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Moses Finley and the Academic Red Scare

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Chapter Summary

Moses Finley was perhaps the most eminent academic to have tangled with the anticommunist inquisition of early Cold War and to have lost his job. Unlike many other victims of the academic red scare, he was able to salvage his career and, to put it mildly, Sir Moses landed on his feet. Finley's case was central to the development of the academic red scare. When he was fired from Rutgers University at the end of 1952, Finley was one of the first, if not the first, academic to lose his job specifically for taking the Fifth Amendment before a congressional investigating committee. His dismissal and subsequent blacklisting set important precedents and precipitated the formulation of the academic community's quasi-official policy on such cases. As one analyzes Finley's experiences, one needs to realize that the academy was responding to external political pressures.

Keywords: academic red scare; anticommunist inquisition; early Cold War; Fifth Amendment; Moses Finley; quasi-official policy; Rutgers University



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