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Wed Jun 9, 2021, 09:11 PM

The Red Scare: How Joseph McCarthy's Anti-Communist Hysteria Left a Mark on the U.S.

During a 1950 speech to the Women’s Republican Club of Wheeling, West Virginia, Senator Joe McCarthy made a bold accusation: Communists, he said, waving a piece of paper in his hand, had infiltrated the U.S. State Department.

“I have here in my hand a list of 205 — a list of names that were made known to the secretary of state as being members of the Communist Party, and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department,” he said.

No one in the Republican Party had expected the speech to make headlines. Unaware of the content of McCarthy’s remarks, the party sent him to Wheeling as part of a nationwide celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, an assignment that signaled his lowly status. But that speech propelled him to fame as a central figure in the anti-communist movement that came to be known as “the Red Scare.”

Starting in the late 1940s, America became obsessed with rooting out Communists and Communist-sympathizers, using allegations that were often founded on tenuous evidence or outright lies. Deeply destructive, the Red Scare not only ruined lives and movements, but pushed the country deeper into an era of gossip, paranoia, and a struggle between national security and individual rights.

At the time of McCarthy’s speech, Americans felt especially threatened by the rising tide of communism amid the Cold War. Communist Russia had become a nuclear power and China had fallen under Communist rule. During this tense moment, McCarthy’s genius as a demagogue and manipulator shone through.


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Reply The Red Scare: How Joseph McCarthy's Anti-Communist Hysteria Left a Mark on the U.S. (Original post)
Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin Jun 9 OP
empedocles Jun 9 #1
UTUSN Jun 9 #2
no_hypocrisy Jun 10 #3

Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Wed Jun 9, 2021, 10:05 PM

2. K&R

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Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 06:32 AM

3. McCarthy also created The Red Scare.

As there was no formal association of progressives in the Thirties and Forties, many Americans became associated with left-leaning groups that advocated for trade unionism, free theater, unfettered public protests, etc. And some groups were also associated with American Communists. They didn't advocate for the violent overthrow of the American Government but they wanted what some regarded as radical change.

The Red Scare made actors, writers, directors, etc. lose their ability to work. Philip Loeb, who starred in The Goldbergs committed suicide because of this concerted action with government, corporations, and advertisers. (The day after his suicide, the FBI closed his file, finding nothing against him.)

Then it split apart families. My father feared associating with his brother and his wife due to their past associations with the Communist Party years before. (Just being a family member of a Communist invited the FBI to open a file on you.)

McCarthy used his position to prosecute not only progressives and non-Republicans, but Jews as well, many of whom belonged to those progressive groups in the Thirties and the Forties.

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