The word communism has always been a sort of taboo word to say. Even today we call people commies to make fun or tease people. Why did all this start? How did communism become a bad a word? Well communism has always been feared since the birth of our nation. It was the form of government that the majority of Americans did not want. Communism is basically a theory or system based on the ownership of all property and goods by the community as a whole. This system would destroy a lot of the liberties that we as Americans enjoy. There was a certain time period where extremely paranoid about the communist party taking control. Starting at about the 1920s up until the 1950s people really feared communism. The Cold War, Ronald Reagan, and the Red Scare were all major contributors in the unreasonable fear of communism during this time period. These three factors helped shaped Americas ideology about communism during this time period.
The Cold War put us on the brink of war with the Soviet Union. This could have possibly been the one thing that started the fear of communism. Russian spies are everywhere. People suspected each other, even their neighbors. Since the soviet Union was a communist country that was spreading its influence in Europe. America had to do something about it. America felt that the people living in the Soviet Union were being oppressed and needed to be free. This so called war was basically seeing how far both the countries, (America & Soviet Union) could go without going into war. Examples of this would be the Truman doctrine, which was Trumans way of making sure Greece and Turkey would not become a communist country (N.N.787). Another example would be the Marshall Plan, which asked the countries that needed help request it and the US would help. America did not want the Soviets to spread their ideas to other countries by exploiting the dissatisfaction of their country. So we helped because we thought that our country was in trouble from the communists (N.N.787). An even better example of clashes between the US and the Soviet Union would be the Berlin Airlift. Soviets blocked off all land into Berlin and we airlifted supplies into Berlin. Now during this at home, there were many people scared of communism also. Many were accused communists due to the Red Scare.
The Red Scare was at retaliation to the fear that Americans had about communists taking over. The US took extreme measures to ensure that no communists spies were present in the government. In 1940 Congress passed the Smith Act, which criminalized anything that went against the government. We even created loyalty boards to find out who was disloyal. Anti-civil rights activists even called the Civil Rights Activists Communists. I think were going a little far here, dont you. Im sure there were a few communists but not as many as people thought. A senator by the name of Joseph R McCarthy went so far as to say he had a list of a lot of communists in the state department. Although none of his findings were backed up by real hard evidence, people still believed him. In the summer of 1950 a committee headed by Millard F. Tydings concluded that none of McCarthys findings were true. Hollywood was questioned about communists in the film industry. The friendly witnesses answered questions and some didnt. Ten people refused to say a word. They were known as the Hollywood Ten and they served time because they felt that it was unconstitutional.
Ronald Reagan also played a major role in the fear of communism during this time. When he became president, he did what he had promised for a decade to do; he said we are going to rearm and build up the US military. He increased defense spending to make it clear to the Soviets and to America the US did not intend to lose. As president, he kept pressure on the Soviets when they were beginning to crumble internally. He pushed for a strategic defense missile system that was understood by the Soviets as both a financial challenge and an intimidating expression of US power. Reagans actions towards the Soviets were matched by his constant criticism of communism. He kept it up for eight years, from The Evil Empire to to tear down this wall, a constant attempt to educate and inspire the American public through these words. In doing all this, he kept inspiring American to go against communism and view it as the wrong form of government.
Communism in America will always be here, but how we as a people view it will be constantly changing. Such as how our society viewed communism in the 1950s and how it has changed. Now we dont see as that big of a problem because we all trust that the people in the White House are doing things accordingly. We all simply assume that things in the way our system works will never change. How can it get better? It seems to me that our country isnt really moving forward or backwards in our government. Everything seems to be ok; there is no need for change. But as our society matures and grows, we shall confront more problems or fears that will put or countrys system to the test. That is when another major change will occur.