The Cold War at Home

The Red Scare in Pennsylvania, 1945-1960

By Philip Jenkins

288 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 6 tables, notes, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4781-7
    Published: October 1999
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-1965-1
    Published: June 2014

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One of the most significant industrial states in the country, with a powerful radical tradition, Pennsylvania was, by the early 1950s, the scene of some of the fiercest anti-Communist activism in the United States. Philip Jenkins examines the political and social impact of the Cold War across the state, tracing the Red Scare's reverberations in party politics, the labor movement, ethnic organizations, schools and universities, and religious organizations.

Among Jenkins's most provocative findings is the revelation that, although their absolute numbers were not large, Communists were very well positioned in crucial Pennsylvania regions and constituencies, particularly in labor unions, the educational system, and major ethnic organizations. Instead of focusing on Pennsylvania's right-wing politicians (the sort represented nationally by Senator Joseph McCarthy), Jenkins emphasizes the anti-Communist activities of liberal politicians, labor leaders, and ethnic community figures who were terrified of Communist encroachments on their respective power bases. He also stresses the deep roots of the state's militant anti-Communism, which can be traced back at least into the 1930s.

About the Author

Philip Jenkins is Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies at Pennsylvania State University. His books include Hoods and Shirts: The Extreme Right in Pennsylvania, 1925-1950 and Moral Panic: Changing Concepts of the Child Molester in Modern America.
For more information about Philip Jenkins, visit the Author Page.


"Readers might be forgiven for wondering if yet another book on such an intensively studied subject could reveal much new. Happily, the answer is a largely unqualified yes . . . . This is an important book for anyone interested in American anti-communism and the domestic history of the Cold War."--American Studies

"Jenkins's book is a very useful and comprehensive account that is especially effective in pointing out the bipartisan basis of the Pennsylvania red scare . . . and also how significantly it was shaped by fears of imminent war with and even physical invasion by the Soviet Union."--Journal of American History

"The strength of his book is in its provocative details, hints for those unraveling theoretical puzzles about the far Right and fascism."--International Labor and Working-Class History

"A significant contribution to understanding Cold War internal security politics. . . . Highly recommended."--Choice

"The Cold War at Home is well-written, thoughtful and provocative. By demonstrating how and why liberals and New Dealers enlisted in and led the anti-Communist crusade in Pennsylvania, Jenkins expands our understanding of Democratic politics in the 1940s and 1950s and challenges some long-held myths about anti-Communism and McCarthyism."--Harvey Klehr, coauthor of The Amerasia Spy Case: Prelude to McCarthyism

"The Cold War at Home is a superb book--something that Cold War historians have needed for years. Deeply researched and beautifully written, it ties local events to the national picture in a truly meaningful way, allowing the reader to see the impact of major issues upon ordinary lives."--David M. Oshinsky, Rutgers University