American History 2 Essay
There was much more to McCarthyism than Joe McCarthy. To what extent do you agree?
McCarthyism within America during the period of the Cold War extended beyond simply Joe McCarthy, although the term was derived from McCarthy and through his actions it involved much more than the man himself. It describes the period of anti-communist suspicion where Americans citizens were subjected to an array of abuses through various government organizations and committees which resulted in a climate of fear. Courts and judges at the time were also extremely biased and suspicions were often given credence despite inconclusive or questionable evidence. Joe McCarthy was one of many people involved with the phenomenon of McCarthyism that destroyed many people’s lives.
Although McCarthyism involved more than McCarthy himself Joe McCarthy set the standard for the way in which the anti-communist crusade was to be ran within America and drew the entire countries attention. McCarthy was heavily influenced in his younger years by the anti-communist rhetoric of the Catholic Church and by other aspects of his environment which made him considerably opposed to communism . He entered the senate in 1946 on a wave of support for his views and attacks on communism within and outside America and gained popular support. It is however argued that McCarthy was merely an opportunist who enjoyed creating controversy and used ‘The Red-hating ticket’ as a means of creating political drama and becoming popular, “He cared about the public noise and the coarse public drama, about picking a fight with intellectuals and Bostonians and pacifists and all the spineless crew who would render American manhood goosey and gutless” . This is not to say however that his effect did not have a significant and devastating impact on American society. McCarthy will always be remembered among other things for his infamous Wheeling speech in West Virginia in 1950 where he incredibly...