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Elyne Brishoual

Table of contents

  • Definiton of McCarthyism
  • The origin of McCarthyism
  • Historical Context
  • How does McCarthyism work?
  • Another exemple of a modern witch hunt

What is McCarthyism?

McCarthyism represents a period in the american History, compared to a modern witch hunt. McCarthyism has been created during the Cold War, in the 50s and it is based on an anti-communism system. Indeed, it aims to persecute people who are supporting communism.

McCarthy creates a list of 26 000 people who are suspected of supporting communism

The FBI assures that a some spies are infiltrated in some different domains like in the press, the government or even the cinema


Some hearrings are organized to denouce publicly people who are accused of supporting communism


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The origin of McCarthyism

The American president, Truman, installed a policy of containment to fight against the spread of communism in the USA.

After that, people in the USA started becoming paranoid about the spreading of communism in their country. This paranoia is encouraged by the press, medias and political men.

The Cold War
After the World War Two, in 1945, the two countries are considered as the two great powers. The two countries installed opposed system: communism (USSR) and the Truman doctrine (USA).


Historical Context




How does McCarthyism were working?

People were questionned about their political opinions and they were accused of being linked to communism and not being loyal to their country. They were also forced to denouce their relatives, friends, colleagues, associates.

If they refused to cooperate they were risking to be sent to jail, lose their job or being blacklisted.
Polotical men and medias were presenting communism as way much dangerous than it truly was.

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Indeed some people were blacklisted especially in the cinema.

Some celebrities named the Hollywood Ten have been blacklisted for being accused of supporting communism.

Another exemple of a modern witch hunt: people with AIDS

During the late 70s, a virus started spreading in the United States, it was at first identified as the "gay disease"

People who were suffering from this disease called AIDS were blacklisted, some of them were losing their job and all of them were treated as plagues.

Thank you!