Echos of McCarthy

As many of you may already know, the political landscape of the 1940s and 50s United States was marked by high anxiety surrounding the ever-present threat of communism’s spread.  The most well-known and visible results of these anxieties were the creation of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) to investigate suspected communists and the subsequent rise of Senator Joseph McCarthy and McCarthyism, an anti-communist movement that culminated in the televised Army-McCarthy Hearings.1  While the formal era of McCarthyism ended in spectacular fashion with the fall of Senator McCarthy in 1954, there were other, subtler shifts happening across that same landscape that we can still see echoes of in today’s political attitudes and maneuvers.

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“How and What to Tell a Communist” propaganda ad by The Timken Roller Bearing Company. (Humboldt State University)

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