Countersubversion in the 1920s
This chapter focuses on how the Palmer Raids of the winter of 1919–20 were the most draconian single instance of federal repression in the United States' peacetime history. Nothing in the McCarthy era can compare to the mass arrests and beatings, arbitrary incarcerations, and summary deportations that took place in dozens of cities across the nation. Capping off a year of industrial crisis, foreign insecurity, and political conflict, they helped solidify the divisions of the war years, institutionalizing them in an underground communist movement on one side and new patriotic organizations on the other. Given the power of the repressive politics that arised between 1917 and 1920, it is a surprising and problematic fact that the national Republican administrations of the 1920s saw no new countersubversive policies developed.
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