Timeline 1947-1950



 
 
 
April 8, 1947: Demonstrations take place in Bogata, Colombia, at the Conference of American States. Among the activists: a young Cuban radical by the name of Fidel Castro.
April 16, 1947: Financier Bernard Baruch, in his address to the legislature of South Carolina, warns, "Let us not be deceived--today we are in the midst of a Cold War." In short order, that term would enter the lexicon of Americans.
May 13, 1947:  The Senate approves the Taft-Harley Labor Act, and votes on June 20 to override the veto registered that same day by President Truman. TheAct requires that labor leaders take an oath stating that they are not Communists.
June 5, 1947: Recently appointed Secretary of State George Marshall gives a speech at Harvard advocating major economic aid for struggling European countries so that communism could not gain a foothold. The $12 billion Marshall Plan would dovetail with the Truman Doctrine to implement the policy of containment advocated by George Kennan. For his vision, Marshall would later be named Time magazine's Man of the Year.
1947: The first issue of the anti-Communist periodical Plain Talk is published under the editorial direction of Isaac Don Levine, financed by San Francisco businessman Alfred Kohlberg. A weekly called Counterattack follows shortly, the fruit of the American Business Consultants, a group founded by a trio of ex-FBI agents, dedicated to unearthing Reds who have infiltrated company unions.
October 20, 1947: HUAC's Hollywood hearings commence under the stewardship of J. Parnell Thomas. Gary Cooper, Robert Taylor, Ronald Reagan, and Robert Montgomery will testify as cooperative witnesses, along with studio executive heads Jack Warner, Walt Disney, and Dore Shary. Ginger Rogers's mother is another particularly cooperative witness. 
October 21-23, 1947: The Hollywood Ten--Alvah Bessie, Herbert Biberman, Lester Cole, Edward Dmytryk, Ring Lardner, Jr., John Howard Lawson, Albert Maltz, Samuel Ornitz, Adrian Scott, and Dalton Trumbo--testify before HUAC, They repeatedly and, usually, belligerently, cite the Fifth Amendment as they refuse to answer the question, "Are you now,or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?" On November 24, 1947, all of them are indicted for contempt of Congress and are fired from their jobs the next day.
October 24, 1947: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Groucho Marx, Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Ronald Reagan, John Huston, Danny Kaye, and dozens of other Hollywood actors, directors, and screenwriters band together under the name Committee for the First Amendment in protest of HUAC's manhandling of the Hollywood Ten. Several of the stars charter a plane--which they foolishly dub Star of the Red Sea--and fly to St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago, and, ultimately, Washington, D.C., giving a press conference at each stop along the way.
December 27, 1947: The Civil Service Loyalty Review Board sets about the business of testing the loyalty of federal employees.
March 21-April1, 1948: The Russians give the first orders forbidding the entrance of military trains into and the exporting of freight out of Berlin withouth their approval. 
May 18, 1948: Congressman Richard M. Nixon's and Karl Mundt's bill to "protect the United States against un-American and subersive activities"--the Mundt-Nixon Bill--is passed in the House by a vote of 319-58. The bill, also known as the Internal Security Act, makes it a crime to attempt to establish a totalitarian dictatorship by any means. In effect, this makes the existence of the the Communist Party itself a violation of the law.
June 1948: The Washington Witch Hunt by Bert Andrews, which decries the recent abuses of civil liberties by Red hunters, is published by Random House. 
June 28, 1948: The total blockade of West Berlin begins. Over the next eleven months, Americans and Brits airlift food, medicine, and fuel to help maintain the city and the well-being of its occupants.
July 20, 1948: After a thirteen-month investigation, a New York grand jury returns indictments against twelve members of the National Board of the Communist Party, who are charged with conspiracy to overthrow the government of the United States.
July 28, 1948: Elizabeth Bentley, dubbed "the Red Spy Queen" by the press, testifies before a Senate subcommittee and, three days later, to HUAC, that she had been the courier to a Washington-based Soviet spy ring during the War. She also implicates the man she replaced in that capacity, Whittaker Chambers.
August 25, 1948: In what has become known as "Confrontation Day," Whittaker Chambers testifies before HUAC regarding his earlier acquaintance with Alger Hiss, as Hiss looks on. 
December 15, 1948: Former State Department official Alger Hiss is indicted on two counts of perjury for denying his role in passing classified documents to the Russians, but his first trial ends on July 8, 1949, with a hung jury.
Janyary 1949: Chinese Communist forces enter Beijing.
April, 1949: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is formed.
May 12, 1949: The Berlin blockade is lifted. Great Britain and the U.S. have flown 272,000 missions, airlifting 2,325 million tons of supplies to West Berliners.
June 13, 1949: The Hollywood Ten, cited for contempt of Congress, learn their convictions have been upheld by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Eight of them serve one year in prison; Herbert Biberman and Edward Dmytryk serve six months. Each of the Ten is assessed a fine of $1,000. All are blacklisted upon their release.
July 1, 1949: Judith Coplon is sentenced to prison on charges of espionage.
July 18, 1949: Baseball star Jackie Robinson testifies before HUAC, addressing the question of whether the Negroes of the U.S. would be willing to fight against Russia, if war were to be declared. (He didn't think it would pose a problem.)
August 6, 1949: Secretary of State Dean Acheson announces that the U.S. is withdrawing support of Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Chinese government.
August 27, 1949: Famed singer, actor, and Soviet supporter, Paul Robeson is but one of the left-leaning entertainers to participate in a concert in Peekskill, New York, which is disrupted when a riot breaks out. Unperturbed, Robeson and Pete Seeger, among other stars, return a week later to give a second concert. But that one also ends in disarray when another ugly riot ensues.
August 29, 1949: Russia detonates its first atomic bomb, although Americans do not learn of it unil President Truman announces the fact at a September 23rd press conference. 
September 21, 1949: The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) is founded.
October 1,. 1949: Standing before the Great Tianamen Gate, Mao Zedong announces the formation of the People's Republic of China.
October 7, 1949: The German Democratic Republic (East Germany) is founded.
October 14, 1949: Eleven leaders of the American Communist Party are convicted of advocating the violent overthrow of the U.S. government, a violation of the 1940 Smith Act. Their nine-month trial, which generates 21157 pages of testimony and costs the government a million dollars to prosecute, is held in New York City under Judge Harold R. Medina. After sentencing the Red Eleven to five-year prison terms, Medina is feted on the cover ot Time magazine (Oct. 24 1949). Among those who testify: FBI conterspy Herbert A. Philbrick, a Boston-based agent who had spent the past nine years infiltrating Communist organizations, and Max Cvetic, whose undercover activities took place in Pittsburgh. (Their escapades would soon be dramatized in autobiograhical books, radio shows, a television series, and a movie.) 
December 16, 1949: Mao Zedong and Josef Stalin meet for the first time, in Moscow. They would meet only once more, on January 22, 1950. 
December 18, 1949: Nikita Khrushchev relocates from the Ukraine to Moscow, where he is appointed a secretary of the All-Union Central Committee.
January 21, 1950: The second trial of Alger Hiss ends with his being convicted of perjury. He is sentenced to five years in a a federal prison.
March 1, 1950: Klaus Fuchs, German-born atomic research physicist who worked at Los Alamos before relocating to England, pleads guilty to violating the Official Secrets Act in giving the Russians atomic secrets dating back to 1942. He is sentenced to fourteen years in prison.