HUAC Subpoenas Suspected Communists
|Originally organized in 1938, the House Un-American Activities Committee was charged with investigating alleged subversive activity in the United States. At first it concentrated on groups suspected of sympathizing with Nazism, such as the Ku Klux Klan and the German-American Bund. However, it was not long before the committee began studying various agencies associated with the New Deal, following up on accusations that they had been infiltrated by members of the American Communist Party.
In 1946 HUAC became a permanent standing committee of the United States Congress, and it deepened its investigation of possible communists in the Federal Government. In October 1947, however, the committee’s examination of Hollywood labor unions led it to cast an eye upon the motion picture industry. A list of suspected communists—most of them screenwriters, actors, and directors—were subpoenaed to appear before HUAC.