During February and March 1919, a US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee held heatings before which many "Bolshevik horror stories" were presented. The character of some of the testimony can be gauged by the headline in the usually sedate Times of 12 February 1919:
DESCRIBE HORRORS UNDER RED RULE. R.E. SIMONS AND W.W. WELSH TELL SENATORS OF BRUTALITIES OF BOLSHEV1KI— STRIP WOMEN IN STREETS—PEOPLE OF EVERY CLASS EXCEPT THE SCUM SUBJECTED TO VIOLENCE BY MOBS.
Historian Frederick Lewis Schuman has written: "The net result of these hearings ... was to picture Soviet Russia as a kind of bedlam inhabited by abject slaves completely at the mercy of an organization of homicidal maniacs whose purpose was to destroy all traces of civilization and carry the nation back to barbarism."7
Literally no story about the Bolsheviks was too contrived, too bizarre, too grotesque, or too perverted to be printed and widely believed—from women being nationalized to babies being eaten (as the early pagans believed the Christians guilty of devouring their children; the same was believed of the jews in the Middle Ages). The story about women with all the lurid connotations of state property, compulsory marriage, "free love", etc. "was broadcasted over the country through a thousand channels," wrote Schuman, "and perhaps did ...