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McCarthyism : myths, realities of the "red scare" and its perception in Europe

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  1. Origins and context of the Anti-Communist feeling in the United States. The birth of McCarthyism, without McCarthy
    1. McCarthy did not invent McCarthyism
    2. The crystallization of the Anti-Communist movement
  2. McCarthyism with McCarthy. An organized Anti-Communist crusade
    1. The alert of Joseph R. McCarthy
    2. The triumph of Joseph R. McCarthy. McCarthyism triumphant
    3. The ''witch hunt''. An atmosphere of paranoia and persecution
  3. The perception of McCarthyism in Europe
    1. Was the United States always seen as a model?
    2. The case of France. McCarthyism in the French press

The first obstacle might be to define what McCarthyism was. Globally, it refers to a specific era in the political history of the United States in which communism was fought. However, McCarthyism overcomes the political aspect and deals with the social life in the United States. Indeed, it had effects on the daily life of millions of Americans who were more or less involved in such a fight, whether it is an offensive (those rejecting communism) or defensive (those who tried to avoid the "purges") one. First of all, the origins of McCarthyism in the United States must be linked with the spread of the communist influence in the world. Besides, McCarthyism can be studied as one more episode in the Cold War fight as it addressed both the political and social components of the American society. However, it must not be reduced to the figure of Joseph R. McCarthy. It would be a misinterpretation if we did so. In fact, it refers to a political and social movement that crystallized even before the emergence of the Senator of Wisconsin.

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