organized meetings and events that were related to Communism. Dmytryk also told the SAC, Special Agent in Charge, of Los Angeles how he was first registered as a Communist, how he got his card, and many more things. He even explained why many people in Hollywood would want to join the Communist Party in the first place, saying he felt a sort of feeling of guilt. Because of taking these actions, many more people, whom he mentioned in his answers, were called to testify in front of the HUAC. If you were to refuse to answer the HUAC’s questions, you would be sent to jail for contempt of Congress. Seemingly, the only other thing to do was to explain to them everything that you knew about the Communist Party. But, there was one other choice, “pleading the Fifth”, or the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, to not be self-incriminated. This usually made it seem as if someone was guilty, even if they actually were not. The Fifth Amendment of the United States’ Constitution states: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval 6 "Edward Dmytryk Security Matter - C (Bufile 100-335472)." SAC Los Angeles to FBI Director. March 10, 1951
6 forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” 7 If you “took the Fifth”, HUAC couldn’t legally put you in jail, so instead, they would blacklist you, making it basically impossible to get a job in the industry. Most used the Fifth Amendment defense as their last chance, knowing that it would impact their ability to get jobs. Many people believed that asking people if they were Communists, and to divulge information about it, was against their First Amendment rights, which says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” 8 Technically, as long you are not causing anyone harm, you are allowed to believe whatever you want. So, following the ideas of Communism should be allowed, as long as the people who are doing this are not technically hurting anyone, or committing acts of treason. Therefore, by questioning people, the HUAC was denying people their First Amendment rights. Although the blacklisting in Hollywood didn’t come to an end until the 1950s, seemingly less and less people decided to take a stand against HUAC. One other stand was taken that is more well-known by most, is the moment when Joseph Welch took a stand against Senator Joseph McCarthy. Welch famously stood up against McCarthy, saying: “ You've done enough.
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 7 pages?