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Walt Disney Teamed Up With John Wayne, Ronald Reagan To Take On Communists In Hollywood


As seen in part one of our look at Walt Disney’s political evolution, he actively tried to stay out of politics during the early years of The Walt Disney Company. He quietly voted for Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1936 before changing his allegiance to Republican candidate Wendell Willkie in 1940.

The first time he showed fervent support for a political candidate was for Republican presidential hopeful Thomas Dewey in 1944 (which he lost). He donated generously to the Dewey campaign and even gave a speech in support of Dewey at a massive rally in Los Angeles.

As Walt became more outspoken in national politics, he also became more concerned about the political climate in Hollywood. He had blamed a 1941 strike by Disney employees on communist infiltration, saying years later that “I definitely feel it was a Communist group trying to take over my artists.” By 1944, he had come to believe that Hollywood as a whole had come under communist influence.

Disney joined with dozens of likeminded Hollywood stars and became one of the founding members of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals (MPA) in February 1944. Besides Disney, the MPA counted prominent stars such…

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