On this day (8 June) in 1949, several Hollywood celebrities were named as part of a growing group of Communist Party Members in Hollywood and the media industry. One of the most notable was Academy Award winner Frederic March who was outspoken about concern over the United States’ growing nuclear arsenal. Singer Edward G. Robinson was also a prime target in the late 40’s, though he adamantly denied these allegations claiming “I have played many parts in my life, but no part have I played better or been more proud of than that of being an American citizen.”
These accusations didn’t stop with Hollywood stars, but they were very focused on the notable stars of stage and screen. The term McCarthyism is used to describe the practice or act of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence (McCarthyism). Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin was the figurehead of the movement to drive out Communism (real or not) from the United States’ film and music industry. Many innocent actors, writers, directors, producers, and singers were wrongfully imprisoned as a result of his “witch hunt”.
To learn more, follow this link to The History Channel.