P.W. Hamilton to O'Daniel, May 22, 1940

Page 1

During his 1940 reelection campaign, Governor O'Daniel took advantage of fears about the world situation by promising to root out "traitors" in Texas, both communist and Nazi. He wired President Roosevelt about the supposed "fifth column" in Texas, and asked Texans to write in to him about any "un-American" activities that they had observed. This letter is just one of hundreds that O'Daniel received. No subversive activity was ever found.

Undeterred, O'Daniel continued to believe in a conspiracy of subversive forces. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in a special election in 1941, but faced another campaign for a full term in 1942. During that campaign, he charged that former governors Dan Moody and James Allred, along with other politicians, newspapers, and "communistic labor leader racketeers" were conspiring against him. His popularity had plummeted by 1948, and he announced he would not seek reelection, as there was little hope of saving America from the communists. In his comeback attempts in his later years, he blamed a communist conspiracy for desegregation and other social changes of which he disapproved.

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Hamilton to O'Daniel, page 1

Room 337 Lubbock Sanitarium

Lubbock Texas

Gov. O'Daniel

Austin Texas

Dear Govenor:

From to-days papers, I note

your move for investigation

of UnAmerican activities in

this Wonderful Texas of ours,

a move which I heartily approve.

For the past two to three

years I have been in

wrecked health, Not able

to work. I have spent

quite a little bit of this

time in the city of Ft. Worth.

Not being able to work

I spent some of my

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P.W. Hamilton to O'Daniel, May 22, 1940, Records of W. Lee O'Daniel, Texas Office of the Governor, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Page last modified: March 30, 2011