The Red Scare and the Cold War at Home

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1. The postwar years saw a wave of fear overtake the nation about communist takeover. This fear eventually took the form of the government investigation committees that persecuted thousands of American on basis of their political, social and sexual preferences, leading to the loss of their jobs and their reputations. Based on the readings, what were the fears that fueled such figures as Joseph McCarthy, the House of Un-American Activities, and the Hoey Committee? Do you think these fears were blown out of proportion in regards to communist influence or homosexuals being considered a security risk?

2. In the 1950s the link between an consumerism and happiness, capitalism and democratic society was cemented and arguably reach a zenith with Nixon’s Moscow Exhibition speech. The rise in industry and corporations in the 1950s indubitably played an important role in American life and greatly affected the conception of male and female roles. What were some of the positive effects of this consumerism – employment, products, etc. – and what were some of the negatives – male and female social roles, feeling of unfulfillment, etc?

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