How Successfully From 1945 To Essay

1466 words - 6 pages

During Truman's presidency he was faced with forces of intolerance within United States society. These were principally the "Red scares" of the 1950's, hostile attitudes towards Trade Unions and racism, particularly in the South. These forces of intolerance were motivated by both Truman himself and the Republican party for political reasons, but for different aims. Truman's intolerance could be seen as positive, while the Republican's intolerance was more extreme and motivated for party advantage.The intolerance of the "Red scares" was perpetrated by the Republican party and in particular, Senator Joseph McCarthy. McCarthy made claims that there were communists "known to the Secretary of State" working and making policy within the state department. This was politically motivated because McCarthy was trying to further his own political career. It was uncertain whether he would maintain his seat in Congress in the 1950 mid-term elections, so he needed a strong issue to campaign on. He had witnessed Richard Nixon become a household name in the United States, when he successfully prosecuted Algar Hiss, who was accused of passing government papers to the Soviets. McCarthy desired a national reputation and the Republican party used McCarthy to play on the fears that already existed in society about a communist threat to the United States to damage Truman's administration.It is not enough to simply blame the Republicans for the "Red scares". There was nothing new about a fear of communism. There had been "Red scares" in the 1920's, and the House of un-American Activities Committee was set up in 1938, which contained files of premature anti-fascists. This fear of communism is almost inevitable as communism poses a threat to the American ethos of free market capitalism. There was a communist threat to the United States in the 1950's, all though it was not as great as was suggested at the time. This was shown by the defection of Igor Gouzenko, cipher clerk at the Soviet embassy in Ottawa and the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for passing secrets to the Soviets.Truman created the environment from which McCarthy could arise by being intolerant to communists himself. In 1947 he set up a Federal Loyalty program, to prevent people working for the government who belonged to "any banned organisation", which included the communist party. This was because of the aforementioned leaks in state security. Truman also played on the fears of society for political motives. He realised that the United States could not revert to her former policy of isolationism if the freedom she had fought for in the war was to be maintained. The European countries were devastated by the war and were not able to take on this responsibility. Britain, in particular could not afford to carry on supporting the Greeks in their civil war against the communists, so Britain looked to the United States. Truman wanted to help the Greeks and he also wanted to give aid to the devastated...

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