COVID-19 (coronavirus) Update

The Capitol Visitor Center remains closed. We are not taking tour reservations at this time. Please check out our video tours and other online resources.

 

Online Gift Shop Now Open

Check out our new Online Gift Shop, https://shop.visitthecapitol.gov. All products are Made-in-the-USA, and many are created exclusively for our store. We look forward to welcoming you to the CVC Online Gift Shop.

Hiss, Chambers, and the Cold War, 1948

In 1948, Americans watched anxiously as a dramatic espionage tale unfolded in the House of Representatives. Whittaker Chambers, a Time editor, confessed to the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) that he’d been a spy for the Soviet Union. Chambers accused a former State Department official, Alger Hiss, of being among his Communist contacts.

Hiss fiercely denied the charge. Representative Richard Nixon of California, suspecting that Hiss was lying, convinced Chambers to produce microfilm documents from Hiss—documents that Chambers had hidden on his farm in a hollowed-out pumpkin. Hiss sued for libel, but was convicted of perjury in 1950 and sent to prison. The Hiss–Chambers confrontation riveted the nation, triggering widespread espionage fears and spurring further congressional investigations.