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 The McCarthy Hearings

Senator Joseph McCarthy instilled fear into the minds of the Americans with his anti-

Communist thinking, with his ideals. Senator McCarthy, during 1950-1954, disrupted the United

States with the HUAC ( House of Un-American Activity Committee) Hearings. These hearings

brought government workers, college professors, playwrights and Hollywood screen writers,

actors, artists, musicians, gays, Jews and anyone with a goatee under suspicion.

Joseph McCarthy was an unknown senator from Wisconsin, who wanted to be in the

spotlight. During a speech in West Virginia, Senator McCarthy accused the State Department of

being full of Communists. The media immediately centered on McCarthy and his accusations. A

Senate committee was immediately appointed to look at these accusations. The United States was

already in the middle of a Communist witch-hunt. It was believed that the recipe for the atomic

bomb was stolen by an American communist. With the Communist take over in Russia with Stalin

and in China with Mao Tse Tung, the United States was already on the road to being

conservative. The Republican Party had control of the Congress. President Truman restarted the

HUAC to stop the fears of the American people .

Investigations were started to look for Communist activities in organized labor, the

Federal government, and especially Hollywood. Hollywood was hit the hardest with the

accusations of Communism. Many of the actors and writers either moved to Europe or Mexico to

avoid being put jail. As a result of the accusations, a group of Hollywood liberals established the

"Committee for the First Amendment". The CFA went to Washington to support their

Hollywood but in the end denied all involvement with them because they felt they were being

used. Many people in Hollywood had lost their jobs because of the HUAC meetings. President

Truman at a Democratic meeting backed the Anti-Communist feelings to gain political and

popular support. It was very common for people to have to take an Anti-Communist oaths when

they worked in the government. If they refused, they were fired.

McCarthyism left its mark on the United States government and its people. If the public

could express their opinions about the government without their fears about being labeled a

Communist, an event such as the Vietnam War may have not taken place. The cultural and




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