During the late 1940 s and early 1950 s, the topic of Communism had initiated to develop as an everyday conversation for all Americans considering the end of World War II, and the beginning of the Cold War. In 1952, A man name Joseph McCarthy had been elected to Senator for the state of Wisconsin, winning primarily because of his exploits of the issue Communism (a system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single, often authoritarian party holds power, claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people). Using his theory of McCarthyism, McCarthy began to root out the communism he thought still existed in America at that time. He accused people of all occupations including, government workers, college professors, playwrights and Hollywood screenwriters, actors, artists, musicians, gays, Jews, and anyone with a goatee. Teaming up with J. Edgar Hoover (Director of FBI at the time), McCarthy would get all his suspects from Hoover tracking down anyone who had been suspected of believing in Communism. Sometimes, they even made false accusations to attract more attention to McCarthy s cause and magnetize more people into believing this was really going on in the American society. All of McCarthy s accusations were backed up by little evidence and hardly ever proven. A numerous amount of jobs and careers were destroyed just by knowing the wrong person or associating with the wrong crowd. Many Writers and performers moved to Mexico and Europe to avoid being jailed. There was an extreme amount of pressure to avoid controversial subject matter in films, on Television or even in books. McCarthy made this time period full of secret informants, and frightened, distrustful people. McCarthy created a climate in which a reason gave way to nervous outburst, trust to suspicion and friendship to self-preservation.
During the height of McCarthyism, victims were all made to Take the Pledge, and answer the question, Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the communist party? To be suspected of being a communist was worse than being a murdered or rapist. Just being suspected meant one was a traitor. Anyone who refused to take the pledge were blacklisted and found it impossible to get work getting harassed endlessly. For the sake of not being called a communist, some of these people went to the extreme of giving up their constitutional right of the 5th Amendment (which enables you not to incriminate yourself by talking about the past) and making up lies to back themselves up. The thing that is so striking is that America is based upon an uncertain amount of freedoms, including the ability to believe in communism, and all of a sudden Joseph McCarthy decided to take some of these freedoms away and accuse people for doing nothing wrong. This theory is insane, which is why many people refused to take the pledge on principle, given the reason they live in a free country.
During the period of McCarthyism, many Anti-Soviet Propaganda was published including a book called, A Guide To Anti-Communist Action, and a magazine like Look which contained the article, Is This Tomorrow? This literature was designed to make Americans aware of communist invasion. Hollywood also responded to the demand by creating many films portraying bad Russian. The Federal Government abandoned the unfinished agenda of the New Deal. Measures like national health insurance, which had been embraced by the rest of the world, had fell by the way side all because of Joseph McCarthy and his theory of McCarthyism. People were afraid to speak up or truly speak their minds, because they were afraid to be accused of being a communist. Even the Presidency of the United States was not immune from McCarthyism, forcing both Truman and Ike to seek his opinion on major domestic and foreign initiatives. America had gone haywire all because of some nobody out of Wisconsin and his theory. McCarthy however was extremely smart, using his theory to get elected Senator. McCarthy first attracted national attention in February 1950, with the charge that the Department of State had been infiltrated by Communist. McCarthy attacked every little thing, varying from the accusation of an author of a book, to the assaulting of the Constitution of the United States. McCarthy s last accusation came in April 1954 in which he accused the secretary of the army of concealing foreign activities. In response the secretary stated that members of the subcommittee staff had threatened army officials in efforts to obtain preferred treatment for a former unpaid builder of the subcommittee who had been drafted. McCarthy was cleared of the charges against him but was censured by the Senate for the methods he had used in his investigations and for his abuse of certain senators and Senate committees. He remained in Senate until his death, which came three years later on May 2, 1957.
It has been closely related that the acts of Joseph McCarthy have been connected to Salem Witch Trials of 1692, which were the convictions of witches on some spectral evidence, just like the convictions of communist were in the 1950 s. No one knows for sure, but it is always something to think about and wonder if it is really true.
Joseph McCarthy and "McCarthyism" had taken America by surprise, causing massive outrages and thousands of careers to be destroyed. The McCarthy-era lingered throughout America even after his death. It lasted until the 1960's, which then began to slowly die out and eventually vanish. Today America is alive and well, and still going strong, but you never know when another "Joseph McCarthy" may come by again and take America by storm.
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