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McCarthyism

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The McCarthy era — characterized by anti-communism, the Cold War and the threat of the nuclear bomb — was one of the most turbulent in American history.

In February 1950, Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy made his first anti-communist speech, claiming he had the names of “known communists” in the state department. By 1952, McCarthy had secured an appointment in the Senate’s Permanent Investigations Subcommittee, and with little or no evidence, questioned and arrested suspected communists — many of them ordinary Americans.

In 1954, popular broadcast journalist, Edward R. Murrow, challenged McCarthy in an episode of the TV documentary “See It Now.” The show questioned McCarthy’s tactics — blacklisting movie stars and intimidating government employees — and turned the public against him.

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McCarthyism

Quiz: McCarthyism

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