I’ve decided to focus on the topic of the Red Scare for my project. I don’t have much of a background on the topic, only what I was taught in high school (which wasn’t really that much). I did a little bit of background searching outside of school, but I never really dug too deep on the subject. Just through my initial research I did in this class I found a few websites that told me a little more than what I already knew, but I’m hoping that I can find some websites that share personal stories of people during the Red Scare (something like Julius Rosenberg and his wife).
Upon doing more research, I found out that there technically were two Red Scares, though the most familiar one would be the one during the Cold War. According to the Wikipedia page on the Red Scare, the first Red Scare was during World War I, between 1917 and 1920. During this time, President Woodrow Wilson somewhat forced Congress to legislate the Sedition Act of 1918, which basically said that no one could say bad things about the government during wartime (it even talked about deported people who opposed the government).
So far, my interest in this topic has only increased. I’ve always enjoyed studying the past, but I especially enjoy past topics that deal with issues that were largely controversial. Something about the danger and mystery of the topic draws me in every-time that I think about it.
I’ve found a couple of secondary sources for my topic. Not surprisingly, my topic does have a Wikipedia page. One of the secondary sources that I found is a journal about a video on the Cold War and Red Scare; it is titled “Ordinary Americans: The Red Scare”. I found the Wikipedia page to be a little more informative as I didn’t have access to the actually Red Scare video, just the journal article describing it. The Wikipedia page enabled me to not only see the history behind it, but also some of the main reasons there was so much fear during that time. According to this journal review for the film, the film itself tried to say that it was American people who were responsible for the Red Scare. It also offered a bit of information about Joseph McCarthy.
One primary source I found was titled “The Villians of the ‘Red Scares’ of 1950”. For me, this was a great source because I was specifically looking for something that could tell me about who exactly were the figureheads of the Red Scare. It’s only three pages so it wasn’t as informative as I hoped it would be, but it definitely helped me find out some of the information that I needed.
Another primary source I found was a picture of a newspaper clipping that talked about not patronizing “Reds”. I’m not sure how exactly I’m going to fit this one into my project, but I think it’s pretty cool and I’ll definitely try to find a way. Another primary source I found was newspaper
The only question I had initially was just how I can incorporate other less known aspects of the Red Scare into my paper. All of my sources definitely will help me do that, because I feel like not a lot of people know just exactly what happened during this time. I think my strongest source will be the Wikipedia page, but I’m still heavily looking for sources at this time.
Griffith, Robert. “Ordinary Americans: The Red Scare.” Journal of American History 87, no. 3 (December 2000): 1163–64.