1934 May 26

McCormack-Dickstein Committee Hearings Begin; Forerunner of HUAC

 

The McCormack-Dickstein Committee, created in March 1934 as a temporary committee, and a predecessor to the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), held closed hearings on alleged pro-Nazi groups in the U.S. on this day. Several representatives of the Friends of New Germany testified, but no details were released. The committee chair promised open hearings in Washington in June. The official name of the committee was the Special Committee on Un-American Activities Authorized to Investigate Nazi Propaganda and Certain Other Propaganda Activities. It issued a report of its investigations in 1935.

The Fish Committee was preceded by the temporary Fish Committee of 1930-1931 (October 3, 1930) and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), created on May 26, 1938.HUAC  conducted the longest-running assault on freedom of belief and association for the next 37 years, until it was abolished on January 14, 1975. HUAC targeted alleged Communists or Communist-sympathizers almost exclusively, and in the hysteria of the Cold War the mere fact of being called to testify by the committee was regarded as evidence of one’s guilt.

Read about the history of HUAC and its predecessors: Walter Goodman, The Committee: The Extraordinary Career of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (1968)

Learn more: Griffin Fariello, Red Scare: Memories of the American Inquisition: An Oral History (1995)

Learn more about HUAC: http://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/huac

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