McCarthyism and the Red Scare

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How did fear of the Soviet Union and Communism affect American culture and society?

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After World War II, rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union intensified. The result internationally was the Cold War, in which the two countries struggled for the influence of their respective political systems on the other countries of the world. Domestically in the United States, this conflict gave rise to the Red Scare, during which Americans became paranoid about communist spies infiltrating the nation. This paranoia concerning the Soviet Union and communism had a profound effect on American culture and society.

The House Committee on Un-American Activities, a committee of the US House of Representatives, was begun in 1938, mainly to investigate communist organizations that had arisen as a result of the New Deal. After the war, it became more prominent as a tool to expose communists (or suspected communists) working in government positions and in the film industry in Hollywood. The committee's activities assumed high-profile status as it alleged that communists had...

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