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NBC Radio – Keys To The Capitol – September 14, 1955 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
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In 1955 we were knee-deep in the Red Scare and Communist threat, it influenced just about every aspect of American life – sometimes it went overboard. Sometimes it was just perplexing.
In this episode of the Sunday News program Keys To The Capitol, a roundtable of reporters discuss the events and trends of the week. This one, ending on September 14th ran the gamut, from President Eisenhower’s visit to the Air Force Academy in Colorado to a rumored proposal by the President to extend High School to five years and the average 4 year college program to five years. The proposal was based on concerns Eisenhower expressed that America was in danger of falling behind in education, that we needed to maintain our preeminence in the world by maintaining our educational institutions and that an extra year added on to finish high school and to finish college was essential because there was so much more to learn now that cramming it all in to three and four years just wasn’t enough. He also indicated society now was being bombarded by more information than ever before and more time was needed just to absorb the amount of information that was available. This was in 1955 – computers were barely around at the time, and personal computers were out of the question.
Needless to say, the idea drew a range of responses from the reporters. But probably not nearly as much as the latest twist in the Loyalty Oath controversy which, in essence, took the whole Red Scare paranoia a few steps further. Seems security clearance for certain positions could be denied if the applicant was related to someone who was “alleged” to have been in a subversive organization. This included distant relatives, far removed and no matter how long ago. A Loyalty Oath was a Loyalty Oath.
And the conversation eventually drifted to the upcoming elections in 1956 and what were the chances of another Eisenhower term of office and in what state of disarray was the Democratic Party.
And that’s a little of what America was thinking and talking about in 1955 via Keys To The Capitol.