The First and Second Red Scare of the United States paved the way for a long standing fear of communism and proved to be one of America’s largest periods of mass hysteria. Throughout the years authors and analysts have studied and formed expository albeit argumentative books and articles in an attempt to further understand this period of time; the mindset held during this period however is shown to be completely different compared to now.
Major and still important was the First Red Scare stemming from the First World War’s end and America’s Great Depression beginning to kick off. With food and living expenses drastically increasing certain propaganda began to appear. Perhaps one of the most notable of these was Lenin’s “Letter to the American Workers” which appeared in the United States in 1919. Loosely tied but heavily attributing to the problem was Ludwig Martens’ appearance later that year claiming to be a representative of the Foreign Commissariat of Foreign Affairs. (Murray, p. 46-47)
With these figures imposing upon the American people a certain kind of pressure to rise up the American government found it to be of good retaliation to release a kind of reverse propaganda arguing that the Bolshevik’s movements encouraged chaos and anarchy. This proved to be very true as Americans experienced riots and strikes by working class laborers in the Steel and Coal Strikes of 1919 as well as the Boston Police Strike. These occurrences exposed and provided an apparently terrifying insight into the influences of the now Soviet Russia. It was with these that America found it even more necessary to release more propaganda; it was with this new propaganda that targeted children and make them aware of the problem with very little alarm. (Brody, p. 233-262).
Skip forward to World War II and it is seen that communism, although condemned, is tolerated throughout the war as a helpful member of the Allies and proves to considerably damage Germany’s armed forces. After the war however a kind of two-faced attitude is quickly adopted by the United States as the Berlin Crisis occurred and fear of espionage was suspected to be on the rise. (Fitzgerald, p. 32-33) This marked the beginning of the Second Red Scare, a period of time held within the Cold War itself and seen as a main cause for a very deep-rooted hate towards communism that formed a bitter taste in the mouths of the American people.
In 1950 the emergence of the Second Red Scare’s driving force, Senator Joseph McCarthy, appeared and gave a speech proclaiming that America will soon be lost to communism if the people do not stand up to combat it. He revealed that night a list of 205 people working for Soviet Russia in the United States’ State Department whose intentions were to mold America from the inside to become a socialist nation. (Fitzgerald, p. 14) It was thanks to this newfound hysteria that began to break out thanks to McCarthy’s claims that the HUAC and other like-minded organizations began to...