American Women Against Communism Mailer, September 28, 1944
The specter of Communism hung over the heads of many Americans in the closing years of World War II. Underneath the military alliance that bound the United States and the Soviet Union together, ideological differences over economics, government, and liberty compelled many Americans to fear what they saw as an impending Communist invasion. What was perhaps most terrifying about this force was that it wasn't physical; it was intellectual and political. To many Americans, Communism represented a set of values antithetical to the ones celebrated in the United States. Core beliefs in capitalism, limited government, and freedom of religion were not shared by the Soviet Union.
Fear of Communism was not a new phenomenon when Marguerite Morrison, president of the far-right organization American Women against Communism, issued this mailer in September of 1944. In the decades since the 1917 Russian Revolution, in which Communists overthrew the czarist monarchy, Americans had become hesitant to embrace the pro-labor, big-government beliefs of the Soviet Union. In response to perceived threats of national security from Communists within the United States, congressional committees were created to investigate Soviet spies in American labor unions and governmental organizations. The Fish Committee, created in 1930, was responsible for the investigation of labor unions such as the ACLU for Communist corruption. Eight years later, the Dies committee, named for its chairman, the Texas democratic congressman Martin Dies, investigated the Works Progress Administration. These committees attempted to brand liberal individuals and groups as Communist sympathizers. Tensions were so high that entire industries, including Hollywood, would become battlegrounds of blacklisting and conspiracy. In 1946, the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) would replace the Dies committee and begin a decade-long search for Communists in the government, the private sector, and labor unions.
What scared anticommunists most was the belief that Communism's ultimate goal was global domination, something that Americans barely prevented Germany and Japan from achieving just a few years earlier. As the late 1940s gave way to the 1950s and the Cold War, America and the Soviet Union competed for the position of the world's strongest superpower. While the decades were marked by military escalation and proxy violence across the globe, the domestic fear and loathing of Communism was always close to home, as evidenced by this mailer.
Glen Jeansonne, Women of the Far Right: The Mothers' Movement and World War II (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996).