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Yes or No

In: Historical Events

Submitted By Stevo2837
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Yes or No
Did communism threaten America’s internal security after World War II (WWII)? Some say yes, and some say no. In this article of Taking Sides John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, both history professors, claim that during the “Venona Project” of WWII the code-breakers of the U.S. army revealed a troubling number of U.S. government officials who were passing on secret information on to the Soviet Union and completely spoiled American comforts (Issue Summary). One of the officials that were caught was Harry White. Being one of the most powerful officials in the U.S. Treasury Department, White warned the KGB on how the diplomatic strategy of America could be upset. Another official that was caught was Lauchlin Currie. Currie was President Franklin Roosevelt’s most trusted assistants. He told the KGB about the investigation that the FBI had started on one of the Soviets’ American agents, Gregory Silvermaster. After acquiring this information this made it easy for Silvermaster to get out of dodge of the FBI and continue spying. Also, during the Manhattan Project, Klus Fuchs and Theodore Hall, both physicists, and technician David Greenglass transferred the compound formula for extracting bomb-grade uranium from ordinary uranium, the plans for production facilities, and the engineering principles for the “implosion” technique, which made the use of a plutonium using atomic bomb possible (Haynes, Klehr). Haynes and Klehr stated that, “Americans worried that a communist fifth column, more loyal to the Soviet Union than to the U.S., had moved into their institutions”, so by the 1950s, there was a public consensus on three points: Soviet espionage was a serious issue, Soviets were assisted by American Communist, and the U.S. had been betrayed by many senior government officials (Haynes, Klehr). When all is said and done, Cold War historians Haynes and Klehr believe that Communism presented a reasonable threat to the internal security of the U.S.
Another point of view that Communism was not as important of a threat to American internal security as people thought came from an American historian and professor of history, Richard M. Fried. Fried believes that “American developed an obsession with domestic communism that outran the actual threat and gnawed at the tissue of civil liberties” (Fried). Fried believes that the public’s opinion had been formed by politician in order to influence the rate of approval they received and therefor have an impact on their political careers (Fried). Fried believes that the people itself were the largest threat to internal security, or the demonstration of anti-Communism in the U.S. This is what damaged the American way of life.
Many people started to keep their political opinions to themselves during the time of the Red Scare in fear of being called a Communist. Even university and college professors kept their personal opinions to themselves because that where afraid that it would affect their job security (Fried). Even charities and non-profit organizations were found to be suspicious by anti-Communists in the Congress. The recycling of wealth back into the society was seen as very drastic and would not be stood for (Fried).
The effects of communism on the internal security of the U.S. are very much arguable, but it was easy for me to take the sides of Haynes and Klehr. They believed that the operations carried out by the Soviet spies damaged the structure of the American government. Fried believed that the political and anti-Communist opinions encouraged by some American politicians only served to blow things out of all proportion as well as the actions of the Soviet spies. The threat of Soviet spying to the internal security of the U.S. is certain, and the fact that the Soviet spies got quite a bit of information from us during the “Venona Project” was shocking to me. Communist spies in the government and labor groups damaged the trust that the American citizens had within the U.S. as well. That is why I believe that communism was, to a large degree, a threat to the internal security of the U.S.

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