1948 July 19

Canwell Committee Begins Hearings on Communism in Washington State


The Canwell Committee, established by the Washington State Legislature to investigate Communist activities, was a state-level imitation of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). The Committee began its hearings on this day. The Committee focused on the state’s pension fund and the University of Washington, engaging in tactics designed to embarrass people because of their alleged political beliefs and associations. See the book about the academic freedom crisis at the University of Washington, below.

For California’s Tenney Committee, also modeled after HUAC, see January 27, 1941.

Learn more about the anti-Communist movement in Washington State: http://depts.washington.edu/labhist/cpproject/canwell_interview.shtml

Read: Jane Sanders, Cold War on Campus: Academic Freedom at the University of Washington, 1946–1964 (1979)

Learn more about the Cold War: Ellen Schrecker, Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America (1998)

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