McCarthyism turned Americans against each other after WWII by claiming that Communists had infiltrated many areas of American life and government. In fact, “According to a local newspaper McCarthy dropped a bombshell: ‘The State Department is infested with Communists,” (para 3). In other words, this is the beginning of McCarthy turning Americans against each other. Paranoia started to spread through America which all this strongly affected Americans everyday life. McCarthyism was a result of American fear of communism in the 1950s.
McCarthy was the United States senator at the time, and was also the person most associated with the anticommunist crusade. McCarthy made it to where many Americans were afraid to even question him. “He leveled charges of disloyalty at celebrities, intellectuals and anyone who disagreed with his political views, costing many of his victims their reputations and jobs. McCarthy’s reign of terror continued until his colleagues formally denounced his tactics in 1954.” (The Red Menace) McCarthy used the McCarthyism method.
During this time period, not long after the end of World War II, the USSR (Soviet Union) was on the rise, which led to the Cold War. The Cold War led to increased tension between the United States, and the Soviet Union due to competition and heavy conflict of interest. The involvement of the Soviet Union led to the dramatic fear of communism among the public after witnessing the horrific environment within the USSR. This helped develop McCarthyism, the idea of investigating, and accusing someone in power of being associated with communism. Joe McCarthy himself, the founder of his very ideal also gained much popularity within this time period due to many Americans fearing the rise of communist leaders and communism itself.
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.
People thought that because the Russian czar had been overthrown and executed by strikes that the labor unions of America were being taken over by Communist immigrants with the same goal in mind. Soon, people became obsessed with the Communistic threat coming from Russia following World War II, which led to violence and disregard of civil liberties. “The U.S. government, mainly the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) led by Democratic congressman Martin Dies, Jr., had launched an investigation designed to target suspected Communist Party members in all areas of life, including government, educational institutions, labor unions, and the entertainment industry. The repression engendered a climate of fear throughout the country, as people were afraid to speak out as the accused found their names on blacklists, which hindered their employability and ruined many lives.” (The Crucible Allegorizes the Red Scare)
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
Sam Robert in the article, A Decade of Fear, argues that Americans turned against each other because of McCarthyism. Robert supports his claim by explaining, contrasting, and demonstrating the effects that McCarthyism had on humanity. The author’s purpose is to persuade in order to convince the reader that McCarthyism sparked betrayal and fear among Americans. The author writes in a tone for his educated audience. I strongly agree with Robert’s claim.
Many individuals/Scholars tend to characterize the 1950s as a time of conformity, prosperity, & solidarity. While the 1960s was viewed as the decade of pandemonium, chaos & rebellion. These descriptions of both decades may be accurate. But many argue that there is a correlation between the two periods.
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.
The United States had appeared to be dominated by consensus and conformity in the 1950s. The fifties were the decade of reform to the better led by president Eisenhower. The economy was booming. Further, there was a rise in consumerism which resulted in a domino effect on the economy. On the other hand, issues arose during that time as well, such as the fear of communism.
They were scared they were going to lose it all and specific politicians who were considered demigods. This Red Scare was much more bigger than the first one was originally. In the 1920’s, you had the Red Scare include the Bolshevik revolutions that were taking place all across the United States throughout the different lines of work. This caused the raids of people who were assumed to be a part of the radicals.
The 1950s was not only a time of a growing threat of communism and the fear of nuclear war, but it was also a time of increasing satisfaction in the latest consumer product: the television. TVs captivated the American public to the point where books were being forgotten about. Though books were still being bought and sold, some never made it to the shelf because of the growing amount of government censorship. The government not only censored books, but they also censored movies, content on radios, and other creative works. This censorship controlled what the American public read, watched, and heard, which in turn limited the information available to the public.
In the 1950s, the United States was plagued by the Communist Red Scare and was defined by the McCarthy era. In this era, the American people were deathly afraid of the thought of Communism taking over the world. The very essence of Communist stood for everything the United States was not. The American people, at
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
Movies in today's culture, especially horror movies, has the hidden message of McCarthyism. The Crucible, a play by Arthur Miller from 1953, and the movie, The Witch, which was made 2016, both have similar connections to each other. In the article, “Why I Wrote the Crucible”, Miller makes many valid points and references to Red Scare era. Miller The Crucible was inspired by Red Scare and McCarthyism, but it was included the Salem Witch Trials as a main component due to similarities. The Witch is a remake of the Salem Witch Trials in a different point of view.