History 303: Research and Writing Seminar in History
Commie, Red, Pinko, Ruskie, bread-line potato-drinker; all of these are slurs made by Americans towards communists or communist sympathizers during the Cold War. Although communism is only a political theory designed by Karl Marx that predicts inevitable class warfare leading to publically owned land and shared labor, when this theory was applied in countries like Russia during the Cold War, it proved to be damaging to its citizens. The United States emerged from World War II as a dominating power, economically wealthy from wartime spending, and seemed to prosper in comparison to the U.S.S.R; which had suffered heavy losses during the war by serving as the main ground troops against Germany. As a result of these disparities, the U.S. took up a campaign focused on the “American way.” A majority of Americans held anti-communist sentiments due to the perceived immorality of the system. These prejudices influenced the university system. Encouraged by fear of political corruption and suspicion, liberally inclined individuals and organizations were identified as “political undesirables on campus” and either marginalized or sometimes removed from campuses.
1 “Communism.” oxforddictionaries.com. Oxford Dictionary. Web. January, 2016.
2 Noam Chomsky et al., The Cold War and the University: Toward an intellectual History of the Postwar Years (New York: The New Press, 1997), 171-184
3 Ellen Schrecker. No Ivory Tower: McCarthyism and the Universities. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989. 339-340