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The Loyalty Review Board and its Impact on American Society

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The Loyalty Review Board, established by President Truman in 1947, aimed to ensure the loyalty of U.S. federal employees during the Cold War. It scrutinized millions, leading to dismissals and resignations amid fears of communist infiltration. The Board's blacklisting practices and the resulting culture of fear had profound social and political impacts, influencing American life and policy long after its disbandment.

Formation and Objectives of the Loyalty Review Board

In the context of rising Cold War tensions, President Harry S. Truman established the Loyalty Review Board through Executive Order 9835 on March 21, 1947. The Board's mission was to assess the allegiance of U.S. federal employees and job applicants to ensure that no individual with connections to subversive organizations could threaten national security. This initiative was a reaction to the pervasive fear of communist espionage and influence within the U.S. government, a concern that mirrored the broader anxieties of the early Cold War period.
Vintage American government office with wooden desk, green desk lamp, rotary phone, inkwells, and a photo of the Capitol on the wall.

Functions and Effects of the Loyalty Review Board

The Loyalty Review Board had a broad mandate that affected millions of lives. It reviewed the loyalty of nearly five million government employees from 1947 to 1953, resulting in about 2,700 dismissals and 12,000 resignations under suspicion of subversive activities. The Board's investigations, which were often criticized for their lack of concrete evidence, contributed to a culture of fear and suspicion that permeated American life during the Cold War, influencing public perceptions of loyalty and dissent.

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The initiative to establish the ______ ______ ______ was a response to fears of ______ espionage and the risk it posed to ______ ______ during the early stages of the Cold War.








Loyalty Review Board operational period

Operated from 1947 to 1953 during Cold War.


Loyalty Review Board's impact on American culture

Fostered culture of fear, suspicion, influenced views on loyalty, dissent.


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