In June of 1940, Congress passed the Alien Registration Act in an attempt to undermine the power of the American Communist Party. Congress decided to put the House of Un- American Activities Committee (HUAC), in charge of the investigation of people suspected of unpatriotic behavior and discover if people were trying to overthrow the government. In 1949, leaders of the party began to be arrested; they were charged with advocating an attempt to overthrow the government.
When Joseph McCarthy arrivedin Washington, he seemed likea “fire-breathing anti-Communist conservativelegislator” but some didn’tknow his true desires on beingin office “beyond the obviousdesire to be elected to office”
Everyone is suspecting their neighbors of being communists
After WWII the Red Scare was still occurring in the U.S. and caused many Americans to be paranoid about the threat of Communism. Joseph McCarthy took advantage of this paranoia and developed a list of about 200 communist men who had “ supposedly” infiltrated the government.
Joseph McCarthy, Vincent Harnett, Edward Dmytryk, Victimswho were being accused of being communists, accused other people in order to help clear their own name.
Joseph McCarthy, J. Edgar Hoover Roy Cohn- McCarthy’s wingman Main Target of McCarthy: Secretary of State Dean Acheson David Schine- McCarthy’s main fear John Henry Faulk- Helped end the blacklisting
Government officials (mostly democrats and a few republicans), business leaders, writers, and entertainers. Their careers were ruined if their names were mentioned on the list. Some had their passports taken away, others were jailed. They were labeled communist sympathizers and could not return back to work.
The press failed to stand up and speak out for the innocent victims. Also some of the government officials that weren’t persecuted stood by and watched
Paranoia Hysteria Those who were accused lost their jobs Distrust in the government
McCarthyism begins to die out by 1954. McCarthy died in 1957 from acute Hepatitis
Learn from the past Shows how quickly people are willing to turn on one another for the sake of clearing their own name This experience shows how susceptible the country is to suspicion and one man’s/woman’s bold move to accuse certain government officials
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