The Second Red Scare: Communism And Totalitarianism

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If J.K Rowling’s quote “fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself” applies to the Second Red Scare, then fear of being named is even more accurate. As the world recovered from tragedies such as the Korean War and World War II, differences between nations were becoming prominent, differences in policies defined by communism and capitalism. Defined by the Internal Security Act of 1950, communism was “a world wide revolutionary movement” aiming to “establish a Communist totalitarian dictatorship in the countries throughout the world through the medium of a world-wide Communist organization.” (Document 8) Despising the idea of communism stripping America’s freedom, the spread of it through other nations quickly instilled worry among citizens as well as the government. Organizations such as the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) and the McCarran Committee sought to counteract this fear, seeking out and interrogating citizens. …show more content…
Grounded in faith rather than fact, subversion trials such as the famous 1948 case of Alger Hiss resulted in conviction even though evidence was sparse. Being named was a threat and a source of unease whether guilty or not, both from the government or from friends under interrogation. This suspicion and tension grew until 1950, as Senator Joseph McCarthy became the center of attention with an outrageous speech provoking more concern. His way of slandering became known as McCarthyism, his anti-Communist attitude spreading out even further among the population. As organizations with similar objectives were previously established and his words were built on the people’s existing anxiety, Joseph McCarthy’s political fame was derived from the red

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