Tim Shrode


McCarthyism is defined as making accusations without having evidence. McCarthyism developed shortly after World War II when prejudice was on the rise for communism. Thousands of people were being accused of being in the Communist Party and plenty were innocent. Joseph McCarthy was the person that unintentionally developed McCarthyism. He was the most notable senator that accused suspected communists.

Why did this Happen?

After the second World War, the Soviet Union was turning against the United States and the Allies. The "Iron Curtain" was ruining the "crusade for democracy" of influence on Eastern Europe. The British found out that Klaus Fuchs, a physicist that was involved in the Manhattan Project, was a German spy giving out information to the Russians (in other words he was a communist). Soon after Klaus Fuchs' case Alger Hiss, a government official for the United States, was accused of being a Communist spy as well. These events triggered the "Red Scare" and made America terrified of communists. The House Un-American Activities Committee started investigations for communists in America; and Joseph McCarthy had claimed that communists were prominent in all classes of Americans.

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The Symbol of Communism

This is a photograph of the flag of the Soviet Union; the heartland of communism.

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McCarthy's Up-rise

Joseph McCarthy ruined many peoples lives. He wanted power and attention. He knew Communism was a popular topic and was serious after the war. On February 9, 1950 McCarthy claimed he had a list of 205 "card carrying communists" of U.S. Department employees. He also claimed that the FBI gave him this list. Since he had no evidence to back up his accusations, he always was changing who he was accusing. Many people believed him since he was a senator, even Dwight D. Eisenhower did not question his accusations. Thereby, The House Un-American Activities Committee interrogated government officials, film directors, and many more different types of people. The photographs below are some of the Hollywood figures that were accused. People of Hollywood were accused because they were very influential on the nation.

McCarthy's Downfall

A lot of people started to question McCarthy. On April 22, 1954, Attorney Joseph N. Welch blamed McCarthy for corruption. Welch revealed that McCarthy altered photographs and created documents that were fake. Months later on December 2, 1954, the majority of senators voted to censure him. Justice was served, and the man that ruined too many people's lives to count was finally exposed and humiliated.

The Impact on the Decade

The fear of communism was intensified when Joseph McCarthy made his false accusations. McCarthyism is why people's lives were terrorized. The people interrogated had no reason to live after these events. Their reputation was destroyed, their probability of finding a job was close to none, and they were considered outsiders. McCarthyism is one of those things that people try to avoid when they are trying to convict someone. This opened up a lot of American's eyes and something that should not be repeated. The Constitution was stressed more and trial by jury instead by accusation was as well from this point on.

Connection to Today and Solutions for the Future

Prejudice will live forever in the world, and there is almost nothing that can be done to change how people think. Ever since September 11, 2001 Muslims have been looked at as terrorists. Another stereotype would be how every Mexican is an illegal immigrant and they are taking jobs. Donald Trump is an example of a political figure who is prejudice. He believes both the Muslim and Mexican stereotype. The list goes on about prejudices about different races and types of people. The best option to change how people think would be to start at a young age. This tactic has been used on how young children are taught to share, show respect, and care; but most children are not exposed to people different to them until they get older. Therefore, diversity, especially at a young age, in society would be the cure to prejudice.

When it comes to false accusations, evidence is the best weapon. As technology advances, evidence evolves and becomes stronger. Security cameras, DNA, and much more help find who is truly guilty. The criminal justice system will simply get better with time. Overall, false accusation will be prevented as time goes by and as technology advances.

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The Political Billionaire

The presidential candidate that has no filter--Donald Trump.

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Allan M.Winkler The Anti-communist Crusade. Oxford University Press, 2000.

Blacklisted. (n.d.). Retrieved March 15, 2016, from

English, J. A., & Jones, T. D. (1998). Scholastic encyclopedia of the United States at war. New York: Scholastic.

Joseph McCarthy. (2001). American Political Leaders. ABC-CLIO Interactive. Retrieved from