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McCarthy gave his name to an age but there was far more to McCarthyism than McCarthy McCarthy may have given his name to an era but there was much more to McCarthyism than just one man In this essay the argument will be that there were many factors leading up to the McCarthy era both internal and external and that McCarthy found a platform in anticommunist fear as it was popular issue at the time And his fall from grace in 1954 may also be attributed to both internal and external factors that appeared to alleviate the anticommunist threatToday we call it the McCarthy era While convenient the tribute is not without reason McCarthys villainy was so plain that his name became a curse in the year of his control Characterised as crass and unprincipled an unimaginative opportunist and a distinctly second rate politician McCarthy was also a shrewd judge of public attitudes and temper This blend made him an overpowering enemy Elected into the senate in 1946 McCarthy was almost invisible on the public scene until 9 February 1950 It was then in Wheeling West Virginia that he stumbled upon his cause But the elements of McCarthyism were hardly McCarthys alone nor did they diminish after his fall Joe McCarthy was just one and not the brightest of the many inquisitors of the time He was not a resourceful as his friend J Edgar Hoover While McCarthy made the notion of security risks in the federal bureaucracy a national obsession from 1950 to 1954 the foundations were well layed before his arrival and stemmed back to 1945 and the end of the Second World War However even before the war had ended the ruminations of anticommunism had begun with the introduction of the Smith Act which prohibited the teaching or advocating the overthrow of the government Also before the end of the war the Federal Bureau of Investigations FBI were
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