Sam Roberts in the article A Decade of Fear argues that McCarthyism turned Americans against each other. Roberts supports his claim by illustrating fear, describing betrayal, and comparing it to other United States internal conflicts. The author’s purpose is to point out a vulnerable period of American history in order to demonstrate that Americans felt prey to McCarthy’s negative propaganda. The author writes in a cynical tone for an educated audience. I strongly agree with Robert’s claim. McCarthyism caused Americans to turn on each other due to fear, unawareness, and propaganda. Clearly due to McCarthyism, fear evoked betrayal among Americans in the 1950’s. One reason McCarthyism sparked paranoia is due to the rapid rate of communism spreading …show more content…
Senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin believed communism was the most daunting threat to the American government at the time. Moreover, most Americans had only heard of communism, but were generally unaware of the topic until McCarthy preached his opinions. After his speech to the Republican National Convention in 1952, American citizens suddenly felt a responsibility to rid the country of communists. Although the thought of communism did not pose a danger to the average American, McCarthy’s rampant speeches made unknowing citizens feel a sense of urgency toward the topic. One reason Americans heard little of communism is because the government did not want them to know. For example, McCarthy’s speech sparked an anger in Americans for being lied to for so long, causing them to draw their own conclusions. After all, Miller describes similar occurrence in his play. In The Crucible, the townspeople are oblivious to what is causing a disturbance in their village. Consequently, they decide it must be witches becas they themselves are unaware of any other possibility. One woman, Mrs. Putnam provides, “I’d nott call it sick; the Devil’s touch is heavier than sick” (Miller). Similar to themes in The Crucible, Americans did not understand the magnitude of the issue and felt they had to become overly enthusiastic about it. As a result, an outbreak of Americans turning on one another during the McCarthy
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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.
Although McCarthy could not prove his accusations, his disturbance fed the public’s fear of a rising Communist Party and contributed to the mass hysteria that the Soviet Union’s communist practices would spread and influence American government. Miller did not directly
The McCarthyism incident occurred in the 1950s. This is the time when Arthur Miller constructed The Crucible to relate what was happening during that time. U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy was the man who started it all and was the one to accuse many of being communist sympathizers. During the period, Russia was feared among several other countries, because communism seemed to be on the rise.
As a historical comparison, the characters o the Crucible lived under religious law where only the ways of Christianity were accepted as decided by those that rule the community. In the same way, the 1950’s and the Cold War led many Americans to have an anti-Communist stance and nationalism was encouraged (Fitzgerald 32). In the Crucible, the initial accusation was created when a group of girls were accused of dancing in the the forest, a place considered by Miller as an evil place (Miller 8) in the wake of the mysterious illness of the reverends daughter (Miller 9). During the McCarthy era, the suspicion was started by McCarthy himself as he accused a number of state department officials from being Communist and Soviet spies (Fitzgerald 45-46). In both examples, the initial accusation were groundless as no evidence were presented.
The hysteria that there were communists in the United States was common, and Mccarthy would use this elicit fear to ruin people’s careers and gain power. Much of the panic also came from the fact there were Russian spies in the United States and they were able to steal American secrets. In March of 1954 (Document A) Eisenhower gave a speech addressing the large amount of “hysteria” in the country, addressing the fears of Americans from internal sources; more specifically he is addressing “Unwise Investigators” such as Mccarthy, and the fear people have of being accused of being a communist, and the fears of communism spreading to America, considering the communist spies that were already present in the United States. George Kennan's policy was to stop the spread of communism by using the method of “containment”, this policy would carry on through the next decade. Americans were desperate to stop the spread of communism at all costs, and would take military action and engage in two wars (Korean & Vietnam), in order to halt the spread.
The Soviet Union was on the verge of a nuclear war, so McCarthy put fear in everyone because no one had any idea who was a communist and who was not. He made everyone afraid to trust people, even the friends other had. They were afraid that they would be accused
The Soviet Union and the U.S had contrasting views on the ideas of capitalism and communism, in a bid for world domination the Cold War broke out. A “red scare” swept the nation, with a fear of possible nuclear conflict Americans were paranoid that their own families were communist, spies for the Soviet government. Initiated by Senator Joseph McCarthy, McCarthyism, preached for anti-communism and the suppression of the Anti-communist party. Supporters of communism (reds) were ostracised akin to the patients in the ward being ostracised from society, ‘the outside world’ cementing their chances of ever assimilating into modern society. Government bodies and followers of McCarthyism suppressed freedom of speech and persecuted the “Reds”, in the same manner, that Nurse Ratched controlled the speech and actions within the confines of the ward, controlling her patients every word and move through her “cogs and wires”, anyone who dared to cause an uproar was either humiliated in ‘democratic’ group therapy sessions, given ‘electroshock therapy’ or
In the 1950’s the cold war had begun. The fear of retaliation from communists was at large. Some Americans believed that communists were amongst them plotting. This lead to a dark time in history when American opportunity became limited for many. Most rights were limited, normal life was disrupted, and the most necessary human right may have been taken.
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
During the 1950’s McCarthyism was a widespread problem reflected in the Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, in hope to warn and prevent mass hysteria developing in the United States. The population of the United States became excessively paranoid at the thought of communists in their country. Paranoia among the citizens did nothing but worsen the current situation of the country at the time, since everyone was accusing everyone else of being a communist. Similar amounts of paranoia during the Salem witch hunts caused
Senator Joseph McCarthy was a merciless politician who would be censured by the Senate in 1954 for his false accusations. However, his political journey throughout the country had a significant impact on the American public. Americans let fear override their conscious and allowed a bully to insert panic into their minds. McCarthy’s crusade was powerful and convinced the naive public during a time of war to question their own government without sufficient
With all of the accusations going around, people were forgetting that everyone can have their own opinion. Edward R Murrow, a television host of See It Now bashed McCarthy by saying “’We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty’” (Roberts, 2). Murrow was saying that just because a person disagrees with what the president or a government official says, does not mean they are a communist. The United States has freedom of speech, and citizens can say whatever they want about the government.
McCarthy manipulated the media, told outrageous stories about the communist conspiracy in the United States, and used his power and America’s fear to besmirch any opponents as “communist sympathizers” to make sure he remained at the top. Actually, most conservative members of Congress supported McCarthy because it helped them gain votes during elections. The majority of McCarthy 's movement attacked liberals and members of the Democratic Party and this aided anyone who was not part of those topics and organizations. Then McCarthy began to target the Army because they wouldn’t favor David Schine, one of his former investigators, who had been drafted in. “Senator Joseph McCarthy began hearings investigating the United States Army, which he charged with being ‘soft’ on communism.
Why Did Arthur Miller Write The Crucible? Fear very often leads to unexpected and unwanted results. Decisions made in fear are often more dangerous than the thing being feared. In the United States during the Cold War fear had been running rampant.