Containing communism in Texas: How the right in Texas interpreted the Cold War, 1945-1965

Frank Vasquez Delao, University of Texas at El Paso


The United States Cold War policy was based on Containment: a strategy of containing communism where it existed and keeping it from spreading throughout the rest of the world. The Red Scare was a manifestation of the perceived failures to fully accomplish that goal. A belief existed that communists had infiltrated into the U.S. and were threatening to derail American society. In Texas, that fear was attached to changes taking place in society that either went against the status quo or simply threatened the traditional way of life in the state. The radical Right viewed communism as the main influence behind issues such as desegregation and labor organizing. Right-wing groups reacted towards this perceived threat of communism in a similar manner that it had towards changes before this period. As a result, extreme right-wing reactionary groups were either revived or created as a response to the changing society. Groups like the John Birch Society, the White Citizens’ Council, and the Ku Klux Klan took it upon themselves to practice a form of domestic containment in which they made attempts to keep issues like civil rights out of their communities. The objective of my research is to cover the Right-wing element in Texas during the Cold War and then focus on its opposition to changes and perceived threats to society. I will focus on the first half of the Cold War, 1945–1969, and intend to cover four major issues: 1.) the rise of Right-wing groups during this period and their attempts to “preserve” traditional society; 2.) the resistance against desegregation; 3.) the suppression of organized labor; 4.) opposition to immigration.

Subject Area

American history

Recommended Citation

Delao, Frank Vasquez, "Containing communism in Texas: How the right in Texas interpreted the Cold War, 1945-1965" (2016). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10244586.