US controversies: McCarthyism and the Red Scare

Course Dates: 04/03/23
Time: 10:30 - 13:30
Location: Keeley Street
The years from 1950 to 1954 are often depicted as a time when there was witch hunt for secret communists in the United States. We will study the events of those years, while also placing them in broader context.
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Full fee £39.00 Senior fee £31.00 Concession £25.00

Course Code: HAH58

Sat, day, 04 Mar - 04 Mar '23

Duration: 1 session

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

Lines open Monday-Friday 12:00-18:00

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What is the course about?

In 1950, Senator Joseph McCarthy announced that he had a list of communists who had infiltrated the U.S. government. That touched off a series of investigations and hearings that led to some of the most famous people in America being accused of being communist stooges. McCarthy’s efforts, however, were only one part of a much larger anti-communist movement. We will discuss the Senator’s story, while also placing it in broader context.

What will we cover?

- Senator Joseph McCarthy, his investigative committee, and the hearings that he held
- The Army-McCarthy hearings and the Senator’s downfall
- The origins of anticommunism
- The FBI’s anti-communist efforts
- Richard Nixon and the House Un-American Activities Committee
- Major events, such as the Hollywood hearings
- Other Congressional Committees and prominent senators (such as McCarran)
- Blacklists
- Efforts by state governments to launch their own investigations
- The importance of anticommunism in 1950s and 1960s conservatism
- Portrayals of McCarthyism in history, memory, and popular culture.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Better understand Joseph McCarthy
- Better understand how McCarthyism fits into the history of American politics and culture
- Better understand the enduring controversies.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is an introductory-level course. No prior knowledge is necessary, only curiosity.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

I will use a combination of lecture, discussion, and group activities to teach the course.
You do not need to do work outside of class, but reading materials will be available if you wish to learn more.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There are no other costs. You do not need to bring anything.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Please see our history of the Americas website section for more courses on the US and South Americas.

Brian Kennedy

Brian was born and raised in the U.S.A. but moved to England seven years ago and recently became a British citizen. He has a master's and doctorate in U.S. history and has taught at Ohio State, Roehampton, Sheffield, and Hertfordshire universities. He is particularly interested in the roles of religion and ethnicity in American politics. As such, he has written about American Catholics during the Great Depression and Republican support for the Zionist movement. During his free time, he volunteers at Mind and a local history museum. He is an avid fan of all Boston sports teams and recently began reading science fiction novels.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.