Presentation on theme: "McCarthyism As it relates to The Crucible. What is McCarthyism? It’s the term used to describe the false accusations against many Americans for belonging."— Presentation transcript:
McCarthyism As it relates to The Crucible
What is McCarthyism? It’s the term used to describe the false accusations against many Americans for belonging to the Communist party in the 1950’s by Wisconsin senator Joseph McCarthy. McCarthy used the political climate of the times to help himself climb the political ladder.
Roots of McCarthyism In the late 1940’s, anti-Communist fear was gripping the United States due to the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan and the escalating “Cold War” between superpowers Russia and the United States.
Fear of “The Bomb” Russia, a new world power, developed the Atomic Bomb, and both world powers were afraid the other would be the first to use it. Americans feared Communism would infiltrate the United States, so to be called a Communist was the worst thing someone could say to you.
McCarthy Gets Involved In a speech to the Woman’s Club of Wheeling, West Virginia on February 9, 1950,a relatively unknown senator from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy, claimed to have the names of 205 people working in the government, and that the government knows this but is doing nothing about it, therefore fostering Communism in America
Name Recognition This not only made him famous, but he realized that scaring people with Communism was an easy way to advance his political career
HUAC Formed in 1938, the House Un-American Activities Committee was in charge of investigating Communism in America. McCarthy was part of this committee.
The Entertainment Industry In 1947, HUAC subpoenaed numerous film writers, directors,actors and others in the entertainment industry and asked what became known as the “$64 question:”Are you a Communist.” This industry was targeted because of their wide influence on the country.
Hollywood Ten This was the name given to ten prominent members of the entertainment industry who did not cooperate with HUAC, citing the First Amendment (right to free speech). They received between 6-12 months in jail for contempt of court
Blacklists With the studios caught up in the hysteria, The president of the Motion Picture Association of America stated that they would not knowingly hire a member of the Communist party. This led to the eventual blacklisting (the term used for someone who was suspected to be associated with the Communist party and was not to be given work ) of many famous people, especially in Hollywood
Some Who Were Blacklisted Leonard Bernstein- Composer Charlie Chaplin- Actor Langston Hughes- Poet Burgess Meredeth- Actor Arthur Miller- Playwright (The Crucible) Robert Oppenheimer- Director of Atom Bomb Paul Robeson- America’s most famous black actor
1950’s As the 1950’s progressed, McCarthy became more powerful, preaching a false message of Communist infiltration for his own political gain, McCarthy went after authors, educators, government workers, sea and dock workers, protestors amongst others. In the end, it is estimated that over ten thousand people lost their jobs and over one hundred jailed due to McCarthy’s accusations
MCCarthy’s Demise When he started accusing officials of the United States Army, McCarthy’s motives for personal gain became clear. By 1956, McCarthyism had died down, and his popularity was sinking fast.
Connection to The Crucible The McCarthy hearings were commonly called “witch hunts,” comparing them to the events we are going to see unfold in the story. The main connection between the two was : Accusation=Guilt