Created on March 6, 2022
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the second world war
During the Second World War, when the Americans and the Russians were allied against Germany, certain American Communists spied on their country on behalf of the Russians,
thus combining communism with an idea of treason.
how did mccathyism begin ?
establishment of McC0arthyism
Senator McCarthy established an anti-communist policy in the United States by invoking state security
the Cold War
During the Cold War, Americans discovered communist espionage and declared communism to be a real threat to national security.
The Anti communist political repression
Politicians, bureaucrats and some business leaders, exaggerating the dangers of communism, mounted a campaign of repression. they went after people suspected of having left-wing political ideas or of being in contact with sympathizers.
Furthermore, FBI Director J.Edgar Hoover used FBI sources to track down these supposed Communists. His policy was to keep Communists out of influential positions in American society in order to have control over federal employees and therefore over societal opinion.
At the same time, the american congress, pushed by the paranoia which then settled in the country, made its investigation near the supposed communists by calling many people to testify in particular in front of the house un-american activities committee. Suspected persons were forced to cooperate by denouncing their friends or associates under threat of heavy penalties.
US Senator Joseph McCarthy, convinced that everyone in the country was cooperating with the Soviet Union, he exhibited exhaustive lists of alleged communists, making unsubstantiated accusations and fabricating evidence. this is how he accused thousands of public and private employees such as Hollywood personalities, employees of universities, factories... All these employees had to pass political tests at the end of which many were found guilty. In 1953, he was appointed to the permanent sub-committee of inquiry in the senate, it was then that he began to investigate the army and that he alienated public opinion, which greatly reduced his power in the country. He died in 1957, which marked the end of McCarthyism.
the consequences of McCarthyism
Accused persons who refused to cooperate and denounce their friends or associates were put in jail or, the majority were fired or blacklisted. This is how McCarthyism destroyed thousands of careers and lives.
In 1947, more than 40 people with ties to the motion picture industry were called to appear before the house un-american activities committee. while the majority of those interrogated have decided to cooperate, a group of ten writers and directors refused to cooperate and decided to challenge the legitimacy of the anti-communist investigations and hearings, they are called the hollywood ten. In 1948, they were found guilty and sentenced to 1 year in jail and to pay a fine of 1000 dollars. Following the scandal, the leaders of the film industry decided to blacklist the hollywood ten and no longer employ them, thus damaging many careers, and artists had to pursue their careers hidden behind pseudonyms. Although the blacklist ended in 1960, Hollywood ten became figures of censorship.
McCarthyism also had consequences for the democratic institutions of the United States. Indeed, the Democrats as well as the Republicans were aware that the accusations against the Communists were unjust but none dared to oppose them for fear of compromising their careers. Similarly, the Supreme Court and therefore the American judicial system has not opposed these injustices, thus condoning violations of constitutional rights, in the name of national security.
It is then possible to conclude that the alleged threat posed by communism was less dangerous than the consequences that flowed from McCarthyism in the United States.
Is the phenomenon of the witch hunt really over ?
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, some children are accused of witchcraft. Indeed, in very poor areas, the accusation of witchcraft makes it possible to get rid of children suffering from malformations, epilepsy or undisciplined. These children are abandoned or killed by their families.
in the 21st century, there are still witch hunts, especially in several African countries. These hunts are based on the same principles of unjust accusations. In Ghana, following the deaths of children within families or of animals within herds, deemed abnormal, the members of the families concerned judge these events as acts of malevolence and designate a woman in the family as a soul eater. . The accusation is then confirmed by a priest and follows a punitive ceremony during which the women are punished with insults and beatings. These women can then be driven out of the village and sent to witch camps or they can be killed.
In 2009, in Gambia, the country's president launched a witch hunt. Indeed, several hundred people were arrested by soldiers and healers and taken to secret detention centers. There they were tortured and forced to drink hallucinogenic and corrosive drinks until they were forced to confess their socellery. The accused are then discriminated against and are forced to leave their village. These witch hunts allow the state to control the population by dividing communities and sometimes even families.