To what extent do you agree that the Red Scares were the darkest moments in the history of the USA?
Throughout history, America has been phased with 2 ‘Red Scares’. The First Red Scare was a period during the early 20th-century history of the United States marked by a widespread fear of Bolshevism and anarchism, due to real and imagined events; real events included those such as the Russian Revolution and anarchist bombings. The second Red Scare refers to the fear of communism that permeated American politics, culture, and society from the late 1940s through the 1950s, during the opening phases of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
In this essay, I will be discussing if these ‘Red Scares’ were in fact two of the darkest moments in American history.
I somewhat agree with the statement of them being the darkest periods in American history, because it introduced a whole new ideology to America during a difficult time period; meaning that they were exposed to the extreme methods of retaliation by Russia whilst in their vulnerable state of recession. The name Red Scare is derived from the red soviet flag, initially stating that Americans who were striking were communists. Many Americans were scared of the communists, especially as they had overthrown the royal family in Russia in 1917 and murdered them in the following year. In 1901, an anarchist had shot the American president (McKinley) dead.
After the recession, many American citizens went on strike, such as 35,000 dockyard workers did in January 1919 that then led to 60,000 on strike by the following month. These strikers were branded as communists, and America began to grow suspicious of each other (i.e. the rich vs the poor) at this point there was no trust in America. This would obviously have a big impact on the country, because they had just left World War 1 (something they weren’t initially supposed to join, however the presidency of Woodrow Wilson unexpectedly lead to War) and they were undergoing the Depression of 1920-21; at this point America needed support from the community and the times were very difficult, the idea of communism only tore America more in one of its most vulnerable times. ‘Communism’ wasn’t actually a thing in America as it was more of a Russian concept, Americans made it a thing by fearing it.
Eventually, communism became a criminal offence, with over 10,000 people being arrested. Communism got the blame for most crimes because people were so paranoid and cautious, yet they didn’t have a clear understanding of what communism actually was, so with more people being arrested, the less trust citizens had with each other which essentially tapped into the republican idea of isolationism. As American citizens saw more and more people being arrested, they would be less likely to warm to people they don’t know such as immigrants, and different cultures; ultimately this would effect the whole ideology of the American Dream which is like the crown jewel of America.