The great Red Scare followed World War I after the concern about the Bolshevic revolution in 1917. This event frightened many Americans who feared that radicals in the United States might try to follow the Bolshevic example. Rumors began circulating and these ideas became an exaggerated scare in 1919 . Events that kept people in the United States thinking and talking about the communist threat included a total of 30 bombs found by postal workers addressed to many prominent individuals, as well as another bomb that actually exploded killing 38 people and injuring many others on Wall Street in 1920. This was an important time, in that it showed what happens when people lose faith in their fellow neighbors. When faith in friends and neighbors is lost, fear takes over. The fear in people’s minds turned into hate and became very dangerous. These feelings spread quickly through the whole social system of the United States.
The Espionage Act was passed during WWI to punish treasonable or disloyal activities. This Act remained in place and active after WWI. During this time and on through WWII, many innocent people were questioned, arrested, fined, and in some cases, killed. With the American people feeling that anyone around them could be a Communist sympathizer, the people who were scrutinized the most were the politicians, big businessmen, and anyone connected with Hollywood. One politician that fell under this scrutiny was Alger Hiss, a government official in Washington. He was one of the most publicized and well known persons of this time period to be scrutinized and placed on trial. This period of time when people were hunted down and accused of communist activity was known as the second “Red Scare”.
Alger Hiss went to Johns Hopkins University and then Harvard Law School. His career started with a position working with Felix Frankfurter, a future Supreme Court justice. He also worked with Associate Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes as…