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date: 19 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

Aaron Copland suffered during the Second Red Scare that swept the United States after World War II. When Congressman Fred Busbey announced that the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) had compiled “a long record of questionable affiliations” proving Copland a “communist sympathizer” or “fellow traveler,” the 1953 Eisenhower inaugural committee cancelled a planned performance of Copland‘s Lincoln Portrait, and the allegations became national news. Copland’s progressive politics of the 1930s, his involvement in the 1949 Waldorf Peace Conference, and his association with the State Department--which some considered dangerously tolerant of homosexuals--made him a target for anti-communism of the Hearst press, the American Legion, the entertainment industry blacklist Red Channels, J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, and Senator Joseph McCarthy. Copland narrowly escaped “naming names.” Though his public reputation ultimately recovered, in the early years of the Cold War his creative spark and cultural influence were sadly diminished.

Keywords: Second Red Scare, House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), politics, Waldorf Peace Conference, anti-communism, Red Channels, FBI, McCarthy, Cold War

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