McCarthyism was a kind of paranoid witch hunt of Communists during what can be considered a shameful part of American history. It affected thousands of people and was started by just one man waving a list of names of suspected communists. Here are some interesting facts about McCarthyism.
Fact 1: McCarthyism was started by Senator Joseph McCarthy in response to the growing threat of Communism in Eastern Europe and China during the 1940s and 1950s.
Fact 2: Joseph McCarthy claimed that 200 Communists had infiltrated the United States Government.
Fact 3: In order to expose Communists, McCarthy started the House Un-American Committee in 1938. It jailed people for not naming other Communists and held “trails” against suspected Communists.
Fact 4: Many writers and entertainers were targeted by McCarthyism, including Dashiell Hammett, Lena Horne, Arthur Miller, Waldo Salt, Lillian Hellman, Lucille Ball, and Charlie Chaplin, often destroying careers.
Fact 5: Joseph McCarthy never successfully convicted any American of being a Communist.
Fact 6: More than 2,000 government employees lost their jobs as a result of McCarthyism.
Fact 7: Joseph McCarthy was one of only three Senators to be censored by the Senate, condemning his McCarthyism conduct.
Fact 8: The President at the time, Dwight Eisenhower, also disagreed with McCarthyism. He said of Joseph McCarthy, “I will not get into the gutter with this guy”.
Fact 9: While being questioned by McCarthy in the courtroom, lawyer Joseph Welch famously asked, “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” After applause, McCarthy responded by asking, “What the hell just happened?”
Fact 10: Joseph McCarthy died in 1957 from cirrhosis of the liver while still serving as a United States Senator. He was only 48.