A Climate of Fear
The entertainment industries suffered greatly during the Cold War from pressure to purge their ranks of communists, former communists, and those who had endorsed causes that communists also supported. As a result of hearings by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, ten Hollywood screenwriters and directors were imprisoned and hundreds more in the industry were blacklisted. Radio and television networks succumbed to intimidation from advertisers and civic organizations during a period in which China went communist, the Soviets tested an atomic bomb, the Korean War broke out, and a Soviet spy ring was exposed. The period became identified with the term “McCarthysim,” as the televised hearings of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy nourished a climate of fear and intimidation throughout the United States.
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