McCarthyism and the Red Scare

Joe McCarthy

Let me give you a brief introduction? Who was McCarthy? A place? A town? A name? <- yes, that’s it. A name. And just to let you know… in this period of time it wasn’t illegal to be communist in a democratic country (e.g. USA).

His full name is Joseph Raymond “Joe” McCarthy (Let’s call him just Joe McCarthy or McCarthy?).  Joe McCarthy was an American politician who had the place of a senator of the Republican U.S. from the state of Wisconsin (1947-57). He accused many people of being communist as this links with the ‘Red Scare’ or even spies and those who were suspected would be sent to a trial and maybe jail. But before this let me get you to understand the basics. Ok… do you know what the House Un-American Activities Committe (HUAC) is? If you don’t then you’re looking at the right page, which I will mention in a minute after I’m done with the FBI.

You’ve heard of the FBI, right? Like the type of police you would see in movies, rushing into houses with their guns all dressed in black? The FBI (The Federal Bureau of Investigation) had a strong director who was extremely anti-communist called J Edgar Hoover who was the first director of the FBI. In March 21, 1947 President Truman allowed him to set up the Federal Employee Loyalty Program by signing a United States Executive Order 9835. This permitted Hoover to investigate government employees to see if anyone was involved with the communist party. 3 million people were investigated from 1947-50 and none was charged with spying.

The Hollywood Ten

HUAC is a permanent investigative committee for the United States House of Representatives. They had the right to investigate anyone who was suspected involved with communism, in this case, Un-American. In 1947 a group of people known as the Hollywood Ten was suspected and brought into court in front of McCarthy. They were asked several questions such as “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” but they simply refused to answer. This question was no acceptable and they did not have the right to ask. As a result to their refusal they were sent to jail for a year and were ‘black listed’ as well as the Hollywood studio. Because the film industry had a very high status, the news spread quickly in all the newspapers and everyone read them, making it as front page news.

Alger Hiss

A man called Alger Hiss was accused of being part of the Communist Party by a man who faced the HUAC called Whittaker Chambers in 1948. Alger Hiss was part of the US Department (which is highly important) so Hiss accused Chambers of lying and at that, President Truman dismissed the case. Although the case was dismissed one person called Richard Nixon, was curious enough about the accusation did not dismiss

1949 Atomic Bomb - Soviet Union

the case but kept his eyes open over Hiss. He had evidence of Hiss knowing Chambers and had arguable evidence that Hiss was involved with the Communist Party. This evidence was enough to show Hiss of passing information to the USSR during the war. Hiss was convicted of perjury and spent 5 years in prison in 1950. This was known as The Hiss Case.

In 1949, the Soviet Union developed it’s own atomic bomb. The USA was taken by surprise as they thought that the making of bomb would take four more years. In 1950, Klaus Fuchs, a German-born-British physicist was convicted of passing secrets of the US and British atomic secrets to the USSR. WOW. BIG STEP.

Electric Execution Chair

If you want to know more about the Rosenbergs (which I think will give you a good idea of how communism was taken in the USA) click this documentary’s links below. “Heir to an Execution – A Granddaughter’s Story”

The Rosenbergs Documentary Part 1 (RD Pt1)
The Rosenbergs Documentary Part 2 (RD Pt2)
The Rosenbergs Documentary Part 3 (RD Pt3)
The Rosenbergs Documentary Part 4 (RD Pt4)
The Rosenbergs Documentary Part 5 (RD Pt5)
The Rosenbergs Documentary Part 6 (RD Pt6)
The Rosenbergs Documentary Part 7 (RD Pt7)
The Rosenbergs Documentary Part 8 (RD Pt8)
The Rosenbergs Documentary Part 9 (RD Pt9)
The Rosenbergs Documentary Part 10 (RD Pt10)


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