Title: The Hiss Case
Authors: Fronk, David
Citation: West Bohemian Historical Review. 2023, no. 2, p. 251-278.
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Západočeská univerzita v Plzni
Document type: článek
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/11025/55284
ISSN: 1804-5480
Keywords: antikomunismus;Alger Hiss;Whittaker Chambers;HUAC;špionáž
Keywords in different language: anti-communism;Alger Hiss;Whittaker Chambers;HUAC;espionage
Abstract in different language: This study looks at the case of Alger Hiss, which became a hotly debated topic across all levels of American society after it emerged in summer 1948. In particular, it was the first big post-war story which opened up the issue of a possible communist threat to the United States of America. In light of McCarthyism, which essentially took up the start of the 1950s, we need to examine this case taking account of the rising hysteria, and the question then directly arises of how far Alger Hiss’s story was able to affect the very running of society. The trained lawyer and former federal employee was accused of membership of the Communist Party in front of the HUAC by Whittaker Chambers. This apparently banal beginning would lead to unforeseeable consequences for both protagonists. Furthermore, other parties became increasingly interested in the entire case, and their interest was certainly not merely in uncovering the truth. Members of the investigative committee were often focusing on their own political objectives and visibility, while the media wanted to get a scoop, and were eager to inform the public on current developments on an almost daily basis. This all meant that the case was an extremely fraught and closely watched one which really was able to deeply influence the further direction of society. The objective of this study is to describe the core details of the case and identify the motivations of the different figures involved. Their actions certainly could have had a marked influence on the whole of society, and so the question arises of whether they really did, and whether any of them were aware of this fact at the time. In contrast to other authors who have looked at this case, it is not my objective to determine whether Alger Hiss was guilty or innocent. Instead, I want to portray the story as a conflict between two figures in which various circumstances led them to be standing against each other to stage a show in front of the whole of America which could lead to unforeseen consequences for everyone observing, even if from afar.
Rights: © Západočeská univerzita v Plzni
Appears in Collections:Číslo 2 (2023)
Číslo 2 (2023)

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