The First Red Scare in the United States took place from around 1917 to 1920, during a time of social and political turbulence following [[World War I]]. This period was characterized by widespread fear of radicalism, particularly anarchism and Bolshevism, a form of [[communism]] associated with the Russian [[Bolshevik Revolution]] of 1917. Several events and circumstances contributed to the First Red Scare. World War I had been coming to its end, and the war and its aftermath led to significant social unrest, economic instability, and labor strife. The Russian Revolution and the subsequent establishment of the first communist state added to the growing fear of radical ideologies. Moreover, the U.S. experienced several violent strikes in 1919, including the Seattle General Strike and the Boston Police Strike, which were blamed on radical agitators. Adding fuel to the fire, a series of bombings in 1919 and 1920, attributed to anarchists, targeted politicians, law enforcement officials, and business leaders, inciting a nationwide panic. ## The Palmer Raids U.S. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer was one of the main figures associated with the government's response to the perceived radical threat. After his own home was damaged by a bomb, Palmer established the General Intelligence Division within the Bureau of Investigation, precursor to the [[FBI]], led by a young [[J. Edgar Hoover]]. The division was tasked with gathering information on radical groups in the U.S. This culminated in the Palmer Raids of 1919 and 1920, a series of arrests and deportations of suspected radicals, particularly anarchists and communists. These actions were often conducted without respect for due process rights, leading to widespread criticism. Many of those targeted were immigrants, particularly from Eastern Europe and Italy, contributing to a climate of nativism and xenophobia. While initially, there was significant public support for the government's crackdown on radicalism, this began to wane as the extent of the civil liberties abuses became clear, and as the predicted radical uprisings failed to materialize. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was founded in 1920 in response to these abuses, marking a significant legacy of the First Red Scare. By the early 1920s, the First Red Scare had largely ended. However, it left a lasting impact on the U.S., contributing to restrictive immigration laws in the 1920s, and setting a precedent for the Second Red Scare of the 1940s and 1950s. It serves as a stark example of the impact of fear on civil liberties and democratic principles.