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Encyclopedia > First Red Scare
Political cartoon of the era depicting an anarchist attempting to destroy the Statue of Liberty.
Political cartoon of the era depicting an anarchist attempting to destroy the Statue of Liberty.

In American history, the First Red Scare took place in the period 1917-1920, and was marked by a widespread fear of anarchism and communism, as well as the effects of radical political agitation in American society. Fueled by anarchist bombings and spurred on by Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, it was characterized by illegal search and seizures, unwarranted arrests and detainments, and deportation of hundreds of suspected communists and anarchists. Political Cartoon, Literary Digest, 7/5/19 (Copyright expired. ... Political Cartoon, Literary Digest, 7/5/19 (Copyright expired. ... Liberty Enlightening the World (French: La liberté éclairant le monde), known more commonly as the Statue of Liberty (Statue de la Liberté), is a colossal statue given to the United States by France in 1886, standing at Liberty Island, New Jersey in the mouth of the Hudson River in New... // Red Scare from 1918 to 1921 Main article: Red Scare The roots of the Red Scare lie in the efforts of the U.S. government to suppress dissent and engineer pro-war opinion in the preparation for the American entry into World War I. After the war, fear and hysteria... Anarchism is a form of social criticism, a political movement as well as a political philosophy. ... Communism is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless, stateless social organization based on common ownership of the means of production. ... In most common law jurisdictions, the Attorney General is the main legal adviser to the government, and in some jurisdictions may in addition have executive responsibility for law enforcement or responsibility for public prosecutions. ... Alexander Mitchell Palmer (May 4, 1872 - May 11, 1936) was an American lawyer and politician. ... The Bill of Rights in the National Archives Amendment IV (the Fourth amendment) to the United States Constitution is one of the provisions included in the Bill of Rights. ...

The First Red Scare began during World War I in which the United States fought during 1917-1918. The communist revolution in Russia and the ensuing Russian Civil War (1917-1923) inspired a widespread campaign of violence in the U.S. by various anti-government groups. “The Great War ” redirects here. ... This article needs additional references or sources to facilitate its verification. ... Combatants Red Army Latvian Riflemen White Army (Monarchists) Ukrainian Peoples Republic Green Army (Cossacks) Black Army (Anarchists) Blue Army (Peasants) Czechoslovak Legion Allied intervention Other anti-Bolshevik forces Commanders Leon Trotsky, Mikhail Tukhachevsky, Sergei Kamenev, Semyon Budyonny, Mikhail Frunze Alexander Antonov, Anton Denikin, Alexander Kolchak, Lavr Kornilov, Pyotr Wrangel...



The First Red Scare origins lie in the subversive actions (both real and alleged) of foreign and leftist elements in the United States, especially militant followers of Luigi Galleani, and in the attempts of the U.S. government to quell protest and gain favorable public views of America's entering World War I. In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson established the Committee on Public Information to circulate and distribute anti-German and pro-Allied propaganda and other news. To add to the effectiveness of the Committee, the Bureau of Investigation (the early name for the Federal Bureau of Investigation until 1935) disrupted the work of German-American, union, and leftist organizations through the use of raids, arrests, agents provocateurs, and legal prosecution. Revolutionary and pacifist groups, such as the Socialist Party of America and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW; its members were known as Wobblies), strongly opposed the war. Many leaders of these groups, most notably Eugene Debs, were prosecuted for giving speeches urging resistance to the draft. Members of the Ghadar Party were also put on trial in the Hindu German Conspiracy Trial. Luigi Galleani (1861—November 4, 1931) was a major 20th century anarchist and enthusiastic advocate of the violent overthrow of the U.S. government. ... Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856 – February 3, 1924), was the 28th President of the United States. ... The Committee on Public Information, also known as the CPI and the Creel Committee, was intended to influence U.S. public opinion regarding American intervention in World War I. It was established under President SAMI JO Woodrow Wilson as an independent agency by Executive order 2594, April 13, 1917. ... Map of the World showing the participants in World War I. Those fighting on the Allies side (at one point or another) are depicted in green, the Central Powers in orange, and neutral countries in gray. ... The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the primary investigative arm of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), serving as both a federal criminal investigative body and a domestic intelligence agency. ... An agent provocateur (plural: agents provocateurs) is a person assigned to provoke unrest, violence, debate, or argument by or within a group while acting as a member of the group but covertly representing the interests of another. ... Revolutionary, when used as a noun, is a person who either advocates or actively engages in some kind of revolution. ... Pacifist may mean: an advocate of pacifism. ... The Socialist Party of America (SPA) is a socialist political party in the United States. ... The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or the Wobblies) is an international union currently headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. At its peak in 1923 the organization claimed some 100,000 members in good standing, and could marshal the support of perhaps 300,000 workers. ... May refer to the politcal leader Eugene_V._Debs May also be in reference to a a debutante ball, a formal party undertaken by the leaving members of second-level schools in Ireland, most often in the month of August or September. ... For other uses, see Conscript (disambiguation). ... The Ghadar Party was an organization founded by the Indians(mostly Punjabis, of the United States and Canada in June, 1913 with the aim to liberate India from British rule. ... The Hindu German Conspiracy Trial commenced in the District Court in San Francisco California on November 12, 1917. ...

The effort was also helped by the United States Congress, with the passing of the Espionage Act in 1917 and its sister act the Sedition Act of 1918. The Espionage Act made it a crime to interfere with the operation or success of the military, and the Sedition Act forbade Americans to use "disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language" about the United States government, flag, or armed forces during war.[1] Type Bicameral Houses Senate House of Representatives United States Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D since January 4, 2007 Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D since January 4, 2007 Members 535 plus 4 Delegates and 1 Resident Commissioner Political groups (as of November 7, 2006 elections) Democratic Party Republican... The Espionage Act was passed by the 65th United States Congress on June 15, 1917, during World War I. This act made it a crime, punishable by a $10,000 fine and 20 years in jail, for a person to convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere... 1917 (MCMXVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar (see: 1917 Julian calendar). ... The Sedition Act has been the name of three laws passed by the United States Congress: The Sedition Act of 1918 The Sedition Act of 1798 The Sedition Act of 1861 This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same... 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... The government of the United States, established by the United States Constitution, is a federal republic of 50 states, a few territories and some protectorates. ... National flag and ensign. ... The armed forces of the United States of America consist of the United States Army United States Navy United States Air Force United States Marine Corps United States Coast Guard Note: The United States Coast Guard has both military and law enforcement functions. ...

Postal inspectors refused to distribute materials they deemed as subversive to the war effort. Many foreign language and radical or anarchist publications were disrupted or closed as a consequence. One of the most notorious was Luigi Galleani's Cronaca Sovversiva (Subversive Chronicle), an Italian anarchist newsletter, which not only advocated the overthrow of the government, but also advertised a booklet innocuously titled Health is in You!, actually an explicit bomb-making manual[2].

After the war officially ended, the government investigations abated for a few months but did not cease. They soon resumed in the context of Russian Revolution of 1917, the Russian Civil War, and the Red Terror. To some Americans, this was a time of uncertainty and fear over the prospects of an anarchist, socialist or communist revolution in the United States. The Red Terror was a campaign of mass arrests and deportations targeted against counterrevolutionaries in Russia during the Russian Civil War. ...

Anarchist actions


Damage done by the bomb on Attorney-General A Mitchell Palmer's house
Damage done by the bomb on Attorney-General A Mitchell Palmer's house

After years of inefficient responses to violent acts by various anarchist and radical labor groups, the Federal government was finally moved to action by a series of bombings in June 1919 (later traced to militant followers of anarchist Luigi Galleani). The wide list of prominent official targets selected by the Galleanists sparked the Federal government's Bureau of Investigation (BOI) to investigate the crimes. The mayor of Seattle received a homemade bomb in the mail on April 28, which was defused. Senator Thomas W. Hardwick received a bomb the next day, which blew off the hands of his servant who had discovered it, severely burning him and his wife. The following morning, a New York City postal worker discovered sixteen similar packages, each holding enough nitroglycerin to kill a man, addressed to well-known people of the time, including oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller. There were 30 bombs in all, sent to prominent politicians, judges, businessmen, and a BOI agent who was assigned to tracking down Galleanist fugitives. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Damage done by the bomb on Attorney General A Mitchell Palmers house The 1919 United States bombings were a series bombings and attempted bombings carried out by anarchist followers of Luigi Galleani from April through June of 1919. ... A mayor (from the Latin māior, meaning larger, greater) is the modern title of the highest ranking municipal officer. ... City nickname Emerald City City bird Great Blue Heron City flower Dahlia City mottos The City of Flowers The City of Goodwill City song Seattle, the Peerless City Mayor Greg Nickels County King County Area   - Total   - Land   - Water   - % water 369. ... The Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb produced in the United States. ... April 28 is the 118th day of the year (119th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 247 days remaining. ... The United States Senate is the upper house of the U.S. Congress, smaller than the United States House of Representatives. ... Thomas William Hardwick (December 9, 1872 – January 31, 1944) was an American politician from the state of Georgia. ... Nickname: Location in the state of New York Coordinates: Country United States State New York Boroughs The Bronx Brooklyn Manhattan Queens Staten Island Settled 1625 Government  - Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) Area  - City  468. ... A postal worker is one who works for a post office, such as a mail carrier. ... Nitroglycerin (NG), also known as nitroglycerine, trinitroglycerin, and glyceryl trinitrate, is a chemical compound. ... John Davison Rockefeller, Sr. ...

On June 2, a new series of much more powerful bombs were left at the homes of prominent politicians, judges, and law enforcement officials, and even a church. A bomb partially destroyed the front of Attorney-General A Mitchell Palmer's house. The bomber, Carlo Valdinoci, a Galleanist militant, blew himself up when the bomb prematurely exploded. Palmer had previously been the target of a prior Galleanist mail bomb. On June 3, 1919, New York City night watchman William Boehner was killed by a bomb which had been placed at a judge's house. June 2 is the 153rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (154th in leap years), with 212 days remaining. ... The United States Attorney General is the head of the United States Department of Justice concerned with legal affairs and is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States government. ... Alexander Mitchell Palmer (May 4, 1872 - May 11, 1936) was an American lawyer and politician, nicknamed The Fighting Quaker and later the The Quaking Fighter. ... June 3 is the 154th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (155th in leap years), with 211 days remaining. ... Year 1919 (MCMXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar). ...

In the Wall Street bombing on September 16, 1920, 100 pounds (45 kg) of dynamite with 500 pounds (230 kg) of fragmented steel exploded in front of the offices of the J.P. Morgan Company, killing 38 people and injuring 400 others. Anarchists had long been suspected as initiating the attack, which followed numerous letter bombs that had targeted Morgan. The identity of the bomber was undetermined at the time, but he has since been linked to the Galleanists.[3] The aftermath of the explosion. ... // 1400 - Owain Glyndŵr declared Prince of Wales by his followers. ... 1920 (MCMXX) was a leap year starting on Thursday. ... Dynamite is an explosive based on the explosive potential of nitroglycerin, initially using diatomaceous earth (kieselguhr) as an adsorbent. ... John Pierpont Morgan (April 17, 1837 – March 31, 1913), American financier and banker, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, a son of Junius Spencer Morgan (1813–1890), who was a partner of George Peabody and the founder of the house of J. S. Morgan & Co. ...


In response to the bombings, the press, public, and prominent men of business and politics flared up in a surge of patriotism, often involving violent hatred of communists, radicals, and foreigners. U.S. Senator Kenneth D. McKellar proposed sending radicals to a penal colony in Guam[citation needed]; U.S. Army General Leonard Wood approved a call to put them on "ships of stone with sails of lead"; evangelist Billy Sunday clamored to "stand [radicals] up before a firing squad and save space on our ships".[4] In Centralia, Washington, a Wobblie, Wesley Everest, was dragged from a town jail and hanged. Another Kenneth McKellar was a famous Scottish singer. ... A penis colony is a colony used to detain prisoners and generally use them for penal labor in an economically underdeveloped part of the states (usually colonial) territories, and on a far larger scale than a prison farm. ... Leonard Wood (October 9, 1860 – August 7, 1927) was a physician who served as the US Army Chief of Staff and Governor General of the Philippines. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Billy Sunday William Ashley Sunday (November 19, 1862 – November 6, 1935) was an American athlete and religious figure who, after being a popular outfielder in baseballs National League during the 1880s, became the most celebrated and influential American evangelist during the first two decades of the 20th century. ... Execution by firing squad is a method of capital punishment, especially in times of war. ... Centralia is a city in Lewis County, Washington, United States. ... The IWW Label A Wobbly membership card The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or the Wobblies) is an international union headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, having much in common with anarcho-syndicalist unions, but also many differences. ... Wesley Everest (1890—November 11, 1919) was a member of the Industrial Workers of the World and a World War I veteran. ...

The largest government actions of the Red Scare were the Palmer Raids against anarchist, socialist, and communist groups. Left-wing activists, such as five-time Socialist presidential nominee Eugene V. Debs, were jailed by government officials using the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918. Section Four of the Sedition Act empowered thePostmaster General, (at the time, Albert S. Burleson) to slow or confiscate all Socialist material in the mail, a task that he took on readily. This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Eugene Victor Debs (November 5, 1855 – October 20, 1926) was an American labor and political leader, one of the founders of the International Labor Union, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), and five-time Socialist Party of America candidate for President of the United States. ... The United States Postmaster General is the executive head of the United States Postal Service. ... Albert Sidney Burleson (June 7, 1863 - November 24, 1937) was a United States Postmaster General and Congressman. ...

The radical anarchist Luigi Galleani, and eight of his adherents were deported in June 1919, three weeks after the June 2 wave of bombings. Although authorities did not have enough evidence to arrest Galleani for the bombings, they could deport him because he was a resident alien who had overtly encouraged the violent overthrow of the government; was a known associate of Carlo Valdonoci; and had authored an explicit how-to bomb-making manual, covertly titled La Salute é in Voi (The Health is Within You), used by other Galleanists to construct some of their large package bombs[5]. June 2 is the 153rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (154th in leap years), with 212 days remaining. ...

In a spectacle that exposed the paranoia, xenophobia, and fear of anarchism which much of the United States was experiencing, Sacco and Vanzetti, two Italian Galleanist anarchists, were executed for murder in a trial seen by many as unfair. Both men called for retaliation against the government, and a wreath left at the funeral parlor where their caskets were exhibited bore the ominous message Aspetando l'ora di vendetta (Awaiting the hour of vengeance).[6] Look up xenophobia in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Nicola Sacco (right) and Bartolomeo Vanzetti in handcuffs Nicola Sacco (April 22, 1891 – August 23, 1927) and Bartolomeo Vanzetti (June 11, 1888 – August 23, 1927) were two Italian-born American anarchists, who were arrested, tried, and executed via electrocution in Massachusetts. ...


Radical retaliation was not long in coming. For their part, the Galleanists did not cease their bombing campaign, despite the Palmer raids.

After the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti, the Galleanists continued their attacks for another five years, culminating in an attempt to assassinate trial judge Webster Thayer by bombing his home in 1932.[7] Judge Webster Thayer Webster Thayer (Born 1857, died 1933) was an 1879 graduate of Dartmouth College and a former newspaper man. ...

Labor unions, strikes, and marches

The first major strike at the end of the war was the Seattle shipyard strike in 1919. On January 21, 35,000 shipyard workers in Seattle went on strike. A general strike resulted when 60,000 workers in the Seattle area went on strike on February 6. Despite the absence of any violence or arrests, the strikers were immediately labeled as "communists," and charges that they were trying to incite revolution were leveled against them. Hysteria struck the city as department stores, grocery stores, and pharmacies were flooded by frightened customers trying to ensure that they would be able to survive a prolonged strike. National newspapers told of the threat of Seattle falling to the "Reds"[citation needed]. Mayor Ole Hanson, a longtime opponent of the Wobblies, publicly announced that fifteen hundred policemen and as many National Guard troops were ready to be dispatched at his orders to break up the strike. On February 10, realizing that resistance would only hurt the movement, labor leaders ordered the strike to stop. Mayor Hansen took credit for the termination of the strike, proclaimed a victory for Americanism, quit his job, and became a national expert and lecturer on anti-communism. January 21 is the 21st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Seattle General Strike of February 6 to February 11, 1919, was a general work stoppage by over 65,000 individuals in the U.S. city of Seattle, Washington. ... February 6 is the 37th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Ole Hanson (1874-1940) was a real estate developer and politician. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The United States National Guard is a component of the United States Army (the Army National Guard) and the United States Air Force (the Air National Guard). ... February 10 is the 41st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... This does not cite any references or sources. ...

On May 1, 1919, a May Day parade in Cleveland, Ohio, protesting the imprisonment of Eugene Debs erupted into the violent May Day Riots of 1919. Charles Ruthenberg, a prominent Socialist leader who organized the march, was arrested for "assault with intent to kill"[citation needed]. May 1 is the 121st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (122nd in leap years). ... Year 1919 (MCMXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar). ... May Day is May 1, and refers to any of several holidays celebrated on this day. ... This article needs additional references or sources to facilitate its verification. ... May refer to the politcal leader Eugene_V._Debs May also be in reference to a a debutante ball, a formal party undertaken by the leaving members of second-level schools in Ireland, most often in the month of August or September. ... The May Day Riots of 1919 were a series of violent demonstrations that occurred throughout Cleveland, Ohio on May 1 (May Day), 1919. ... Charles Ruthenberg (July 14, 1884 – 1927) became famous for founding the Communist Party in the USA. Ruthenberg was born in New York City, New York, the son of an immigrant from Russia who was a prosperous garment merchant. ...

Other labor actions, such as the Boston police strike, the Steel strike of 1919, and the organizing efforts of the Industrial Workers of the World, seemed to demonstrate the rise of radical labor unions. Furthermore, many of the organizations that supported the unions were associated with socialism or communism and had already been persecuted for opposing World War I. Current BPD Uniform Patch The Boston Police Department (BPD) has the primary responsibility for law enforcement and investigation within the city of Boston, Massachusetts. ... The Steel Strike of 1919 was an attempt by the weakened Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers (the AA) to organize the American steel industry in the wake of World War I. The strike was a failure. ... A trade union or labor union is a continuous association of wage-earners for the purpose of maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment. ...

See also

Political cartoon of the era depicting an anarchist attempting to destroy the Statue of Liberty. ... President Coolidge signs the immigration act on the White House South Lawn along with appropriation bills for the Veterans Bureau. ... Red Summer is a term coined by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) describing the summer and autumn of 1919. ...


Further reading

... May 2 is the 122nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (123rd in leap years). ... 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the CE era. ... The Nation logo The Nation is a weekly left-liberal periodical devoted to politics and culture. ... The Nation logo The Nation is a weekly left-liberal periodical devoted to politics and culture. ... The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a major American non-profit organization with headquarters in New York City, New York, whose stated mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States... The Liberator was a monthly magazine established by Max Eastman and his sister Crystal Eastman in 1918 to continue the work of The Masses, which was shut down by the wartime mailing regulations of the US Government. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Red Scare (215 words)
The term "Red Scare" is commonly used to describe the feelings of fear (occasionally bordering on hysteria) that pervaded the citizens of the United States at the height of the Cold War.
The first major "Red Scare" in American history occurred during the years 1919-1920, during a series of actions known as the Palmer Raids.
The Red Scare hysteria manifested itself in several ways, notably through the actions of the House Un-American Activities Committee, the rise of Senator Joseph McCarthy, and the acceleration of the arms race.
red: Definition and Much More from Answers.com (2770 words)
Red is the color of the passion (emotion), romance and sex, (because of its association with blood, which is responsible for arousal) thus the red of a Valentine heart and of a "red-light district".
In the history of Japan red is the color of military flags used by the Heike (or Taira) clan and of the Genji (or Minamoto) clan, two clans that struggled for power at the close of the Heian era, in the late 12th century.
Red is the color used for critical or important systems (such as emergency lighting) that operate in low-light or night-time conditions, as rod cells in the human eye do not respond to it and therefore does not interfere in the eye's ability to focus in dim environments.
  More results at FactBites »



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