Throughout the 1930s and until the end of 1941, many US political leaders launched severe repression campaigns against the so-called Un-American activities. In 1930, Hamilton Fish led an investigation into the propaganda campaigns of the movements of the radical left. A few years later, Samuel Dickstein began to take an interest in right-wing propaganda. In 1938, a new committee was established with the purpose of monitoring the activities of the sympathizers of both Hitler and Stalin. The aim of the current work is to reassess the nature and impact of the political investigations of the 1930s. The key idea of the article is that the spiral of fear and hatred of the Great Depression period should be considered as a phenomenon with its own identity, rejecting the traditional historical interpretation that depicts those campaigns as a mere prelude of McCarthyism.