The Red Scare

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  • The Red Scare (1919-1920)
    • Strikes
      • Workers becoming more militant
      • January 1919 - Seattle steelworkers
        • Striking for better pay and shorter hours
        • Spread to more than 100,000 workers
        • By September 1919, 350,000 steelworkers on strike
          • Followed by coal miners.
        • Steelworkers often working 12-hour days, 7 days a week
          • Wanted better working conditions and recognition of their union, the AFL
        • Management didn't want to give in and wanted to smash the union
          • Management won, strike crushed, union destroyed and demoralised for years
      • September 1919 - Boston police strike
        • President Wilson: "A crime against civilisation"
        • Riots and looting by Irish in Boston
      • Total of 3,600 strikes involving 4 million workers
        • Bosses rich so could hold out - also had support from the police, the courts and the government
      • Mayor of Seattle, Ole Hanson, thought the purpose of the strikes was to start a revolution
    • Bombings
      • Began in April 1919 and was Communists and socialists wanting to overthrow capitalist system
        • Threat to the American way of life - the American Dream
      • Bombs planned to go off on May Day (1st May) at houses like Mayor Hanson and J. D. Rockefeller
        • May Day is the traditional celebration of socialist parties and unions
      • 2nd June - bombs went off at same time (11pm) in 8 cities
        • Included home of Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer
        • Bomber killed and evidence that he was Italien
      • Anarchists and communists throughout the US made up less than 0.1% of population
        • 32 states made it illegal to join the Industrial Workers of the World
      • November 1919 - January 1920 - Palmer Raids
        • Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer and head of the FBI J. Edgar Hoover organised raids against radicals in 33 cities
      • Search and arrest warrants were dispensed with and civil rights ignored
        • In Boston paraded those arrested through the streets in chains
        • Between 4,000 and 9,000 arrested
      • 250 people who were not American were deported on suspicion
      • The National Associations of Manufacturers supported Palmer's tactics
    • A series of strikes and bombings in 1919
    • Led many Americans to fear that their country was on verge of Revolution
  • Sacco and Vanzetti case


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