrogators during HUAC hearings.
Had they read his "heroic" testimony before HUAC, they would have come across Miller's recollection of an essay he had written 10 years previously for a Marxist audience.
My father's brother, my Uncle Nick, was once called before the HUAC.
23) One by one, the 17 members of the JAFRC board appeared before the HUAC and one by one each refused to surrender the required records.