The Roaring Twenties...


Red Scare


What was The Red Scare?

    The Red Scare was a nation wide fear of communists, socialists, and anarchists.  It was a time period from 1917 through 1920 when Russia had been overtaken by communism, and Americans feared the same would happen to their great nation.  This fear originated from Mitchell Palmer, who was the Attorney General to the president Woodrow Wilson.  At the time, a list of sixty-two names, who were believed to be dangerous, circulated around the country.  Along with the revolution in Russia, this lead to a fear of communism in America.  Foreigners were persecuted the most and during WWI the Immigration Restriction League passed strict laws for immigrants to live in america.  For one, all immigrants had to pass a literacy test, but that was not all.  The League also wanted to cut all immigration from Poland, Russia, and Italy in an attempt to keep out the communist.  This severe persecution hurt the status of America, which went from a symbol of freedom to a representation of oppression.  

    In response to the anxiety through out the country, the Espionage Act was passed in 1917.  It stated that anyone who interfered with the recruiting of troops or the disclosure of information regarding national defense would have to pay a ten thousand dollar fine and have up to twenty years imprisonment.  This act aided the incarceration of over nine hundred people, but that was not all.  On November 7th, 1919, ten thousand "communists and anarchists" were arrested and tried in court without any definite proof or reason for suspicion.  Many were released, but over two hundred forty five were deported to Russia, but there were more arrests.  

    In January, 1920, several raids took place in multiple cities, known as the Palmer Raids.  Several random bombings occured previously in the country, but Mitchell Palmer believed that these random bombings were one huge giant communist movement, and so the raids began.  In these raids, over six thousand were arrested and held in prison without trial.  Over five hundred fifty six aliens were deported, and no one was safe from suspicion.  The fear of communism grew to such an extent that on May 1st, panic took hold and five socialists were kicked out of the legislature.   

 

 



 

This photo is a representation of the fear americans had of communism.  

This picture was created to make americans feel defensive of their country, 

which lead to the persecution of many innocent immigrants and other minorities.


Sources:

 

1. http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/SaccoV/redscare.html

2. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAredscare.htm

3. http://chnm.gmu.edu/courses/hist409/red.html

4. http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1343.html

5. http://newman.baruch.cuny.edu/digital/redscare/ABOUT_RS.HTM

6. http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/database/article_display.cfm?HHID=438

7. http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/red_scare_1920s_America.htm

 

Additional Information 

1. http://www.cyberessays.com/History/165.htm

2. http://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper/Allen/ch3.html

3. http://www.studyworld.com/newsite/ReportEssay/History/American%5CRed_Scare_America_1920.htm