SAT Subject US History Practice Question 707: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 707

58. Which of the following is NOT a reason for the growth of the Communist Party in the United States in the 1930s?

A. The Communist Party tapped into many people's doubts about the efficacy of the capitalist system during the Great Depression.
B. The Communist Party, as part of its Popular Front strategy, avoided talk of impending revolution and advocated forming alliances with anti-fascist liberals.
C. The Communist Party's work on behalf of African Americans, as is evident in the Scottsboro case, won it many adherents.
D. The Communist Party's espionage work on behalf of the Soviet Union created an aura of dedication and audacity.
E. The large number of Eastern European immigrants who had supported communism back home gravitated toward the Communist Party in the United States.

Correct Answer: D


The Communist Party did engage in spying on the United States for the Soviet Union, but this could not be considered a cause of its growth. This espionage was not known to the public or even to most members of the Communist Party. If the public had known of this activity, it would certainly have disillusioned most would-be sympathizers. The Alger Hiss case of the later 1940s and the Ethel and Julius Rosenberg case of the early 1950s drove many people from the party, although loyalists claimed that the defendants were innocent. Choices (A), (B), (C), and (E) are all accurate descriptions of the appeal that the Communist Party held for different people.

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