The Red Scare is a phenomenon that rose in the 20th century that caused fear and panic about the likely rise of leftism or communism in the United States. It has a distinct characteristic: it rose roughly a few years after the world wars. For instance, the first Red Scare came in the period between 1919 and 1920 (a year after WWI), which was marked by political radicalism and socialist worker revolution. The second came in 1947 (2 years after WWII) and lasted until 1957. This period brought with it the notion that the foreign communists were beginning to influence the US population and to infiltrate the federal government. The latter is mostly referred to as ‘McCarthyism’ due to its relations with Senator Joseph McCarthy, who was a famous supporter. During this time, there was also, an increase in the fear of communist spies who would leak information that was crucial about the government to the Soviet Union, the Chinese, Koreans, or the Germans.
Communist fear began building up in the 1940s following the crucial historical events that took place, including the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe, the Ethel and Julius Rosenberg trial, and the Hydrogen-bombing threat made against the United States by the Soviet Union. The Kellock-Taschereau commission was constituted in 1946 to investigate the possibility of espionage concerning the leak of the information about the radar and the RDX among other weapons that were in the hands of the Soviet Union. The fears of spies were confirmed by the testimonies given by Whittaker Chambers and Elizabeth Bentley, who were members of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA), saying that spies had infiltrated the United States government during the Second World War. McCarthy claimed that there were many spies of the Soviet Union and other Communists within the government of the United States, and sympathizers elsewhere within positions of influence. He used these claims and those of homosexuality against certain members of the House and leaders. His inability to substantiate his claims got him to be censored. Today, the word McCarthyism signifies the act of making unsubstantiated accusations of treason or subversion. During the 1950s, there were many American citizens who were accused of acts of treason or being non-patriotic, swearing allegiance from any other country or body that is not the federal government of the United States.
The Relationship between the USA and the Soviet Union in the Red Scare Era.
There are certain crucial events that further complicated the relationship between the USA and the Soviet Union. The formation of the Soviet Union-backed European People’s Republic happened in 1946, which was later referred to as the Communist “People’s Republic”. It included Yugoslavia, Albania, and Bulgaria. It sparked a raw because the UK and the USA considered it an abrogation of the Yalta Conference Agreements. In the same year, George Kennan shared his concerns about Soviet Expansionism with the Department of State. He said that there could be little or no negotiation since the Soviet-held the notion that the USA were its enemies. After the fall of the Iron Curtain in the same year, 1946, brought many nations under the arm of Russia, and communism was fast spreading (US. Dept. of State). The USA had promoted capitalism as the appropriate ideology for progressive nations. In 1947, the Soviet Union began warming up for Turkey and Greece. As a countermeasure, President harries Truman offered support for the weaker government. It was also the same year that the Soviet Union detonated a nuclear bomb, challenging the USA in a fight for better technology.
The events internationally were very realistic. Owing to the cases of espionage in Poland and other nations in Eastern Europe, and the fact that the Hydrogen bomb had been tested, the memories of Nagasaki and Hiroshima were still vivid, hence the popularity of the McCarthyism. These facts made McCarthyism believable among the American people.