In the 1940 's and 1950 's, an anti-Communist movement swept the United States of America. Fueled by the anti-Communist actions of Congress, particularly a Senator from Wisconsin by the name of Joseph McCarthy, the movement escalated and many people lost their jobs as a result of various blacklists. Congressional hearings, both in front of HUAC and McCarthy Senate committee were a study in organized persecution. The actions taken during the "Red Scare" were eventually given the general name McCarthyism. McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence.
The Red Scare Analysis During the rise of World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union had been brought into an alliance due to both of their desires to defeat Nazi, Germany. Although the Soviet Union’s aggressive, antidemocratic policy towards Europe created tensions even before World War II had ended. That being said, they tolerated each other as much as they could but weren’t exactly friends. The United States government was initially hostile to the Soviet leaders for their decision to take Russia out of World War I and was opposed to a state ideologically based on communism. The main conflict between them was their inability to agree about communism.
Fear is a powerful emotion which controls human beings. Throughout history fear has depicted the outcome of society because few people live with no fear. During horrific events including the Salem Witch Trials, McCarthyism and the ongoing battle against terrorism fear was a response to uncertainty. The Salem Witch Trials were the unfair hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft, these trials were expressed in the Crucible written by Arthur Miller. McCarthyism was when thousands of Americans were accused of being communists, the event was portrayed in the movie Guilty By Suspicion. Finally, terrorism is a constant threat which has many people mortified. Fear dictated all of these events and worsened the situations dramatically.
Hysteria, paranoia, and delusion was what drove the Salem Witch trials in 1692. Many people were executed by decision of the court because it believed in absurd false allegations. Justice in the court was perverted by fear and delusion (Johnson 9). In the 1940s and 1950s, many people in the United States were living in fear of communism; similar to those who feared “witches” in Salem. In the 1953, Arthur Miller came out with a play: The Crucible based on the Salem Witch Trials tackling McCarthyism; accusing others of being communists trying to overthrow democracy in the United States (9-10). Arthur Miller was a playwright and a political activist speaking up addressing societal issues. One of his most well-known works being The Crucible, addressed McCarthyism and its absurd purpose. Miller, creator of The Crucible was blacklisted, and accused of being a communist along with many other entertainers (“Arthur Miller”). Through all this ignorance and delusional fear, Arthur Miller was inspired to explore the similarities and parallels of the Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism.
The Red Scare quickly spread across the States as American people feared that communism would take over their country one day. The era had significant impacts on American society during the early stage of the Cold War. Shortly after the beginning of the Red Scare, a phenomenon which is known as McCarthyism appeared and shaped American politics. The anti-communist movement reached its peak in February 1950, when Senator Joseph McCarthy capitalised the fear by claiming he had a list of more than 200 communists working inside the American government.
This kind of hysteria caused the Red Scare, which was a period that Americans thought communists were working to destroy America. This mass fear of communism ruined people’s lives and made them turn against their own family and friends. Joseph McCarthy played an
Austin Storie Mrs. Call American Literature January 31, 2016 Red Scare: The Era of Mass Hysteria Imagine being disowned from your family, losing your job, and facing jail time over an untrue rumor. That situation may seem farfetched, but it was a reality for some during the Red Scare. While government action during the Red Scare was intended to protect democracy, it did more harm than good.
Fear, it causes people to be blinded by the truth. People can’t tell right from wrong. Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible to show how no one could see what was right. During the 1950’s communism was spreading throughout Europe like a wildfire, then it slowly made its way over to the U.S. This was known as The Red Scare. People were terrified of communism spreading to the United States, so when accusations started floating around everyone would believe them. McCarthy accused people of communist behavior, although many were falsely accused, no one knew better than to think they were guilty because of how scared they were of communism spreading. This resembles how certain characters were accused of witchcraft in The Crucible. The Red Scare caused nationwide hysteria just how the Salem Witch Trials caused hysteria to the people of Salem.
When people are placed under an intense feeling of fear, they begin to commit actions they never thought they were capable over. In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, a young group of girls commit witchcraft which eventually leads to the arrest of over 100 women. This is similar to a time in the 1950s when Joseph McCarthy accuses government officials of communism and that ultimately leads to hundreds of citizens losing their jobs. The Crucible reveals the similarities between The Salem Witch Trials of the 1690s and McCarthyism of the 1950s because it demonstrates how a society can be tremendously impacted by the feeling the fear.
In response to the second Red Scare, prompted by the accusations of Senator Joe McCarthy, Arthur Miller felt it necessary to express his political feelings through an author’s medium. Similarities are shown between McCarthyism and the Salem witch trials in the way Senator McCarthy gained power and control by inducing fear and hatred of communists in America, comparable to the fear and hatred of witches in the late 1600s. Miller shares that themes of paranoia and vengeance continue on even as society progresses, and presents The Crucible as an example to shed light on issues inherent with using accusations to gain power. With its ability to relate to a number of political situations in many countries, even as far as 50 years past its creation,
In 1692, a fear of witchcraft led to the accusation of over 200 townspeople. Of those 200, 20 hanged. Throughout the Crucible, it explains the ridiculous trials the people went through to try to prove their innocence. This is parallel to the Red Scare because people went to great lengths to prove their innocence of McCarthyism. In the Crucible, there is multiple occasions where the events that happen are parallel to McCarthyism because the Crucible is an allegory to McCarthyism.
The Crucible Fear has effected much of history. Many of these events in history are very similar. One of the biggest examples in history would be The Holocaust. An example would be the Salem witch trails which were depicted in the book The Crucible by Arthur Miller. The Crucible and The Holocaust are related because one person was to blame for the mass hysteria, there was one person in power, fear was used to control the people and many people were wrongly punished.
“The Crucible” by Arthur Miller and The Red Scare share many characteristics. “The Crucible” describes the Salem Witch Trials. These trials were during a period of time where men and women were very rancorous so others feared to speak up because they would be accused of witchcraft and killed. Similar to Arthur Miller’s book, the Red Scare was a period of time in the late 40’s and 50’s in which United States citizens were intensely paranoid of an opposing threat of communism in Eastern Europe and Asia and ultimately communists infiltrating the United States. What the Red Scare and “The Crucible” have in common is that accusations of witchcraft or communism were false, people were blind to the truth, and the accusers weren’t very tactful and
Throughout the film, various themes become evident; the most obvious of themes as mentioned was McCarthyism. McCarthy used the power of media to intensify the “Red Scare”, to the point that individuals began to question and judge anyone who they believed to be a communist whether they were or not. Although McCarthyism ended, it left many jobless, due to accusations of communism, “ ten thousand Americans lost their jobs because of their past or present affiliation with the Communist party”. Lastly, McCarthyism lead to constant suspicion and one might say it manifested hatred between Americans. Similarly the theme of dissent goes hand in hand with McCarthyism and is also prevalent throughout the film.
Everyone was scared of being accused as shown with the look of terror on the women in the right corner. Most of daily life was disrupted blacklists were formed against those accused of communism even if the accusation was false. This was not the land of opportunity that America once