In the United States, Joseph McCarthy is known as the man who ignited the “Red Scare” which occurred during the 1940s and 1950s. The senator, hailing from Wisconsin, boldly proclaimed that he personally had a list of 205 people who were members of the communist party while simultaneously working in the US State Department.
At the time, fears of communism infiltrating the country were abounding. The CPUSA (Communist Party USA) was seen as an easy access point for sympathizers of the communist movement from abroad to influence American politics. McCarthy’s assertion that communists had infiltrated the highest ranks of the United States government sent shockwaves around the nation. McCarthy was vilified and his memory has been stained with the reputation of being a tyrant on a witch hunt with no evidence to back himself up.
Since McCarthy’s death in 1957, new evidence has been found in the Venona Project - a project spanning from 1943-1980- that there were a large number of Soviet spies who were indeed infiltrating the United States government. The Venona Project was able to intercept and decrypt messages from the Soviet Union and thus the United States government was able to determine the spies who had been undercover in America. The findings of this project confirmed the suspicions that McCarthy had all along.
When McCarthy first made the announcement that there were “enemies from within”, many had doubts that this was actually true, and thought McCarthy was simply trying to make a name for himself by playing a political game. We do not know if McCarthy’s personal list of names was one hundred percent accurate, but what we do know today is that he was not wrong in the slightest about the amount of influence the Soviets had on the United States.
Being an anti-communist drew much ire from those on the Left who felt like the entire thing was being blown out of proportion. During the period of the second World War, one of the biggest threats from the Soviets seemed was making and using an atomic bomb as well as selling American secrets that could lead to the United States losing the war.
Looking back, we can see how not only did the Soviets have people in place to do these exact things, but they also left behind a stain of communist ideology that has impacted America to this day.
Today we see the ideology inspired by Karl Marx spreading rampantly amongst younger populations, specifically on college campuses. According to a poll done by Victims of Communism, 30% of Gen Z holds a favorable view of communism. The future of a country lies within its youth and its ideals. The communist belief system is one that has destroyed numerous countries throughout history, like Russia, China, Cuba and many others. We would be wise to not follow in their footsteps.
Richard Nixon described the Cold War and communism in this way, “The Cold War isn’t thawing- it is burning with a deadly heat. Communism isn’t sleeping; it is, as always, plotting, scheming, working, fighting.” This observation hits on the crux of Joseph McCarthy’s argument: that any threat of communism to the United States, should be rooted out and destroyed.
McCarthy rang the warning bell of what allowing communist sympathizers into American culture would do, and now we are seeing the effects of this ideology in a way that many more people are now comfortable with communism becoming a part of American life.
This is why we must fight to instill a spirit of Freedom and Liberty in the hearts and minds of the rising generation.