The Red Scare and Extremism


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Joseph L. Locke, in The American Yawp proclaimed on page 271 within the introduction “On February 22, 1946, less than a year after the war, the charge d’affaires of the U.S embassy in Moscow, George Kennan sent a famously lengthy telegram, – literally referred to as the Long telegram – to the state department denouncing the Soviet Union.” From such, it can be gathered that tensions had been rising well past this point stemming from the end of the war and the political conundrum surrounding such time period. However, that is not the main conceptual plot that will be engaged in throughout this piece. We will be debating the validity and various aspects of The Red Scare along with extremism, the American Government perception of such and finally whether the negotiation of such a threat was native internally or externally.

The Initial Confrontation

To begin with, Locke goes on to discuss various political, economic and military factors that contributed to this concept of a “Cold War.” A Cold War is a series of “battles” between world powers and not a single shot is fired. The fighting takes shape in different legislative fronts, third party supplying and trade infractions. This specific example initiated from a failure to solidify sufficient settlement of all parties involved. Due to Germany’s early victory they had left a trail of carnage, destruction, and death which coincidentally created the perfect battlefield to allow the Soviets to push back. The push back also known as the Eastern front was created, defended and effectively implemented by the Soviets and Soviets alone. Because of such the Soviets considered all the land the took back from Nazi Germany apart of their sphere of infleunce and was reluctant to allow westerners to become invovled.

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This initial confrontation was followed by many conferences and meetings and the gradual formation of the new europe came into fruition. Yet, Locke goes on to remind us of the prevalence of the situation on page 259 in the first paragraph when he says ” The Cold War had long roots, theW World War II alliance of Convenience was not enough to erase decades of mutual suspicions. The Bolshevik Revolution had overthrown the Russian tsarist during World War I.” This statement is vital in understanding where the internally domesticated notion of the red scare begins. Being that the battle was idealistic instead of direct both sides implemented propaganda against the other. America derived their classic “us vs them” notion with slogans such as ” Get em’ all,” “kill the commies,” “if its red its dead.” Along with this the American government painted Russia citizens to all be communist and extremely dangerous. The idea of a russian person shifted and became an as threatening as a perceived threat could be. The American people ate up the idea of being a patriot and killing a communst in the name of being a good citizen. This notion was then adapted by the american people as doing anything to avoid, identify and eliminate the communist at all cost which is were the period known as the Red Scare becomes a dilberation.

Political Awakening

Furthermore, many nations with a history of democracy went through political right wing extremism. This came about in a time where many nations were newly formed and eastern europe, in particular, was filled with politically weak and fragile as well as fragmented governments. This rise in extremism came from the assumed threat self-derived fear of the red east. The impending threat of such cause a political awakening if you will. However, such rise of awareness is little to be compared with the valid action taken within the Red Scare. Yes, perspectives have changed and viewpoints were integrated with basis causing a small legislative push yet no visible or consideral action was put into play from this moment.


In conclusion the Red Scare and aspects of extremism are relatable and can be effective sourced from common deliberations. However, the extent of action and perception alterations greatly fell in amounts measurable in the light of the Red Scare. Extremism would be more closely related to fundamentalism in origins while The Red Scare is better comparable to its predecessor stemming from World War I. Yes both threats were perceived from societal integration of governmental propaganda yet the Red Scare was focused on the external threat while the extremism movement of the 1930’s surrounded the internal structure of a nation.

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