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Communisim In The 1950

’s Essay, Research Paper Thesis: The “Red Scare” of the 1950’s caused a massive movement for the people of that time period. I. Introduction II. The Basis of Communisim

’s Essay, Research Paper

Thesis: The “Red Scare” of the 1950’s caused a massive movement for the people of that time period.

I. Introduction

II. The Basis of Communisim

A. Communisim: Defined

B. Political Aspects

1. Communist associations

2.Communist fears

C. Physical Aspects

1. Incidents

2. Blacklisting

III. Propaganda

A. Recruitment

B. The “Red Scare”

1. Communist propaganda

2. Anti-communist defenses

IV. Leaders in the movement-McCarthy

A. Obsessions

1. The conspiracy

2. Focus on his campaign

B. Accusations

1. Alger Hiss

2. Owen Lattimore

V. The Cold War

A. Conflict with Russia

1. Destruction of atomic weapons

2. War in Greece

3. Failure to adopt Marshall Plan

B. European Recovery

1. European Recovery Program

2. Increase in trade

VI. Protection

A. U.S. Defenses

1. New Weapons

2. New Technology

B. Punishments

VII. What was Learned

A. More tolerance

B. Less hate

C. Comparisons between the Fifties and now

1. Understanding

2. Lessons

VIII. Conclusions

America: Land of the free, and the home of the brave. This famous expression has

been used numerous times throughout history, even scoring a line in our country’s national

anthem. But in our high-tech socety, many Americans can not even understand what our

forefathers went through to achieve this American dream. People do not even grasp the

concept of what it has taken to keep the freedom of this country ringing. Place youself in

the footsteps of the average American of the 1950’s, dealing with the Russian threat of

communist rule and the fear of being taken over an opposite world power. Post World

War II struggles make it hard for anyone to get by, and each coming day leads to another

unpredictable twist for the country in which you reside. The powerful threat of

communisim, which came to be known as the “Red Scare,” is the basis of all of the

nation’s problems. This “Red Scare” of the 1950’s was a powerful, radical, and

controversial issue for nearly everyone in that time period, and what’s more is the

propaganda that was used to sell communist leadership to the American people, who

were deathly afraid of what the future might hold. This Red Scare lasted throughout the

Fifties and beyond. The Fabulous Fifties… well, were they really so fabulous, after all?

First of all, for total understanding of the Red Scare of the fifties, one must

become acquainted with the term communisim. Communisim can be defined as: a type of

government in which a small group of leaders dictates a country or nation by distributing

goods and money equally among the country’s citizens (Webster’s, 1994). As of today,

nations such as Russia and China are run by communist authority. Although this system

of government works in theory, it requires the sacrifice of freedom of the people who are

being ruled. Other aspects of communist rule include communist associations, which

during the 1950’s had 10,000 members across the United States of America, dedicated to

making communist rule in the United States a reality (Miller, 1954). Incidents in which

communisim was a serious matter in the 1950’s include the jailing of an American couple

for reportedly “talking communisim.” A later report indicated that the couple was merely

discussing American relations with Japan, but it was around the time that this event

occured that people began to really began to fear communists and their beliefs (Miller,

1954). Communists, or people suspected of being communists, were also blacklisted,

making them unable to get jobs, insurance, and loans, among other things (Salem Press,

1992).

Recruitment for memebers of the communist political party was, during the 1950’s,

based solely on propaganda. This false advertising glorified the things that communist rule

was supposed to offer, such as jobs, money, and food for everyone. This especially

appealed to America’s lower-class society, with dreams of brighter futures and lifestyles

for themselves and generations to come. Of course, communist activists never mentioned

anything about the freedoms that our nation, under communist rule, would stand to lose.

On the contrary, though, anti-communists startled Americans by leveling their defense by

making it seem like all members of communist parties were murderers and terrorists,

which is where the term “Red Scare” was generated from (Associated Press, 1995).

These defenses were used primarily to keep communist beliefs away from our American

democracy, but frightened Americans into believing that all communists and people from

countries such as Russia, which had communist leadership, were evil. On the other hand,

Douglass Miller notes in his book, The Fifties: The Way We Really Were, that “Most

victims of anti-red mania were guilty of little more than holding unpopular opinions

(Miller, 1954).”

One man, Joe McCarthy, was an especially strong activist in this anti-communist

movement. McCarthy apparently needed a focus in his campaign for Senator, so he chose

a topic that would appeal to all people, communisim in the United States. This was a very

good idea, as most people were not quite grasping the idea of communisim and what

would happen if the United States was to fall under communist rule. He disagreed

strongly with communist ideas, which was ironic because he was at one point a communist

activist. McCarthy dedicated his life to this anti-communist campaign. He made a number

of accusations and accused opponents of his of being communists and Soviet spies.

Among others, there was the imfamous Alger Hiss. McCarthy accused Hiss of being a

communist spy, and these accusations were recepted by the American people (Miller,

1954). Owen Lattimore was also a familiar name; he was also accused of being a

communist spy after McCarthy found out the Lattimore was an expert on Far Eastern

affairs (Miller, 1954). McCarthy died while still speaking against communisim and

keeping American people from tolerating any form of communist government.

The Cold War also had a lot to do with this threat of communisim in the U.S.

(Borstien, 1992).Different aspects of the Cold War included Russia’s attempt to control

the atomic bomb. Russian communists demanded that the United States destroy our

atomic weapons. This, added with other Russian conflicts, did not make the spread of

communisim a worthy cause for Americans at all. Russia continued to spread its

communist tyranny all over the world, causing a civil war in Greece, in which the British

became involved (Borstien, 1992). The British provided funds and defenses for the people

of Greece, but soon, the British could no longer continue fighting for the Greek people.

Congess then came up with a plan, named the Marshall Plan, which would provide funds

for the Greek people against the spread of communisim. The Marshall Plan was put into

effect and caused a riot from Soviets, who would have nothing to do with this plan

(Borstien, 1992). Finally, the Soviets began to settle back once another plan, called the

European Recovery Program, was put into effect. This plan worked out very well,

because instead of fighting a war against communisim, it went to the root of the problem

and helped to rebuild parts of Europe that were in desperate need of help. This worked

out very well in the end, because the plan increased trade with European countries,

causing a booming economy for both the U.S. and Europe. The plan was intent on

“containing” communisim, and that’s what it did (Borstien, 1992).

New technology also kept Americans from communisim. United States defenses

made a threat to the Soviet government, claiming that they would do anything and

everything to prevent Russia from spreading communisim to America. With new

weapons, such as the atomic bomb, these threats were not hard at all for the United States

to back up. By then, communisim had already spread to eastern Europe, an Americans

were more than determined to not let this horrific form of government spread into the

United States. Other precautionary measures included the jailing of citizens of the United

States that were found guilty of being Communists. The idea of this was to cut off

communists from any Soviet links that they might have, so that they could not send or

recieve any documents that had to do with communisim (Associated Press, 1995).

So how was the American fear of communisim finally resolved? Well, in actuallity,

it never really was. People in the United States today still fear a communist government,

only not as publicly because the United States as a country no longer feels threatened by

the Soviet Union. But the fear is still there. Often, Americans must be reminded that

America really is the land of the free and the home of the brave, and that democracy really

works.

In conclusion, the Red Scare of the 1950’s really was a radical and controversial

issue for all types of reople who lived through that time period. It affected most everyone,

and many of these people were confused and bewildered by the entire basis of

communisim. But now, in the United States, people are able to experience the joys and

pleasures of freedom because of this massive movement that took place during the 1950’s.

It shall never be forgotten what Americans have had to go through for future generations

to conserve peace and freedom. People have worked hard to be sure that an

unfair kind of government will never take over the United States. America: Land of the

free, home of the brave.

Associated Press. (1995). Twentieth Century America: The Cold War at Home and Abroad 1945-1953. Los Angeles: Combined Books

Borstien and Kelly. (1992). A History of the United States. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc.

Layman, Richard. (1994). American Decades: 1950-1959. Detroit: Gale Research, Inc.

Miller, Douglass T. and Newak, Marion. (1954). The Fifties: The Way We Really Were. New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc.

Rich, Candace. (2000). Fifties Web. [Online]. Availiable: http://www.fiftiesweb.com/fifties.htm [2000, Feb. 7]

Salem Press. (1982). Great Events: The Twentieth Century. California: Salem Press, Inc.

Sherlock, Joe. (1997). Welcome to the Fifties. [Online]. Availiable:

http://www.joesherlock.com/fifties.html

Vintron-Shellburg. (1999). Traveling Through the Fifties. [Online]. Availiable:

http://www.vintron-shellsburg.k12.id.us/tws/seventh/group/fifties/50toc.html

[1999, Feb. 7]

(1998). The Fifties. [Online]. Availiable: www.ornl.gov/swords/fifties.html

(2000). Rewind the Fifties. [Online]. Availiable: www.loti.com/clip.html [2000, Feb. 4]

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