What is HUAC?

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HUAC refers to the House Un-American Activities Committee of the US Congress. Formed in 1938, this committee was originally tasked to investigate Nazi-related activities and links of American citizens. Those who have links to the Nazis of Germany were investigated for their supposed disloyalty as citizens of the US. Aside from Nazi-related activities, HUAC’s functions later evolved into investigations regarding communism and subversion-related links of American citizens. Anything related to these activities were labelled as disloyal and very un-American. People who were found to have links to Communist groups and activities were subpoenaed by the US Congress and interrogated via high-profile hearings.

The activities of HUAC were considered necessary during the early years of the Cold War. The intimidation caused by HUAC on suspects with subversive activities caused great attention among the American public. Hearings and interrogations were often considered very brutal and intimidating causing some disagreement among other members of the US Congress and among American citizens themselves. As the years went on, HUAC’s activities were said to be toned down a bit because of public disagreement. The influence of the committee also declined over several years of investigations and persecutions of supposed suspects. By the late 1960s, HUAC was renamed to HCIS or House Committee on Internal Security and was eventually dissolved by the year 1975.

Opponents of HUAC have basically emphasized that the committee concentrated on people with strong political views instead of actual citizens who were involved in Communist-related and subversive acts. Many people back then considered HUAC as very anti-Socialist or discriminative towards a specific group of people. The discontent of many people over HUAC’s functions and great power eventually led to its dissolution in 1975. Many other similar activities were continued by other members of the US Congress and other groups in terms of investigating citizens for possible disloyalty and subversion after HUAC’s dissolution.