Mc Carthyism Essay

1680 words - 7 pages


To talk about McCarthyism we must first look at what was going on in the United States at the time. WW II had just ended a few years prior, and the cold war was in full swing. Following WW II, for the US Government to be able to spend so much of the taxpayers money on the cold war, the Government had to get the US citizens behind them. To do this the US government started a propaganda campaign to scare the public into thinking the communists were bad and very dangerous people. That the communist people, their way of thinking, and their type of government had to be contained. There were several things that happened to help in-force what the government was saying. First Czechoslovakia and China fell to communism. Then the Russians had a successful explosion of an atomic bomb. There was also the arrest and conviction of the Rosenbergs as spies who were giving our atomic secrets to the Soviet Union. The Korean War was also starting up, Russia was supplying the North Korean Communists with military equipment to invade the non communist South Korea (Reeves 1). With all of this going on in the world and in the United States, the stage was set for McCarthy.

In 1950 after 5 years of the cold war, a relatively unknown Senator Joseph McCarthy, delivered a speech to the Ohio Country Women's Republican Club. In this speech he talked about the spread of communism around the world. McCarthy pointed out that this was the "time of the cold war" (Chafe 50). He said that the world was split into two camps, that of communistic atheism and that of Christianity. He also says that communism is on the move and that "the chips are down-they are truly down" (Chafe 50). So he is telling these women that communists are trying to take over the world and he is putting a religious spin on it calling the communists atheists and pitting them against Christianity. McCarthy then starts backing up his position by quoting some very large numbers. He quotes that there were 180,000,000 Russians under Soviet rule after WW II and 6 years later there were almost 800,000,000 now under Soviet rule. He points out that this was an increase of over 400%. He then puts the numbers in ratios saying that the "odds have changed from 9 to one in our favor to 8 to 5 against us." (Chafe 50). In this he is emphasizing the us against them and selling the idea that Communism is growing fast and that the United States is loosing the cold war.

This is where McCarthy starts the real setup for his bombshell. He is quoted, "When a great democracy is destroyed, it will not be because of enemies from without, but rather because of enemies from within." (Chafe 50). He then says that these traitors are not the minority of this country but are of the wealthiest of this country, and have the finest jobs in the Government. So he is telling these people that it is not them, but those rich people in the government who are selling out this country. This is where he...

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