President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9835, which established the Federal Employee Loyalty Program. The program instituted invasive measures designed to identify and remove Communist sympathizers from government.
The Geneva Agreement ended fighting between the French and the Viet Minh in Indochina. To American disapproval, the truce divided Vietnam along the 17th parallel into the Communist North and the anti-Communist South.
George Kennan, a US diplomat serving in Moscow, sent his “Long Telegram” to Washington. In it, Kennan proposed a policy of containment for handling diplomatic matters with the Soviet Union. Kennan’s ideas about containment and the Soviet Union shaped US foreign policy throughout the Cold War.
Congress passed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, or GI Bill, providing “government issue” educational and financial benefits to veterans. The bill offered veterans unemployment compensation, financial aid for college, and low-interest home loans.
The House Un-American Activities Committee began an investigation of Communism in the American film industry, demanding to know, “Are you or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” A group of screenwriters, directors, and producers known as the “Hollywood Ten” refused to answer the committee’s questions concerning their political beliefs. They were sentenced to prison terms of up to a year for contempt and many were blacklisted from the film industry for decades.
The United States exploded a hydrogen bomb on Eniwetok, an island in the Pacific Ocean. The detonation destroyed the island in a three-mile wide mushroom cloud. The successful test marked a new era in the arms race.
The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 categorized immigrants and restricted immigration. It also gave the government the authority to deport immigrants or naturalized citizens who engaged in “activities of a political nature detrimental to the interest of the United States.”
The independent state of Israel was declared after the United Nations approved the partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states in November 1947. The United States immediately recognized Israel but many Arab countries protested its existence. Israel was soon attacked by a coalition of Arab armies and responded by conquering Palestinian towns; the armed conflict continues to this day.
President Truman signed the Marshall Plan (or European Recovery Program) into law. The plan, introduced by Secretary of State George C. Marshall in June 1947, outlined American assistance in the physical and economic rebuilding of Western Europe in the wake of World War II. Fearing that poverty and other conditions created by the war might make Europe susceptible to Communism, the American government funneled about thirteen billion dollars into Western Europe to rehabilitate and stabilize countries affected by war.
Congress passed the Internal Security Act over President Truman’s veto. Also known as the McCarran Act or the Subversive Activities Control Act, it strengthened laws against espionage, allowed investigation and deportation of immigrants who were suspected of subversive activities or of promoting communism or fascism, and allowed the limitation of free speech for national security reasons. President Truman vigorously opposed the law that he believed “would make a mockery of our Bill of Rights [and] would actually weaken our internal...