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|Other Titles: ||J. Edgar Hoover and anti-communism in the United States|
|Authors: ||王熙康;Wang, Hsi-Kang|
|Keywords: ||反共運動;顛覆活動;國家安全;聯邦調查局;Anti-communism;Subversive Activities;National security;Federal Bureau of Investigation|
|Issue Date: ||2013-04-13 10:20:43 (UTC+8)|
|Abstract: ||身為一個聯邦調查局現代化締造者，胡佛（J. Edgar Hoover）公職身涯絕對是一傳奇故事。胡佛擔任局長近四十八年，沒有任何人士能如同他一般久任聯邦調查局長乙職。許多人士批評胡佛是透過監視、滲透、黑函及闖空門等非法手段獲取政治人物隱私，在擁有這些敏感資料情況下迫使政治人物與其合作。假設胡佛行為如此卑鄙，我們如何解釋他將聯邦調查局改造成一現代化與強而有力之執法機構？尤其，美國政治制度能讓單一人士影響乃至操縱總統，以及許多國會議員之思維與決策？此一現象似乎不太可能發生，其中必定有其他形成胡佛能久任局長之因素存在。|
J. Edgar Hoover, founder of modern day Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), was definitely a legendary figure. Reining the FBI for 48 years, he is by far the longest serving director of this crime-fighting agency. His critics accused him of resorting to unlawful techniques of surveillance, penetration, blackmailing and breaking-in to amass secret files on political leaders which could be later used to threaten those who refused to cater to his needs. Nevertheless, depicting Hoover as a despicable person failed to take into account his contributions to transforming the FBI into a well-established and powerful law enforcement agency. Besides, it did not stand to reason that the U.S. political system in Hoover’s time would allow anyone to manipulate the thinking and policy-making of the Presidents and members of Congress. There had to be other factors contributing to Hoover’s success.
The FBI in the early days was a corrupt, disordered, and inefficient agency. It was under Hoover’s push for reform did the FBI eventually become the guarantor of domestic security by fighting heavy crimes. More importantly, Hoover was credited for fighting with communist subversion and successfully preventing the U.S. from communist threat. He was one of few Americans who seriously studied the Russia’s revolution of 1917 and warned of the putative threats to democracy and freedom posed by Russian Communism. As a high-profile anti-Communist, Hoover often sought to exploit the atheistic nature of Communism, portraying it as unreligious and unethical, thus unacceptable to faith-based American public. Hoover’s discourse about the lack of moral legitimacy of Communism facilitated his push for an anti-communism campaign in the U.S.
This dissertation seeks to answer the following questions. What motivated Hoover to fight Communism? How did Hoover use the FBI to clean up the alleged Communist subversion in the U.S.? What approaches he resorted to that were deemed controversial? Through FBI documents and Hoover''s writings and speeches, I argue that Hoover became the most influential FBI director due to following reasons: a successful FBI reform, the expansion of federal power, secret surveillance entrusted by Presidents, and a manifestation of Presidents’ determination to ensure national security. The inference that Hoover used secret files to blackmail the Presidents he served may not be the proper explanation.
More importantly, Hoover appealed to the public about the danger and threat of Communism to the United States and the world throughout his life. It is safe to say that Communism might have taken root in the US in the absence of Hoover’s efforts and dedication. However, Hoover’s concern about Communist subversion led him to overstep his jurisdictional bounds in his pursuit of eliminating that perceived threat. Liberal critics often charged him of abusing power, infringing upon personal freedom, and violating human rights, overshadowing his legacy as a strong defender of national security. In the end, what Hoover did revealed a hard lesson for any government that seeks to find a delicate balance between national security and personal freedom.
|Appears in Collections:||[Graduate Institute of the Americas] Thesis|
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