Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Bertolt Brecht: Before The Committee On Un-American Activities (1947)

Excerpt from the hearing of German dramatist and poet Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), regarding communist allegiances, in the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) of the United States House of Representatives.

The Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) was originally established in 1937 under the chairmanship of Martin Dies. The main objective of the HUAC was the investigation of un-American and subversive activities. Soon after his appointment Dies received a telegram from the Ku Klux Klan: "Every true American, and that includes every Klansman, is behind you and your committee in its effort to turn the country back to the honest, freedom-loving, God-fearing American to whom it belongs."

The HUCA originally investigated both left-wing and right wing political groups. Some called for the leaders of the Ku Klux Klan to be interrogated by the HUAC. Martin Dies however was a supporter of the Klan and had spoken at several of its rallies. Other members of the HUAC such as John Rankin and John S. Wood were also Klan sympathizers. Wood defended the Klan by arguing that: "The threats and intimidations of the Klan are an old American custom, like illegal whisky-making."


The Croaker said...


Linda said...

Thanks for this.

I enjoyed this documentary on Brecht, it intertwines theater-as-protest, politics, and Brecht's life with one of his plays, Mother Courage.


The Croaker said...

Many thanks for sharing the link, Linda. I'll most definitely be watching this.