Amidst all the anti-Russia brouhaha that has enveloped our nation, we shouldn’t forget that the U.S. national-security establishment — specifically the Pentagon, CIA, and FBI — was convinced that Martin Luther King Jr. was a communist agent who was spearheading a communist takeover of the United States.
This occurred during the Cold War, when Americans were made to believe that there was a gigantic international communist conspiracy to take over the United States and the rest of the world.
The conspiracy, they said, was centered in Moscow, Russia — yes, that Russia!
That was, in fact, the justification for converting the federal government to a national-security state type of governmental structure after the end of World War II. The argument was that a limited-government republic type of governmental structure, which was the nation’s founding governmental system, was insufficient to prevent a communist takeover of the United States. To prevail over the communists in what was being called a “Cold War,” it would be necessary for the federal government, they said, to become a national-security state so that it could wield the same type of sordid, dark-side, totalitarian-like practices that the communists themselves wielded and exercised.
The conviction that the communists were coming to get us became so predominant, primarily through official propaganda and indoctrination, especially in the nation’s public (i.e., government) schools, that the matter evolved into mass paranoia. Millions of Americans became convinced that there were communists everywhere. Americans were exhorted to keep a careful watch on everyone else, including their neighbors, and report any suspicious activity, much as Americans today are exhorted to do the same thing with respect to terrorists.
Some Americans would even look under their beds for communists. Others searched for communists in Congress and within the federal bureaucracies, even the Army, and Hollywood as well. One rightwing group became convinced that even President Eisenhower was an agent of the Soviet government.
In the midst of all this national paranoia, the FBI, the Pentagon, and the CIA became convinced that King was a communist agent. When King began criticizing U.S. interventionism in Vietnam, that solidified their belief that he was a communist agent.