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Hollywood Blacklist Research Paper

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The Cold War was a state of heightened tension between the United States and Soviet Union due to both nations trying to promote their systems of government. This war played a huge role in bringing out the fear of communism in the U.S.. In mid twentieth century America, citizens believed that preventing communism would result in the nation's security (“Cold War History”). This belief initiated the second Red Scare in America. The popular fear of communism that was running rampant all over the United States at the time resulted in reckless actions made by the government. The government began to ruin the lives of alleged communists, especially those in the entertainment industry (“Cold War History”). The mid twentieth century was a time where…show more content…
The Hollywood blacklist was a list of people in the entertainment industry that had been suspected of being members of the Communist Party USA. The list was not enforced until 1947, but still directly affected the careers of the people on it (“Hollywood Blacklist”). These people were denied employment and were humiliated in several newspapers, magazines, and radio shows. The entertainment industry companies actions were seen as a human rights violation. “It is against the law to discriminate against anyone in the workplace because of their actual or assumed political beliefs or activities,” (“Political Belief or Activity - Workplace”). Major motion picture associations violated this human rights law and nothing was done about it. Hollywood created the blacklist in response to the pressure of the House Un-American Activities Committee and to show patriotism during the Cold War (McKeen, William). The House Un-American Activities Committee, notorious for their anti-communist investigations at the time, ordered people on the blacklist to attend court to testify. The committee was investigating whether or not the alleged communists had been planting propaganda into U.S. films (McKeen, William). Many artists immediately testified and admitted to having been apart of the Communist Party but a group of ten prominent Hollywood entertainers known as the Hollywood ten refused (Trumbo). These ten men…show more content…
Trumbo among nine other Hollywood entertainers were not going to admit that being a communist is wrong (“Trumbo”). The ten artists were cited for contempt of congress and put in jail. Trumbo himself spent 11 months in jail, but did not waste a second regretting it (“Dalton Trumbo Biography”). If standing up for his rights and his political beliefs meant doing time then that was how it was going to be. This heroic behaviour inspired many around him and sparked motivation for him to prove Hollywood that they made a mistake. Instead of playing a victim and not moving forward with his life, as many who were blacklisted did, Trumbo continued to write movies and novels in secrecy. His most remembered work was not first credited to him, take Roman Holiday and Spartacus for example (“Dalton Trumbo Biography”). In 1960, when the anti-communist controversy cooled down and Joseph McCarthy, a huge contributor to the hysteria dead, it was announced that Trumbo would receive credit for his work (“Dalton Trumbo Biography”). Dalton Trumbo, along with the other members of the Hollywood ten, stood up for their beliefs and in return are viewed as heroes today.

The definition of a democracy is a government by the people meaning everyone has the freedom to say and think what they please. Due to the anti-communist hysteria during
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