Cold War Essay, Research Paper
The Nature of the Cold War during the Truman and Eisenhower Administrations
In the 1950 s the fear of the cold war was felt in every home throughout America. Genuine fear was the feeling of the public. This fear was partially due to the government s way of informing the public of the threat of a cold war. Many key people in Washington played roles in informing the public of the cold war, but Senator Joseph R. McCarthy did more than any other individual to turn the fear of internal communism into national hysteria. This fear was felt not only in governmental situations but also in all social aspects of life. Union leaders had strict rules regarding internal communism and rumors of affiliation with the communist party was thoroughly investigated and regulated. The fear of communism consumed the American public in the 1950 s and is still remembered by those who were affected.
Joseph R. McCarthy quickly turned the fear of the cold war into a national hysteria. McCarthy had struggled through his first four-year term in office. He was looking for a winning reelection issue. The Truman administration had recently launched a campaign against subversion, by the communist victory in China and the successful explosion of an A-Bomb by the Soviet Union, the Hiss-Chambers confrontations, and the outbreak of war in Korea (pg. 50). This gave Joe McCarthy an issue that dominated the headlines and gave the Republican party a weapon to defeat the democrats. On February 9, 1950 McCarthy appeared before the Ohio County Women s Republican Club in Wheeling, Ohio. He followed the lead of his Republican partners, with the addition of some original rhetoric, when he blamed American reverses in the world not on the Soviet Union but on Democratic traitors (pg. 50). McCarthy claimed to have a list of 205 communist spies in Truman s State Department. He stated, in my opinion the State Department, which is one of the most important government departments, is thoroughly infested with communists (pg. 51). In fact, McCarthy had no list at all. This accusation fueled the flames in the public. Everyone believed that there were spies in the State Department selling classified information to communist countries. When later confronted on his evidence, he changed his accusation to bad risks and lowered the number to 57 (pg. 50).
McCarthy described the cold war as, a final, all-out battle between communistic atheism and Christianity . In a speech he introduced into the congressional record on February 20, 1950, he explains that the soviet population has increased by over 400% to 800,000 between 1944 and 1950. America s population fell to 500,000 in those same years. In other words, in less than 6 years the odds have changed from 9 to 1 in our favor to 8 to 5 against us (pg. 51). Americans were developing a fear that infested the entire country. McCarthy did not blame these traitorous actions on the traitors. He put all of the blame on the parents of these traitors. One of the most important reasons for the graft, the corruption, the dishonesty, the disloyalty, the treason in high government positions is a lack of moral uprising on the part of the 140,000,000 American people (pg. 52). He blamed the war for the desensitization of American culture
. McCarthy showed the public the swiftness of the communist victories and American defeats in the cold war. This gave Americans the feeling that full-fledged war would break out soon and America would fall to communist rule. McCarthy s statements were made without any formal proof. In fact, he had no proof at all. McCarthy was used as a public relations tool to instill fear into the public. In my opinion McCarthy was a traitor for making false statements and deceiving the American public.