American Anticommunism and the Cold War

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American anticommunism stems from a history of fear, and want of control over individuals, and groups of people who are defined as “others”. In this case “others”, is a term attributed to American citizens who were a part of, or held any relation or affiliation with the American Communist Party. Before them, it was immigrants; and before them it was African Americans, and Native Americans (Schrecker, 13). This fear and want of control over the American Communist Party, which immediately started after WWI in America, during the Red Scare of 1919-20; was used by the Republican and Democratic Parties, and their constituents, to gain and hold support in the United States government, and to attempt to shape American domestic and foreign policy in the 1930’s-50’s and beyond to their liking. The American Communist Party was not the huge threat that it is commonly made out to be. Contrary to conceptions at the time, the Communist Party in America was never really under direct control and orders from Moscow after the war. The Soviet spy threat- although real during WWII, was only marginally successful and was rendered virtually non-existent postwar. In addition, its members were not all subscribers of the popularized hardliner- Soviet Communist paradigm. The majority of the escalation of the Cold War can be seen as a direct effect of the actions of the United States political parties feuding, feeding off public fears, and dealing with the reality of another atomic-equipped superpower, opposed to capitalist and democratic ideals trying to gain power, prestige, and ideological legitimacy in the world. Immediately following the culmination of WWI, stories and fears of the Bolshevik Revolution led to radical demonstrations and labor moveme... ... middle of paper ... ...recker, 47) Due to the acts of the American Government, dwindling support due to the Korean War, the revelation of Stalin’s genocidal actions, and the Smith Act trials of 1948 and their aftermath, the American Communist Party was effectively incapacitated. Just like the American public paranoia, the Communist Party leadership purged unreliable members, stopped its recruitment programs, restructured the organization of the Party, and was ultimately forced to go underground, which only hurt what was left of it. (Schrecker, 57). Anticommunism, domestically, was a facade which Republicans and Democrats operated under to diminish the support and image of one another, during a fragile and tumultuous time in history, socially, culturally, and politically. Work Cited E. Schrecker The Age of McCarthyism: A Brief History With Documents (New York: Palgrave, 2002)
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