Comparison Paper for Two Archives

Comparison Paper for Two Archives - A Tale of Two Letters...

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A Tale of Two Letters Lehigh University’s digital archive, I Remain: A Digital Archive of Letters, Manuscripts, and Ephemera, has numerous letters written during the Cold War era. The United States was consumed with hysteria for communism and much of the political spheres were absorbed with any and every hint of communist activities. In June of 1949, retired major general Claire Lee Chennault wrote to Congressman Francis Walter about his fear for communism. Similarly, in 1957, John Edgar Hoover – the first director of the FBI – also wrote to Congressman Walter about communist activities. These two letters are similar in that they talk about communism and they are both written to the same person. These two letters, through their similarity, reveal the political focus and mass panic in the United States surrounding communism both on American soil and abroad. During the time period these letters were written, America was consumed with an obsessive fear over communism. The Cold War was happening and McCarthyism was mainstream. The political focus of the time period was to eradicate any hint of communism in the United States. Both Russia and America were constantly on the edge for they feared the power of the other’s country. Communism had been on the minds of American politics since World War II, but with communism having infiltrated America, it became a political megalomania. The first letter, written by Chennault, details his uneasiness about the rise of communism in China and its threat to America. Chennault refers to himself as somewhat of an expert on china. “As you know, I have been in intimate observation of the China situation for more than twelve years” (Chennault). He was a navy officer stationed in
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2 China and studied the “situation” for years while he was living in China. In 1949, Chennault already had the fear that most Americans would come to posses later in the 50s and 60s. He saw the rise of communism in China as a direct threat to America. “The
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Comparison Paper for Two Archives - A Tale of Two Letters...

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