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McCarthyism and its Influence on America in the 50s and 60s

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Solution Summary

Influenced by this global context of the early 1950s, most Americans agreed that the Soviet Union and Communist China were a serious threat to the American way of life. McCarthy enjoyed a rapid rise to power, albeit for only a short period, through an anti-communist campaign that played upon the general paranoia that Communists were in our midst and would destroy the US.

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What was the impact of McCarthyism in the US?

CONTEXT: Before you begin to explain the impact of McCarthyism in the United States, it is important that you describe the events and climate that lead a country to sanction and support Senator McCarthy's anti-communist policies. Begin your explanation of the influence of McCarthyism on American culture and politics by touching upon the following contextual realities of 1950s America:
 The international climate at the end of World War II was unstable with a prosperous US economy, a strong Soviet industrial machine, and an economically vulnerable Western Europe and Asia.
 The US nuclear program was firmly established by 1945. Using valuable research obtained by Soviet spies from the US Manhattan Project, the Soviet Union's nuclear program reached parity with that of the United States by 1949.
 The globe was living in a bi-polar system with two military and economic superpowers facing off with vastly different ideological systems.
 Although America was experiencing unprecedented prosperity in the years after World War II, it was also facing the specter of nuclear war with the Soviet Union. The USSR made it clear to the community of nations that they would expand their Communist ideology across the globe.
 Paranoia in the US about Communist expansionism was fueled by the reality of the ascendance of Mao Zedong in China, the Communist invasion of South Korea, and the Communist guerilla victories in Viet Nam.
 The legacy of Roosevelt's New Deal liberal social policies left a bitter taste in the mouths of Republicans. Desperate to establish a platform that would help them regain power in Washington, ...

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