Topic 8 - McCarthyism Flashcards Preview

Paper 1D: America 1920-1973 CORE CONTENT > Topic 8 - McCarthyism > Flashcards

Flashcards in Topic 8 - McCarthyism Deck (14):

What did many Americans fear after the Second World War?

Communism - many saw it as a threat to American values (e.g. democracy; wealth creation; and personal freedom).


Who was Joe McCarthy?

An American Senator (politician)


What events after the Second World War fuelled the idea that Communism was a threat to America?

1. Communism was spreading in Europe. The majority of eastern European countries were Communist by 1948 and under the influence of the Soviet Union.

2. Communism was spreading beyond Europe. In 1949, China became a Communist country.

3. During the Korean War (1950-1953), the USSR and China supported North Korea in trying to spread Communism to South Korea. America supported South Korea to prevent this from happening.


What impact did the spread of Communism in eastern Europe and Asia have on American society?

Americans became worried that Communist ideas, and maybe Communism itself, would spread to America.


What did Congress set up, because the fear of Communism was so high?

The House Committee of Un-American Activities


What did the House Committee of Un-American Activities investigate, and what was the outcome of the investigations?

Investigation: Communist involvement in the government, education and the film industry.

Outcome: Many were sacked as "security risks", and a witch-hunt began as people began to name others who were allegedly Communist.


Identify three aspects of Communism that Americans disliked.

1. State ownership of industry, agriculture and business, with all profits going to the state (so individuals couldn't make profit).

2. One party of government (no choice in elections).

3. State control of the population → limited freedom of speech.


What did Senator Joe McCarthy claim?

He claimed that he had a list of over 200 Communist sympathisers who were working in the US government. He also accused some officers in the US army of being Communist.


What were the consequences of Senator Joe McCarthy's claims? (Identify three consequences)

1. Anti-Communist campaigns were based on half-truths, rumours and lies.

2. Many people were put on trial and found guilty of being Communist, without much proof. Many lost their jobs.

3. Anti-Communist fear spread as headlines flooded the newspapers and televised news reports → many Americans started to accuse others of being Communist.


What led to McCarthy's downfall?

His televised interrogations of government and army officials showed the American people that he had overstepped his authority and was an irresponsible bully. A Senate sub-committee investigated his claims. He was strongly criticised by his colleagues in politics.


During the late-1940s and early-1950s, how many people did the FBI suspect were Communist?

Around 1 million people


Who worked alongside McCarthy, and committed himself to fighting Communism? (Identify his name and job role)

J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)


In what ways did international events encourage the fear of Communism after the Second World War?

International events (e.g. the spread of communism in eastern Europe and Asia, and the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950) → helped to convince the American people and politicians that there was a danger that Communism could spread to America.


In what ways did Senator Joe McCarthy encourage the fear of Communism after the Second World War?

McCarthy's claims that there were Communists in the government, education, film industry and army → led to fear that Communism was already spreading in America and particularly in the American government.

The claims of Senator Joe McCarthy → led to investigations → led to increased publicity in the media of the threat of Communism → encouraged many to accuse other Americans of being Communist.