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The Cold War and America(Initial Post)How did the Cold War affect the social and political climate in the United States during the 1950s? In particular, how do you explain McCarthyism and the Red Scare?Can you think of any modern parallels to these events, when fear and paranoia threatened basic American liberties? Elaborate.Professor and Classmates, During the late 1940s and early 1950s communism was on the rise globally. Not only was the Soviet Union a large communist power, but by 1950 a communist government controlledChina (Keene, Cornell, & O’Donnell, 2012). The Soviet’s testing of their own atomic bomb also fueled American concerns over global military power (Keene, Cornell, & O’Donnell, 2012). Our text states that “American leaders proclaimed that the United States was engaged in an epic struggle with the Soviet Union over the future of humankind” (Keene, Cornell & O’Donell, 2012). These views further fueled paranoia among American Citizens. Fear for ourfuture and basic way of life gave way to McCarthyism and the Red Scare. The Red Scare instilled fear in Americans that communist spies were among us (Richards). This led to investigations of federal employees and the McCarran Acts, which stopped communists fromentering the country (Keene, Cornell & O’Donnell, 2012). This was further fueled by political leaders such as Joseph McCarthy, a senator from Wisconsin, which campaigned to identify and eliminate suspected communists (Richards). His philosophy gave way to McCarthyism which attempted to “minimize the threat of communism by accusing and detaining suspects deemed to be a security threat or disloyal to the United States” (Richards). While the cold war is over, these days we deal with our own insecurities about terrorism. The terrorist attacks of September 11 certainly gave the U.S. a rude awakening that we werenot immune to outside forces. Our ongoing battle with foreign and domestic terrorism has certainly given way to more surveillance and scrutiny from our government and our neighbors. Moreover, these threats have also forced us to tighten our borders and restrict entry to the U.S. in order to keep our country safe. ReferencesKeene, J. D., Cornell, S., & O'Donnell, E. T. (2012). Visions of America: A history of the United States (2nd ed.). Retrieved from:Richards, A. (n.d.). McCarthyism and the Red Scare: Definition, Causes & Effects - Video & Lesson Transcript. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from -effects.htmlResponse 1,1
Suyin, I agree with you that the cold war did bring many perceived threats to American Shores. Forthose of us of Cuban American heritage who grew up hearing stories of Fidel Castro and socialist regimes, these threats were very real. A communist island very near our shores was certainly concerning to the American people and politicians, raising tensions high.