Discuss the roots and emergence of McCarthyism in the late 40s and early 50s.
Though the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) peaked with it’s highest number of members in 1940-1941, with 750,000 members, by this area in time it was looked down upon. It had, earlier in the decade, been a successful agent against fascism and a huge help in the advancement and creation of labor unions, and for that reason people were joining it. However, many people were becoming communists unknowingly just by attending meetings where they were given free food (a big draw to people in an era directly following the Great Depression).
In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s American’s were very scared that communism would influence our country. This period of time was referred to as ‘the second red scare’. Americans had seen the way that Russia had been transformed by communism, and did not want their country to undergo the same changes. Communism was a scary concept at the time, and it was something that we as a country definitely did not want any part of.
In the late 1930’s, an organization was formed called the House Un-American Activities Community. This community made up of members of the United States House of Representatives, was formed in order to protect Americans against communism influence and was responsible for investigating any allegations that were made about communist activity. Despite this groups efforts the United States was still in heightened fear of Communist overtaking or the possibility of becoming a nation similar to that of Russia’s.
Senator Joseph McCarthy was a US senator from Wisconsin during this time period. He served for ten years, from 1947 until his death in 1957. He is most well-known for being particularly paranoid of communist efforts, regularly accusing people of communist behavior when none existed. He accused large amounts of people, mostly government workers, claiming that they were Soviet spies and communist sympathizers....
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