Throughout the early 1950's, the nation was deeply engrossed in fears of a Communist takeover. At a time when America's fears were at their very height, Joseph McCarthy, a Republican Senator from Wisconsin pushed America's fears to an extreme. As a ploy to get himself re-elected, and to make America hate Communism as much as he did, the Senator devised a devious scheme. McCarthy, while giving a speech, held up a piece of paper and exclaimed, "I have here a list of 57 known Communists who are currently employed by the U.S. State Department" (Fried, 89). A few days later, McCarthy raised the number of people on the list from 57 to 205. The reaction to McCarthy's announcement was absolute panic. Until that time, the
Through the 1940s and 1950s, America was beleaguered with anxieties about the menace of communism arising in Eastern Europe and China. Profiting out of such worries of the nation, young Senator Joseph McCarthy made an open charge that hundreds of "card-carrying" communists had penetrate in the United States government. Although his allegations were found ultimately to be false and the Senate reproached him for improper ways, his ardent shakeup heralded as one of the most tyrannical era in 20th-century American politics. While the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAA) had been made in 1938 as a body to resist communists, McCarthy's charges enhanced the political nervousness of the epoch. The suspicious chase for moles,
Since this country was founded, we have had a set of unalienable rights that our constitution guarantees us to as Americans. One of the most important rights that is mentioned in our constitution is the right to free speech. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the
Blacklisted writers, such as Walter Bernstein, Abraham Polonsky, and Lester Cole had a very difficult time finding work and trying to survive during the period of the blacklist. Suspected Communist sympathizers went through a horrifying experience during the HUAC hearings, as they were constantly and consistently harassed by the FBI and other agencies and people who tried to force already known Communists to “name names” of other various questionable individuals. The ideas and works of these writers, because of their leftist views, were a cause for alarm in Congress, and a reason for dire concern among the rest of society.
Imagine a scenario where Kanye West is in his Los Angeles home with his wife and daughter and the police knock on his door. They arrest him based on exposing the American population to vulgarity, indecency, racist and sexist comments that offend many people. The government does not want America to be subjected to this type of music and turn the American culture into something more bigoted than it already is. However, a situation like this would never occur in the present day American society. That does not mean it could not happen in the future. Many American citizens are promoting censorship to an extreme that it could possibly become a reality. The American citizens claim that censorship is needed to shelter America’s citizens, but
In addition to fighting communism overseas, the United States battled communism within its own government. Pressured by the republicans, President Truman created a loyalty Review Board in which government employees where investigated for their loyalty. Of the 3 million who where testified, only 212 where dismissed as security risks. This method was often ineffective because individuals who had been accused of disloyalty where not allowed to see the evidence against them. Another program aimed at eliminating communist influence was HUAC, or the House Un-American Activity Committee. In 1947, HUAC questioned 43 Hollywood actors about their loyalty to the government.
Senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin was the person that was partially responsible for the fear instilled in American citizens thinking that communists lived among them. McCarthy appeared on television making countless accusations of many people ranging from politicians to actors. He made it a point to tell the citizens that the United States government was not properly dealing with communism. Although all these accusation were made, McCarthy was never able to adequately back up these claims. Aside from McCarthyism, which is now a term used for “unsubstantiated accusations,” the US Government set up a committee called the House Un- American Activities Committee (HUAC) to do investigations. One major case was the case against Alger Hiss. He was an American government official who was accused an tried for espionage and served a 5 year sentence. The creation of committees specifically dedicated to finding those that may be communist spies in the United States shows exactly how far the paranoia in our country went. McCarthy never had a single piece of evidence to expose the people he wrongfully accused but people were quick to jump and agree with him out of their own fear. McCarthy was able to convince thousands that what he was saying was true because of the status of his targets which made it more believable. Just because of all the mass hysteria that was happening overseas involving
Censorship may be protection from inappropriate materials, but it also limits free speech. For the limitation of free speech, it is reasonable why people are emphatically against censorship. It is understood that there is a need to filter some of the materials released in today’s society, but too much is being done by people who have no right meddling with everyone’s rights. Civilization has always been plagued by a never ending battle being fought over what is deemed right and wrong. In today’s culture, censorship oppresses everything in the media. From movies and music to television and even news stories, most of the content viewed today has been filtered one way or another. Restrictions have been in place since early societies have been
The HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) started small in the 30’s and became a much more permanent as well as prominent after the war. Thanks to McCarthy again they gained reason to investigate many, as the name suggests, un-American activities in order to root out the Soviet collaborators. They also
From the late 1930s to late 1950s the HUAC took initial steps to find communists and spies in the United States. The House Un- Americans Activities Committee was a big part of the panic of the scare. The HUAC started investigating Hollywood for communism spies in 1947, the committee held nine hearings, after convictions the “Hollywood ten” were blacklisted. The HUAC Hollywood investigations were 1 of 50 investigations. After the HUAC’s Hollywood probe they focused on nuclear espionage, they were very successful in finding spies like Elizabeth Bentley.
One hears about censorship of free word happening all the time in other countries, but did it ever happen in the United States of America? Not many people know that restriction of free speech and personal expression did in fact occur in America, mainly during the 1950s. During this tumultuous time, newfound fears of threatening outside influences, mainly political in nature, had set in and as a result the government tried to protect the American public from these “radical” ideas through the use of censorship, or a restriction in the flow of information or ideas. Working feverishly to control what they deemed inappropriate, they launched multiple programs to combat these influences. Unfortunately, the government’s reasonably good intentions
Censorship on television in the United States has been an issue ever since the television was invented. The public holds a variety of stances on the topic, and no matter what law is ever passed regarding censorship, it will never suit the needs of everyone. Some believe that censorship violates individual rights in the law, and others believe that censorship should be available through members in the family, not the government. On the other hand, some people strive to maintain government regulation of censorship. Television censorship is significant because it holds the future of our country. If channels continue to be censored, our rights will be violated. If not, then the future generations may change
In the 1950’s, there was a major change in the music. Teenagers began having demands so they started changing songs which caused songs that were for the adults to become changed and censored for the parents to say it was acceptable for the teenagers that wanted to listen to Rock ‘n’ Roll. Censorship though, wasn’t everything that changed the music. In the 1950’s, racial transformation started to occur. Artists that were white started covering the songs that were recorded by artists that were black because record companies thought that it would be better if white artists performed them. This became prominent when Elvis Presley covered and censored the song “Hound Dog,” which actually was originally recorded by Willie “Big Mama” Thorton. The sounds were both recorded around the same time, however they are different in their own way.
Congress also created the House on Un-American Activities Committee in 1947, the goal of HUAC was to investigate Hollywood for communism and communist propaganda being broadcasted to the American public. They hauled movie stars, screenwriters, directors, up and interviewed them to the thrill of the national press corps, they pressed them to implicate others in Hollywood and name names. Ten of those interviewed refused based on the unconstitutional nature of and violation of the First Amendment for this many of them were blacklisted from Hollywood. Joseph McCarthy despite his renown for anticommunism, he was not part of the HUAC. Later he held his own committees based on his secrete list of 205 plus names that were communists or communist sympathizers in the US government. Communism was not and has never been a major threat in the United States. It was not in the 1950’s it is not now. Anyone that brings up red scare is doing so trying to invoke fear to distract you from whatever domestic problems actually need confronting. The biggest reason that can be said was that the American Communist Party was extremely tiny and the fact that we have a two party system effectively neuters any third party from gaining real power either through legal or illegal
A moral panic is a phenomenon that is examined and understood in an unbiased fashion. This type of panic locates a “folk devil,” is shared, remains out of synch with the seriousness it evokes, and varies in intensity over time (Goode and Ben-Yehuda, 41). On the other hand, a media panic is a moral panic about the effects of a communications medium of technology (Class lecture: January 27, 2016). Overall, a moral panic is based upon the reaction of society from an event while a media panic is the reaction of society from a type of technology. This paper looks to examine the similarities and differences between surveillance in the government today and surveillance in the government during the Cold War. It will address the effects these events have or had on society while examining specific media panics that played a role in society’s reactions to these historical events. By providing evidence to prove how these panics affect society, I will examine why these moral and media panics exist and the impact they have had on society as a whole.