By J. Edgar Hoover
One of the most influential political voices of the Cold War in America was J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover had become the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1924 and continued in that position after this book, On Communism, was written in 1969. Hoover’s infamous stand on the negative effects of Communism on the United States is well portrayed in this book. Director Hoover describes the “New Left” as being “a bumbling group of independent radicals…” and further dissertates on the attempts by Communists leaders of the day, such as Herbert Aptheker and Gus Hall, to influence the American youth. During the early days of J. Edgar Hoover’s time in the bureau, the Communist Party USA was a recently founded and relatively small group of left-wing Americans. Soon after, the party began to speak out for workers rights both in the United States and in Mexico. This seemed to be attractive to many Americans who subsequently joined the party in hopes of inspiring change in government policy. Violent overthrow was never a serious threat of the CPUSA as Hoover would have believed. Hoover stated “Communism means primarily a threat from the Soviet Union and its satellites like Red China.” However, when the expansion of the Soviet Union and the mistreatment of East Germans was beginning to make headlines in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, the Communist Party USA became much less popular and consisted mostly of restless college students. The party that Hoover had perceived as such a threat virtually had no influence upon the vast majority of Americans.
I found the amount of propaganda in On Communism to be particularly astounding. Among many conservatives of the time, J. Edgar Hoover was considered a hero for defending the nation against the Soviet Union and Communism. However, much of this book was filled with the opinions of the FBI director, not with solid, cited fact. I found one particular quote that...