Hollywood Tens

 At the onset of the Cold War, the United States perceived the spreading of Communism as a threat to its national security. Despite the influence of the Soviet Union on the behind the “Iron Curtain”, one of the gravest threats was to the civil liberties of American citizens. In the wake of World War II, millions of Americans became fearful of internal subterfuge by Communist sympathizers in entertainment and the federal government. Joseph McCarthy strategically placed himself as the head of anti-Communist crusade by claiming to have knowledge of known 205 Communists in the federal government. This statement prompted a series of investigations and inquiries into the loyalties of federal workers and politicians. Feeding off of a growing fear, President Truman demanded that all government workers take a loyalty oath to the United States. Among the numerous accused investigated before the House on Un-American Activities (HUAC) were Hollywood celebrities. Many of the accused either had no ties to a Communist organization or had long since disavowed any lingering commitments. In October 1947, ten members of the Hollywood film industry publicly denounced the HUAC committee in the House of Representatives. These ten screenwriters and directors became known as the Hollywood Ten. Because they challenged the HUAC committee’s legitimacy and their investigations, the Hollywood Ten became a prominent voice against the civil liberties of Hollywood. Many received jail sentences and were “blacklisted” from working in major Hollywood studios. Their defiant stand placed them in the spotlight in a national debate over the Constitutional rights their professed were violated. Write an essay (500 words) describing whether the Hollywood Ten’s actions were protected by the U.S Constitution. In your response, analyze why their protestations were legitimate or illegitimate. Lastly, compare and contrast this event with another important historical era in American history.