Presentation on theme: "The time period from 1946 to 1955, during which Senator Joseph McCarthy led a movement to find and prosecute suspected communists Also known as the Red."— Presentation transcript:
The time period from 1946 to 1955, during which Senator Joseph McCarthy led a movement to find and prosecute suspected communists Also known as the Red Scare time period McCarthyism came to mean false charges of disloyalty.
Many people suffered loss of employment and/or destruction of their careers; some even suffered imprisonment The number imprisoned is in the hundreds
Ten or twelve thousand lost their jobs. Some of those who were imprisoned or lost their jobs did in fact have some connection with the Communist Party. But for most, both the potential harm to the nation and the nature of their communist affiliation were tenuous/weak.
At the end of World War II, the United States and the USSR emerged as the world’s major powers. They also became involved in the Cold War, a state of hostility (short of direct military conflict) between the two nations. Many Americans feared not only Communism around the world but also disloyalty at home. Suspicion about Communist infiltration of the government
A lot of Americans thought the Soviets got the atomic bomb by using spies. It was charged that secret agents, working under cover, had stolen our secrets and given them to the Enemy. Even worse, these spies supposedly were hardly ever Russians themselves, but often American citizens, the kind of people you see every day on the street and hardly even notice. A Communist could be anybody. It sort of makes a Communist sound like the bogey- man, doesn’t it? To many people in 1953, a Communist was just as scary as the bogey- man, and a lot more real.
Congress began to investigate suspicions of disloyalty. The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) sought to expose Communist influence in American life. McCarthy worked closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and his close friend, J. Edgar Hoover. The FBI supplied McCarthy with the information that he needed to keep his committee hearings effective.
Beginning in the late 1940s, the committee called witnesses and investigated the entertainment industry. Prominent film directors and screenwriters who refused to cooperate were imprisoned on contempt charges. As a result of the HUAC investigations, the entertainment industry blacklisted, or refused to hire, artists and writers suspected of being Communists.
Arthur Miller, author of The Crucible, a play about the Salem witch trials, but thinly disguised as a play about the Red Hunt, had already been named as a suspected communist by another suspect at the hearings.
And due to the play he was writing, A View from the Bridge-the story that exposed corruption among the organized labor on Brooklyn's docks…Miller (now married to Marilyn Monroe) applied for a new passport. The HUAC used this opportunity to subpoena him to appear before the committee.
1. A crucible is a melting pot used for extremely hot chemical reactions — the crucible needs to be melt-proof. Literally, a crucible is a vessel used for very hot processes, like fusing metals. 2. Another meaning of the word is a very significant and difficult trial or test. 3. a place or situation in which concentrated forces interact to cause or influence change or development