Transcript McCarthy Launches His “Witch Hunt”
The Red Scare Was it more fact than fiction? or Was it more fiction than fact? Presentation created Michael Quiñones The Red Scare After the Russian Revolution of 1917 saw the Russian monarchy toppled [removed] by the Bolsheviks [later Soviets] the United States and much of Europe was worried that Soviet communism would spread throughout the world. Democracy, economic and political freedoms were at risk from communism. The color red was symbolic of the Soviet Union flag. McCarthyism and the Red Scare Throughout the mid 1940s to the 1950s a powerful U.S. Senator from Minnesota Joseph McCarthy conducted investigations into communist infiltration of the United States. With use of the F.B.I. files, surveillance, background checks and congressional hearings McCarthy intended to “root out” perceived threats against the security of the United States. Many hundreds of well known and unknown Americans were ruined because of their beliefs and connections to certain groups. Eventually because of irrational accusations and investigative errors McCarthyism was discredited and died in disgrace of liver disease. Alger Hiss Spy Cases Stun the Nation – High level U.S. State Department official educated at Harvard University – Accused of espionage [spying] by Whittaker Chambers – former Communist Spy – Richard Nixon gained fame for pursuing Hiss with H.U.A.C. – Hiss went to prison for perjury since too much time had passed to be convicted of espionage [statute of limitation]. – 1990s – Soviet cables released by the N.S.A. proved Hiss’s guilt. Spy Cases Stun the Nation Julius and Ethel Rosenberg – Sept. 3, 1949 USSR exploded an Atomic Bomb – Klaus Fuchs, a nuclear physicist, admitted giving nuclear secrets to Soviets Implicated Ethel & Julius Rosenberg – minor activists for Communist Party – The Rosenbergs professed their innocence – They were convicted [found guilty] of treason on relatively weak and circumstantial evidence. – Executed via Electric Chair for Espionage in June 1953 leaving behind young children. McCarthy Launches His “Witch Hunt” Joseph McCarthy’s Rise – Senator From Wisconsin – Became well known for making random unsupported accusations of communist affiliation. – “Name calling” in Senate was permitted due to congressional immunity from slander. – The mere accusations of communist affiliation ruined lives. McCarthy’s Downfall – Accused several U.S. Army officials of communist affiliation – Televised hearings exposed the baseless and “cruelty” of his accusations – The nation became to realize that McCarthy was bully and “reckless” – Censured by Senate and died of liver disease Anti-Communist Measures States passed laws making it illegal to advocate overthrow of government – Many civil rights groups believed such laws were a violation of constitutional rights [1st Amendment] Loyalty oaths [people had to swear allegiance to the U.S.] became required for many jobs Law enforcement interrogation of Union leaders, librarians, newspaper reporters, & scientists Nobody was immune to investigation. U.S. President Eisenhower and U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy What is the message the artist is trying to convey in the cartoon above?