HIST 405 Week 7 Assignment Case Study

HIST 405 Week 7 Assignment Case Study

HIST 405 Week 7 Assignment Case Study

McCarthyism and Anti-Communist Campaigns

            The speech given by Senator Joseph McCarthy entitled Enemies from Within is rhetoric which probes on the presence of an external enemy who managed to penetrate the state ranks and stirred up policies that undermine the stable socioeconomic and political status of the United States of America down on the brink in the presence of an emerging tension veiled in the guise of a Cold War. The message relayed was not only to reveal a presence of high disloyalty among the citizens but to build up distrust in the presence of unknown infiltrators that widened the scope of conflict not outside the state territories but within the very institutions of the government that lay down its core.

McCarthy’s Communism: Threats and Definition

McCarthy lined communism as a religion that defied the existence of God, an atheist, much like the nations that preach its extreme ideology and blindly follow its principle. His speech invoked that the threat posed by the presence of Communist countries is because they dominate and take control of everything in terms of resources which gravely violates the freedom of every individual as to the options they have and would choose for themselves. Communism to his concept is an ideology that strips a human person of his free will up to the extent of manipulating even human emotions and reason all for the benefit of the selfish interests of a false notion of a communistic state. He further expounds that Communism would initiate the great divide between mankind to the point that is beyond repair and incur unimaginable damages never before done by any economic or political system ever introduced to humanity.

            The impending danger brought by the multiplying number and population of the Communist States posed a terrifying threat to the democratic ideals of America and its capitalistic system of economy. McCarthy fully called this Communist challenge as immoral which needs to be responded with a moral uprising. This claim had been supported by a series of events that manifested a gradual shift from the period of peace to the preparation of war as initiated in the shadows by the Communist Nations (MCCarthy,1950).

McCarthy’s Charges and Validity

            The speculated fast-paced expansion and growth on the nuclear arms production of Communist Nations has led McCarthy to sound the alarm of an impending danger that Christian countries could face if not given immediate attention by the concerned people in authority. The senator has cited the gradual influence of the communist ideology to several strategic places in the world namely Formosa and the continent of Europe. He further cited the verbal warnings made by Communist Leaders such as Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union. Knowing that Russia is unyielding in its mission of spreading Communism worldwide is already a high danger considering that these nations are capable of going against the United States in all aspects.

HIST 405 Week 7 Assignment Case Study
HIST 405 Week 7 Assignment Case Study

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            He emphasized that this situation has triggered an alarming scenario that must be acted upon immediately as it slowly penetrates the ranks of state officials in the US, putting the entire interest of the country in great jeopardy.  This is the biggest fear that McCarthy would want to imprint to the hearts of the American people as he made firm claims that the Communist spies have been holding positions in the federal government and are secretly collaborating to plot down the downfall of the entire federal state in their planned conspiracies. Borrowing as an arguable phrase from former Pres. Abraham Lincoln issued his stern warning that the country’s destruction will not be because of the enemies coming from the outside but will be due to the presence of internal enemies.

McCarthyism: Basis of The Red Scare

Several events, governmental experiences, and intelligence investigations had led McCarthy to burst out accusations against Communist spies and collaborators who are affiliated in the federal government. One of the prominent names revealed by McCarthy was Alger Hiss, a statesman who played vital roles in the country’s foreign relations in the 1930s, serving under the administrations of both Roosevelt and Truman. This allegation has been correct at some point since Hiss had been identified through credible sources that a spy is working in the government, and it fits perfectly well with his description and identity.

Furthermore, McCarthy also identified a list of more than 200 members of the Communist Party which was gathered by the intelligence, only that these identifications were held to be confidential by the White House itself under the mandate of President Truman. This led to the assumption that even the president of America himself is a co-conspirator of a wide shadow network working for the destabilization of the American government. Several other names have also emerged, unfortunately, this intensive probe on the people involved in the Red Scare had been mysteriously white washed resulting in a non-affirmation on the charges pressed against the mentioned individuals.

Fifth Amendment and the Congressional Investigation

The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) was created by Congress in 1938 to investigate possible cases of communism in the U.S. jurisdiction. A lot of personalities were placed on trial by the committee including celebrities and political personalities even on groundless allegations. This resulted in the devastation of livelihood and damage to the reputations of those who were charged with espionage. This instilled fear among those who were suspected by the operations of the committee chaired by Senator McCarthy (Openstax, 2019).

The methods employed by the investigating committee raised an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. These approaches became controversial to the point that Communists under suspicions will receive a subpoena to participate in the hearing. Suspects are grilled to the extent that their political ideologies are being questioned and connected to subversive actions. People who received subpoenas but refused to attend or participate in the questioning process are threatened with contempt by Congress and are practically set for imprisonment. The option to invoke the Fifth Amendment has done nothing but to create an impression that indeed, the person being suspected is guilty of the crime against its very own nation.

Legacy and Truthfulness

At the tail end of the conducted investigation in the quest for the ghosts of a seemingly powerful and invisible enemy, McCarthy was criticized for his behavior and manner in violation of the Senate traditions of due process trials. His legacy was left in the negative light being linked to an unpleasant action of destroying a person’s reputation based on senseless allegations and unfounded charges. He died and left his name that will forever be remembered undesirably- the tradition of McCarthyism.

In the post-McCarthy time, the phantom being chased may somehow found its validity on the death of John F. Kennedy. The assassination of the political figure had been greatly connected to the operation of the Communists infiltrating the American soil to stage its grand plan, waiting patiently and acting methodically. JFK’s death has opened the minds of many Americans that the conducted investigation has its basis after all since the assassin had been linked to the Communist nations pointed out by the late Senator McCarthy in his series of conducted investigations. Events in the years that come would tell that Communism has largely penetrated its way to federal state ranks, and as others may think before that McCarthy had been delusional on his investigation, history would say otherwise.


Openstax CNX (2019). US History: Post-War Prosperity and Cold War Fears, 1945-1960, Chapter 28, p. 833

McCarthy, J. (1950). Enemies from Within. Speech. Wheeling. West Virginia