Mccarthyism and the Crack Down on Communists in the 1950's

Topics: Joseph McCarthy, United States Senate, World War II Pages: 3 (1150 words) Published: November 5, 2012
McCarthyism and the crack-down on the communists in the 1950’s
During the Cold War, many people were victimized by the accusations put forth by Joseph McCarthy. The Cold War was a political, military, and diplomatic struggle that defined the second half of the twentieth century. Beginning almost immediately after the end of World War II, the Cold War did not come to an end until the downfall of the Soviet Union in 1991. While the United States and the Soviet Union were the primary nations involved in the Cold War, the conflict affected people and nations worldwide. These two superpowers were engaged in an ongoing battle of ideas, politics, and influence that consumed the entire globe for nearly fifty years (Bjornlund 4).

Joseph McCarthy was an American politician from the state of Wisconsin; he served as a United States Senator from 1947 until his death in 1957. McCarthy was born in Grand Chute, Wisconsin in 1908 and obtained a law degree in 1935. He worked as a circuit judge from 1940 until the time he joined the Marine Corps during World War II, achieving the rank of captain. McCarthy ran unsuccessfully for the US Senate in 1944, but was elected senator from Wisconsin in 1946 (Bjornlund 24). McCarthy, beginning in 1950, became a considerably significant figure of the Cold War, fueling the fears of Communist corruption in American government. “McCarthy claimed that more than 200 Communists had infiltrated the State Department (Bjornlund 24).” He gave a speech in which he asserted that he had a list of members of the Communist Party who were employed in the State Department. McCarthy continued to repeat these allegations even after a senate committee investigated his claim and found it to be fraudulent. This behavior that McCarthy exerted became the source of the term McCarthyism, used to describe the unfounded witch hunts dominating that time period. “McCarthy used it [McCarthyism] to try to discredit members of the Democratic Party, and even high-level...
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