• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why was the fear of communism so strong in the years of 1945 to 1954?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Why was the fear of communism so strong in the years of 1945 to 1954? After world war two there was a steady build up of tension between the United States of America and the Soviet Union, which grew to such a level that the hostility grew to just short of military action. This period, known as the cold war was a large factor in causing the paranoia over communism in the USA. The Soviet Union was a communist country and historically America had always opposed communism. It was also clear that the USA- USSR alliance of World War Two was just to serve a specific purpose. This bond was broken after the war, due to the countries' perceived differences and the apparent rivalry between them. The main American fear was the actual spread of communism and the fear that a domino affect would occur; after one country having turned communist, there would be a knock on effect and more would follow suit. ...read more.

Middle

This series of events began the Arms race between the Soviet Union and the USA, which would continue until the late 1980s with each side trying to out do the other. Although it started as an arms race it eventually became an economic war. Against this background certain people and events helped to stir suspicion and set up what became known as the 'red' scare. The House Un-American Activities Committee was set up in 1930 but made headlines when it investigated ten famous screenwriters on suspicion of sympathising with communists. The ten answered no questions and so were jailed for this offence and were consequently blacklisted. Alger Hiss was a prime example of those who appeared in front of the HUAC, following accusations by Whittaker Chambers. Although President Truman dismissed the case, Hiss was charged with perjury in 1950, and was jailed for five years. In the Federal Bureau of Investigation the strongly anti-Communist head, J. Edgar Hoover was given the go ahead to initiate the Federal Employee Legality Program in which 212 out three million people investigated for communist links were classed as security risks and consequently forced out of their jobs. ...read more.

Conclusion

This led to his censure by congress, and he died in 1957. Despite this, McCarthy's effects lived on including the McCarran act of 1950 in which all communist organisations had to be registered with the United States government and no communist could carry a United States passport or work in the defence industry. Throughout his career McCarthy ruined the careers of many others yet he never actually uncovered any real communists or Russian spy rings, even though there were several. McCarthyism was unjust and changed the course of communism long after his career had ended. In conclusion, there were many factors that influenced the fear of communism from 1945 to 1954. The most important factor was the competition between the two super powers, America and the Soviet Union, which drove both sides to portray the other as the enemy. Influencing the public was important, because with public opinion behind politicians, for example McCarthy, it made them very powerful. Rebecca Heaton 10GW 10/05/07 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. Assess the strategic strengths and weaknesses of America's 'containment of communism' policy since 1945.

    underlying assumptions were based on fear of communism, whereby; "The Soviet Union was engaged in a fanatical effort to seize control of all governments wherever possible."10 This report recognised the need for America to use force to contain communism. To be able to do this the report suggested a potential fifty percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product)

  2. The role of partisan politics in the spread of McCarthyism

    18 However, this did not diminish McCarthy's popularity, as a Gallup Poll in 1954 indicated that 50% of the American people had a generally 'favourable opinion' of him. 19 Considering the roughness of his politics and the severity of his allegations, this is extraordinary.

  1. The Hollywood Ten - House Un-American Activities Committee.

    * Hotel Berlin (1944) (uncredited) * The Very Thought of You (1944) * Objective Burma (1945) (uncredited) * Smart Woman (1948) * Hollywood on Trial (1976) Video/C 5751 Herbert J. Biberman The socially conscious films of American director, screenwriter and producer Herbert Biberman are perhaps best known in Europe as

  2. How much was industry changed by the war in the years 1939-1950?

    Reducing the amount produced throughout the country. Skilled women workers were given new opportunities to work that they had never had before. The independence that women gained during the war set the foundations for post-war equality.

  1. History of the United States

    the southern portions of the present states of New Mexico and Arizona. By 1860 the Union comprised 33 states, packed solid through the first rank beyond the Mississippi and reaching westward to include Texas, as well as California and Oregon on the Pacific Coast.

  2. Many peoples have contributed to the development of the United States of America, a ...

    Deciding to start afresh and fashion a new national government independent of, and superior to, the states, the delegates made a crucial decision: the nation's source of sovereignty was to lie in the people directly, not in the existing states.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work