McCarthyism and the Red Scare Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

Describe the impact of McCarthyism on American political life. Also, how did the anticommunist campaigns affect the media?

Expert Answers info

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write12,052 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

The main effect of McCarthyism on American political life was the imposition of a deadening conformity in which no one could afford to be seen as "soft" on Communism. McCarthyism created a toxic atmosphere of fear and paranoia, in which anyone deemed even vaguely progressive could find themselves being tarred with the Communist brush.

Many right-wing politicians on Capitol Hill used the McCarthy witch-hunts as an opportunity to undermine President Truman's Fair Deal proposals. The Fair Deal was seen by its opponents as the culmination of a leftward trajectory of government policy that had taken place since Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. Like the New Deal, Truman's flagship domestic policy was presented by McCarthy and his partisans as a dangerous step on the road to Communism. Such accusations had long been a part of right-wing rhetoric , but the tensions of the Cold War gave them added impetus. In practice, this generated a reluctance among liberals to put forward any radical proposals, as...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 764 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write11,478 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write16,848 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial