Brief History: Red Scares

Hulton Archive / Getty

A woman protests a Communist-sponsored May Day parade in New York City in 1952.

Even before President Barack Obama took office, critics from John McCain to Joe the Plumber were painting him red. Amid the push for health-care reform, the attacks have intensified. Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer charged that Obama planned to "indoctrinate America's children to his socialist agenda" in a Sept. 8 back-to-school speech.

It's not the first time a phobia of socialism has made U.S. headlines. Since the early 20th century, few issues have stirred more political alarm. Facing a series of massive worker strikes in the years after the start of the Russian Revolution, U.S. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer and...

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