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The Cold War and McCarthyism - Essay Example

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Social movements are, for the most part, centered on ideological shifts in society. For instance, the Red Scare of the 1940s and 1950s came about through fear of radical ideologies emerging from the Soviet Union and around the world. …
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The Cold War and McCarthyism
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Download file to see previous pages Social movements are, for the most part, centered on ideological shifts in society. For instance, the Red Scare of the 1940s and 1950s came about through fear of radical ideologies emerging from the Soviet Union and around the world. At this point in history, the Cold War produced fear from Americans, who constantly contemplated the possibility of nuclear war with the philosophically corrupt Soviets: a nation that the United States saw as antithetical to American values like individualism and market economies. Paired with political pressure to root out Soviet spies in the government, the Red Scare erupted and played out in scenes all over the country. The interaction of this public force with the arts community of Hollywood, however, produced the most interesting social dynamic of the whole Red Sca Politicians for possible affiliations with the socialist cause targeted film directors, playwrights, and other left-leaning artists of the era. This led to a portrayal of American society in a negative light in the artwork of these people, which has since surfaced as valuable and telling about this dark period in American history. As an example, the playwright Arthur Miller created a play in 1953 about the Salem Witch Trials called The Crucible, solely as an allegory to McCarthyism and as an attack on the Red Scare phenomenon.Joseph McCarthy, who is singled out more than any other figure in the history of the Red Scare,was a prominent Senator from the state of Wisconsin during the time...
ed disloyalty and subversive activities on the part of private citizens, public employees, and those organizations suspected of having Communist ties” (Black & Hopkins, 2003). Although created in 1938, a few years before the start of World War II, the HUAC gained most of its influence during the Cold War. The HUAC often wielded its power to subpoena witness and hold people in contempt of Congress, and it pressured witnesses to surrender names and other information that could lead to the apprehension of Communists and Communist sympathizers. The Committee would brand witnesses as the enemy should they ever refuse to comply in answering questions. Joseph McCarthy used this “redbaiting” style of questioning and punishment during his own investigative hearings. Although these hearings lacked substantive proof or reason, not answering questions was treated as an admission of guilt. For this reason, countless numbers of people who appeared before the Committee during the 1940s and 1950s were “blacklisted” (Black & Hopkins, 2003). The term “blacklisting” refers generally to the process of registering individuals who, for some reason, are being denied a particular privilege or right. During the Red Scare, members of the Hollywood artistic community were blacklisted for not complying with the HUAC. The public lost faith in these towering figures in the movie industry. Parents did not want their children to see a movie in which the writer or the lead actor was a suspected communist. Some film directors, writers, and actors were put into financial ruin because of their inability to work. One of these figures was Arthur Miller, a famed playwright who wrote such works as Death of a Salesman and All My Sons. Miller found himself blacklisted when he refused to testify ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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