impact of rapp-coudert

Ernest Hopf

The Rapp-Coudert investigations and the subsequent Board of Higher Education trials lead to the dismissal, non-reappointment or resignation of over fifty faculty and staff at CCNY-the largest political purge of a faculty in the history of the US. CCNY loses many outstanding teachers; most never work in academia again. The purge ends when the US enters World War II as an ally of the Soviet Union in the fight against fascism.

The techniques pioneered by the Rapp-Coudert Committee -- private interrogations, followed by public hearings for those individuals named by the committee's "friendly" witnesses -- become the model for the McCarthy investigations of the 1950s.

“The reign of terror that this investigation unleashed in the city colleges is part of the history of the early 1940s in New York. It has well been described as a dress rehearsal for the McCarthyism of the 1950’s on the national scene.”
--Abraham Edel, The Struggle for Academic Democracy, 1990 .