Reds (1948-1953)  20607


  • 00:00:00 Cold War fought by fear in USSR and USA. Gulags in USSR. Both sides turned fear inwards against their own people; the enemy within.
  • 00:00:45 J Edgar Hoover “Communism, in reality, is not a political party, it is a way of life; and evil and malignant way of life … Like an epidemic, a quarantine is necessary to keep it from infecting this nation.”
  • 00:01:00 Title sequence
  • 00:01:45 USA renew values, invent new images for American beauty. Power behind the nation video: “We are shareholders in the greatest enterprise on earth. The United States of America unlimited …”
  • 00:02:30 USA film The Big Lie.
  • 00:03:00 Revival of HUAC and investigation of Hollywood. Gary Cooper on turning down scripts due to them being tainted by Communism. Ronald Reagan on group opposing the Screen Actors Guild non-communist stance. Robert Taylor “if I had my way about it they’d all be sent back to Russia”.
  • 00:04:15 Hollywood 10. “Are you a member of the Communist Party? Or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” John Howard Lawson: “It’s unfortunate and tragic that I have to teach this committee the basic principles of Americanism.” “That’s not the question …” “I’m framing my answer in the only way that any American citizen … I will fight for the Bill of Rights which you are trying to destroy.”
  • 00:05:10 Dalton Trumbo. “I believe I have the right to be confronted with any evidence which supports this question.” 10 imprisoned. Hundreds more blacklisted. Writing scripts under the table. Suicides.
  • 00:06:30 Cartoon footage of shady characters undermining America. 1946: Alger Hiss accused of passing secrets to the USSR. Firm denial by Hiss. Microfilm discovered in pumpkin. Richard Nixon convinced Hiss was lying. Paved way for this whole career afterwards.
  • 00:08:40 Film and soundtrack “… and this is my country, to have and to hold.”
  • 00:09:15 Paul Robeson open about Communism sympathies. Ol’ Man River.
  • 00:10:10 Veterans of American Legion demonstrated against Robeson in 1949 when Robeson due to sing in concert at Peakskill, NY.
  • 00:10:40 Paul Robeson Jnr on demonstrators’ slogans. “Go back to Russia you white Niggers.” “Commies, Niggers, Jews”. “You got in, but you’re not going to get out alive.” “Hitler didn’t finish the job, we will.” Concert turned into riot. State police made cars go slowly through gauntlet of protestors. Inter-racial couple passing-by mistakenly tried to lynch black man as Robeson. “That’s not the American way; you don’t lynch the wrong nigger.”
  • 00:12:30 American Newsreel of Truman announcing atom bomb explosion in Russia. News of Mao Zedong in China. Special attachment of US to China. Many people felt there had to be some kind of conspiracy or plot as an explanation. Joe McCarthy blamed traitors in the state department (video). “Now I intend to name names: John S Service …”
  • 00:15:00 “One Communist in the faculty of one university is one too many. One Communist among the American advisors at Yalta was one too many. And even if there were only one Communist in the State Department, that would still be one too many.” Truman tried to dismiss these claims: “We’re not going to turn America into a right-wing totalitarian country in order to deal with a left-wing totalitarian threat.”
  • 00:16:30 Left-wing Labor organisations banned, radical groups indited, demonstrations broken up. FBI under Hoover discovering spy rings, justified in national interest. Frances Eisenberg: “I’d never had so much as a parking ticket.”
  • 00:18:10 1952 election: Eisenhower chose Nixon as running mate. “The future of our country belongs to more courageous men. It belongs to men who know that freedom’s fight must be forever … spiritual and intellectual arms against an army of Communist ideas.” Senator McCarthy: “I can’t report that I agreed with him on everything … I can report that he is a great American …”. Brownell: McCarthy as “first class demagogue”. General Marshall accused by McCarthy of treachery, and Eisenhower intimidated into dropping praise of Marshall into an election speech.
  • 00:20:20 Julius and Ethel Rosenberg convicted of spying for USSR and sentenced to death despite their young children. Concern around the world. Breach of constitution? Kinoy remembers Judge Jerome Frank: “If I were as young as you are, I would be sitting there saying the same things you’re saying … But when you are as old as I am you will understand why I cannot do it.” Frank himself was terrorised by fear as a Liberal. Rosenbergs executed. Extended video of witness to the execution; highlights Jewishness of Julius Rosenberg. Difficulty of killing Ethel Rosenberg in electric chair.
  • 00:23:50 McCarthy denouncing senior Republicans and army officers. But had gone too far. “Have you left no sense of decency?” But spirit of McCarthyism stained American democracy for decades.
  • 00:25:00 All dissent suppressed in USSR. World War feared as well as subversion. Police terror and cult of Stalin’s personality.
  • 00:25:50 Gulags from the Baltic to the Pacific.
  • 00:26:45 Map of Communist East European satellite states.
  • 00:27:00 US propaganda film: Your Crusade for Freedom “Freedom loving people. Our kind of people … The captive nations of Europe.” Ronald Reagan appearance in film. World freedom bell on West Berlin City Hall.
  • 00:28:00 Campaign secretly funded by CIA. Armed exiles also sent back into Eastern Europe. ‘Reception committee’ often waiting for these people despite their training. For Polish Government, this justified even harsher measures against spies and saboteurs.
  • 00:29:25 1948, Stalin tightens grip on Eastern Europe. Tito having broken away. Abused by Moscow. Stalin moved to prevent the spread of independent Communism to states like Czechoslovakia. Russian model insisted on “everyone must march, shout, obey.” Show trials of leading East European Communists, e.g. Rudolf Slansky; footage of trial in November 1952.
  • 00:31:50 Sukhanov on ‘evidence’ gathering process to prove what couldn’t be proved. Goldstücker:  As soon as confession was obtained, that was enough. Jarmila Potuckova: “I got into an imaginary world of castles and princes and animals so that when they shouted at me I didn’t have to answer them.” Goldstücker: scripts prepared for the trials, with answers also listed. Video footage laying emphasis on bourgeois nature of defendant. Ashes scattered over ice on unknown country road.
  • 00:35:50 “Glory to Stalin” song in theatre. Arts, painting, literature and music regimented by Socialist Realism. Pokrovsky: Stalin’s interference with Bolshoi done with love and good taste, but the fear … produced a lot of negative effects. Shostakovich reprimand for departure from socialist realism. Official art showed promised land of plenty and opportunity guided by wise and selfless leaders. Susanna Pechuro joining secret discussion group, charged with treason and terrorism. Footage of prison cells. Even to ask about them was to risk arrest. Particular horror of children torn from mothers.
  • 00:40:00 1952: 19th Congress of Soviet Communist Party, including many visiting guests. Old but unchallenged head of world Communism. Hopeful in public: “The bourgeoisie – the major enemy of democratic movements has changed. It has become more reactionary. it has lost its links with the people and weakened itself.” But he still feared enemy within and saw treachery everywhere. Suspected ‘cosmopolitans’, mostly Jewish intellectuals and professionals who had already been persecuted for Western contacts. Stalin needed internal ‘fifth column’ enemy; Jews fitted this role well, as many had relatives in the USA.
  • 00:42:10 January 1953: 9 Kremlin doctors accused of plotting to kill leaders. Stalin suspicious of doctors for a long time before that, due to his illness, made worse by his old age and belief in eradicating enemies around him. 5 of doctors were Jewish; purge throughout medical profession and beyond.
  • 00:44:10 Sudden brain haemorrhage; noone dared treat him as he lay dying. Footage of lying in state. The image of Stalin created by propaganda was of someone who was irreplaceable. “Even those who hated him could not imagine a future without him.”



    Ol’ Man River
    from Show Boat
    • music by Jerome Kern
    • words by Oscar Hammerstein II
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                [0] => Kenneth Branagh*narrator**Ring Lardner Jnr*Screenwriter**Ralph de Toledano*Nixon biographer**Paul Robeson Jnr**John Service*US State Department**Arthur Kinoy*Constitutional Lawyer**M Wesley Swearingen*FBI Agent**Frances Eisenberg*Teacher, former Communist**Herb Brownell*US Attorney General**Jan Nowak*Radio Free Europe, Polish Section**Eduard Goldstücker*Communist Official, Arrested 1951**Dmitri Sukhanov*Politburo Secretariat**Jarmila Potuckova*Communist, arrested with Slansky**Boris Pokrovsky*Artistic Director, Bolshoi Theatre**Susanna Pechuro*Student, Arrested 1952**Yakov Etinger*Gulag Prisoner [son of accused Kremlin doctor]**Vladimir Yerofeyev*Soviet Foreign Ministry
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