McCarthyism and the Red Scare Questions and Answers

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Explain what McCarthy meant when he said, "When a great democracy is destroyed, it will not be from enemies from without, but rather because of enemies from within."

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These words come from Senator Joseph McCarthy's speech that he made in Wheeling, West Virginia on February 9, 1950. It represents a major shift in early Cold War tensions and the beginning of the Red Scare.

For the few years preceding this speech, most Cold War anxieties were focused abroad. Communism was considered a threat from the Soviet Union (and China, to a certain extent). In this speech, McCarthy insinuated that the threat was already in the United States. Without ever providing evidence, he claimed to know of many secret Communists embedded within the federal government, particularly in the State Department.

President Truman had already suggested that there could be the possibility of Communists within the government. In 1947, Truman expanded the Hatch Act to create a loyalty program as a bulwark against the threat of Communists in the government. With his speech and later accusations, McCarthy said that Truman's efforts were inadequate.

McCarthy's motives for this insinuation...

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