Exploring the Red Scare with Old Time Radio Science Fiction

In many ways the Cold War was a period that Americans can be extremely proud of. Her scientists and servicemen made progress and sacrifices that boggle the mind.

But not everything from the period is a source of pride for America. One great challenge to American values was the specter of McCarthyism. The term refers not the activities of Senator McCarthy and the related House Un-American Activities Committee, but to any unfounded accusation of disloyalty, subversion or treason.

There were in fact enemies of the State active in the US during this period; the Red Scare was not without basis. The tragedy of McCarthyism is that its practitioners often acted without out proper evidence, often in a manner contrary to the precepts set forth in the Constitution.

One great fear of the Anti-Communist movement was the insidious manner in which the enemy operated. This fear is reflected in “Conqueror’s Isle”, by Nelson Bond, broadcast 1/11/1953 on Suspense. A Bomber pilot over the Pacific is forced down on a deserted island. The island is inhabited by a human-appearing race far advanced of our own. And they are ready to take over the Earth. What is doubly frightening is that the pilot learns that they have already begun, infiltrating our government and social institutions.

Available in the Atomic Radio CollectionRobert Heinlein’s classic tale “The Roads Must Roll” is presented on X Minus One on Jan 4, 1956. The tale is a fable concerning a future transportation system based on the rolling sidewalks in airports. The Rolling Roadways carry so much traffic that there operation has important strategic and economic value. The engineers that maintain the Rolling Roads begin to feel that they deserve greater power, for without them the roads stop. This tale is reflected in the rise of Organized Labor, especially Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters.

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