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Unformatted text preview: Although the setting of the novel is World War II, it was written during the 1950s, a decade of political repression and Cold War paranoia regarding Communism. U.S. Senator Joseph Raymond McCarthy, from Wisconsin, became a national figure as the infamous leader of an anti-Communist witch-hunt. (See "Historical Background" in the "Introduction to the Novel" for more on this topic.) The satirical treatment of the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade reflects Heller's contempt for McCarthy and his influence. McCarthy's investigations implied that people must be guilty if they were accused. In the novel, investigators maintain the same reasoning in Clevinger's trial and in the application of loyalty oaths. As Captain Black says, people who are loyal "would not mind signing all the loyalty oaths they had to." They need to sign more and more as the fervor mounts. Initially, Black orders that all combat personnel sign one loyalty oath to receive maps from the intelligence tent, another to get...
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- Fall '11