The Rise of the Communist Issue

Richard M. Fried

in Nightmare in Red

Published in print July 1991 | ISBN: 9780195043617
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199853724 | DOI:
The Rise of the Communist Issue

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In 1949, anti-communism planted itself squarely in the nation's political consciousness. Important groups like the CIO and influential educators closed ranks against Communists, politicians continued to hunt Reds, and front-page trials stamped judicial disapproval on communism. Advocates of peace, civil rights, and other causes had the growing burden of proving that they were not acting as “fronts” for communism. To be leftist was to be suspect. The period 1949–54 marked the nadir of civil liberties during the Cold War. Not coincidentally, these years bracketed the Korean War, which produced a military stalemate that chafed steadily at the American temper. Joseph R. McCarthy, gave his name to the era. However, the anxieties of the Cold War, culminating in the Korean crisis, and the pressures building at all levels of politics would guarantee that this period—with or without McCarthy—would be a grim one.

Keywords: CIO; civil liberties; leftism; Korean War; political consciousness; Cold War; American politics; Joseph McCarthy

Chapter.  12741 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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