August 04, 2009
Anticommunism and McCarthyism Paper
WWII was a major historical event that shaped the United States and struck fear into its citizens. Soon following the end of WWII a new fear of the unknown began to develop within Americans which caused nationwide anxiety and panic. Many believed communism might be the next threat to challenge the United States. The growing sentiments of Senator Joseph McCarthy lead out to protect America’s freedom from communism, although his sweeping lash stripped freedoms from many of his fellow citizens. Strange as it may seem, in this period of American history both communism and McCarthyism threatened America; fear fueled the fire to a Red Scare glow before its flame would dwindle and smolder. In order to better understand these events, a more detailed look into history is needed to explain how this controversy and cultural phenomenon came to be.
Understanding the Differences
Is there a difference between anti-communism and McCarthyism? Despite the common belief that these two terms have the same meaning, there are indeed fundamental differences. Anti-communism can be understood as a set of beliefs, social values, or political opinions that a communist form of government is unacceptable and wrong. McCarthyism, on the other hand, was suspicious and it unfairly accused American citizens of being a communist. Lead by and named affectionately after Senator Joseph McCarthy, McCarthyism and its accusations violated American civil rights, destroyed reputations, caused employers to "blacklist" and created an era of distrust in the United States well into the late 1950's.
The term McCarthyism was coined by Herbert Block who first displayed it in a Washington Post cartoon, March 29, 1950. On June 18, 1950, the New York Times reported, “McCarthy, even allowing for the old fact that charges run a faster...