What was the Red Scare?
This was a time during the late 1940s and early 1950s in which the fear of communism was greatly intensified. After World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union, a communist nation, faced conflicts during the Cold War. This left American citizens suspicious of any who showed signs of potential communism because they would be a threat to the United States. Actions taken by the US government deepened the fear of communists. They issued the Loyalty Order, as well as created the House Un-American Activities Committee. This committee worked to expose communists within the government or the Hollywood film industry.
Why is it called the "Red" Scare?
Communists were often referred to as “Reds” for their allegiance to the red Soviet flag.
The red Communist Soviet Union flag during the Cold War.
How was Joseph McCarthy related to the Red Scare?
Senator Joseph McCarthy wanted to expose all Communists in the United States.
Senator Joseph McCarthy was greatly involved with the government’s efforts to unveil potential communists and signs of communism within the United States. However, this man often accused people without much evidence. He was known to ruin people’s careers and lives with his sometimes false accusations because he received information through gossip and forms of intimidation. McCarthyism is a term used today used to describe accusations lacking evidence to support them.
Who was affected because of the Red Scare?
On March 21, 1947, President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9835, also known as the Loyalty Order, which declared that all federal employees be analyzed to determine whether they were loyal to the government. This program on was of many questionable activities that happened during the anticommunist time of the Red Scare.
What did the Red Scare lead to?
Public scare was also heightened by international events. In 1949, the Soviet Union successfully tested a nuclear bomb and communist forces took control of China. The following year, the Korean War began and engaged U.S. troops in combat against North Korea. The advancement of communism in other parts of the world made Americans concerned that they were in danger of the “Reds” taking over their own country. Americans also felt the effects on a personal level as anyone suspected of being a communist sympathizer saw their life disrupted. They were hounded by law enforcement, alienated from their friends and family, and fired from their jobs. While some were in fact aspiring revolutionaries, many were falsely accused and had done nothing more than exercise their democratic right to join a political party.
What was the long term effect of the Red Scare?
Though the climate of fear and repression began to ease in the late 1950s, the Red Scare has continued to influence political debate in the decades since and is often cited as an example of how unfounded fears can compromise civil liberties.