Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
Americans were afraid of communism before World War ll. Once the Great Depression hit the nation, people were still afraid of communism but feeding your family took precedence. During World War ll people were more afraid of fascism than communism. After all, the United States and Soviet Union did work together to fight the Nazis. After World War ll however, Americans once again saw communism as a major threat. This marked the beginning of the second red scare. During this time, the House Committee on Un-American Activities gained popularity. Now this was not a new committee, in fact it originated in 1938 and its original purpose was to identify German sympathizers, not commies. Starting on November 25, 1947 this committee sought to convict actors and directors of being communists or communist sympathizers. This came to be known as the Hollywood blacklisting with ten well known figures in Hollywood being accused of having communist influence. The fear was that directors, actors, and producers in Hollywood would manipulate the American public just as Germany manipulated its public with its propaganda. These fears that the American public had was not complete nonsense. In 1949, the Soviets had an atomic bomb, and China had fallen to communism. Americans had a genuine fear mixed in with paranoia as there were Russian spies in the U.S., the Russians had an atomic bomb of their own, and countries were falling to communism.
One major political figure at this time in light of the red fears was a man by the name of Joseph Mcarthy. He was a senator who claimed that he actually had a list of commies which he presented at a meeting of republican women. This garnered him much attention. His motives for strongly and publicly opposing communism was to help get him re-elected to office. Mcarthy on multiple occasions accused various people of being communists with no real evidence and when people questioned his tactics he accused them of being communist as well. This ruined many people’s reputations as well as their careers. The U.S. Army eventually got tired of his accusations and Mcarthy was then subjected to the Army-Mcarthy hearings. These hearings were televised and the American people saw just how much of a bully he was and one who made unsubstantiated accusations. The result of this was that he lost much of his followers and was renounced by his fellow republicans who made the distinction that Mcarthy was a terrible representation of all who feared communism. This senator played a role during this second red scare which saw many trials of scientists and government officials who were convicted of espionage. One major case was that of the 1953 execution of scientist Julius Rosenberg and his wife Ethel who were both accused of passing information about the atomic bomb to Russia. Most people who were accused or convicted of working for the Soviet Union had no relations with the USSR at all. It was later discovered however that Julius Rosenberg was in fact sending information about the atomic bomb to the soviets. His wife Ethel was innocent.
One of the main reasons that the Korean War was influential on the Cold War was that America was fighting the spread of communism. The Cold War was the U.S. fighting the USSR because the soviets wanted to spread communism. The soviets had once controlled North Korea and helped form it into the communist government it is today. Before World War ll, Korea was its own nation. Japan eventually took control of Korea and treated its citizens poorly. Once WWll ended, the Americans and society divided Korea by the 38th latitude parallel. South Korea became and artificial democracy and North Korea became a communist regime. Initially, the United Nations proposed that North Korea has its people vote for its leader. The USSR was quick to say no to this proposal. The U.S. and USSR made an agreement to keep that border for five years. The USSR appointed a leader for North Korea, but after a few years he quietly disappeared. In 1950, North Korea’s new leader (Kim ll Sung) believed that he could reunify North and South Korea by invading South Korea. He did this without the help of the USSR who was not interested in getting into these affairs. He also believed that the U.S. was not interested in getting involved after the major conflict of WWll. Unfortunately for Sung and North Korea he was very wrong. He couldn’t have chosen a worse time to launch a communist rally. The U.S. smelled communism and got very much involved. The north had pushed the south into a corner. Once the U.S. arrived they pushed the north all the way back up and close to China. China had got wind of this and feared that if the U.S. and South Korea completely wiped out the communist north, then it would be next. The Chinese then rallied and pushed the Americans and South Koreans back to there area. There was then a ceasefire agreed upon in 1953 and the border settled on where it is now is about the same place as the 38th parallel.
There was really no winner of this war. American soldiers were neither praised or despised when they came home. The result was a stalemate that didn’t do much. The U.S. at this time feared the domino effect of communism very much, and did everything in its power to prevent the spread of communism. The Korean War was an example of the U.S. wanting to prevent the spread of communism and this had an influence on the motives for the U.S. fighting the Cold War. After all, North Korea was made communist by none other than the soviets. The forty-five year period after WWll marked for Americans a war on communism. The Korean War was a good example of how the U.S. looked to contain the spread of communism. This was a time in history in which there were nuclear tensions, and the U.S. desired to make sure that communism did not spread throughout the globe.