Legislative Branch

Guide to House Records: Chapter 22: 1910-1946 Nazi and Other Propaganda

Chapter 22. Records of the Select Committees of the House of Representatives

Table of Contents

Records of the Select Committees of the House of Representatives (1789-1988) from Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States, 1789-1988

Committee records described in this chapter:

Special Committee on Un-American Activities Authorized to Investigate Nazi Propaganda and Certain Other Propaganda Activities (1934-35)

Special Committee on:VolumeCongress (dates)
UnAmerican Activities to investigate Nazi Propaganda21 feet73d-74th (1934-35)

22.86 The Special Committee on Un-American Activities Authorized To Investigate Nazi Propaganda and Certain Other Propaganda Activities (73A-F30.1), forerunner of the Committee on Un-American Activities, was created pursuant to House Resolution 198, 73d Cong., adopted on March 20, 1934. The committee was established in reaction to the overthrow of a number of established foreign Governments in favor of communist or fascist systems and reflected concern that foreign propaganda might subvert the U.S. Constitution. Accordingly, the committee was established to ascertain information on how foreign subversive propaganda entered the U.S. and the organizations that were spreading it, as well as to suggest legislation to remedy the situation.

22.87 The committee was frequently referred to as the McCormack-Dickstein Committee in reference to its chairman and vice chairman, John W. McCormack of Massachusetts and Samuel Dickstein of New York. It conducted public and executive hearings intermittently between April 26 and December 29, 1934, in Washington, DC; New York; Chicago; Los Angeles; Newark; and Asheville, NC, examining hundreds of witnesses and accumulating more than 4,300 pages of testimony. The committee accumulated evidence regarding individuals and organizations who worked to establish in the United States policies followed by the Nazis in Germany, the Fascists in Italy, and the Communists in Russia. The committee gave particular attention to the organization and activities of Friends of New Germany and Silver Shirts of America. The committee submitted its report on February 15, 1935 (H. Rept. 153, 74th Cong., 1st sess., Serial 9890).

22.88 Records of the committee include correspondence, investigative reports, press reports, drafts of the committee report, printed resolutions pertaining to the committee or related topics, and vouchers and other administrative documents. There are also transcripts of both public and executive hearings, exhibits, subpoenas, memorandums, reference materials, and copies of domestic and foreign publications circulated in the United States. Records obtained by the committee from the files of William Dudley Pelley, leader of the Silver Shirts of America, are also included; they consist of correspondence concerning personal matters and his activities as a writer, as well as correspondence and other records concerning the organization and administration of the Silver Shirts.

22.89 There is a finding aid to the records of this committee.

Return to Select Committees List

Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to the Records of the United States House of Representatives at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-245). By Charles E. Schamel, Mary Rephlo, Rodney Ross, David Kepley, Robert W. Coren, and James Gregory Bradsher. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989.