Did sen. McCarthy's "Red Scare" Communist hunt find any real spies?
Oh dear...I really wish I could answer this question, but I only read about that era in reference to science and scientists, not the political side of it.
I did study this issue a long time ago and to the best of my memory, the answer is a resounding no.
His target was Hollywood, because the Hollywood actors and others have always had leanings to the left. I am sure there were some who belonged to the communist party, which was their right under the constitution. There were others who attended meetings or knew others who attended meetings.
The fact that the Congress allowed a Committee on Un-American Activities to be formed was a travesty in itself.
The red scared destroyed a lot of lives, ended many careers and is certainly a black mark in our history, about on the same level as the interment of Japanese American Citizens in camps following the bombing of Pear Harbor. There was no due process, no appeals, nothing.
Regarding the Red Scare, how would actors and writers have access to information that would be of any use to the Soviet Union. It was nothing more than a vehicle to further the influence of Sen. Joe McCarthy.
News reporter Edward R. Murrow of CBS deserves much of the credit for bring that travesty to an end.
I just read a biography of Edward R. Murrow, who didn't actually bring McCarthy down, but definitely started the ball rolling. Before WWI, many Americans were members of the Communist party. In those days, being a "card carrying Communist" was no different than being a member of a union or a political party other than the Republicans or Democrats would be today. No big deal.
By the time McCarthy was elected to the Senate, however, the Communist party in the U.S. had lost its appeal as a political movement and the Soviet Union was no longer America's good buddy. McCarthy needed an issue to make a name for himself in the Senate and came up with the "red scare".
Ed Murrow had learned he was one of McCarthy's next targets, owing to having briefly been a card-carrying Communist while working a summer job as a logger in Washington State right after high school. If memory serves, McCarthy's "investigation" had also driven a close friend of Murrow's to suicide.
As far as McCarthy's witch hunt actually unearthing any real spies, the answer is NO. But as Larry Wall said, McCarthy destroyed a lot of lives and ruined careers. Just to satisfy his thirst for power. Not America's finest moment.
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