Thursday, April 26, 2007


McCarthyism is a movement named after its instigator, Joseph McCarthy. McCarthy was born in Wisconsin in 1908. As a senator, he developed the anti-communist ideas already defended by Smith. Anti-communist measures had existed in the United States since the forties. Mc Carthy’s movement was very popular during and after World War II, when people were afraid of the growing importance of the USSR and communism. A period of suspicion started in the US, which turned into a time of persecution of the alleged communists, who, at best, lost their jobs and, at worst, were executed. To achieve their purposes, the authorities, with the help of the FBI, used different ways, most of them illegal. A lot of people were denounced by acquaintances, even if not all of them were communists. Indeed, those measures also affected people with avant-gardist ideas or people who did not support the capitalist ideology. People suspected of being communists were listed on the so-called “black lists”, which could be sent to employers or booksellers, for instance. The former refused to employ suspected communists and the latter censored books defending dissident ideas. McCarthyism came to an end when those measures started to be applied to members of the army and of the government. A lot of people found that by searching state enemies among these institutions they had gone too far. McCarthy was finally dismissed by the Senate when all his measures became public and unpopular.

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