This paper examines British and American anticommunist conspiracy theories in the 1920s and 1930s. In both countries, former wartime intelligence agency chiefs set up private intelligence networks in the post-World War I era to spy upon and blacklist radicals -- and, not incidentally, to monitor and control labour union leaders. Also in both countries, businessmen created and lavishly funded anticommunist propaganda organizations. The propagandists in each country exploited quite different anxieties, yet they shared the same goal: to use the fear of communism as a weapon in the struggle against organized labour.
Kathy Olmsted is professor and chair of history at the University of California, Davis. She is the author of Challenging the Secret Government: The Post-Watergate Investigations of the CIA and FBI; Red Spy Queen: A Biography of Elizabeth Bentley; and Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11.
This event will be followed by a short wine reception.