Letter from unnamed NCWC staff person to Apostolic Delegate Cicognani, with enclosure "A Technique for Fighting Communism in the USA"

Letter to Amleto Cicognani with enclosed pamphlet, "A Technique for Fighting Communism in the USA"

Letter to Cicognani with "A Technique for Fighting Communism in the USA"

As the letter introducing this pamphlet explains, Cicognani apparently lent it to the National Catholic Welfare Conference (NCWC) to read, and they are now returning it to him. It is unclear from the letter, however, whether Cicognani or the NCWC approve of the pamphlet’s message wholeheartedly, partially, or not at all. Certainly, the militant anti-Communism in which this pamphlet is soaked was characteristic of American society during the Cold War, when almost no condemnation of Communism was too extreme. While most of the documents in this collection take a more positive tone by appealing to the American people’s sympathy for refugees on the basis of their common humanity, this document focuses its adjective-filled rhetoric on the “menace” of Communism, which, it says, has been using propaganda throughout World War II to blind American society to the true danger. In fact, during World War II there was a period during which the Soviets were viewed more favorably by most Americans, but mostly because they were an important ally against the Nazis.

 

 

Young DP Sitting with Luggage

Young DP with luggage at Ellis Island, Bruce M. Mohler papers

This document marks the transition in American society from pro-Soviet wartime opinion to anti-Soviet Cold War paranoia. The pamphlet does echo the themes of the other documents in this collection in that it proposes that a “Committee or Foundation” be set up to aid Displaced Persons (DPs) who are unable to return to their now Communist-controlled Eastern European homelands. However, the purpose of such a Committee, according to the pamphlet, would be not only to aid DPs, but also to distribute those refugees throughout American society and other friendly Western nations as living witnesses to the “Soviet horror.” As “Victims of Communism” whose stories would be paraded before the American people, the real usefulness of DPs would not lie simply in their contribution to the American workforce and to agrarian labor, but in their value as counter-propagandists against the Soviet agents who, at least in the pamphlet’s perception, have infiltrated every level of American society.

 

Questions:

  • According to the pamphlet, what groups within American society have been working to disseminate Communism propaganda? Have they been doing so knowingly, or unknowingly?

  • How many American citizens does the pamphlet claim are under “direct or subtle Communist influence”?

  • What do you think of the language and tone used in the pamphlet? Does it resemble other pieces of political writing or movies from that time? Do you think that present-day readers might react to the pamphlet’s language in a different way than the Americans of the Cold War era?

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