Public enemy  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Public enemy is a term which was first widely used in the United States in the 1930s to describe individuals whose activities were seen as criminal and extremely damaging to society.

The term was first popularized in April 1930 by Frank J. Loesch, then chairman of the Chicago Crime Commission, in an attempt to publicly denounce Al Capone and other Chicago gangsters.

It was later appropriated by J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI who used it to describe various notorious fugitives that they were pursuing throughout the 1930s. Among the criminals whom the FBI called "Public Enemies" were John Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde, Ma Barker and Alvin Karpis.

The term was used so extensively during the 1930s that some writers call that period of the FBI's early history the "Public Enemy Era".

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Public enemy" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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