1919 June 2

Anarchist Bombs in D.C. Provoke the Red Scare

 

Bombs planted by anarchists exploded in Washington, D.C. on this day, on the doorsteps of several prominent government officials. One exploded at the doorstep of the home of Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer. Another exploded across the street at the home of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, future president of the United State.

The bombings, together with a series of major strikes in the summer of 1919, the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in November 1917, and the emergence of an American Communist Party in 1919, were major factors in provoking the Post-World War I Red Scare. In particular, the bombs convinced Attorney General Palmer that the U.S. was on the verge of revolution, and he organized the infamous “Palmer Raids,” which indiscriminately rounded up thousands of alleged radicals, first on November 7, 1919, and then in larger raids that began on January 2, 1920.

The summer of 1919 also saw a wave or urban race riots that enhanced fears if a collapse of law and order, In Washington, DC (July 19, 1919), Chicago (July 27, 1919), and Omaha, Nebraska (September 28, 1919), along with other cities.

Read about the Red Scare:  Christopher M. Finan, From the Palmer Raids to the Patriot Act: A History of the Fight for Free Speech in America (2007)

Learn more: Cameron McWhirter, Red Summer: The Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black America (2011)

Find a Day

Go
Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps

Topics

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!