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McCarthyism and The Crucible

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McCarthyism and The Crucible

  1. 1. McCarthyism, Witch Hunts and The Crucible
  2. 2. “Witch-Hunt” <ul><li>Actual Meaning: The search for witches or evidence of witchcraft, often involving moral panic, mass hysteria, and lynching. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Think: Salem Witch Trials of 1692-1693 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Metaphor: Moral panics in general, especially the frantic persecution of perceived enemies. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Think: Second Red Scare and McCarthyism </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. McCarthyism Background <ul><li>Communism : The economic and social movement which aims for a classless society in which everyone owns everything. </li></ul><ul><li>Emerged in Russia in the late 19th Century and reached around 75,000 members in the United States in 1940-1941. </li></ul><ul><li>Cold War : Following World War II, the United States and Russia, allies against Germany, Japan, and Italy, became adversaries. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Each country played the game of one-upsmanship, trying to outdo each other in weaponry, technology, and world control. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spies were used extensively in both countries. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. McCarthyism <ul><li>Definition: the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, especially of pro-communist activity, in many instances unsupported by proof or based on slight, doubtful, or irrelevant evidence. </li></ul><ul><li>During this era, thousands of Americans were accused of being communist sympathizers and were forced to undergo investigations and questioning before government or private-industry panels. </li></ul><ul><li>Hundreds were imprisoned and 10,000 to 12,000 people lost their jobs. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Joseph McCarthy <ul><li>Republican U.S. senator from Wisconsin. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1950, during a speech in West Virginia, McCarthy produced a piece of paper of “known communists” working for the government. </li></ul><ul><li>Led the anti-Communist crusade known as the Second Red Scare. </li></ul>
  6. 6. House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) <ul><li>While McCarthy did not lead HUAC, which was created prior to WWII, his anti-Communist crusade allowed the committee to investigate the Hollywood film industry. </li></ul><ul><li>“Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” </li></ul><ul><li>Witnesses who refused to answer were sent to jail, while those who claimed their Fifth Amendment rights (refusal to testify against oneself) were fired from their jobs. </li></ul><ul><li>Witnesses were required to either incriminate themselves or name someone they know or believe to be a Communist. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Senate Committees <ul><li>McCarthy headed a Senate committee charged with investigating suspected Communists. </li></ul><ul><li>He investigated the Voice of America (a radio station broadcast overseas) and the U.S. Army </li></ul><ul><ul><li>His investigation of the Army and subsequent live hearings led to the dropping of McCarthy’s popularity. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Journalist Edward R. Murrow did an investigative report of McCarthy on See It Now, a precursor to 60 Minutes, which ultimately led to McCarthy’s downfall. </li></ul>