The FBI Suspected Ray Bradbury of Being a Communist

Illustration for article titled The FBI Suspected Ray Bradbury of Being a Communist

The FBI file on Ray Bradbury reveals the federal government was investigating the legendary author for being a communist in the 1950s and 1960s.


Using a Freedom of Information Act Request, the Huffington Post received a copy of Bradbury's file, and it turns out the FBI checked Bradbury's passport records and staked out his house. But the FBI decided they didn't have enough information to continue their investigation, and they declined to interview Bradbury. Several informants gave the FBI Bradbury's name, including screenwriter Martin Berkeley — who helpfully explained the connection between science fiction and Communism to the FBI.

According to the file:

"Informant stated that the general aim of these science fiction writers is to frighten the people into a state of paralysis or psychological incompetence bordering on hysteria which would make it very possible to conduct a Third World War in which the American people would seriously believe [sic] could not be won since their morale had been seriously destroyed."

But the FBI eventually realized that even though Bradbury had been a vocal critic of McCarthyism, he also had no great sympathy with the Communists. In fact, in a 1959 appearance at a Malibu coffeehouse, Bradbury spoke about how his story "The Fireman" (which eventually became Fahrenheit 451) had been banned by the Russian government, who felt it "slandered their type of government as well as many other countries." [Huffington Post]


Cici Whales

The FBI seemed to think just about everyone was a communist in the 50s and 60s.