Histoire CS1 - The US and the fight against communism at the beginning of the Cold War (late 1940s-mid 1950s)
How did the USA fight communism at home and abroad?

1. The Cold War abroad : the Korean war (1950-1953)
• A typical Cold War conflict
- Opposing two models in a bipolar world with 2 blocs: USA + allies /Iron Curtain/ USSR + new People's Republic of China (PRC) since 1949.
- In 1950, communist North Korea invaded South Korea => Following the doctrine of containment and the domino theory, the US intervened to help South Korea against North Korea backed by the USSR.
• Disputed issues
- Multi vs unilateralism: multilateral UN-sanctioned military intervention BUT in fact under US command => unilateral
- Containment vs roll-back: At first containment to liberate SK, then roll-back => invading NK BUT a mistake as it led to Chinese intervention which pushed UN/US forces back to pre-war border => cease-fire line 1953
- Cold vs hot war when general McArthur, US commander-in-chief, proposed using the bomb (WMD) on China => fired by Truman

2. The Cold War at home: anticommunism 1946-1954
• The Red Scare
- US setbacks in the Cold War: communist expansion (Soviet + Chinese 1949), Soviet nuclear threat (1949), communist aggression in Korea.
=> The only possible explanation: disloyal Americans helped the USSR
BUT disloyalty, first based on facts (spying), then targeted people’s ideas, beliefs (Communists) & anyone criticizing the US model.
=> Widespread anticommunist hysteria.
• The Witch Hunt
- From 1946 to 1950 the HUAC helped by the FBI (Hoover) mainly targeted federal employees & Hollywood (blacklisted screenwriters, actors, etc…).
- From 1950 to 1954 Republican senator Joseph McCarthy, first individually then with a Senate committee, targeted civil servants, from the State Department to U.S. forces.
BUT against the rule of law: no fair trial (by legislative power), forged evidence, a political tool used by Republicans against Democrats.
=> when McCarthy went too far, targeting top US executive power (George Marshall & President Eisenhower), Congress at last stopped this controversial investigation (December 1954).