Thesis: The “Red Scare” of the 1950’s caused a massive movement forthe people of that time period. I. Introduction II.
The Basis of Communisim A. Communisim: Defined B. Political Aspects 1. Communist associations 2.
Communistfears C. Physical Aspects 1. Incidents 2. Blacklisting III.
Propaganda A. Recruitment B. The “Red Scare” 1. Communist propaganda 2. Anti-communist defenses IV. Leaders in the movement-McCarthy A.
Obsessions 1. The conspiracy 2. Focus on his campaign B. Accusations 1.
Alger Hiss 2. OwenLattimore V. The Cold War A. Conflict with Russia 1. Destruction of atomicweapons 2.
War in Greece 3. Failure to adopt Marshall Plan B. European Recovery1. European Recovery Program 2.
Increase in trade VI. Protection A. U. S. Defenses 1. New Weapons 2.
New Technology B. Punishments VII. What was LearnedA. More tolerance B. Less hate C. Comparisons between the Fifties and now 1.
Understanding 2. Lessons VIII. Conclusions America: Land of the free, and thehome of the brave. This famous expression has been used numerous timesthroughout history, even scoring a line in our country’s national anthem. But inour high-tech socety, many Americans can not even understand what ourforefathers went through to achieve this American dream.
People do not evengrasp the concept of what it has taken to keep the freedom of this countryringing. Place youself in the footsteps of the average American of the 1950’s,dealing with the Russian threat of communist rule and the fear of being takenover an opposite world power. Post World War II struggles make it hard foranyone to get by, and each coming day leads to another unpredictable twist forthe country in which you reside. The powerful threat of communisim, which cameto be known as the “Red Scare,” is the basis of all of the nation’sproblems. This “Red Scare” of the 1950’s was a powerful, radical, andcontroversial issue for nearly everyone in that time period, and what’s more isthe propaganda that was used to sell communist leadership to the Americanpeople, who were deathly afraid of what the future might hold.
This Red Scarelasted throughout the Fifties and beyond. The Fabulous Fifties. . . well, werethey really so fabulous, after all? First of all, for total understanding of theRed Scare of the fifties, one must become acquainted with the term communisim.
Communisim can be defined as: a type of government in which a small group ofleaders dictates a country or nation by distributing goods and money equallyamong the country’s citizens (Webster’s, 1994). As of today, nations such asRussia and China are run by communist authority. Although this system ofgovernment works in theory, it requires the sacrifice of freedom of the peoplewho are being ruled. Other aspects of communist rule include communistassociations, which during the 1950’s had 10,000 members across the UnitedStates of America, dedicated to making communist rule in the United States areality (Miller, 1954). Incidents in which communisim was a serious matter inthe 1950’s include the jailing of an American couple for reportedly”talking communisim.
” A later report indicated that the couple wasmerely discussing American relations with Japan, but it was around the time thatthis event occured that people began to really began to fear communists andtheir beliefs (Miller, 1954). Communists, or people suspected of beingcommunists, were also blacklisted, making them unable to get jobs, insurance,and loans, among other things (Salem Press, 1992). Recruitment for memebers ofthe communist political party was, during the 1950’s, based solely onpropaganda. This false advertising glorified the things that communist rule wassupposed to offer, such as jobs, money, and food for everyone. This especiallyappealed to America’s lower-class society, with dreams of brighter futures andlifestyles for themselves and generations to come.
Of course, communistactivists never mentioned anything about the freedoms that our nation, undercommunist rule, would stand to lose. On the contrary, though, anti-communistsstartled Americans by leveling their defense by making it seem like all membersof communist parties were murderers and terrorists, which is where the term”Red Scare” was generated from (Associated Press, 1995). Thesedefenses were used primarily to keep communist beliefs away from our Americandemocracy, but frightened Americans into believing that all communists andpeople from countries such as Russia, which had communist leadership, were evil. On the other hand, Douglass Miller notes in his book, The Fifties: The Way WeReally Were, that “Most victims of anti-red mania were guilty of littlemore than holding unpopular opinions (Miller, 1954).
” One man, JoeMcCarthy, was an especially strong activist in this anti-communist movement. McCarthy apparently needed a focus in his campaign for Senator, so he chose atopic that would appeal to all people, communisim in the United States. This wasa very good idea, as most people were not quite grasping the idea of communisimand what would happen if the United States was to fall under communist rule. Hedisagreed strongly with communist ideas, which was ironic because he was at onepoint a communist activist.
McCarthy dedicated his life to this anti-communistcampaign. He made a number of accusations and accused opponents of his of beingcommunists and Soviet spies. Among others, there was the imfamous Alger Hiss. McCarthy accused Hiss of being a communist spy, and these accusations wererecepted by the American people (Miller, 1954). Owen Lattimore was also afamiliar name; he was also accused of being a communist spy after McCarthy foundout the Lattimore was an expert on Far Eastern affairs (Miller, 1954).
McCarthydied while still speaking against communisim and keeping American people fromtolerating any form of communist government. The Cold War also had a lot to dowith this threat of communisim in the U. S. (Borstien, 1992).
Different aspects ofthe Cold War included Russia’s attempt to control the atomic bomb. Russiancommunists demanded that the United States destroy our atomic weapons. This,added with other Russian conflicts, did not make the spread of communisim aworthy cause for Americans at all. Russia continued to spread its communisttyranny all over the world, causing a civil war in Greece, in which the Britishbecame involved (Borstien, 1992).
The British provided funds and defenses forthe people of Greece, but soon, the British could no longer continue fightingfor the Greek people. Congess then came up with a plan, named the Marshall Plan,which would provide funds for the Greek people against the spread of communisim. The Marshall Plan was put into effect and caused a riot from Soviets, who wouldhave nothing to do with this plan (Borstien, 1992). Finally, the Soviets beganto settle back once another plan, called the European Recovery Program, was putinto effect. This plan worked out very well, because instead of fighting a waragainst communisim, it went to the root of the problem and helped to rebuildparts of Europe that were in desperate need of help. This worked out very wellin the end, because the plan increased trade with European countries, causing abooming economy for both the U.
S. and Europe. The plan was intent on”containing” communisim, and that’s what it did (Borstien, 1992). Newtechnology also kept Americans from communisim. United States defenses made athreat to the Soviet government, claiming that they would do anything andeverything to prevent Russia from spreading communisim to America.
With newweapons, such as the atomic bomb, these threats were not hard at all for theUnited States to back up. By then, communisim had already spread to easternEurope, an Americans were more than determined to not let this horrific form ofgovernment spread into the United States. Other precautionary measures includedthe jailing of citizens of the United States that were found guilty of beingCommunists. The idea of this was to cut off communists from any Soviet linksthat they might have, so that they could not send or recieve any documents thathad to do with communisim (Associated Press, 1995). So how was the American fearof communisim finally resolved? Well, in actuallity, it never really was. Peoplein the United States today still fear a communist government, only not aspublicly because the United States as a country no longer feels threatened bythe Soviet Union.
But the fear is still there. Often, Americans must be remindedthat America really is the land of the free and the home of the brave, and thatdemocracy really works. In conclusion, the Red Scare of the 1950’s really was aradical and controversial issue for all types of reople who lived through thattime period. It affected most everyone, and many of these people were confusedand bewildered by the entire basis of communisim. But now, in the United States,people are able to experience the joys and pleasures of freedom because of thismassive movement that took place during the 1950’s.
It shall never be forgottenwhat Americans have had to go through for future generations to conserve peaceand freedom. People have worked hard to be sure that an unfair kind ofgovernment will never take over the United States. America: Land of the free,home of the brave. BibliographyAssociated Press. (1995).
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