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October 20, 1947: Congress Investigates Communists in Hollywood

On this day in 1947, the House Un-American Activities Committee of the U.S. Congress began investigating Communist presence and influence in Hollywood. This investigation, led by Senator Joseph McCarthy, marked the beginning of height of the Red Scare. Conservative U.S. officials worked to oust communists in the government as well as in the movie industry, which was known to be exceptionally liberal.

In addition to hearings and investigations, Congress also pressured Hollywood establishments to create a blacklist policy, which banned the work of screenwriters, actors and directors who were not cleared by HUAC.

Learn how McCarthyism affected Hollywood with American Masters.

Photo: Investigators viewing communist evidence from Hollywood (Library of Congress)

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