Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Four Freedoms

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The two decades after the end of World War II were a time of great turmoil in American history. Beginning with the Truman Doctrine in March of 1947, where Harry Truman was advised to terrify the public, an overarching fear of Communist influence distorted the idea of American freedom. This fear multiplied when the Soviets exploded their atomic bomb in 1949. The response by the United States Government, due to the emerging threat of Communism, was unprecedented. Three American freedoms highlighted in Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech and the First Amendment underwent strict examination and alteration: Freedom from Fear, Freedom of Speech, and Freedom of Expression. Fear of and hatred towards communism, stemming from the Cold War,…show more content…
Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his 1941 “Four Freedoms” speech, stressed the importance of Freedom from Fear. Congress, with its establishment of the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1945 as a full-time organization dedicated to fighting communism, disobeyed FDR’s request. HUAC was supposed to protect and assuage the fear of communism, which appeared as Soviet-American tensions increased, but its processes only contributed to the fear felt by a large majority of the American population. A 1947 political cartoon by Herbert Block depicts HUAC, symbolized as a car, barreling through and injuring many innocent bystanders under the guise of hunting communism. The cartoon details HUAC’s principle flaw: if there were any suspicions about somebody being a communist, HUAC could detain them with no evidence at all, effectively ruining that person’s life. “If somebody accuses me of being a Commie, I could lose my job and be blacklisted” was a common worry in the late 1940’s. If any evidence was found, that person would be tried, with the trial often being aired on television for the public to see. High profile HUAC trials, such as the trials for the Hollywood Ten in 1947, were prime-time television. When these men were sentenced for up to one year in prison in April 1948, doubts began to set in for the American public. If these famous men are Communists, how many Communists are there in

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