November 26, 12
Second Red Scare and Its Roots
Nearly seventy years ago the most treacherous war ended. The world’s population saw and felt the power and technology of the newly reformed military forces of that time, it was something that had never been experienced before, thousands of lives could be lost in minutes, “Some 70,000–80,000 people, or some 30% of the population of Hiroshima were killed by the blast and resultant firestorm” thousands of acres could be turned into ashes, “The radius of total destruction was about one mile (1.6 km), with resulting fires across 4.4 square miles (11 km2). (Wikipedia). America had just shown its strength to the rest of the world and had established to be a super power with its military force and technology.
America just like most other countries in the world was undergoing many different changes, economically, socially and politically. Even though WWII had ended most countries were still unrest and were scared from one another more than ever before, especially America and Russia. “During World War II, Stalin’s doubts about the sincerity of America” (Cold War), USSR as a communist regime had never trusted the western politics of United States of America and themselves had begun to reinforce their military, develop newer weapon technology including Atomic Bombs and increase the number of their military members. Both sides used espionage at its highest levels and were constantly trying to up one another in the development of weapons and military, thus both countries being scared of each other.
These events continued for many years after WWII and at one point the fear from Russia’s communists spread all over America, but of course with the help of media and that of some politicians. Senator Joe McCarthy used this climate of fear to foster modern day witch trials, in which he persecuted hundreds of innocent people, at a time when WWII had left US very vulnerable and unstable socially. This paper will explain how the U.S. Media played a critical role in ending McCarthyism. It will first consider how McCarthy, an obscure first term senator in early 1950, achieved national prominence and power by 1952. In exploring this we will touch on McCarthy’s origins, the Second Red Scare which enabled McCarthyism, McCarthy’s initial accusations, and McCarthy’s uncanny ability to exploit the media to promote his agenda. In his first three years as a Senator, McCarthy accomplished nothing extraordinary. Upon reexamining his record, McCarthy recognized that he needed to campaign behind a dramatic issue in win re-election in 1952. When he was given the suggestion to support an anti-Communist agenda, McCarthy seized upon the idea at once. “‘That’s it,’ he said. ‘The government is full of Communists,” he said. “We can hammer away at them.”( Rovere,123). After the trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg (two convicted Russian spies), and after two former members of the Communist Party of America: Elizabeth Bentley and Whittaker Chambers; testified that Soviet spies and communist sympathizers had penetrated the U.S. government before, during and after World War II, Americans began to fear infiltration of Communism in the United States. These events paved way for support of McCarthy’s strong anti-Communist stance. McCarthy was so influential in the Second Red Scare that the movement to investigate suspected Communists from the late 1940’s to the late 1950’s is remembered in history as ‘McCarthyism’. His first public accusation of Communist activity was on February 9, 1950 at the Republican Women's Club of Wheeling, West Virginia. McCarthy proclaimed to the women that he had a list of 205 names of suspected Communists currently working in the State Department. The event of Wheeling received little press coverage, but it reached the State Department. They promised him a full investigation of the 205 suspected Communists if he would send...
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