2. The HUAC began its activities in earnest following World War II
In 1941 Walt Disney, his studio struggling with a strike by animators, published his beliefs that the labor unions in Hollywood were incited by communist agitators. Disney refused to accept the truth that his own managerial style led to the strike. This followed the Dies Committee’s findings of 1938, which were that communism pervaded Hollywood’s film industry. As the year came to an end the United States entered World War II. Suddenly the Americans were on the same side as the Soviet Union in the war against fascism. Anti-communist hysteria disappeared for a time as America went to war. As World War II drew to a close, reports of the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe replaced the stories of massive Soviet victories in battle. Soviet-style communism again became the greatest threat to the security of the United States.
In 1945, with America still at war with Japan, the HUAC began renewed efforts to root out communists in American society. Democratic Congressman John Rankin of Mississippi recalled the public’s attention to Hollywood as a base of communist activity and propaganda. Rankin, during a press conference, identified Hollywood as, “the greatest hotbed of subversive activities in the United States”. Most Democrats did not generally support his views. In the 1946 mid-term elections the Republicans gained control of both Houses of Congress, something they had not enjoyed since 1932. Then in 1947, Walt Disney’s Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals (MPAI) denounced communist influences in Hollywood productions. Disney provided a list of steps for film producers, which included, “don’t deify the common man”. He also warned against depicting industrialists in a negative manner.