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The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) or House Committee on Un-American Activities (HCUA), from 1969 onwards known as the House Committee on Internal Security, was an investigative committee of the United States House of Representatives. The HUAC was created in 1938 to investigate alleged disloyalty and subversive activities on the part of private citizens, public employees, and those organizations suspected of having communist ties including the masked vigilante group known as the Minutemen.

History

In 1950, Senator Joseph McCarthy requested that the Federal Bureau of Investigation sweep its files for possible subjects of interest, to aid the House Un-American Activities Committee efforts to root out communist sympathizers.

In 1954, the House Un-American Activities Committee demanded that all costumed adventurers reveal their identities to the government in response to a published article from the New Frontiersman featuring photographs of Mothman fraternizing with a group of screenwriters, novelists, and comic book artists allegedly linked to socialist clubs at the World Science Fiction Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.[1]

The Comedian, who campaigned for several HUAC members including Joseph David Keene the year before, was the first to answer the summons and ultimately served as justice of the peace for Senator McCarthy's committee by delivering subpoenas to others costumed adventurers.[1] Because of his involvement with the government, Blake was the only vigilante not forced to testify.[2] Rather, he was secretly present, cooperating with and watching his ex-colleagues from behind duck-blinds during the HUAC hearings.[3]

This action didn't present any immediate problems for most of the Minutemen however, with Captain Metropolis' outstanding military record and Nite Owl's service in the police force. Mothman, however, had more difficulty because of his left-wing ties. Mothman was eventually cleared, but due to the lengthiness and ruthlessness of the investigations, the pressure prompted his drinking problem that later contributed to his decline in mental health.[2]

Hooded Justice was the only masked adventurer who refused to testify on the grounds that he was not prepared to reveal his true identity to anyone. HJ spoke out about his decision in an ad published in the Amsterdam News, a leading black newspaper, in which he states "At this time, I am not prepared to share my truth to the world. And I will certainly not bow to the bullying of this racist Congress. For as long as the structures of law and order are controlled by corrupt elites whose singular, cyclopean focus is to protect and fortify the interests and flourishing of the ruling majority, I will never surrender my mission to help the invisible and the oppressed." This action surprised many and caused some of his former Minutemen teammates to distance themselves from him including the Comedian and Captain Metropolis.[1] When further pressured by the committee, HJ vanished from the public eye.[2]

Trivia

  • The House Un-American Activities Committee was a real life investigative committee of the United States House of Representatives. The HUAC was created in 1938 to investigate alleged disloyalty and subversive activities on the part of private citizens, public employees, and those organizations suspected of having Fascist or Communist ties. When the House abolished the committee in 1975, its functions were transferred to the House Judiciary Committee.
  • The committee's anti-communist investigations are often compared to (and confused with) those of Joseph McCarthy who, as a U.S. Senator, had no direct involvement with the House committee. McCarthy was the chairman of the Government Operations Committee and its Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the U.S. Senate, not the House. In the Watchmen universe, it's possible that McCarthy had some direct involvement in the HUAC's activities, despite being a senator.

References

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