How Did McCarthyism Affect The Lives And Political Thinking Of People In The USA?


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Mark Henderson Profile
Mark Henderson answered
McCarthyism, also known as the "Second Red Scare" had a huge effect on the lives and political thoughts of American citizens at the time.

  • The whole country became obsessively paranoid about the possibility that Soviet spies could have infiltrated the highest echelons of government and society.
  • Thousands of Americans were accused of being communist sympathisers.
  • Citizens could be questioned before private panels, committees, government employees and agencies.
  • Only inconclusive, or very questionable evidence was needed to bring someone to trial.
  • Many people had their careers destroyed, lost their jobs or were imprisoned.

McCarthyism The term McCarthyism refers to the hysteria regarding Communism (and Soviet espionage) in the United States during the late 1940s and 1950s. The term has its origins in the name of Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin - who was known for his aggressive pursuit of communists and his relentless paranoia that the Soviet Union had infiltrated the American government.

McCarthyism shifted the American political psyche to the right, increasing the popularity of right-wing groups. It also had the effect of destroying any sort of public health care initiative that was being introduced by the United States government. McCarthyist literature also had elements of anti-semitism to it.

  • McCarthyism developed from an irrational and hysterical paranoid belief that communists had infiltrated the United States government and society.
  • It convinced many Americans that there was "no smoke without fire" with regard to people being accused of being communists.
  • In 1954, a poll conducted in America found that 50% of the American people supported Senator McCarthy, whilst only 29% had an unfavourable opinion of him.
  • The movement shifted the political consensus of the country firmly to the right.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
McCarthy was a republican Senator who saw Communists everywhere. His over-zealous actions destroyed the lives and livelihoods of countless people in America. What was dubbed McCarthyism should have been called McCarthy's Inquisition, because that is all it was. McCarthy used scare tactics to turn citizens from free thinkers into a mob mentality. McCarthy was a criminal self important bastard who couldn't have cared less about communists - he thought they were his way into the White House. People like McCarthy choose ruin over reason when it suits them.

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