Harry truman’s presidency and the cold war

McCarthyism         1. Senator Joseph R. McCarthy

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        1. Senator Joseph R. McCarthy (Republican from Wisconsin) became a demagogue
        2. In Feb. 1950, asserted that scores of unknown Communists were in the Dept. of State

            a. His technique was to make sweeping accusations, employ guilt by association and documents out of context

            b. Public convinced he was looking out for national security.
            c. Was unable to substantiate his claims but ruined many gov't officials.
            d. Almost no one was safe from his accusations.
            e. Supporters tended to be Republican and blue-collar
        3. Other Accusations:
            a. Claimed Democratic party was guilty of 20 years of treason
            b. Wanted Truman impeached for being soft on communism (despite Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan, NATO, Berlin Airlift, Korean War)
            c. Claimed George Marshall was an instrument of Soviet conspiracy.
            d. Hinted Eisenhower was "soft on communism."
            e. McCarthy would slander people and claim they were homosexual as well as communist.
        4. McCarthy’s Senate hearings created an atmosphere of conformity and fear

5. Eisenhower despised McCarthy but did little to oppose him

        6. Downfall of McCarthy occurred when he took on the Army in 1954
            a. McCarthy was intensely examined by Joseph Welch, Army attorney.
            b. By Dec., 1954, Senate passed a resolution condemning McCarthy 67-22
            c. McCarthy died three years later from alcohol and exhaustion.

7. Did the end of McCarthy signal the end of the red scare? Not really, but hysteria did mellow.

a. Sputnik caused some hysteria in 1957; Americans feared Soviets technologically superior.

b. Many Americans built bomb shelters in their back yards fearing nuclear war with Soviets

c. School’s continued “duck and cover” drills to prepare for a nuclear attack.


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