McCarthy era

Joseph McCarthy

the McCarthy era, (designated after the senator Joseph McCarthy), was in the recent history of the USA a phase, which was coined/shaped by an intensive anticommunism. It also called Second talk Scare. It lasted from 1948 to approximately 1956. During this time the US Government pursued the communist party of the USA, their guidance, their members and sympathizers. After the accusations that both the deputy Minister of Finance Harry Dexter White and the councellor Franklin Delano Roosevelts, Alger was called, Soviet agents are, for government coworkers and the persons employed of state institutions loyalty tests were introduced.

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intentions and bases

of the point of view many conservative American citizens out was at that time the suppression of radicalism and radical organizations in the USA a fight against a dangerous subversive element, one of a strange power controlled fifth column. This danger for the country justified also extreme, even illegal methods in their eyes. The people and fundamental rights of the persons, who were sued during the conflict, because they were suspected of the espionage, became thereby roughly hurt.


a main part of the McCarthy era was the internal testing method for federal employee, that from the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover was led. This comprehensive program examined all public officials for connections to communists. Anonymous furnished proofs could be denied by the examined persons neither nor regarded more near. From 1951 on „an appropriate doubt was necessary”, in order to dismiss an employee. „Appropriate reasons were necessary” before, in order to classify someone as unfaithful.

Starting from 1950 McCarthys admitting heating degree in the public rose fast. Those talk Scare , after it the senate expressed 1954 the distrust, one continued, followed about his devastating investigations in the US-Army, which to 22. April of the same yearly began. The name McCarthy was associated with the phenomenon mainly by its occurrence in the media. Its frank and incalculable nature made it the ideal sign of the anticommunism, although he was possibly not even the most important practical man.

Charlie Chaplin was one persons accused of because of „un-American activities of the” and the FBI was involved in efforts, to explain whose visa for the return journey for invalid, when he bereiste 1952 Europe. Its film career was terminated actually, although it was explained in no accusation for guilty. Roll Disney co-operated at this time closely with the FBI. In documents FBI emerged it as „Special agent contact”, at the same time stood it likewise under suspicion. Its testimony before the committee for un-American activities to 24. October 1947 was mainly used for it, people of its enterprise for denunzieren, which were according to its opinion a threat for its business enterprises or could become. Beyond that a group of directors came from Hollywood, which admits as the Hollywood Ten became, into the prison, because they refused itself co-operating with the investigators. Also numerous left authors and Marxist theoreticians such as W. E. B. You Bois or C. L. R. James suffered witch hunt from this „” and from the USA were proven.

looking processes

particularly large attention excited the looking processes in the public during the McCarthy era against officials, politicians, artists, scientists and others, who were accused of to be communist agents. The most famous processes were against Alger were called and Ethel and Julius the rose mountain. The process against Alger was called began already, before McCarthy went into action. He was never condemned concretely because of espionage, however in the long run because of perjury. Ethel and Julius rose mountain were condemned and executed to death, because they had handed state secrets over to the Soviet Union. Such processes were based typically on information from informers or accomplices. In addition belonged for example Whittaker Chambers, whose statement led to the fall Hiss', or which Mitverschwörer Klaus fox, Harry gold and David Greenglass, whose confessions contributed to the condemnation in the case rose mountain. By calling names of others at alleged conspiracy of participant persons, people came such as Chambers into the benefit of privileges. Informants were made concessions - contrary to people, which pointed all debt from itself.

Der Anfang vom

McCarthys Kampf gegen give to Kommunismus brach 1954 zusammen, als seine Verhöre zum ersten Bad im Fernsehen ausgestrahlt wurden. This made possible of the public and the press a view of its disputed practices from first hand. At this time the press began also to write stories over persons their lives by McCarthys accusations, which were not supported by proofs in some cases, was ruined.

The David rail determining against McCarthys commission - investigation rushing shot requested McCarthy toward end of the 36-tägigen public hearing, the names of an informant and the names of approx. to call 130 allegedly communist „subversive ones”, which were identified by this in the Ministry of Defense. McCarthy refused and tried to stabilize instead its position fastened anyway thereby by accusing Fred of Fisher, an absent coworker of army legal adviser Joseph what, communist infiltration. The addressed Joseph what reacted to the vacant statement McCarthys with the words: „Have you NO scythe OF decency, sir, RK long read? Have you left NO scythe OF decency?” („Sir, have you still no feeling for behaviour? Do you have at all no conception of behaviour more? ”) The hearings, in which McCarthy some committee members in material clay/tone insulted and later practically everything than deputies of the communist party designated, were shown country-wide in the TV, what led to the final reversal of the public opinion across the methods McCarthys.

McCarthy thereupon of the senate the distrust expressed and it lost finally also the presidency of a further committee. The journalists stopped reporting on his complaints on progressive communist conspiracy. Over night it disappeared from the footlights. McCarthy became from the strong drunkard to the alcoholic and died 1957 at hepatitis.

McCarthy era as general concept

during the time McCarthys became „McCarthyism ” in the USA a firm term. It describes the phenomenon, the society by mass hysteria to instill uneasiness and black lists political opinions. Insufficiently justified accusations or unfair methods of investigation are often brought with McCarthy in connection. They serve to bring persons for the silence and/or in disrepute. Arthur Millers drama „witch hunt” (English. The Crucible), which was written during the McCarthy era, used the witch processes of Salem as metaphor for the time of the 1950er, in order to express that pursuits of this kind can happen at each time at each place. The novel Fahrenheit 451 of Ray Bradbury (1953) also addresses the topic.

Accusations „of the McCarthyism” are stated often both by liberals and by conservative ones against their political opponents, who pursue allegedly humans for political reasons. Like that it is according to conservative ones the debt „of the McCarthyism operated by liberal university institute ions” that only few conservative faculties at American universities exist. On the other side many conservative ones do not like this term. He seems to legitimize the Hohn and continue, the liberal traditionally for anticommunist and anti-espionage activities remaining has.

origins and consequences from today's viewpoint

long time „the McCarthyism was seen exclusive” as war motivated of Paranoia and ideologies against other-thinking one in the own country. To a large part it was that surely also, newer historical realizations puts however near that the communist movement was in the USA at least 1945 ago to far parts of the Soviet Union financed and controlled. Nevertheless so the excrescences of the communist hunt cannot be justified in particular against artists and intellectual ones and in such a way „the McCarthyism” generally as dark mark in the history of the United States are seen. However the Depotwirkung of the McCarthy era is not to be ignored regarding communism and socialism. „Link” apply in the USA this very day almost exclusively as trailer of the extreme political adjustment.


  • John E. Haynes: Talk Scare or talk Menace? American Communism and Anticommunism into the Cold was Era, Chicago 1996. ISBN 1-56663-091-6
  • Albert Fried: McCarthyism - The Great American talk Scare - A Documentary History, New York 1997. ISBN 0-19-509701-7
  • inches Schrecker: Many of acres The Crimes - McCarthyism in America, Princeton 1998. ISBN of 0-691-04870-3


Web on the left of

  • harsh block: [1] Caricatures to second talk Scare from the Washington post office

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