Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
In my opinion, I believe that the idea of a Red Scare, really propelled both the public, and government, into a mood of perplexion on exactly what they should do to counteract the spreading of this ideology that is not what it makes itself out to be. For me, a good example of this would have been the Republican from Wisconsin, Senator McCarthy, who boldly stated that he had a list of 200 or more individuals that were socialist within the state department. This, of course, lead into a much larger controversy as a nation in the proliferation of such an ideology within our culture, or at least the idea of it was seen as almost intolerable, leading to the term “McCarthyism,’ and how it was used against so many within the United States. However, contrary to his statement, he was never able to actually muster those names that he had on a list and instead caused a larger foray of that was actually believed by the public, though, this was not the first time this occurred. For instance, for many who can look into the past can find the many worrisome stares into the ideas of socialism and its adverse impact on our nation, can even go to the Hollywood Ten moments in Hollywood, or even for those who had seen Socialist Democrat nominee for president Eugene V. Debs, and his early beginnings within the United States. All of these moments, but most importantly after 1945, at the start of the Cold War, culminated into much of the to-be-expected-of hysteria within period leading up to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
The impacts on our society in the 40s and 50s was just the early brunt of everything that was to be in the coming years, full of worry about what exactly was the United States, and the free world getting themselves into, watching every nook and cranny of the United States to prevent one of the largest super powers and everything they represent, that of the beacon of the free world, collapse into the red ash heaps of communist history, and very likely the remaining world. This all, I believe, is what had largely contributed to that sense of trepidation for this new world after WWII, and who will eventually dominate world politics; communism, or democracy.
For myself, one of the more fascinating periods of time when the United States was trying to combat that of the worldwide Communist takeovers, while still pushing democracy forward, and protecting her shores, is that of the Red Menace. We today understand this to be the negative portrayal of Communism as a menace, coming to take control of the world and her nations, yet, quite interestingly, was a belief shared by many Communist nations, most especially that of the USSR, and even organizations within the U. S, such as that of the IWW. In retrospect, I find that possibly one of the most brilliant ways to portray the communists as such a heinous and cruel ideology is to utilize the media. For instance, when the Red Menace movie had come to theaters in the forties to illustrate how two individuals make what they believe to have been the right idea, leads to the wrong mistake when members of the party murder a colleague because of his questioning of certain portions of the party’s beliefs.
The methods of many movie directors and scriptwriters to create this portrayal of the communists as the evil had, at the time when there was not as much easy dissemination of information through household technologies, assisted in the profound impacts in the public’s perception by one of the means of receiving information. Due to this, it is no surprise that many within the U.S were so concerned over this rise of a Red Menace, against the leader of the free world, the defender of liberty and prosperity.
Of course the Red Menace was not the only movie to have an impact in one way or another, but it is one of many that had allowed for better discussion of a worldwide phenomenon that prevailed societies throughout the world. Combating communism in a less direct and peaceful manner, I believe, was more beneficial in counteracting the communist ideology than that of the House Un-American Committee or conflicts engaged in to circumvent a domino effect.
Finally, in as far as an earlier move by the United States government in managing the communist crisis that the world was experiencing, while also trying to combat Communism, would have been that of the House Un-American Committee (HUAC), which I believe is not something that I would have necessarily supported. Yes, I understand the purpose of the committee and it significance it would play in maintaining un-subverted United States, but the methods that were employed were less than desired, or even much less than that because it impacted so many lives. Furthermore, I will say that I believe much of the unorthodox methods that were utilized occurred largely in part because of the stake of there possibly being an uprising and eventual usurping of the presidency, but, I also understand that there needs to be a limit by which this committee had to work, rather than one’s words against another.
The very sanctity of our government relies on rules and codes of law that move our government forward, and having that violated is intolerable, so we must do what we must, within the confines of the law, to find a way to address societal issues that pervade our society, in a more manageable manner. This is one reason why I did point back towards the example of the movie industry and their ability to portray communists as an evil force, ready to destabilize any government that is willing to cast an eye down on their ideological system that may be seen as fighting for freedom and equality for the masses, but as we understand, Communism did not exactly act in that way. If the United States were to go further from their domino-effect conflicts, not that they would never try to participate in an event to fight for freedom, but help lead in a direction of prosperity, one where they may have been able to push the arts, like what was seen with movies, or how the Central Intelligence Agency had looked into paintings that could possibly influence other communist nations to see how we press for expressionism. Much of these I can see as a great force in pushing in the safest direction, that would have lead to more lives being saved, but I will emphasize that once again, this is just my opinion, had I been in the shoes of our lawmakers, in the time where they were uncertain of what the future held for the United States, I am sure I would be thinking much differently right now on the best actions to be used in the Cold War that would not lead to the downfall of democracy and absolute catastrophe from nuclear war.