National Archives and Records Administration. McCarthyism was a symptom of a massive and widespread anticommunist hysteria that engulfed Cold War America. Popular fears, for instance, had long since shot through the federal government. Between and , congressional committees conducted over one hundred investigations into subversive activities. Antisubversion committees emerged in over a dozen state legislatures, and review procedures proliferated in public schools and universities across the country.
At the University of California, for example, thirty-one professors were dismissed in for refusing to sign a loyalty oath. Anticommunist policies reflected national fears of a surging global communism.
Within a ten-month span beginning in , for instance, the USSR developed a nuclear bomb, China fell to communism, and over three hundred thousand American soldiers were deployed to fight a land war in Korea. Newspapers, meanwhile, were filled with headlines alleging Soviet espionage. During the war, Julius Rosenberg worked briefly at the U. He and his wife, Ethel, who had both been members of the Communist Party of the USA CPUSA in the s, were accused of passing secret bomb-related documents to Soviet officials and were indicted in August on charges of giving nuclear secrets to the Russians.
After a trial in March , they were found guilty and executed on June 19, The environment of fear and panic instigated by McCarthyism led to the arrest of many innocent people. Still, some Americans accused of supplying top-secret information to the Soviets were, in fact, spies.
Library of Congress. Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs offered anticommunists such as Joseph McCarthy the evidence they needed to allege a vast Soviet conspiracy to infiltrate and subvert the U. Forced to respond, President Truman arranged a partisan congressional investigation designed to discredit McCarthy.
There had, of course, been a communist presence in the United States. During its first two years of existence, the CPUSA functioned in secret, hidden from a surge of antiradical and anti-immigrant hysteria, investigations, deportations, and raids at the end of World War I. The CPUSA began its public life in , after the panic subsided, but communism remained on the margins of American life until the s, when leftists and liberals began to see the Soviet Union as a symbol of hope amid the Great Depression.
web.difccourts.ae/fbulas-biblioteca-juvenil.php Then many communists joined the Popular Front, an effort to make communism mainstream by adapting it to American history and American culture. During the Popular Front era, communists were integrated into mainstream political institutions through alliances with progressives in the Democratic Party. But even at the height of the global economic crisis, communism never attracted many Americans.
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From the mids through the mids, the party exercised most of its power indirectly, through coalitions with liberals and reformers. A bloc of left-liberal anticommunists, meanwhile, purged remaining communists in their ranks, and the Popular Front collapsed. Following a series of predecessor committees, HUAC was established in , then reorganized after the war and given the explicit task of investigating communism. The Taft-Hartley Act gave union officials the initiative to purge communists from the labor movement. A kind of Cold War liberalism took hold. Led by its imperious director, J.
Edgar Hoover, the FBI took an active role in the domestic battle against communism. A group of writers, directors, and producers who refused to answer questions were held in contempt of Congress. This Hollywood Ten created the precedent for a blacklist in which hundreds of film artists were barred from industry work for the next decade. Many accused of Communist sentiments refused to denounce friends and acquaintances. During the Cold War, he was condemned by the press and neither his music nor films could be purchased in the United States. Anticommunist ideology valorized overt patriotism, religious conviction, and faith in capitalism.
If communism was a plague spreading across Europe and Asia, anticommunist hyperbole infected cities, towns, and suburbs throughout the country. Political opposition, thereby, is given an inhumane overlay which then justifies the abrogation of all normally applied customs of civilized intercourse.
A political policy is equated with moral right, and opposition to it with diabolical malevolence. Once such an equation is effectively made, society becomes a congerie of plots and counterplots, and the main role of government changes from that of the arbiter to that of the scourge of God. Rallying against communism, American society urged conformity. Having entered the workforce en masse as part of a collective effort in World War II, middle-class women were told to return to housekeeping responsibilities.
Having fought and died abroad for American democracy, black soldiers were told to return home and acquiesce to the American racial order. Homosexuality, already stigmatized, became dangerous. Personal secrets were seen as a liability that exposed one to blackmail. Religious conservatives championed the idea of the traditional nuclear, God-fearing family as a bulwark against the spread of atheistic totalitarianism.
In an atmosphere in which ideas of national belonging and citizenship were so closely linked to religious commitment, Americans during the early Cold War years attended church, professed a belief in a supreme being, and stressed the importance of religion in their lives at higher rates than in any time in American history. Americans sought to differentiate themselves from godless communists through public displays of religiosity.
Politicians infused government with religious symbols. The Pledge of Allegiance was altered to include the words one nation, under God in In God We Trust was adopted as the official national motto in While the link between American nationalism and religion grew much closer during the Cold War, many Americans began to believe that just believing in almost any religion was better than being an atheist.
Gone was the overt anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic language of Protestants in the past. Now, leaders spoke of a common Judeo-Christian heritage. Joseph McCarthy, an Irish Catholic, made common cause with prominent religious anticommunists, including southern evangelist Billy James Hargis of Christian Crusade , a popular radio and television ministry that peaked in the s and s. Cold War religion in America also crossed the political divide. During the campaign, Eisenhower spoke of U.
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Though publicly rebuked by the Tydings Committee, McCarthy soldiered on. During the campaign, Eisenhower, who was in all things moderate and politically cautious, refused to publicly denounce McCarthy. McCarthy campaigned for Eisenhower, who won a stunning victory. So did the Republicans, who regained Congress. Soon he went after the U.
After forcing the army to again disprove theories of a Soviet spy ring at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey, McCarthy publicly berated officers suspected of promoting leftists. Cassius was right. Twenty million people saw the Army-McCarthy hearings unfold over thirty-six days in Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency? Humiliated, McCarthy faded into irrelevance and alcoholism and died in May at age By the late s, the worst of the second red scare was over.
But McCarthyism outlasted McCarthy and the s. The tactics he perfected continued to be practiced long after his death. But McCarthy had hardly been alone. Congressman Richard Nixon, for instance, used his place on HUAC and his public role in the campaign against Alger Hiss to catapult himself into the White House alongside Eisenhower and later into the presidency.
Ronald Reagan bolstered the fame he had won in Hollywood with his testimony before Congress and his anticommunist work for major American corporations such as General Electric. He too would use anticommunism to enter public life and chart a course to the presidency. Additionally, the Sixth Edition has been revised to include updated and expanded coverage of long-run economic growth, the Taylor Rule, and international economics.
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