Anti-Communism in the Heartland: The Red Scare at the Local Level in Wichita, Kansas


  • Emma Lavacek Wichita State University


Red Scare, Mid-American states, Midwest, Wichita, Kansas, HUAC, McCarthyism, religion, educational system, big business, communist infiltration, Fred Koch


Anti-communist sentiments were central to Americans during the late 1940s and early 1950s. Fear of communism during this time was pervasive and spread across the nation. Large metropolitan areas became hot beds for Red Scare politics, putting government and private sector employees in the spotlight. The existing literature of the Red Scare focuses on large cities, like Washington, D.C, New York City, Los Angeles, or places that were particularly fervent in their "redhunting". The Midwest, by contrast, the literal and industrial core of the nation, is often left out of this discussion, but it is equally important to examine in regards to the Red Scare and how it played out in the United States. Wichita, Kansas, demonstrates what the Red Scare looked like for Middle America through its community and grass roots based anti-communism, illustrating how the citizens of the United States reacted to and participated in the Red Scare on a smaller scale.