Jackson replies: Kenneth Ford’s letter illuminates the weapons’ laboratory’s draconian implementation of the loyalty oath policy, perhaps because there was no “compromise” of the type negotiated by the university’s academic senate, a compromise implying that a compelling reason for not signing might prevent one’s being fired. Ford’s mention of a “McCarthy-era” loyalty oath in Massachusetts in the 1970s reminds us that more benign “affirmative” or “positive” oaths of allegiance are common today at public universities. Howard Greyber’s letter shows how the cold war hysteria permeated even governing bodies of private institutions across the country. Happily, Gian-Carlo Wick found appointment at Carnegie Tech in 1951.

The anti-communist hysteria of the 1940s and 1950s and its political exploitation against academics were not confined to the US. In Canada the lies and slanders against Leopold Infeld by right-wing press, unscrupulous politicians, and pusillanimous university administrators drove Infeld from his professorship at the University of Toronto and deprived his Canadian-born children of their citizenship. In more recent times the Canadian government and the University of Toronto have made some amends.

Robert Crease wishes I had made a distinction in my brief mention of Robert Serber between him and the others who left the Berkeley physics community in 1950-51. My authority for including him with the others who left because of the loyalty oath was Raymond T. Birge’s history of the Berkeley physics department (my reference 2). As Crease says, Serber’s situation was more complex. It is clear from reading Serber’s memoir that the loyalty oath was a significant, if not the only, factor in his decision to leave. Indeed, in Crease’s own National Academy of Science biographical memoir of Serber, 1 after describing Serber’s unhappiness at the forced departure of colleagues, he writes “Growing antagonism between his friends Ernest Lawrence and Oppenheimer, however, seems to have contributed to Serber’s decision to leave Berkeley.”

“Robert Serber, 1909–1997: A Biographical Memoir,”